Mount Eliza Regional Park
The Mount Eliza Regional Park preserves a natural section of the six kilometre Mount Eliza escarpment which is a prominent landscape feature visible from a large area of the Mornington Peninsula. The escarpment is listed on the Register of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) as ‘Mt. Eliza – South East Face’.
Three vegetation types, ecological vegetation classes or EVCs, are present:
- Grassy Woodland plateau and slopes
- Herb-rich Foothill Forest sheltered slope
- Swamp Scrub Balcombe Creek floodplain
These vegetation types are listed as either endangered or vulnerable within the Gippsland Plain Bioregion by the Department of Sustainability & Environment. The examples within the park have ‘high’ to ‘very high’ conservation significance according to Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) criteria.
Most of Mount Eliza supports Grassy Woodland dominated by Manna Gum
Eucalyptus viminalis, Swamp Gum Eucalyptus ovata and, in places, Snow Gum Eucalyptus pauciflora. Grassy Woodland is represented by high quality examples in the park which are models for indigenous gardens.
An interesting band of eucalypt forest occurs on the steep face of the escarpment: Herb-rich Foothill Forest. It is represented in the park by a rare and beautiful stand in which Messmate Stringybark Eucalyptus oblique is common. This stand is on one of the steepest slopes of the escarpment and faces due south, which is the coolest aspect, ensuring soil moisture through summer due to low evaporation. This tall forest tree is the most moisture requiring of the local eucalypts, which helps explain why it is restricted to the summit area of Mount Eliza, where rainfall is higher. The forest is similar to that on the foothills of the Great Dividing Range but this is an isolated occurrence. A similar but unprotected example is on the south face of Mount Martha.
The park is cared for by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and
Friends of Mount Eliza Regional Park. Among several activities, the Friends
are maintaining a Grassy Woodland
reference area where the vegetation is kept in
high quality natural condition and are also site managing a colony of the beautiful Dainty Wasp-orchid
Chiloglottis trapeziformis. The Friends meet on the 4th Sunday of each month and you are most welcome to
come along. For details contact the group coordinator Carol Shelton on 0434847311.