Antarctic Beech Trees of Gondwanaland

When you think of Australia,

what landscape do you picture?

  • Rusty red sunburnt country…
  • Aquamarine coral reefs…
  • Golden beaches… or…
  • Lush green rainforest?

With only 0.3% of the Australian continent covered by rainforest it’s not surprising that the image of a sunburnt country, fringed by golden beaches and the great barrier reef generally steal the limelight.

Yet, its the rainforests that contain about half of all Australian plant families and a third of Australia’s mammal and bird species.

Stepping into an Australian rainforest feels like stepping back into the ancient world of Gondwanaland when 140 million years ago Australia was part of a large southern continent connected to Antarctica, South America, Africa and India.

Gondwanaland fossils

The vegetation found here is the most ancient in Australia with plant forms showing little change over the eons of time from their fossilized ancestors and it is here one can see magnificent Antarctic Beech trees of Gondwanaland.

Until recently it was thought these amazing huge dinosaurs of the forest had ceased to seed so reproduced by copsing, or suckering, growing in circles encompassing the older remnant of a predecessor.

Antarctic Beech Trees

Their moss and lichen covered trunks, frequently adorned with birds-nest ferns and creepers rise atop exposed gnarled roots from which they have grown for hundreds of years.

Antarctic Beech Tree

These ancient mammoth like sculptures can be found in the few remaining pockets of cool temperate rainforests, which thankfully are now World Heritage listed, and lie between Barrington Tops (200km north of Sydney, NSW) and the Lamington National Park just over the border into Queensland.

Antarctic Beech

My favourite spot for time-travelling back into their pre-historic kingdoms to view these awe-inspiring relics is in the Border Ranges National Park, which is on the NSW side of the Queensland/NSW border.

And it was this gorgeous region that inspired

the top right-hand jotting box on our Map Journal 😉

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11 thoughts on “Antarctic Beech Trees of Gondwanaland

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  6. I’m glad these magnificent trees now have World Heritage listed which should go a ways towards ensuring a protect future for them. Australia has so many interesting trees – something my sister and I noticed when we visited.

  7. Hi Linda,

    Indescribably gorgeous! Australia does indeed have the biggest and the boldest of everything, including these trees.

    I’m putting Border Ranges National Park on my list for sure. Must see those beautiful relics.

    When Conrad and I were in Mission Beach, smack dab in rainforest country, I was in awe of the vegetation — enormous versions of plants I’ve seen all my life in other places — but ten times bigger! And every crevice, like in a palm tree trunk or a branch crook, would be sprouting bromeliads. Individual trees were their own eco-system, trailing philodendron leaves and other spiky things all around. I saw philodendron leaves as big as dinner plates. Just marvelous! Our walks down a street or in the woods were gloriously slow-going because I had to inspect and admire every growing thing.

    You are so fortunate to live in such a fairy-tale place! Thanks for sharing.

    Josie recently posted..5 Distilled Travel Tidbits From Around the World: April 2015My Profile

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