One of the most amazing things about New England National Park was the trees. Of course, the highlight of the show was the Antarctic beech, Nothofagus moorei. Somewhere in the order of 100 million years ago, Australia, South America and Antarctica were joined in a supercontinent known as Gondwana. The climate was wet and temperate - perfect conditions for Nothofagus. At the time, Nothofagus were common, much more common than they are today. As Australia separated out from Antarctica and started to drift northward, it started to dry up and temperatures increased. Deserts started forming across central Australia becuase there was so little moisture. The Nothofagus, which needed moist and cool conditions, was gradually replaced by more arid plants like Eucalyptus and Acacia. Now, they are restricted to a few spots in the mountains along the east coast, relics of a time which was cooler and wetter.
Another one of my favourite trees are the Banksia, which were also in good numbers at New England. Banksia are members of the family Proteaceae and are easily recognisable by their large and conspicuous flower spikes. These spikes are laden with pollen, providing good service to a large number of honeyeaters and small mammals. Unlike the Nothofagus, Banksia are suited to a more arid environment. Many species are well adapted to fire - indeed fire can stimulate the opening of the hard seed capsules.