Every continent has it’s biodiversity hotspots. One of ours is East Gippsland – the far eastern corner of Victoria, in south-eastern Australia. On this corner of the mainland the warm South Pacific Ocean meets the cold Southern Ocean, ocean currents collide and marine life abounds. The warm easterly winds of Australia’s east coast meet the cold south-westerlies of the south coast, so weather patterns are a mish-mash of both systems.
Australia’s highest mountains brush the edge of East Gippsland, and two of Australia’s “big” rivers – the Murray and the Snowy, start in the Kosciusko highlands just to the north. The Snowy runs through East Gippsland, first through dry rainshadow woodland, and then onto a fertile swampy floodplain.
In this region there is a bit of everything: warm and cool-temperate rainforest, wildflower-filled coastal heaths, 600 year old tall eucalyptus forest, stunted dry woodland, alpine meadows and some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. 340+ species of birds, most of our large iconic mammals, reptiles, butterflies and a host of frogs live or have been recorded here.
Red-necked and Swamp Wallabies
Strangely, all this has been found in a region barely known to science, birdwatchers or naturalists. Many parts of East Gippsland are rarely visited. We’ve just scratched the surface of this incredible hotspot. There’s more there just waiting to be found!
Stay tuned for more articles about this fascinating region!