The landscape surrounding Darwin is a patchwork quilt of diverse habitats, covering everything from rugged coastal scenes and lush mangrove backdrops to monsoon rainforests and picturesque woodland areas.
One of the most prominent landscapes in the area are the wetlands, which sprawl out seemingly endlessly for miles in every direction. Here, the unique ecosystem promises visitors the chance to see plenty of unique and native flora and fauna.
The Top End, as this part of Australia is known, is characterised by its rich wetlands. Here, you can find permanent and temporary lakes and surreal bodies of water that crop up seasonally throughout the year. The lush backdrop provides the perfect habitat for a range of creatures, including numerous species of migratory birds.
Perhaps the most incredible thing about the wetlands surrounding Darwin is that they are barely untouched and remain in their natural state circa thousands of years ago. This means that much of the land is preserved, and many of the large-scale natural processes like bird migration remain intact to this day.
The wetlands ecosystem is best preserved in the protected areas of the region, like the Kakadu National Park, but there are some threats, including the fire regime, feral animals, and rogue weeds.
Animals in the wetlands
Darwin’s wetlands are incredibly productive for both flora and fauna offerings and many of them are recognised as internationally significant.
They are home to some of the largest colonies of magpie geese in the world, with around 50,000 nests and over 500,000 individual birds known in the region. There are also numerous species of waterfowl in the region that find the extensive bodies of water and unique environment ideal for their needs.
As well as birds, there is an inordinately high amount of specialised rodents that call the wetlands home. The dusky rat, in particular, is a commonly sighted creature, as well as its predator, the water python.
The wetlands around Darwin really are a magical place that change their backdrops at different times of the year. Sometimes, huge bodies of water extend out to the horizon and beyond, while other times see the lakes dry up and bring out new species of birds and plants.
If you’re looking to discover some of Australia’s more unique backdrops, the wetlands are a good place to start. As well as learning more about one of the country’s oldest ecosystems, you can spot some incredible native animals.