Islands and Volcanic Origins

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island rose out of the ocean through volcanic activity.  Two predominant landmarks Mt Pitt and Mt Bates are basaltic rock - formed through this volcanic activity.  Norfolk Island soils, being basaltic in origin, are nutrient rich and well structured. There are majestic cliff tops, National Park, Botanic Gardens, rows of pine and palm, rolling green hills and meandering roads.           

Phillip Island

Limestone dating has confirmed that the island was in existence in the Miocene epoch (approximately 20 million years ago). Volcanic activity took place between 2.3 and 3.2 million years ago.  Phillip Island consists equally of basalt lava and tuff.  The island has a variety of terrain from deep bare earth in the interior to rock platforms and boulder-strewn wind-sculpted coastline.  Philip Island along with Nepean can be easily seen from Norfolk.  Recent conservation measures taken on Philip have ensured that the natural life of the island has taken on a new lease in life.  A fabulous destination for bird watchers and hikers.  It is a reasonably demanding excursion – not for the faint-hearted.  Treks to Philip Island require a local guide. It involves a short journey by boat and a rope climb to the main terrain.    “Goin out Philip” conjures up all sorts of envy.

Norfolk Island is an important link between tropical and temperate island environments. The remote location and colonization of plants and animals dispersed over vast

distances of ocean is extremely important. These islands become valued habitats for endemic species (species indigenous to that specific island) for example habitats or breeding areas for species with limited distribution and migratory species including large colonies of breeding seabirds or unique vegetation.

Norfolk and Phillip Islands are almost completely volcanic in origin, arising from the Pacific Ocean roughly 2.3-3 million years ago as masses of hot basalt. They form the highest point of the submerged Norfolk Ridge which stretches from New Zealand to New Caledonia.

The Islands feature a range of dramatic landscapes, including the subtropical and viney hardwood forests of the park and Botanic Garden, the green rolling plains of the Kingston settlement, spectacular coastal cliffs and skylines dominated by majestic Norfolk Island pines.

 

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