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Wed 18 Feb 1998

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Tower Hill Game Reserve is a quite magical place inside the caldera of an extinct volcano. Entering from the south down a steep grade passing successive strata of volcanic ash prepares one for the extraordinary difference between the outside and the inside.

The reserve is an isolated ecosystem based on very unusual geology which gives rise to a unique selection of flora and hence an unusual assemblage of fauna.

Birds are everywhere in profusion. Here superb fairy wren and grey fantail, there black swan and spoonbill.

The Natural History Centre is extremely well done presenting lots of information in very easily assimilated form.

The most astounding thing is that this ecosystem was destroyed by the "settlers" and has been rebuilt, almost tree by tree, by volunteers. Over twenty years from the early 60s to the early 80s they planted 250,000 trees. More recently they have paid particular attention to the plants of the understorey. The number of bird species which have recolonised the site over this time has risen from 30 or 40 to 170 odd. One could easily spend days in this one park.

The rest of the day was spent fighting a very strong westerly wind which made the journey very uncomfortable but we are now installed in a sheltered spot in a caravan park in Portland

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Created on 18 Feb 1998 - Last revised Mon, 11 May 1998