Casey, Cardinia & Baw Baw

Urban, rural, forest, coast

From urban areas to green rolling hills and national parks, the Casey, Cardinia and Baw Baw area has something for everyone.

The Casey and Cardinia council areas include sites of rapid residential development, with more land allocated for further urban development. The area’s population is predicted to grow by 67 per cent to 783,000 by 2041. Most of this growth will be inside the Urban Growth Boundary, but development’s wider demands and impacts will compete for space with nature across the Western Port catchment. 

Moving east, urban areas transition into rural land used primarily for dairy farming and other agriculture including beef farming and vegetable production, with some horse agistment and flower growing.

To the north, the Bunyip State Park protects 11,000 hectares of ranges, forest, streams, heathland and granite outcrops. It is by far the area’s largest conservation reserve. Council reserves also hold valuable remnants of the original vegetation but they are relatively small and scattered across the landscape. 

The hill country under the park and north of the growth boundary has attracted new communities of part-time farmers and ‘tree-changers’. 

To the south is the former Koo Wee Rup Swamp which was drained to create 40,000 hectares of agricultural land. High-value, irrigated horticulture, grazing and nursery production occupy ‘the swamp’ from the southern edge of the growth corridors to the Western Port coast. This area is responsible for up to 85% of Australia’s asparagus production.

The area’s native flora and fauna includes the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot, Powerful Owl, Little Galaxias and Strzelecki Gum.

Tourism is important in the region, aided by its proximity to and easy access from Melbourne. The area is known for its rural scenery and natural environment, as well as gourmet foods and wines.

The Casey, Cardinia and Baw Baw area is a major part of the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve; one of four internationally-recognised, UNESCO Biosphere reserves in Victoria. The ‘Man and the Biosphere’ program’s goal for human activity to co-exist with nature is the crucial environmental challenge for the area’s communities and governments.