SALTWATER CROCS, BRILLIANT TROPICAL BIRDS, WILD PIGS, EMERALD PYTHONS, AND KANGAROOS
Few places are wilder than Australia's Cape York Peninsula, the arrowhead-shaped chunk of emptiness that extends to the north of Cairns. It is 54,000 square miles of rain forest, scrub, bony-white eucalyptus, mirror-clear rivers, monolithic termite mounds, insect-snarfing pitcher plants, saltwater crocs, flocks of lorikeets that erupt from trees like fall leaves tossed to the wind, and 49 species of frogs alone. It's best to see such a place in good, slow time. Billy Tea Safaris offers 9-, 12-, and 14-day trips in air-conditioned 4-wheel drive vehicles that negotiate what roads there are to bring you some of Oz's finest wilds. Cost (in Australian dollars) for the 9-day trip is $2,100. Stay a little longer; the 12- and 14-day trips are a near bargain at $2,200. www.billytea.com.au, 011-61-7-4032-0077



leatherback turtles
they are the most massive turtles on earth, and this is your chance to see them up close, and help with their preservation, too. leatherback sea-turtle populations are sorely endangered - assaulted by egg poachers, beach development, and fishermen who covet their sweet meat despite their protected status. researchers working at the sandy point national wildlife refuge on the southwest shore of st. croix in the u.s. virgin islands are attempting to save the largest population of nesting leatherbacks in the u.s. from extinction, and you can work right alongside them - walking the beaches at night to find nesting turtles (one of nature's most dramatic sights), making records (nest locations, number of eggs laid, etc.), and, when the time comes, helping hatchlings make their way to the sea.