Travel to Australia’s forests, beach, tropics and outback.
When you’re hard at work, do you long for a soothing green forest? Or does a golden sandy beach, stretching for miles, appeal? Do you love to escape to the warm turquoise tropics, or the vast red sands of the Outback?
The Green Forest: East Gippsland
In Australia, green is the most precious colour. Green means life, richness, and relief from the hot sun. Our greens are blended with red and gold touches, as if the ever-present sun has burnished the leaves permanently. Amazingly, parrots of every hue can hide in the green leaves of eucalyptus forests.
East Gippsland is a vast forest wilderness in Victoria’s far east. There are few towns, fewer people, and massive biodiversity. Around 65% of Victoria’s birds and 70% of Victorian mammals occur here, in just 9% of Victoria’s land area.
Read a full list of the Mammals of East Gippsland here
Here you’ll find Musk Lorikeets Glossopsitta concinna squealing in the tops of Mountain Grey Gums, Gippsland Water Dragons Intellagama lesueurii howittii basking on logs in rainforest, with tree orchids, like Gunn’s Tree Orchid Sarcochilus australis hanging above. Satin Bowerbirds Ptilonorhynchus violaceus feed in tall trees, and build their bowers on the sun-dappled forest floor.
In drier forests (East Gippsland has every type of forest, from warm temperate rainforest to rainshadow woodland) rare and beautiful Turquoise Parrots Neophema pulchella can occasionally be seen.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos Macropus giganteus graze on lush green grass in cleared patches between the forest giants. Common Bronzewings Phaps chalcoptera walk by, showing off the metallic green of their wings,
Fish, including the Eastern River Garfish Hyporhamphus regularis swim past in the green water of coastal estuaries near the beach.
Gold cliffs & beach: the Great Ocean Road
West of Melbourne orange limestone cliffs tower above the steely-blue Southern Ocean. The cliffs are home to rufous-coloured Nankeen Kestrels and white-and-pink Long-billed Corellas, Black-faced Cormorants and Short-tailed Shearwaters. On the golden sandy beaches below the cliffs, Little Penguins nest and Red-capped Plovers Charadrius ruficapillus forage.
Near the coast, thick heath and stunted banksia forest is home to Echidnas Tachyglossus aculeatus, Singing Honeyeaters Lichenostomus virescens and Rufous Bristlebirds. Eastern Blue-tongue lizards Tiliqua scincoides bask on cool mornings. Golden-headed Cisticolas Cisticola exilis call from hidden rivers and wetlands.
Inland, a sea of golden grasses stretches forever – sheep station country. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Galahs eat the grass seeds, and Wedge-tailed Eagles soar past extinct volcanoes. In the past the grasslands were touched a deeper shade of yellow in springtime, as the dandelion-like Murnong Microseris lanceolata flowered. These flowers can still be seen in National Parks and conservation reserves.
The Turquoise Tropics: the Top End
In the tropical Northern Territory, nature competes with street art for vivid colours, lavishly applied.
The Timor Sea is coloured like an opal – milky in one mood, glowing turquoise and cobalt the next. At low tide thousands of blue and purple Darwin Soldier Crabs Mictyris darwinensis cover the beach like confetti at a wedding.
In the mangroves and rainforests Red-winged Parrots Aprosmictus erythropterus, blue and turquoise Forest Kingfishers Todiramphus macleayii, iridescent Green Tree Snakes Dendrelaphis punctulata and Rose-crowned Fruit Doves Ptilinopus regina move above, and on the rainforest floor Rainbow Pittas Pitta iris fossick in the leaf litter. At high tide in the mangroves you can watch adorable blue-faced, red-clawed Capricorn Fiddler Crabs Uca capricornis at their burrows.
Jabiru (Black-necked Storks) Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus probe billabongs full of water lilies – with blue, white, yellow and magenta pink flowers – as Saltwater Crocodiles Crocodylus porosus cruise past. Read why we think crocodiles are beautiful.
The Red Sand Outback: Mungo
In Australia’s red deserts of the Outback, particles of sand dust everything. When you look at your hands and arms, they seem to have a healthy glow, even when you’ve applied sunscreen.
Like red dust, the colour of the Outback gilds all its wildlife with a rusty sheen.
Swift-footed insect hunting Mallee Military Dragons Ctenophorus fordi dash and stop, their reddish bodies blending in with their sandy substrate. Read about other reptiles we see at Mungo.
Red-capped Robins Petroica goodenovii wear the colour of the Outback on their breast and forehead, and Galahs Eolophus roseicapilla at Mungo are darker pink than those elsewhere. Cousins of the galah, the Pink Cockatoo Lophochroa leadbeateri is best seen around Mungo, sometimes in big flocks.
Even the kangaroos are brick red, like they’ve been lying around in the sand and the colour has penetrated their coat.