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.
Antarctic Beech Trees
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.
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.
Where to Find Antarctic Beech Trees in Australia
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.
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 😉