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Tower Hill Nature Reserve - Lots of Wildlife
A Dormant Volcano Is Now A Nature Reserve
Tower Hill is a short distance from the coastal town of Warrnambool, in Victoria, Australia. It wasn't always a nature reserve, and in the 1800's, it was cleared for farming, and most of the native vegetation was lost.
In the 1950s, revegetation was undertaken, and many volunteers helped to plant 300,000 trees. Today, it is planned to re-introduce many ferns, grasses, and other small plants.
Tower Hill is now home to many species of wildlife - if you are ever in the Warrnambool area, it is well worth a visit. I go there every time I'm in the area!
The photo is the road down into the crater, just inside the entrance to Tower HIll.
All images are my own, unless otherwise noted.
Tower Hill Facts
About 30,000 years ago, the area was volcanicly active, and a large crater was formed. Further eruptions created hills and smaller craters within the main crater, forming Tower Hill into what we see today. The area has been the traditional land of the Koroitgundidj people for thousands of years.
Some of the species of trees found here are Drooping Sheoaks, Manna and Swamp Gums, Blackwood, and Black Wattle. Many animals and birds also make their homes within Tower Hill Reserve.
The volcano is classified as dormant, but is almost certainly extinct.
Rock Strata Makes Great Nesting Sites
Just inside the entrance to Tower HIll Reserve, there is a cliff area, which is very popular with the local birds. There are a few ducks and other birds just visible on this composite photo, but since I don't have a zoom lens, it's not that clear. The cliff face makes a great roosting or nesting area for many species.
The birds on the right are ducks, and those on the left are cockatoos. There were others which we couldn't identify.
You can see different strata in the rocks, showing different geological times.
Greeted By Some Emus
At the bottom of the hill, we were greeted by three emus. These two wouldn't let us get any closer, but don't they look great in their natural setting? The third was a larger bird, and was a little away from the other two.
These birds were the only emus we saw that day, but on a previous visit, there were a flock of them in the picnic area, giving visitors a hard time by trying to steal their food.
The visitors' centre is a circular building, conveniently located near the car park. It is named for the Worn Gundidj Aboriginals who are native to the area, and is run as a non-profit organisation.
In the centre, you can see cultural displays, and purchase Aboriginal artifacts. They also have a good selection of books available.
Have you ever visited Tower Hill?
The Kangaroos Were Still Up
We were just about the first people to arrive at Tower Hill that morning, so there were quite a lot of animals around. This kangaroo was enjoying the fresh grass by one of the crater lakes. It is probably an Eastern gray.
We didn't like to get too close, as these animals can be dangerous, and those hind legs are very powerful! Kangaroos generally feed at dawn and dusk, and rest during the heat of the day in Summer.
A Wallaby Watches Us
This little wallaby, probably a swamp wallaby, was at the side of the road as we drove into the crater. He was very watchful, but didn't leave straight away, giving us the opportunity to take this photo.
These animals usually live alone, but may join others while feeding. They eat shrubs and ferns, as well as grasses. Swamp wallabies are not endangered at the moment.
Lots Of Walking Paths
Once we'd reached the car park, and collected a map from the Worn Gundidj Visitor Centre, we started walking. Tower Hill has a variety of walks rated from easy to steep. During the morning, it felt as if we'd done all of them, but we only managed three. Next visit, we plan on doing Tower HIll itself, which is rated steep. I'm not good with hills so it will be a bit of a challenge. Those little hills we did walk up were hard enough for me.
This little cave is the only one we saw, and it was fenced off to prevent erosion. Luckily, the camera lens fitted between the wires, so the photo looks ok. There are no cave paintings there as far as we know.
Some Wildlife Is Very Tiny
I found this little frog, unidentified, on the concrete floor of the toilet block, and didn't think it was very environmentally friendly for it. He was only about 1.5 inches long.
Although it's not a good idea to handle wildlife, I really felt I had to move the little animal to a better place, so I put him on the damp ground outside the building, and there are plenty of lakes, etc., for him to discover. Hopefully he found somewhere more suitable to move to!
A Beautiful Crater Lake
This is one of my favourite photos of Tower HIll, and is one of the crater lakes. It's almost a perfect circle, and has some amazing colours around it. We discovered it on one of the walks, called "Journey To The Last Volcano", which takes you to the site of the last known eruption in the area.
A Walk Around A Crater Rim
The photo is a downhill stretch of the walk around the rim of the crater of the last volcano. The trees are she-oaks. The walk is quite easy, and follows an undulating trail. The whole walk, from the visitor centre and back, takes about one hour.
We were lucky enough to see a couple of koalas while walking around Tower Hill. There used to be a lot more of them in the reserve, but they ate so much of the foliage from some of the trees that they destroyed them, which meant numbers fell, due lack of food.
The koala in the photo was eating happily at a eucalyptus in the picnic area. Koalas are generally active at night.
There are only about forty species of eucalyptus that these animals eat, out of around 900 species in Australia. Of these, koalas prefer about ten.
Tower Hill Gallery by SnakesmumClick thumbnail to view full-size
I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Tower Hill. It's one of my favourite places in Victoria, and I'll be visiting again one day.
Below you can see a video of one of the snake species that can be found at Tower Hill. This one is venomous, but beautiful all the same.