The Jervis Bay region lies in an overlap between the northern and southern climatic zones. The range of habitats include: oceanic waters, bay waters of varying depths, intertidal rock platforms and beaches, estuarine waters, recent and ancient dune systems, coastal cliffs, heaths, forests, swamps and perched lakes.
The climatic conditions together with a variety of habitats have created an extremely rich and varied array of wildlife species both on the land and in the sea.
Dramatic cliff faces display the layered beds of sandstone, conglomerate and siltstone which were at the bottom of the marine environment 280–225 million years ago. Ancient sand dunes overlay the sedimentary bedrock formations.
These dunes were once mobile moving inland away from the sea. With the passing of time vegetation has covered the dunes and stabilised them. The vegetation cover is a mosaic of plant community types including eucalypt forest and woodland, casuarina forest, coastal scrub, wet and dry heaths, rainforests and wetlands.
The range of habitat types and plant communities supports a wide array of fauna. Approximately 206 species of birds, 27 species of mammals, 15 species of amphibians, 23 species of reptiles and 180 species of fish occur within Booderee National Park.
In recognition of the heritage value, the Park and Botanic Gardens are on the Register of the National Estate.
Human history in the region has been traced back more than 20 000 years. With a bountiful supply of readily obtainable seafood and bush foods, Aboriginal people living within the region are thought to have had a very high quality of life.
The traditional landowners of Wreck Bay were granted freehold title over 403 hectares of land in 1986. A further grant of the Commonwealth's Jervis Bay National Park was made to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community in December 1995. The park was renamed Booderee in 1998 and is now under a joint management arrangement based on the model successfully applied to Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Parks in the Northern Territory.
(Information courtesy of Booderee National Park)
The Jervis Bay Territory is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage Register under a number of entries:
- Cape St George Lighthouse Ruins & Curtilage Stony Creek Rd
- Christians Minde Settlement Ellmoos Rd
- Jervis Bay Botanic Gardens Caves Beach Rd
- Jervis Bay Territory Jervis Bay Rd
- Royal Australian Naval College College Rd
Each listing is subject to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) which covers development and management of the listings.
Additionally, the now frozen Register of the National Estate covers the following places. Registered places can be protected under the EPBC Act if they are also included in another Commonwealth statutory heritage list or are owned or leased by the Commonwealth. For example, registered places owned or leased by the Commonwealth are protected from any action likely to have a significant impact on the environment.