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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 form the largest area of rainforest outside of the tropics, not just in Australia, but anywhere in the world, and have a marvellous system of walking tracks which together with the moderate climate throughout the year and being in a country free of major political strife, desperate poverty and large predatory animals, makes them one of the world’s most accessible rainforests

scene from Binna

Border Ranges
                          National Park

It is part of the third richest area in Australia in diversity of habitat and wildlife (after the wet tropics and the Stirling Ranges). Over half the bird species of Australia (including all of its raptors – eagles, falcons etc.) have been seen in this region. Land birds (such as koels, channel-billed cuckoos, dollarbirds and rose-crowned fruitdoves) and many wading birds regularly migrate, others appearing less predictably as nomads or vagrants.

There are more mammal species here than anywhere else in Australia (including the country’s richest diversity of macropods – kangaroo family members), and a rich diversity also of reptiles, frogs and other wildlife. Many plant and animal species reach their northern or southern limits here, this overlap adding to the diversity.

There are also many creatures found nowhere else, including unusual species such as the hip-pocket frog (the male shelters the eggs and tadpoles in groinal skin-folds) and Albert’s lyrebird (one of the world’s greatest mimics).

                        parrot All is not rosy. Spotted-tailed quolls (spotted carnivorous cat-sized marsupials), Coxen’s fig parrots, eastern bristlebirds and several other species once common are nowadays much rarer. Many trees and other plants are regarded as endangered. However, the region remains one of Australia’s top centres of biodiversity.
The Border Ranges

 One of the world’s largest shield volcanoes (the centre of which is now known as Focal Peak, close to Mt Barney) started to erupt about 24,000,000 years ago, followed by another of similar size whose centre is now called Mt Warning. Between them, and along with a slightly older volcano in what we call the Main Range, the gradual erosion of this high country created a highly scenic landscape and high-nutrient soils. The easternmost mountains are well-watered, but create a ‘rain-shadow’ to the western slopes and valleys, resulting in different kinds of forest, now harbouring a variety of wildlife.

The world’s largest tract of subtropical rainforest (’subtropical’ is between tropical and temperate) spans the Queensland/NSW border, including 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 typical subtropical rainforest, and “dry rainforest” (where plants are adapted to winter droughts on the western slopes). There are also several kinds of eucalypt forest, sheoak communities, heathlands and other vegetation types.

Mt Warningcaper
                        white butterflyWildlife is plentiful (although most mammals are small, and active only at night). Gondwanan-linked land-snails are especially diverse. Birds tend to be active (and often vocal) most of the day in the rainforests (as compared to more open habitats where far fewer are seen during the middle of the day). There have been at least 150 bird species and almost 50 mammal species sighted in the Border Ranges National Park.
Mt Warning, centre of an ancient shield volcano

Mt Warning is the plug from the centre of one of the ancient shield volcanoes. It used to stretch to the point where the photo was taken and beyond, and similar distance in all other directions, but the Tweed River and its tributaries have carved a wide and fertile valley over the past 20 million years or so. It is the focal point of the region now known as ‘Australia’s Green Cauldron.’

Beaches and marine Life

Gold Coast beaches are good if you want safely-patrolled swimming amongst the crowds combined with night-life and restaurants. If you prefer quiet stretches of beach, head to the Moreton Bay Islands or certain parts of northern New South Wales.

Humpback 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 amongst sea mammals in being herbivorous, reach their southernmost limit in eastern Australia in Moreton Bay.

Sea turtles can be seen from coastal cliffs or during marine-based tours.

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


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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