One of the most bio-diverse regions of Victoria, the Grampians National Park is often called the ‘Garden of Victoria’ and is home to one third of the state’s flora. The subalpine forest, heathlands, swamp, subalpine forest and riverine landscapes in the Grampians region also support a wide range of wildlife including plenty of iconic Australian fauna. Whilst it’s common to spot a koala, emu, kangaroo, wombat, echidna or platypus on one of our Grampians day tours, this week we thought we’d take a look at some of the lesser known flora and fauna that are unique to the Grampians region.
Although it might look sweet, this carnivorous marsupial is a cunning predator capable of hunting and taking down a wide range of live prey. Nocturnal and shy around humans, the spotted-tail quoll is a very rare site and was thought to be extinct in the Grampians region before being spotted in 2014 for the first time in 140 years. The largest species of quoll, these animals are characterised by their orange brown coloured coat and white spots, which it uses for camouflage in the wet forests where it lives.
Long Nosed Potoroo
A member of the rat-kangaroo family, these diminutive creatures get around by hopping around like their larger kangaroo relatives. Although they are rarely spotted in the wild, their presence is easy to identify due to the hopping trails they leave in the undergrowth. Fungi is one of the key elements in the potoroo’s diet, and the animal plays a key role in spreading certain fungal spores which support the growth of native plants.
A woody shrub with vibrant trumpet shaped flowers, the pink heath is the floral emblem of Victoria. Although it is not officially recognised as a subspecies, the Grampians heath was long thought to be a unique variety due to it’s larger flowers and thicker foliage. Grampians heath is an important food source for native honeyeaters such as the eastern spinebill.
With fewer than 2000 mature birds remaining in the wild, the swift parrot is critically endangered due to loss of habitat and predation. The Grampians National Park is one of the key stop-off points for this colourful bird on it’s migration path between New South Wales and Tasmania, where it goes to breed. The high pitched chattering of the swift parrot is easy to pick out in the subalpine forests of the Grampians, and their vibrant green plumage and crimson faces make them easy to spot amongst the trees.
Although we typically think of orchids as being endemic to humid, tropical landscapes, they’re actually one of the largest and most widespread species of flowering plant which grows in a diverse range of ecosystems. The Grampians are home to 100 species or orchids, 26 of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.