Ecosystems & habitats

From the coast to the hinterland, our city has diverse vegetation, wetlands and aquatic ecosystems. Explore the many and varied habitats of the Gold Coast.

Learn more about our ecosystems and habitats.

It is not just natural areas that provide habitat. Human environments also provide important habitat especially:

  • urban – backyards, parks and reserves
  • rural – farmland and rural properties.

Why do we have so much diversity?

Our city's diverse range of ecosystems and habitats is due to:

  • our variety of water environments and landforms
  • our unique position between the tropical north and temperate south climate zones.

Our water environments and landforms

The Gold Coast has been shaped by the forces of nature – water, wind and volcanic activity – over millions of years.

To the east we are bordered by the Pacific Ocean. We have coastal plains with river floodplains, bays, estuaries, wetlands, beaches, and dunes. A short distance inland, foothills are divided by river valleys. These river valleys sit at the base of mountain ranges and high plateaus. The ranges and plateaus rise to around 1000 metres above sea level.

Different vegetation communities occur on different landforms. This is because landforms provide their own unique growing conditions with a range of soil types, elevation, sun and wind exposure, and water availability. The variety of landforms and vegetation communities support a diversity of animal species.

Our unique position in the climate zones

Our city is located between the tropical north and temperate south climate zones.

This unique overlap position creates our subtropical climate with:

  • hot and wet summers
  • mild and drier winters with occasional frosts in some areas
  • ocean waters that are warmer than areas to the south but colder than the tropical north.

These overlapping conditions mean we have plant and animal species that are unique to subtropical environments, but we also have some tropical species and some temperate species.