Unlike neighboring New Zealand, Australia is well away from the “Ring of Fire,” but that wasn’t always the case; the east coast of Australia was at one time one of the world’s most extensive volcanic zones. However, there hasn’t been any volcanic activity there in about 5,000 years. Australia’s volcanoes are dormant (though not extinct), and there are craters and reminders of this distant past all over the continent.
In the wet, tropical north, the craters have filled up with water, creating incredibly beautiful, steep-sided lakes with rich plant and animal life. One of the crater lakes I visited outside Cairns was Lake Barrine, a lake of such clarity that I could easily see the fish, turtles, and freshwater eels beneath our boat. With birds, butterflies, lush greenery, and exotic flowers on all hands, I was in heaven.