Our amazing diversity

Biodiversity is the variety of all living things; the different flora, fauna and microorganisms, the genetic information they contain and the ecosystems they form.

From snow-capped mountains to dense rainforest gullies and into our oceans, Victoria is home to Australia's most diverse collection of landscapes.

They support a wider range of ecosystems than any area of a similar size in Australia, meaning that this part of the world is jam packed with weird and wonderful life. 

Here you will find alpine crayfish that survive the coldest winters by having anti-freeze liquids in their blood, a caterpillar that feeds sugar to an army of addicted ant bodyguards and a one-centimetre-long pygmy squid – the smallest in the world. 

There are tens of thousands of native animals and plants that live in Victoria, including:

  • More than 5,000 species of plants and their relatives
  • More than 100 mammal and  400 bird species
  • Around 46 freshwater and 600 marine fish
  • More than 100 reptile and 30 amphibian species

Victoria’s natural habitats also support a huge range of other living creatures, including groups like butterflies, beetles and spiders, as well as fungi and seaweeds. The wonders continue in our seas from giant whales to tiny snails, with more than 12,000 species thriving within our cool waters – many of which only occur in this corner of Australia.

Protecting our biodiversity 

The survival of our wildlife, plants and natural habitats  is critical to our own survival – our health and wellbeing, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the places we go.

Australia is one of a group of only 17 ‘mega-diverse’ countries, which cover less than 10 per cent of the world’s area but have more than 70 per cent of its biodiversity. 

Our native species and habitats face a variety of threats, from pests and weeds to land clearing, illegal firewood collection and climate change. They can all use our help if we tread lightly, put nature’s needs ahead of our own and find ways to help and protect them.

Parks Victoria protects the best examples of nature, managing a diverse estate of more than 4 million hectares including 3,000 land and marine parks and reserves. 

A Malleefowl, endemic to Victoria's Mallee region.

Threatened species

A large number of Victoria's native flora and fauna are threatened as a result of past and present land use, the impact of weeds and pest animals and other disturbances.

Alpine ecosystem, Falls Creek, Alpine National Park

The alps

The alps are characterised by granite and sandstone peaks with rounded mountain tops and plateaus and are typically covered in snow for more than a third of the year. The plants and animals that live here have evolved to cope with environmental extremes.

Port Campbell National Park

The coast

Often lashed by the wind laden with salt spray, the coast is very dynamic and a difficult environment for living things, with some of its physical features such as dunes and cliffs subject to continual change.

Grasslands and cloudy sky in the early evening


Less than one per cent of original grasslands remain in Victoria, in small remnant patches with low viability. Grasslands provide important habitat for rare animals which have adapted to changeable environments.

Heathland ecosystem, Cape Conran Coastal Park


Heathlands are characterised by dense, low shrubs with scattered, twisted trees – a function of the harshness of the environment where they occur, where drainage is poor and soils have extremely low levels of nutrients.

Murray Sunset National Park

The mallee

Mallee ecosystems take their name from the small, multi-stemmed eucalypts which feature mallee roots just below the soil surface. They contain a surprisingly diverse range of flora and fauna.

Grey Box Woodland landscape with fallen trees in the foreground and a mix of mid-story vegetation and trees in the background

Dry forests and woodlands

There are many types of dry forests and woodlands occurring across the drier northern slopes of the Great Divide, as well as in Victorian foothills, coasts and plains. They support a wide variety of plants and animals including the state's rarest orchids.

A woman walks through a path at Tarra-Bulga National Park.

Wet forests and rainforest

The cool mountains and gullies in Victoria are dominated by wet eucalypt forests and rainforests. After they're about 150 years old, trees in wet forests begin to develop hollows in trunks and larger branches which provide important habitat for native species.

Wetland, Hattah Kulkyne National Park

Inland waters and wetlands

Victoria has a rich variety of inland and estuarine aquatic environments, including flowing waters such as creeks, streams and rivers; and standing waters such as lakes and wetlands. These waters can be permanent or ephemeral, such as intermittently flooded wetlands and red gum floodplains.

Port Phillip Bay


The marine ecosystem is the largest of Earth's aquatic ecosystems and is defined by water that has a high salt content. There are many different habitats within the marine ecosystem which provide all the basic needs for marine organisms to survive.

In Victoria climate change is already impacting our oceans and our landscapes and our cultural, social and political life.

This film explores how Victoria’s scientific and cultural collections, both the static material kept in museums and the living flora and fauna of our parks and marine reserves, helps us understand the change that is occurring and what sort of actions we need to take in the future.

The nine minute documentary features interviews with Mark Norman, Chief Conservation Scientist at Parks Victoria, Kate Phillips, Senior Curator Science Exhibitions at Museums Victoria, Professor David Cantrill, Executive Director Science at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Sione Napi Francis, Lead Curator Te Pasifika Gallery Redevelopment at Museums Victoria.

Virtually explore Victoria’s parks

Virtually explore some of Victoria’s most spectacular places through these 360-degree videos and learn about what makes them unique.
Still image from Diving with Long-nosed Fur Seals at Gabo Island 360 video part 2 video.

Swim with the seals at Gabo Island

Home to the second-tallest lighthouse in Australia, Gabo Island is a place that not many people have had the pleasure of visiting. Even fewer have been lucky enough to get under the water here, and with this 360-degree video you can experience diving here with playful Long-nosed Fur Seals.
Mount Buffalo National Park

Fly over Mount Buffalo National Park

You can almost smell the crisp, fresh air as you watch this 360-degree video showcasing some of the most impressive parts of Mount Buffalo National Park - giant tors, deep gorges, tranquil alpine meadows, tumbling waterfalls, Snow Gum woodlands and spectacular panoramic views of the nearby Alps.
Twelve Apostles at Port Campbell National Park

Fly over the Twelve Apostles

In this 360-degree video you can fly over the Apostles, marvel at the vast Southern Ocean, admire the scrubby coastal vegetation and stare up at the night sky.
Wilsons Promontory National Park

Fly over Wilsons Promontory National Park

In this 360-degree video you can experience the sunrise from the top of Mount Oberon, watch the waves rolling in at Tidal River and fly over some of the most beautiful nature areas in the state.

Not sure what part can you play in protecting our biodiversity? Why not start small to begin making a big impact! Hear from Parks Victoria education and volunteering staff to learn about career pathways into conservation, how you can advocate for the environment and ways to kick start your citizen science journey by monitoring biodiversity in nature, simply with your phone!

Meet some of our amazing creatures

Eastern Banjo Frog

Finding its home across south-east Australia from desert fringes to deep forests, the Eastern Banjo Frog gets its name from its call, which sounds like a bajo string being plucked. These frogs burrow and rest underground until heavy rain.

Mountain Katydid

This camouflaged insect is hiding a few tricks. The females, which have no wings, can show bright banded colours to warn attackers. The katydid secretes a bitter toxin that makes them extremely unappealing to potential predators.

New Holland Honeyeater

The bossy little New Holland Honeyeaters are noisy, active birds found throughout our forests and coasts. They mainly feed on nectar which they collect high-speed with their brush-like tongue. They can dip their tongue into a flower up to ten times a second.

Pygmy Squid

The smallest in the world, these squid live in seagrass and seaweed beds. Their big trick is a special reversible glue. They use a sticky mucous to hang onto seagrass, but when they want to move, they simply squirt an acid that dissolves the glue and sets them free.
A Fat Tailed Dunnert among leaf litter

Fat-Tailed Dunnart

This feisty little marsupial is like a mouse-sized version of its relative, the Tasmanian Devil. An aggressive predator, the dunnart hunts in at night in northern grasslands and semi-desert areas and uses its thick tail to store fat reserves for winter.

Download the A-Z poster

From the Alpine Spiny Crayfish to the Zebrafish, download our A-Z poster and learn about some of Victoria's weird and wonderful plants and animals.

Download poster

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