Press Centre

Australian Wilderness with Ray Mears

  • Episode: 

    1 of 7

  • Title: 

    Ningaloo Coast
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Fri 13 Oct 2017
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    8.00pm - 8.30pm
  • Week: 

    Week 41 2017 : Sat 07 Oct - Fri 13 Oct
  • Channel: 

  • Status: 

The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 3 October 2017.
Series overview
This brand-new seven part series sees renowned bushcraft expert Ray Mears delving further into the outback. 
Ray travels across Australia to discover how the wildlife and people thrive and adapt in some of the planet’s last great areas of wilderness. 
In this series Ray ventures through turquoise waters, across majestic mangroves, high above mountain ranges and deep into pre-historic forests. In each episode Ray journeys through Australia in search of its remarkable landscapes, the extraordinary wildlife and the people who have survived this  wilderness.  
Episode 1
In episode one, Ray heads west to dive on Ningaloo reef. This is the longest fringing coral reef in the world, and is visible from outer space. And the reef isn’t the only giant in these waters.  Ray has a friendly encounter with a massive whale shark, the world’s biggest fish.  Not as big though as a megalodon - an ancient shark the size of two double-decker buses, whose fossilized teeth Ray finds in the cliffs near the reef. 
Also in the series, Ray visits the Flinders mountains in the south where he takes to the skies in a helicopter to watch Australia’s largest bird of prey soar over emus and         kangaroos.  These great birds have been known to drive kangaroos over cliffs! He overnights on top of the range in an outback camp. 
Walpole Forest is a six million year old wooded wilderness in Western Australia.   Ray is on the trail of the quokka, one of the continent’s shyest marsupials.  But the highlight here for woodsman Ray is meeting   aboriginal tribesman Joey Williams, who shows him how to make a hunting spear from local wood and   kangaroo sinew.  
Nitmiluk Gorge in the North is a complete contrast to the forest. Ray flies by helicopter over this vast stony desert, twice the size of London, which was old when dinosaurs roamed the earth.  After coming across giant lizards and crocodiles near the Katharine River, the best bit for Ray is an encounter with 50,000   flying fox bats. 
Kakadu is a wilderness in Australia’s Northern Territory.  Salt-water crocodiles are one of the world’s biggest and fiercest predator and Ray encounters plenty of them in Kakadu. The climax here for Ray is meeting up with tribes people from the Murrumburrah clan.  They teach him how they farm the land with fire, clearing undergrowth and encouraging strong new plant growth.  He goes on a trek with an aboriginal   family to find wild food in the bush and waterways.  Ray is moved by the important lessons to be learned here - that it is possible to live in partnership and harmony with the land, and not just exploit it.
Kangaroo Island, off Australia’s south coast, is   described as the “wild jewel” in Australia’s crown. And as Ray journeys across the island he finds much of it still a pristine paradise, just like it was when the first explorers arrived and were stunned by the strange sight of kangaroos!  There are still many mobs of kangaroos here, but for Ray the highlight of his trek across the island is deep in the forest, with his first sight of an echidna. A mammal that lays eggs and has a beak like a bird, the echidna is an ancient species that is a living bridge between reptiles and mammals.
On the rugged Dampier peninsula in North West Australia incredible tides have shaped the land and the wildlife.  The rough seas are home to dolphins, and Ray watches a mother and her calf hunting in the surf, seeking food that the tide has churned up.  A trip to an island of shells brings Ray face-to-face with one of the world’s biggest oysters – it’s one foot across!  But there is no time to explore the island further, as the tide is roaring in again.