Paradise Valley

by Kate C
Publish date
21 October 2011
Comments (5)

On Wednesday a small team - five scientists and two rangers - were allowed into into the protected heart of Wilsons Prom as part of the Prom Bioscan project. The Vereker Creek Reference Area, colloquially known as Paradise Valley, is largely untouched by recent human activity. It is afforded the highest level of conservation protection and access is strictly limited to infrequent scientific research. The purpose of keeping areas such as Paradise Valley closed is to maintain a pristine reference point against which the impacts of human activity can be measured.

The area contains a stand of Antarctic Southern Beech trees (Nothofagus cunninghamii) and thus the possibility of Gondwanan wildlife. Rare and endangered mammals might still persist there. It's a very exciting opportunity for the specialist team but the first obstacle is getting there. There are no tracks to Paradise Valley, just a long hike through swordgrass taller than their heads after being dropped by helicopter on Five Mile Beach.

Two men standing by water tank Wayne and Richard in their helicopter suits waiting for their turn in the chopper.
Image: Melanie Mackenzie
Source: Museum Victoria

I didn't make the cut for the team going in to Paradise Valley, but there was enough room in the helicopter for a couple of us to tag along for the drop-off, which was an adventure in itself. Seeing the Prom from the air was simply amazing.

Five Mile Beach from the helicopter The beautiful Five Mile Beach seen from above.
Image: Melanie Mackenzie
Source: Museum Victoria

Helicopter pilots Jim Whelan of Parks Victoria and our pilot Ed in the helicopter.
Image: Melanie Mackenzie
Source: Museum Victoria

Helicopter transporting field gear Helicopter taking off for Five Mile Beach carrying field gear and three days' food in a sling beneath it.
Image: Melanie Mackenzie
Source: Museum Victoria

Tomorrow I'm heading to Sealers Cove with about half of the MV scientists for more survey work. We'll be back in the middle of next week with much more to report on the Prom Bioscan.

Looking out over Sealers Cove Lantern slide, about 1920, looking out over Sealers Cove (BA 2950)
Image: A.G. Campbell
Source: Museum Victoria

Comments (5)

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Lucy 21 October, 2011 11:41
Im so jealous!!!! Looks amazing. Great to see that old lantern slide image too. Sealers Cove has barely changed from the look of it! A credit to the Park. Very much looking forward to hearing more about the adventure. Thanks Kate!
SMcB 21 October, 2011 12:35
Sounds like an important and exciting adventure, and a lucky reporter - look forward to the next installment.
Nicole 21 October, 2011 13:17
I didn't know about this protected area. How wonderful. Thanks for your updates, especially the tweets!
Adrienne 24 October, 2011 12:53
I loved reading this amazing story and great to track of museum and Parks Victoria research. I look forward to more stories, thanks Kate.
Michael Howes, VNPA 25 October, 2011 12:14
It's great the Museum and Parks Victoria are doing this survey. I heard from Jim Whelan that Paradise Valley, like much of the Prom, was badly damaged by the March storm and just hope that the flora and fauna can recover in time. No more floods or fires for some time, we hope, but with climate change, who knows? It's very important to establish some baseline data so the extent of recovery can be documented.
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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.