SWR Environments
The area around South West Rocks and particularly the Smoky Cape Range encompasses many different geological types including granite uplifts, metamorphosed sediments, shales, alluvial deposits and sand dunes . This in turn gives rise to a high degree of biodiversity contained within this relatively small area.

The coastal strip along the Smoky Range consists of beaches with their dunes, separated by rocky cliffs and headlands which support Themeda grasslands or low heath vegetation. Further inland there are significant areas of littoral rainforest, and extensive eucalypt forests on the higher parts. The land to the south of the Smoky Cape Lighthouse, and west from Trial Bay gaol to the Macleay River mouth, is much flatter and is mainly coastal dunes which support various dune vegetation communities. To the west of the Smoky Range and behind Main Beach is Saltwater Lagoon and Saltwater Creek which connects to the sea just near SWR township.

For a more detailed description of the various plant and animal communities please see the Hat Head National Park Plan of Management and the SWRDC 10-year Weed Management Plan in the "Downloads" section.

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Rainforest
Littoral Rainforest is an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC). Present in moist fire-shadow areas, for example at Gap Beach and south west of Smoky Cape lighthouse. Species include Ficus sp. Brush Box, Cabbage and Bangalow palms, Lilly Pilly, Plum Pine,and Tuckeroo and several rare or threatened species such as Cynanchum elegans and Achronychia littoralis. The edges and gullies within the rainforest communities are often heavily impacted by lantana infestations.

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Themeda with flannel flowers
Themeda ("kangaroo grass") grasslands is an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC). The most seaward exposed areas along the headlands support kangaroo grass and associated prostrate shrubs.

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Frontal Dune System
Coastal Dune complex is typically spinifex on the frontal dunes, with wattle upslope merging to woodlands consisting of tea tree and banksia cover. The best examples are the area just south of the lighthouse, where the land is flat and the dunes back onto the Macleay River Plains.

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Eucalypt Forest
Eucalypt Forest More sheltered sites, away from the coast on higher ground, support taller trees such as blackbutt, brush box, red gum, tallowood and stringybarks. Not so subject to weed invasion, but these areas have suffered extensive fire damage over the years. Some lantana here, especially along creek lines and the sides of roads and trails.

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Saltwater Lagoon.
Wetlands. This is a new (2012) environment for us. We are currently working with NPWS to develop a weed control strategy for Saltwater Lagoon and Saltwater Creek. We have done work in the past along Saltwater Creek, at the rear of the dunes on Main Beach, removing Groundsel Bush, Senna and Bitou Bush. Saltwater Lagoon is a shallow, intermittently closed and open lagoon or lake system which covers some 22ha. Inappropriate clearing of adjacent land has accelerated the spread of weeds including highly invasive Groundsel Bush, into this area, to the detriment of the wetland vegetation.

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Ecological areas
Please click here to view the larger map showing the distribution of the main ecological areas.

(Because the maps are often large, we have chosen to link to full-sized versions from within each web page).