Famously Australia is flat - or mostly flat. The highest mountain on the continent is only 2,228 meters or 7,130 feet tall. But that doesn't mean Australia is without stunning mountain ranges. While Australia may not have an answer for the rugged Rockies (go to New Zealand to see that), it does have an answer for the ancient Appalachian mountains.
Australia is a massive country and one that everyone should visit - it is a country that one can only scratch the surface. If one is going to Australia for the first time, then one is likely to have a number of questions. But one needn't worry it is a very easy country to visit (just a bit expensive is all).
The Age And Size of The Great Dividing Range
The Great Dividing Range is very old - having been formed back during the Carboniferous period some 300 million or more million years ago. That is very old - it long predates the dinosaurs. It is not as old as the Appalachians (they are around 480 million years old) but is much older than the relatively young Rockies (80 to 55 million years old).
- Formed: Over 300 Million Years Ago During The Carboniferous Period
During that time, it is believed that Australia collided with what is today parts of South America and New Zealand. The resulting uplift produced mountains as high as any mountains around today. But in the 280 or so million years since, they have been almost completely eroded down to what one sees today.
Today the Great Dividing Range remains a massive collection of mountain ranges running up Australia's east coast. It is the fifth-longest mountain chain in the world on land and the longest located in one country stretching for 3,500 kilometers or 2,175 miles.
The Great Dividing Range is made up of a massive expanse of mountain ranges, plateaus, hilly upland areas, escarpments, and rolling hills.
- Mount Kosciuszko: Highest Mountain - 2,228 meters (7,310 feet)
- Length: 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles)
- Width: Between 160 to 300 kilometers or 100 to 190 miles Wide
The Diversity of The Great Dividing Range
The Great Dividing Range is very diverse as well. In Queensland, one can find the Daintree Rainforests - one of the oldest rainforests on earth. And in the south one can find the Snowy Mountains home of Australia's tallest mini-mountains like Mount Kosciuszko.
Notable attractions in the Great Dividing Range:
- Great Blue Mountains Area
- Gondwana Rainforests
- Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area (Includes Daintree NP)
- Snowy Mountains
The climate and vegetation can change significantly and rain shadows form rainforests in one place but arid areas in others. It varies from tropical rainforests in the north to the snowy mountains in the south. The ranges boast some of Australia's most stunning scenery and much of its most famous wildlife.
What the Great Dividing Range lacks in height is made up for in ruggedness. The Blue Mountains in the range posed a major obstacle for early colonists seeking to expand westwards from Sydney. The first fleet arrived in 1788 but it wasn't until 1813 that a route across the Blue Mountains was discovered.
The Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park is one of the world's three most ancient rainforests and accordingly it is a land of exceptional biodiversity. Daintree is a great chance to see some of the most unique and interesting wildlife in all of Australia - not to mention old and majestic trees.
- Ancient: Daintree Is Believed To Be One Of The Three Oldest Rainforests In The World
- Age: Over A Hundred Million Years Old
- Leeches: There Are Leeches In Australian Forests
A testament to how valuable this rainforest is: it is the world's home to the largest range of animal and plant species that are threatened or rare.
- Australian Animals: Home To 30% Of All Australia's Marsupial, Reptile, and Frog Species
- Birds: Home To Around 430 Types of Birds
- Bats: Home To 65% of Australia's Bat Species
The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are located near Sydney and even borders Sydney's metropolitan area. Unlike Daintree, the predominant natural vegetation is eucalyptus (called gum tree) forest. Unfortunately, massive bushfires are posing a severe threat to the region's biodiversity.
In 2000 the Greater Blue Mountains Area was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Area. UNESCO states:
"Australia’s eucalypt vegetation is worthy of recognition as of outstanding universal value, because of its adaptability and evolution in post-Gondwana isolation... The site hosts several evolutionary relic species (Wollemia, Microstrobos, Acrophyllum) which have persisted in highly restricted micro sites."
Some of the main attractions in the Blue Mountains are:
- Three Sisters: One Of Australia's Most Instagrammed Landmarks
- Jenolan Caves: Limestone Caves
- Katoomba Scenic Railway: Built For Mining in The 19th Century, This Steep Railway is A Significant Tourist Attraction