Flora and Fauna
50 million years of isolation has led to a unique evolutionary sanctuary of plants and animals. Australia has an exceptional range of species with more than 80% of the native mammals, frogs, reptiles and flowering plants found nowhere else in the world. Endemic mammals include the kangaroo, koala, platypus, echidna, possum, wombat and dingo. There are also a number of interesting birds, such as emus, brightly coloured parrots, cockatoos and the laughing kookaburra.
Distinctive plants include the ubiquitous gum tree or eucalypt, of which there are some 700 species. Other common plants are wattle, banksia, waratahs, bottlebrushes, paperbarks and tea trees. Australia is also home to some of the oldest flora on the planet - from the tropical rainforests of the Daintree National Park to ancient pine forests towering over Tasmania, and the recent discovery of the Wollemi Pine in the Blue Mountains, thought to have been extinct since the Jurassic Era.