This region includes the Australian continent, which stretches from the tropics to the temperate zone, and a range of islands with diverse environments such as the tropical forest and highlands of New Guinea, the conifer forests of New Caledonia and the cool temperate environments of New Zealand. Each have different conditions and unique fauna.
The long isolation of Australasia from other landmasses allowed its life to evolve independently. It is home to many unique families of plant and animal.
Koalas, kangaroos and possums are marsupials – pouched mammals characteristic of Australasia. Platypuses and echidnas, the egg-laying mammals or monotremes, are also found here. Unique bird families include cassowaries, kiwis and honeyeaters. Reptiles are particularly diverse, possibly because they can survive and thrive in environments which are too harsh for other groups.
In the Wild exhibition we have many animals from Australasia on display. The Regional Animals box at right contains a selection, with information about why they are special and how they are faring in the wild.