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Wild Places of Greater Melbourne

Wild Places of Greater Melbourne

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Wild Places of Greater Melbourne

4.5/5 (3 valoraciones)
397 página
2 horas
Nov 1, 1999


Within the Greater Melbourne region there are a remarkable number of places where you can lose yourself in a forest, walk on a deserted beach or watch wildlife in their native environment.

This 224-page full colour guide introduces 30 of Melbourne's magnificent 'wild places' selected from national parks, state forests and conservation reserves, all within an hour-and-a-half drive of the centre of Melbourne.

Co-produced by CSIRO Publishing and Museum Victoria, Wild Places of Greater Melbourne provides authoritative information on natural habitats and the animals and plants that live there. The book is written at a level that everyone can understand and is stunningly illustrated with more than 200 colour photos, many specially commissioned by some of our leading photographers.

Wild Places of Greater Melbourne is designed both for people who live in Melbourne, as well as those who are just visiting for a short while. Every reader will find a wealth of useful information that will help them enjoy greater Melbourne's wonderful natural heritage.

Nov 1, 1999

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Wild Places of Greater Melbourne - Robin R. Taylor

Wild Places


Common Wombat

Wild Places


Text: Robin Taylor

Illustrations: Richard Weatherly

Photographs: David Tatnall,

Marg Schuurmans-Young,

Peter Menkhorst, Peter Robertson,

Susanna Jamieson, Bill Bachman,

Steve Frlan and others

National Library of Australia

Cataloguing-in-publication entry

Taylor, Robin.

Wild places of greater Melbourne

ISBN 0 9577471 0 1

1. Natural areas—Victoria—Melbourne Region


2. National parks and reserves—Victoria—

Melbourne Region—Guidebooks. I.

CSIRO Publishing. II. Title.


© 1999 CSIRO and Museum Victoria

Design & layout by Derrick I Stone Design

Printed by Craft Print Pty. Ltd.

Distributed by:


PO Box 1139

(150 Oxford Street)

Collingwood 3066


Tel: (03) 9662 7666 Int: +61 3 9662 7666

Fax: (03) 9662 7555 Int: +61 3 9662 7555


Cover photos:

David Tatnall (front)

Peter Menkhorst (back)


The geological history of Victoria has created a diversity of environments that underpins the wealth of natural beauty surrounding Melbourne. From the cool temperate rainforest gullies and tall forests of the Dandenong Ranges and further east, to the granitic intrusions of the You Yangs and the uplifted sedimentary rock of the Brisbane Ranges in the west, our montane environments are spectacular and support a wealth of biodiversity. The subalpine meadows of Lake Mountain to the north-east of Melbourne and the rugged southern coast and marine parks of the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island offer enjoyment to hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. These ‘wild places’ are now protected remnants of diverse landscapes that cradled Port Phillip Bay.

This book offers a sample of what visitors can experience in many of the parks, forests and marine reserves within a two-hour drive from Melbourne. There are few habitats close to Melbourne that can be considered pristine. It is not difficult to find evidence of previous exploitation or the occurrence of introduced species such as blackberry and other weeds, feral cats, foxes and the ubiquitous honeybee. Despite this, many of our parks and reserves are well managed and retain qualities not dissimilar to those that would have existed two centuries ago. We are fortunate to have such wonderful natural diversity on our doorstep that offers year-round enjoyment.

The term ‘wild places’ has little meaning to indigenous people whose relationship with the land and its flora and fauna is an integral part of their culture. The term even has a different meaning for inner city residents, country dwellers and tourists. The intent of the book is to introduce readers to important local areas with significant natural history. The book encapsulates some of the key features of the history, geology, flora and fauna of reserves in the greater Melbourne region. The use of common names for the plants and animals has been adopted for ease of reading. In some animal groups, such as the insects and many other invertebrates, the vast majority of species do not have a unique common name. The book is not intended to be an identification guide for plants and animals and therefore does not provide scientific names for any of the species.

In providing an insight into the natural landscapes and some of the plants and animals occurring near Melbourne, it is hoped that the value of conserving these habitats will become evident. If this book achieves no more than this, it will have achieved its aim.

Dr Ross Field

Director, Environment Program

Museum Victoria





Exploring wild places

Our geological past

Terrestrial environments

Marine environments

Wild places — North East

Cathedral Range State Park

Kinglake National Park

Marysville State Forest

Mount Disappointment State Forest

Toolangi State Forest and Murrindindi Scenic Reserve

Warrandyte State Park

Yarra Ranges National Park

Wild places — South East

Braeside Park

Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park

Bunyip State Park

Churchill National Park

Coolart Wetlands

Dandenong Ranges National Park

French Island National Park

Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve

Lysterfield Lake Park

Mornington Peninsula National Park

Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne

The Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve

Wild places — West

Brisbane Ranges National Park

Harold Holt Marine Reserves

Lerderderg State Park / Wombat State Forest

Long Forest Flora Reserve

Organ Pipes National Park

Point Cooke Coastal Park

Werribee Gorge State Park

You Yangs Regional Park

Protecting our native species

Healesville Sanctuary

Pauline Toner Butterfly Reserve

Phillip Island Nature Park

Serendip Sanctuary

Park Code

Useful contacts

Further reading

Photograph credits



Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following:

Parks Victoria: Geoff Low, Lisa Reader, Joanne Jones, Jenelle Cleary, and the many rangers who manage the parks

Peter Menkhorst — for comments on the text and information about birds and mammals

Peter Robertson — for the boxes on reptiles and amphibians

Janet Leversha — Friends of Long Forest

Richard Wadsworth — for information on state forests

Leon Costermans — for his expertise, particularly in regard to Langwarrin and the Pines reserves

From Museum Victoria: Bill Birch — for the chapter ‘Our Geological Past’, Sue Boyd, John Coventry, Joan Dixon, Ken Walker — for helpful comments, and

Alan Yen and Ross Field — for many patient hours of advice.


The term ‘wild places’ means different things to different people. For some, only a remote wilderness will satisfy their sense of adventure while for others, a vast forest or a rocky coastline will provide a sense of tranquillity even if there is a carpark around the corner or a road not far away. To indigenous Australians, the term is essentially meaningless.

While there are certainly no areas of remote wilderness remaining in the Greater Melbourne region, a remarkable number of places exist where it is possible to lose yourself in a forest, walk on a deserted beach or watch wildlife in its native environment.

People visit these places for different reasons: to escape the stress of modern life, enjoy the fresh air, watch the wildlife, or engage in more physically demanding activities such as rock climbing or canoeing. As the population increases and people have greater mobility and more leisure time, the demand for such places will grow.

You don’t need to be a hardy bushwalker to discover some of the wonders of our natural environment, nor do you need to travel hundreds of kilometres. Most of these places are close by and each offers a unique experience.

This book is intended as a broad overview of some special areas of relatively natural habitat around Melbourne. It includes areas that can be reached comfortably within a day trip from the inner city.

Wild Places of Greater Melbourne is not meant to be a detailed bushwalking guide or a comprehensive environmental study. It doesn’t include all the areas that could be considered ‘wild places’. The places in this book have been chosen for their habitat values and range of natural features.

Exploring wild places

Greater Melbourne is blessed with a wonderful diversity of environments: from subalpine vegetation to coastal heathlands and cool temperate rainforests. Along the coast of Port Phillip and Westernport bays, intertidal mudflats provide refuges for migratory shorebirds and rich seagrass beds shelter fish and other marine life. Although most of the plains and foothills have been cleared of their native vegetation, within a relatively short drive from Melbourne you can still find rugged mountains, eucalypt forests and rocky coasts.

Yarra Valley at sunset

The wild places of Greater Melbourne include the foothills of the Great Dividing Range where cool temperate rainforests grow alongside some of the tallest trees in the world; the fern gullies of the Dandenongs with their magnificent lyrebirds; a botanist’s paradise in the Brisbane Ranges National Park and the spectacular Werribee Gorge and Lerderderg State Parks, which offer attractions to geologists, bird watchers and rock climbers alike.

Closer to the coast, low-lying heathlands and remnants of once widespread coastal woodlands support a diverse range of flora and fauna. Port Phillip Bay provides one of the region’s best ecotourism experiences, allowing visitors to view close-up fur seals, gannets and dolphins in their natural habitat. You don’t have to be a scuba diver to enjoy the distinctive marine life; snorkelling at Pope’s Eye or other shallow reefs reveals an unexpectedly colourful world beneath the waves.

Australian Fur Seals, Port Phillip

The rare Striped Legless Lizard

Of course, as more people visit these places the environment comes under greater pressure and careful management is needed to maintain its natural values. Most of the habitats are protected in national or state parks but for some flora and fauna the pressures of urban development are too much. The lyrebirds in Dandenong Ranges National Park are prey to foxes and cats; the Leadbeater’s Possum and birds such as the Sooty and Powerful Owls, which nest in old trees in our state forests, are at risk from clear-felling. The Legless Lizard has disappeared from the cleared grasslands of the western plains. Similarly, sensitive plant species need buffers against the impacts of development.

When exploring the wild places of Greater Melbourne don’t expect to come across all the plants and animals mentioned in the description of each place. While perennial plants are present all year round, they have seasonal patterns of leaf growth, flowering, and seed production. These patterns can be very regular (for example, many plants flower in spring), but flowering in some species depends upon environmental conditions and can be irregular. There are many annual plants that germinate and reproduce seasonally or after appropriate environmental conditions (such as rainfall).

Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island

Animals are sometimes more difficult to see because of their daily or seasonal behaviour patterns.

Many mammals are nocturnal, and kangaroos are more likely to be seen in early morning or evening. Most birds are active during the day, but many are most active in the early morning and a few are nocturnal. You are more likely to encounter reptiles in the warmer weather.

Within the Greater Melbourne area, most of the vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and fish) and the vascular plants are known — they have scientific and common names, and more detailed information on these species can be obtained in one of the many identification guides available for these groups.

In all of the environments mentioned, invertebrates (animals without backbones such as insects, spiders, mites, crustaceans and worms) outnumber the vertebrate fauna in terms of numbers of species and in numbers of individuals, yet they are generally overlooked unless they become pests or are regarded as dangerous (for example, bush flies, mosquitoes, spiders and plant-feeding insects). Many of them play vital roles in the ecological functioning of their environment but our knowledge of the species present is far from complete. Many native species, mainly invertebrates and non-vascular plants, remain undiscovered.

The Spiny Crayfish inhabits tall forest streams

While many of the environments outlined contain predominantly native plant and animal species, in others, exotic species have invaded with unwelcome consequences for the environments and their associated flora and fauna (for example rabbits, blackberries and European wasps).

The traditional owners of most of the Melbourne metropolitan region are the Wurundjeri whose ancestors inhabited this region for many thousands of years.

The basic unit of Aboriginal society was the land-owning group, or clan. Clans were affiliated with other clans sharing the same language or wurrung. The two main wurrungs used in the Melbourne area were called Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung (or Bunurong).

The Boon wurrung consisted of six clans who lived on the coast around what is now known as Port Phillip, up to the Werribee River, and on the land south of Mordialloc Creek including Mornington Peninsula and Westernport.

The Woi wurrung consisted of four clans who occupied the Yarra River and Maribyrnong watersheds.

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