Activities and Projects
Pre-Aspiring Etheridge UNESCO Global Geopark, Queensland
The Pre-Aspiring Etheridge Global Geopark embraces the Etheridge Province of the North Australian Craton. The rocks of the Forsayth Sub province crop out in the Georgetown area and constitute a metasedimentary sequence deposited in an intracratonic rift setting with two major Proterozoic folding events affecting the rocks of the Forsayth Sub province, and that at least four additional episodes of folding have also been recognised. The rocks of the Forsayth Sub province host important gold mineralisation that includes the Etheridge Goldfield, the most significant of which is located at the former Kidston mine; this mineralisation is probably genetically related to Siluro-Devonian and Permo-Carboniferous intrusives of the Pama and Kennedy Provinces. Small, massive, strata bound concentrations of iron and base metal sulphides are known from the base of the Etheridge Group within the Forsayth Sub province. The Etheridge Province also includes significant occurrences of gemstones, notably agates and topaz, as well as hot springs attractions.
Two geological events in the Cainozoic now feature as iconic geotourism attractions in the region, the most significant of which is the Undara Lava Tube System, truly unique in the world based on consideration of age, preservation and lineal extent, as well as the geomorphological expressions within flat-lying sediments at Cobbold Gorge. Both of these landforms, as well as the other Proterozoic and Paleozoic landforms in the area proposed for the Global Geopark, have resulted in a diverse range of landforms with unique biodiversity characteristics including a rich assemblage of birdlife. Committed input from the Ewamian Aboriginal community is sure to identify sites exhibiting rich indigenous culture.
The Etheridge Shire is some 40, 000 square kilometres in area (about 60 % of the size of Tasmania) and slightly larger than Taiwan! Despite its size, Etheridge Shire is the home of some 1000 people located in five small towns, other smaller community-based localities and in over 150 pastoral stations. The largest settled area is Georgetown, located some 400 km west of Cairns.
The Savannah Way passes through Etheridge Shire; this journey ( and potential geotrail) is Australia’s ‘Adventure Drive’, linking Cairns in North Queensland with the historic pearling town of Broome in Western Australia’s Kimberley, via the natural wonders of Australia’s tropical savannahs and the Northern Territory’s Top End. The 3700 kilometre route links 15 National Parks and five World Heritage areas and the Pre-Aspiring Etheridge UNESCO Global Geopark.
A recently published travelogue article from the Australian Geographic magazine eloquently describes much of the area proposed for this Pre-Aspiring Geopark can be downloaded from
Pre-Aspiring Warrumbungle UNESCO Global Geopark, New South Wales
A UNESCO Global Geopark is a unified geographical area featuring one or more sites of international geological significance; think Warrumbungles, think Macquarie Marshes, think the Pilliga and the Coolah Tops National Parks. Located just on the outskirts of the township of Coonabarabran, the ragged peaks and spires of the Warrumbungles are visible from the neighbouring shires of Coonamble, Gilgandra and Warrumbungle and are an internationally acclaimed tourist attraction steeped in geological history.
Strong partnerships between stakeholders are essential to the success of UNESCO Global Geoparks. At a minimum, this should include the local governments around the Warrumbungle National Park (Coonamble, Gilgandra, Warrumbungle Shires embracing a total area of some 27,000 square kilometres), Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Sidings Springs Observatory, and local indigenous communities. As this application is progressed, the three Shire Councils expect that other partners will choose to join the project, including local and regional tourism development organisations.
NSW Geotourism Map
The interpretation of geotrails can be assisted through the production of hard-copy maps. Following the publication of the first edition of the Geotourism Map of NSW produced by Cartoscope Pty Ltd in 2013 with the valued technical input of McElroy Bryan Geological Services (and supported by the GSA), the company has now decided to update the map’s information. The first edition of this state map was an outstanding success and very few of the 100,000 printed copies remain. In particular, this double sided A0 size map has proved to be a very popular hand-out state-wide through regional visitor centres, educational institutions, geoscience organisations, and with the wider community
The second edition will update the localities together with photos and text information. As with the previous map, the described near 100 localities are publically accessible and give overview details of geotourism interest. The new edition will also give more information on the type and amount of minerals from a mining site.
Brachina Gorge Trail, South Australia
Brachina Gorge is one of the Flinders Ranges National Park’s most popular and spectacular tourist attractions. The gorge is an important refuge for the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby as well as many species of birds and reptiles. The Brachina Gorge (‘Corridors through Time’) Geological Trail is a 20 kilometre self-guided trail that passes through 130 million years of earth history. Trail signage provides an insight into past climates, the formation of the ranges and the evolution of early life forms. The Flinders Ranges have been referred to as the ‘cradle of life’ and are the home to the ‘golden spike’ of the Ediacaran Period which is, the first geological time period to be declared in the Southern Hemisphere.
The trail is best travelled from east to west, commencing at the Brachina Gorge/Blinman Road junction. A geological map and more detailed information on the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail are available from the Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre.
Ulladulla Fossil Walk, The Geological Time Walk, and the Fossil House, New South Wales
Ulladulla's coastal location in the far south of the Sydney Basin has an abundance of Permian marine invertebrate fossils in the ~270Ma old Wandrawandian Siltstone. This harbourside wave cut platform, shows abundant fossils typical of a Permian cold water fauna and include twenty species of Echinoderms, mostly Crinoid (sea lilies); Bryozoans, mostly Fenestellid (sea fans); Brachiopods, chiefly spiny Productids and Spiriferids; Molluscs, mainly Bivalves; and Gastropods; solitary Rugose horn corals, and a branching colonial coral which are rare. Some bioturbated (reworking of sediment by organisms) horizons display a range of trace fossils including burrows, tracks and feeding trails. Plant fossils are also preserved in this shallow near-shore marine deposit as pieces of carbonized wood.
A list of scheduled Guided Fossil Walks can be found on the website www.gondwanacoastfossilwalk.com.au
To make a booking contact the Ulladulla Visitor Centre phone (02) 4444 8820
Visitors can also visit a small fossil interpretation centre The Fossil House located right in the centre of Ulladulla (Green Street). Entry to this attraction is free
Brodie Park in the centre of Ulladulla, hosts a 250 m long by 300 m wide concrete pathway that establishes a time walk covering the 510 million year geological history of the South Coast of NSW. The path has a scale of 1 m equal to 2 million years and maps out the geological history of the region with a chronological list of 16 geologically significant events with sizeable boulders laid out in garden beds along the path. This unique (for Australia) attraction is a self-guided sign posted walk, and with the Fossil walks, is the winner of a Gold Medal Winner in 2016 as the "Best Tourist Attraction in the South Coast Region of NSW".
For further information contact the Ulladulla Visitor Centre phone (02) 4455 1269.
West Coast GeoTrail, Tasmania
The West Coast 'Living Earth' GeoTrail, a co-venture of Mineral Tasmania, Department of State Growth Tasmania, and West Coast Council is currently undergoing continuing development. This geotrail, connecting the mining centres of Zeehan, Rosebery and Queenstown, provides information to enable visitors to understand and appreciate the geological processes and landscapes which are featured throughout the geotrail. Each site has a roadside sign, either a large sign with information and explanations, or a small sign showing the relevant QR Code web-link to the Living Earth website. This website http://thelivingearth.com.au/ has general and detailed information on all the sites for visitors to learn more about the geological and landscape evolution of the West Coast.
Geology of the Newcastle Coastline, New South Wales
This is a self-guided tour of the Newcastle coastline from Nobbys Head, Bogey Hole, to Merewether. There are good views of sediments deposited in rivers and swamps in the Late Permian approximately 255 million years ago. Highlights include the Newcastle Coal Measures, rock platforms of petrified tree remains including stumps, trucks, and branches, honeycomb weathering of sandstone, and outcrops of basalt and dolerite dykes. A map guide is available from the Geological Survey of NSW, Maitland phone (02) 4931 6666.
GeoTreat Smartphone Application
In 2013 a 'proof of concept' project promoting geoscience awareness on the Sapphire Coast of NSW was launched. GeoTreat, a smartphone based application, brings to life some 19 geosites forming part of a key ‘geojourney’ along a section of the coastline south of Narooma and extending into Victoria (a national landscape region known as Australia’s Coastal Wilderness). The geojourney is a geoscience awareness program http://www.sapphirecoast.com.au/blog/take-a-sapphire-coast-geo-tour-with-our-new-app/
The GeoTreat technology being applied is a joint project of four Nordic countries - Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, directed by the Geological Survey of Sweden and now involving the GSA as a collaborating partner.
The GeoTreat app can be downloaded from
For more information about the geology of the Eurobodalla section of the Sapphire Coast, please refer http://www.eurobodalla.com.au/Things-to-See-and-Do/Nature-and-Wildlife/ancient-geological-sites
Geotourism Brisbane App, Queensland
The GSA Queensland Division has launched a new application Geotourism Brisbane which chronicles Brisbane’s building stones as part of a self-guided walking tour originally developed for the International Geological Congress in 2012. The tour has recently been extended and built into a mobile app which presents a GPS linked map with hot-links to the history of each building and details of the building stones used along with both recent and historical photographs. The App was configured through the Global GBM Enterprise Mobility suite and is available for free download from the Google and Apple Stores.
Proposed Sydney Basin Geotrail Project
The GSA is facilitating a collaborative venture being directed from Centennial Parklands (and involving the three major botanical gardens in Sydney) with the additional collaboration of the Geological Survey of NSW, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences of Macquarie University aimed at developing a Sydney Basin Geotrail to be launched for the 2017 Sydney Science Festival.
Proposed NSW Fossil Museum Trail comprising the Australian Museum (Sydney), the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum (Bathurst), Age of Fishes Museum (Canowindra) and Fossil House (Ulladulla)
Details to be published when available.
Proposed Murchison Geotrail project, Western Australia
Western Australia’s Mid-West Development Commission (MWDC) is seeking to establish WA’s first major geotourism development to be built on a geotrail model, focused on the Murchison sub-region of WA. The MWDC believes that the ancient Murchison geology provides the ideal platform for unique, nature based tourism experiences of global significance, particularly to the ‘experience seeker / dedicated discoverer’ market. The Mid West Tourism Development Strategy (2014) concluded that the region’s iconic nature based tourist attractions were not developed to their potential and that its visitor appeal was not fully realised. The Strategy has identified geotourism in the Murchison sub region as a potential ‘game changing’ tourism initiative.
Geological Survey of New South Wales' geotourism brochures for Newcastle and the Hunter Valley
The Geological Survey of New South Wales has produced geotourism brochures for Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. Click here to access the brochures as PDFs or to obtain hard copies.
Geological Survey of Western Australia's geotourism guides
The Geological Survey of Western Australia offers a number of geotourism-related publications through their website, including guides on the geology of Perth, Rottnest Island, Shark Bay and the Pilbara. Click here to access the guides electronically or to obtain hard copies.