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South-east Queensland and North-eastern New South Wales

Mountains and forests      Beaches        Brisbane           Links to other information


Mountains and forests

World Heritage

This is one of the most fertile, scenic and species-rich regions in Australia, and has a good climate year-round, World Heritage rainforests, beautiful sandy beaches and much more.

It is readily explored from major tourist destinations and population centres such as Brisbane, Gold Coast or Byron Bay

The Lamington National Park and the Border Ranges National Park together harbour the largest area of rainforest outside of the tropics, not just in Australia, but anywhere in the world.  An extensive  system of walking tracks which together with the moderate climate throughout the year and being in a country relatively free of major political strife, desperate poverty and large predatory animals, makes them one of the world’s safest and most accessible rainforests for visitors of all levels of fitness

scene from Binna

Forests and moutains of southeast

Curtis Falls,Tamborine MountainThis eastern border area of New South Wales and Queensland is part of the Australia's third most biologically diverse region (after the wet tropics of Far North Queensland and the Stirling Ranges of southwest Western Australia). This is partly because of the Macleay-McPherson overlap, a geographical and climatic zone including the far southeast corner of Queensland and the far northeast corner of New South Wales, resulting in a mingling of tropical and temperate species of fauna and flora.
Many plant and animal species reach their northern or southern limits here. Three gigantic shield volcanoes (Main Range, Focal Peak and Mt Warning) each erupted for about one million years between 25 and 22 million years ago, forming an arc of mountainous country extending from Toowoomba just west of Brisbane. southwards towards the border and then eastwards along the border through Moogerah Peaks, Mt Barney and Lamington National Parks to Springbrook. These mountains now trap much of the moist air coming in from the Pacific Ocean, and the volcanic rocks have contributed many nutrients  to the soil, endowing the whole area with richer soils and better rainfall than most of Australia.

include cool-temperate forest with Gondwanan-linked Antarctic beech trees and a profusion of ferns and mosses on the mountain tops, lush palm gullies and massive trees in the warm subtropical rainforest, and “dry rainforest” (where plants are adapted to winter droughts on the western slopes, in a "rain shadow" of the high country to the east, which has first serve of the clouds rolling in from the Pacific Ocean). There are also several kinds of eucalypt forest, ranging from low mallee heath to tall majestic forests, as well as sheoak communities fringing creeks and rivers, mountain heathlands, swamps and lagoons, and other habitats.

Birds tend to be active (and often vocal) most of the day in the rainforests (as compared to more open habitats where they tend to be quieter after mid-morning). Over half the bird species of Australia, including all of its raptors (eagles, falcons etc.) have been seen in this region. Migratory birds such as koels, channel-billed cuckoos, dollarbirds and rose-crowned fruitdoves and many wading birds visit regularly, while many others appear less predictably as nomads or vagrants. Many others are present year-round.

Lamington CrayThere are more mammal species in this region than anywhere else in Australia, including the country’s richest diversity of macropods (members of the kangaroo family), and some of iconic species such as koala and platypus, as well as five species of gliding possum and the largest mainland marsupial predator (spotted-tailed quoll, a small relative of the Tasmanian devil). A few local mammals are large and conspicuous (eastern grey kangaroo, whiptail wallaby) but many are small, shy and nocturnal, and so rarely seen.

There is a rich diversity also of reptiles, frogs and other wildlife. 
Land-snails that trace their ancestry to Gondwana days are diverse, and colonies of glow worms (larvae of fungal gnats, NOT fireflies) can be seen at night on moist rocky ledges near creeks amid the fiorest.

Many resident creatures are found nowhere else, including the hip-pocket frog (the male shelters the eggs and tadpoles in groinal skin-folds), Albert’s lyrebird (one of the world’s greatest mimics), the highly endangered Coxen's figparrot, the Lamington cray (a blue or red freshwater crayfish of mountain streams)  and the Richmond birdwing (Australia's second-largest butterfly).

Beaches and marine Life

Surfers Paradise beaches are good for swimming amongst the crowds near high-rise buildings with night-life and restaurants. If you prefer quiet stretches of beach, there are more natural parts of the Gold Coast( e.g. Burleigh Heads), the Moreton Bay Islands or parts of the northern New South Wales coast.


humpback whale tailHumpback whales migrate northwards through here from around May to their breeding grounds in warm subtropical and tropical waters, then pass through again until October or November to return to the rich feeding grounds of Antarctica. They can often be seen from the coast on the mainland, or from Stradbroke or Moreton or other Islands, and there are several whale-watching tours. Dolphins are often seen from many parts of the coast.

Dugongs, unusual among sea mammals in being herbivorous, reach their southernmost limit in eastern Australia in Moreton Bay.

Sea turtles can be seen from coastal cliffs or while snorkeling at places such as Cook Island near Fingal.

Small coral reefs fringe some of the islands, and the fish life, while not as diverse as the outer reef, is still colourful and  impressive.

There are also beautiful white sandy beaches, some sheltered and some with pounding surf, rocky cliffs and intertidal platforms with many kinds of small creatures adapted to life in this difficult habitat, and mangroves which provide breeding grounds for many creatures important to the food web of fish and other sea creatures.

As the tide recedes on some island beaches, hundreds of blue soldier crabs emerge from burrows and trundle across the sand in search of food, soon heading back to safety before they themselves become food for shorebirds.

All in all, much to delight the nature-lover! .


Please  also visit:

Scenic Rim Wildlife
Self-drive tours
Australia's Green Cauldron
Rainforest Way
Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
Scenic Rim
Tweed Tourism

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