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Savanna Explorer > All Regions > Landscapes and Climate

Landscapes and climate

Barramundie Creek
Barramundie Creek, Kakadu National Park
Photo: Ian Dixon

The Landscapes we see in northern Australia have been shaped by many factors, the major ones being the rocks and soils beneath, the climate above and the fires that regularly sweep across the surface. These forces have produced a range of different types of country from woodlands and open forest to rainforest patches and grasslands.

Click on “Landscapes” and “Country Types” on the left for more details.

The long geological history of northern Australia has produced a largely flat country interspersed with rocky escarpments in areas like the Kimberley and Arnhem Land. This underlying terrain affects the soils that sustain vegetation, and the passage of fires. The soils that are produced by weathering of the rocks have in many cases had their nutrients largely leached away by rain and erosion. The widespread low nutrient soils have placed limits on vegetation that can grow in the north. Click on “Soils” and “Geology and Geography” in the menu at left to find out more.

The climate also has a profound impact on landscapes. Far north Australia has a tropical climate with a distinct wet season and dry season and this rainfall pattern has shaped the vegetation. Further south the rainfall decreases and is less predictable and both these factors affect the vegetation. Click on “Climate” at left to find out more.

North Australian landscapes have also been shaped by fire and the evidence now indicates this region has had a long history of regular fire extending back millions of years. To find out more click on “Fire” in the menu at left.