Savanna Explorer > Mitchell Grasslands


Landscape and grazing

This large region of 320,000 square kilometres stretches north west from the Desert Uplands region of Queensland across into the Northern Territory. It is dominated by the largely treeless plains of Mitchell Grass (grasses of the genus Astrebla ). The land area in this region is almost totally given over to pastoralism—unsurprising as the region is defined by a grass type that is good for grazing cattle.

Cattle culture

The sparse population is distributed in towns that support the cattle industry like Longreach and Camooweal in Queensland and Elliott in the Northern Territory. Even other significant industries in the area like tourism exploit the cattle station culture as seen in the Longreach Hall of Fame.

Mitchell grasslands: dominated by tree-less plains and Mitchell grass

Mitchell Grasslands: the area is largely tree-less and dominated by plains of Mitchell grass. Photo: PWCNT


The Mitchell Grasslands is the only landlocked region of the tropical savannas and the driest. Annual rainfall averages diminish from 600 mm in the north to less than 400 mm in the south. The region's hottest temperatures occur pre-wet season but the slightly cooler, maximum January temperatures range between 36oC and 39o C when cloud cover and rain are most frequent. During the longer winter dry season minimum temperatures range between 9oC and 12o C and frosts are a possibility in the far south-east sector on clear nights.

Biogeographic region

This area is defined by the single biogeographic region, the Mitchell Grass Downs. For more information on this biogeographic region go to:  ERIN's Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA), see website link below .


 Total Population

 Indigenous Population

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Table is based on Urban Centres and Localities figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001 Census.

Population snapshot

The population figures below are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics censuses of 2001 which was conducted in early August of that year. These more standardised Urban Centres and Localities figures replace earlier ones on this site based on Statistical Local Areas and Census Collection Districts.

The Mitchell Grasslands is sparsely populated.




  Mitchell grasslands land use

Land use

Measured by area, the only major land-use in the region is pastoralism. The map below shows pastoralism in white, Aboriginal land use in tan, conservation land use in dark brown.

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