Author(s): Steve Parish
Australia is a vast, mercurial land; a place where nature goes to extremes. The continent's sheer scale and the diversity of its habitats are enough to indicate that it boasts many national parks and reserves of local and international significance, but its absorbing and ancient history also adds to its natural beauty. Once part of the massive supercontinent Gondwana approximately 180 million years ago, what is now the Australian continent was linked to Antarctica and South America and much of it was swathed in luxuriant rainforest. Cycads, Antarctic Beech and giant dinosaur-age palms and ferns clothed the forests before flowering plants - of which the now ubiquitous gum trees in the genus eucalyptus are among the most prevalent ever existed!