Your Favourite Landscapes

We made the statement, asked the question and you responded: Australia’s landscapes are too special to be kept a secret. Please tell us about your favourite and why you love it. Here are your responses.

My favourite landscape helps me to see a bigger picture. My landscape is made from one bird bath and seeds. A parade in a suburban backyard. I hear trains, cars, and the buzz of a new day then I see rainbow lorikeets, galahs, cockatoos, whistling doves, magpies, and mudlarks. My landscape reminds me it is our landscape and something to value.


My favourite landscape is when I’m driving anywhere in the country and suddenly come across a planted windbreak along a fence line, or a revegetated creek-line, or a tree plantation in the middle of a paddock. My spirits lift, and the journey seems more enjoyable as I feel inspired to see that some people out there are also concerned about restoring the land, provide more shelter for stock, and bringing back the native wildlife.

Bill, ACT

Tropical wetlands including the wonderful Territory Paperbark swamp. I love the diversity of seasonally inundated wetlands, I love watching the change from dry, to becoming full of water as the rains start, slowly filling with more life and diversity. The landscape attracts so many birds, wonderful floating and marginal plants (including water lilies’ and slender Cyperus family plants), freshwater turtles, fish, frogs and usually some lurking crocodiles. Some of the incredible plants include paperbarks (Melaleuca species) and their adaptability across the wet and dry conditions amazes me, as does the resilience of all the small frogs and fish and turtles- where do they all go when it dries up?

Emma, NT

I love the snowy mountains, because in an such warm country like Australia to see snow, forest and the sea is very nice. Greetings from Düsseldorf/Germany

Bülent, Germany

Breathing in the fresh, cool, salty air from Bass Strait, I sit atop snake hill, so named for its regular cold-blooded visitors to my favourite spot in Australia. To the left I scan Cape Liptrap, flush with coastal tea-tree, lightly swaying in what is a strong coastal breeze. It has just rained and the smell of Manna Gums mixed with damp lichen on fallen logs permeates. Perched on my trusty Banksia branch, I’m out of sight and smell for a family of grey kangaroos, grazing and ever watchful in the paddock below. An echidna emerges, snuffling through the sandy scrub, busily searching for some tucker. Our resident Wedge Tail Eagles soar overhead, scanning the land below for tasty treats. I wonder what has become of their chick, who last year trailed them on their coastal adventures. A Black Cockatoo squeals in the distance, hopefully part of his normal morning chatter and the flies hover around my face. A sure sign that summer is on its way.

I feel so wonderfully insignificant hiding amongst the banksia and gum tree canopy, to be a part of this Gippsland landscape that welcomes me with peaceful sounds and organic smells. I love the way this spot makes me feel: unburdened, protected and alive. I vow again to spend more time here, especially with my young children in the hope they can feel as attached to my special landscape as I do.

Meg, Victoria

As a child growing up in Victoria with the most beautiful ecosystems, from the best soils, forests, waterways, coastal shores and i could go on. I remember it was ok to drink from the streams, it was a “given” if you know what i mean; to look after injured wildlife, to only fish and only take what you would eat that day, we all worked together to balance ecosystems with population growth, corporate responsibility towards local environments and children were able to play in the dirt and look at all area’s of nature so they could ask questions to learn about our precious environment. This is what i see missing, the lack of exploration, the lack of innocent education (major multicultural change), the passion is still there for the environment but most think its too late and nothing much can be done due to corporations and governments which have lost the balances needed over economic greed.

My love for my environment is vast and long term, this balance needs to be reinstated and shared, so many generations to come will be able to continue our way of environmental living. The Dandenong Ranges would have to be my favorite area as it has forests, farming, many vast ecosystems which support surrounding areas as well, including the foothills. The many wildlife species, bugs, microorganisms, the clean air, the rainfall, the snow and much much more. I love my Country Australia as a whole and appreciate what the universe have provided us with, as we all are the carers of our land and a proud Australian dream.

Kym, Victoria

I’ll never forget the first time I headed out into the Tooan State Park, North West Victoria just below the Little Desert National Park, early in the morning and after a decent rain the night before. Parts of this park are long unburnt and supports an amazing diversity of mallee, red gum and grey box woodlands and seasonal wetlands, over 500 plant species have been recorded here! In mallee vegetation, following a decent rain, the place comes alive and you can swear you can watch the plants grow. I honestly felt a feeling that day similar to falling in love! This feeling came from knowing that everything is interconnected and that we are part of it too….

Jess, Victoria

Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot tha, not cultured by fire or plough, vegetation alien to “Planet Australia”, therefore the vegetation species are not fire promoting or fire reliant, abundant and additional soil microbial and insect life (microscope required). While it is an artificial landscape it is harmonious. It is what you cannot see without assistance that is important to nature on planet “Earth”.

Douglas, Queensland

The happy valley track, Christmas Hills. i took a morning off from working on our video exploring the benefits of mapping marine species movement, and drove out and into the Sugarloaf catchment – Christmas Hills area – and the Warrandyte-Kinglake nature conservation reserve. This is the Happy Valley track – it isn’t a long walk, or even a difficult one, but it is certainly beautiful, Ascending up One Tree Hill through beautiful dry sclerophyll forest. At first, you could think it a place of uniform, consistent bushland. however, taking a refined look will expose a stretch of gully woodland, red box dry grassy forest, herb rich foothills, and messmate damp forest – seamlessly blended together as only nature can. I’d been here before, and knew exactly where I was going, allowing me to amble knowledgeably uphill. The weather and time of the week provided me one of the best days of the year so far – low twenties, crystal clear blue skies with not a cloud in sight, plus it was a tuesday. perfect..

Pausing for drinks, I pulled out the notepad and started writing: sounds, colours, the absence of immediate personal despair. the sun was painting the world the colour of autumn – that golden wash – amid the returning greens that summer had scorched, and the shadows not yet coated with cold as it soon will be. Caught sound of frogs in the distance – water trapped somewhere ahead. A clearing opens away to your left – unlike the other side of the road where open, dry forest stands with little to no understorey, this anthro-gully sits lush with rushes and reeds, Quietly fenced with three to four metre ferns. moss covers the immediate earth, and the layers pile on top of each other until the canopy. Birds weave in and out of the vegetation – wrens, honeyeaters, wagtails, whilst a pair of rosellas join in from above, feasting on a growth of mistletoe.

Sitting atop the up-turned roots of a rough-barked eucalyptus, I admire and learn from my surroundings. Much of this vegetation is listed as vulnerable, in that only ten to thirty percent of what existed prior to european settlement remains. Areas like these provided early colonisers with a brilliant selection of timbers, and hence their decimation. Places like Happy Valley can help you imagine what the whole outer north/north east of melbourne used to/could be like: smooth, white trunks of the manna gums, coarse dark barks of the peppermints, or, my personal favourite (the dominant reminder of home) the solid red box. Last night my sister and I talked our way through a myriad of topics, one of which was the increasing intensity of appreciation that coincides with the gaining of specific knowledge..

One skill i’ve picked up in the past few years, one enhanced remarkably with even a basic knowledge of flora growth, is acknowledging signs of human disturbance – however aged. A mine shaft, or an upturned rusty water tank are somewhat obvious remnants. They may have been there for a couple of decades (or in the case of a mine, a hundred or more years – gold mining began in Christmas Hills in the late eighteen-fifties). There’s the remnants of roads once carved into the hillside, now an elongated slope or step in the bush. scarred hills bare of certain vegetation. Or slump piles from the still-operating mine upstream covered in mature, and yet by no means massive, eucalypts. (I wish I could say human disturbance is confined to the past, but unfortunately at times you can still catch the sound of distant farmers, drivers and aeroplanes)..

There’s a tree above the banks of the Yarra River, on the hills where the river cuts through from Yarra Glen, that is thought to be a few hundred years old. It is massive. absolutely massive – a size probably non-existent anywhere anymore. Once observed, you can appreciate then the youth of the bush surrounding you, as well as the extent of timber harvesting in the area. However, disturbance aside, it still remains a brilliant spot in the outer north-east! Remember, there aren’t many places (if any) where you can escape completely from society in the Port Phillip catchment. With this writing complete, i return to my dinner, and the thought of a bigger breakfast.

James, Victoria

Up high in the Australian Alps where in summer you can wander from the plains with billy buttons bopping you on the knee amongst a carpet of yellow, white and green, into the snow gums and sallees with their contrasting trunks and amazing all over white flowers. When the surrounding country is dry and parched there are always springs and damp areas to be found where wahlenbergia and bulbina flower. I find this land peaceful while sitting on a rock contemplating, fun when poking a trigger plant, and challenging when the march flies won’t let you pause!

Julie, ACT

The Victorian Alps: the everlastings in the alpine grasslands in summer, the snowgums after rain, the wet towering ash forests and all those views. A magnificent landscape.

Kate, Victoria

My favourite landscape is one that would never get awards for its natural beauty. It’s the landscape I grew up in, the Ninety Mile Desert between Tailem Bend and Bordertown, South Australia. To travellers between Adelaide and Melbourne, it’s the most boring part of the trip: a straight, flat strip of road through waterless sandhills, with roadside vegetation of stunted mallee eucalypts and broombush heath scattered with yaccas, and the occasional taller gum tree. No long vistas of breathtaking beauty.

In summer, the sandy soil dries out, and the vegetation goes into survival mode. It’s in spring that this country comes alive, and you can enjoy it if you stop long enough to look. Growing up on a farm near Bordertown I loved getting out into the ‘scrub’ in spring to see the flowers – blue and pink gum, bottlebrush, Correa, Banksia, running postman, small Melaleuca and eggs-and-bacon all contribute to a riot of colour and feed copious birds. But the real treasures are the orchids – subtly scented spider orchids, donkey orchids, and a host of others, that somehow survive in this harsh environment and pop up each year. Even nardoo, a native fern, appeared one year in a wetter spot in one of our paddocks.

Closer to Bordertown, the country changes dramatically to a richer soil, and the mallee gives way to a parkland dotted with massive red and blue gums. It fits our idea of a beautiful landscape – perhaps because it evokes the British landscape of our forebears. Yet the ‘Desert’ is so much richer in its biodiversity. Sometimes our preconceptions mean we can’t see the beauty that’s around us.

David, Victoria

I too love looking out my window to watch echidna’s, kangaroos, and rabbits frolick in the bush in the Northern Central Vic. I love so much of Victoria’s landscape it’s hard to pick a favourite, although I’ve always loved to visit Tidal River from when I was a child. The brown river coloured by the tea trees flows out to Bass Strait. Bush walking tracks that take you to a beach where the golden sand squeaks under your feet. The mass of Rosella’s that feed around the camping area. Wild flower you come across while walking the numourous tracks. And who could forget the rock formation of George Washington?

Barbara, Victoria

We live on a hill and when we look out the “front”, we look over our paddocks with sheep, cattle and vegetable crops and out to the Bass Strait. And on the other side we look out onto Mount Roland and the mountain range, often through the mist and that in winter are sprinkled with snow. And the colours are just amazing, as are the sunsets.

Heidi, Tasmania

Good land management practices really stand out and that’s why I am really fond of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area near Rockhampton in central Qld. Whilst the farmers around that 100km square training area have denuded their land, Defence has treasured their 1960s era acquisition and now its a rich green jewel sitting in this in this near desolate and quite depressing looking grazing region of the state. I spent many years training there and have great memories of being in the wonderful bushland, estuarine areas and offshore islands – often walking – and coming to realise what a great place it is. Didn’t take long to understand that only careful management keeps it in that condition. I’d go back there in a heartbeat – but not that sure about sleeping on the ground in the rain again!!.

Michael, Queensland

The mountains around canberra , they change coulour in the rain and mist and support kangaroos and birds . they are always full of people walking dogs and riding bikes and horses. A happy, healthy place where the air is so clean and fresh.