Big Volcano Natural History Index of the Northern Rivers NSW, and Gold Coast hinterland and Scenic Rim QLD, region, including national parks and attractions.

Big Volcano® (Wollumbin) Visitor Guide

The natural history, national parks and reserves of the Northern Rivers - Gold Coast region of Australia,
including geology, flora and fauna, World Heritage and general information.

Nature History

Crams Farm, Cudgen Nature Reserve, Mount Warning - Wollumbin
Photos © Big Volcano Tourism

Big Volcano - Natural History Index

More than 20 million years ago a volcano erupted over an area now known as the New South Wales Northern Rivers and Queensland Gold Coast and hinterland region.

After several million years of activity, the Australian landmass moved off the "hotspot" which created the volcano, and other natural forces took over, to help make what is now the biggest erosion caldera in the southern hemisphere, and one of the largest calderas in the world.

It is these natural forces which have contributed to the evolution of unique plant and animal species, and resulted in a feature known as the "McPherson-Macleay overlap", where the flora contains a mixture of northern and southern species.

The fauna is also marked by a mix of northern and southern forms, resulting in some species diversity being the highest in Australia, and has led to the recognition of the region as one of outstanding biogeographical significance, with World Heritage listing for many national parks and reserves.

Icon photo of Mount Warning at sunset, with the 3 sisters to the left and Border Ranges in the distance

Click on the photo to get a 51Kb panorama in a new window.

Photograph © 2002 by James McKenzie, panorama featuring Mount Warning and the 3 Sisters at sunset, taken from Mount Wollumbin

Webmaster note:

Advisories for COVID-19 and park closures checked/updated: 1.30pm, November 1st, 2020.


Some local closures for the Northern Rivers region include Border Ranges, Nightcap, Richmond Range, Toonumbar, and Wollumbin national parks, Whian Whian State Conservation Area and some other parks and reserves.

Please check all alerts list for the full list of NSW national parks closures before planning your visit.

QLD Parks Service (QPWS)

3 advisories are current for Gold Coast hinterland, affecting Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk in Lamington National Park.  Please checkĀ QLD Parks - Park Alerts before leaving home for up-to-date information for a specific location, or visit Big Volcano Visitor Guide - Campgrounds for more details and links.

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