Mount Wanungara is situated on the border of New South Wales and Queensland in central eastern Australia. It is part of the rim of the Tweed Caldera, a gigantic erosion caldera formed from the erosion of the Tweed supervolcano which was active around 23-20 Million years ago. The atmospheric Antarctic Beech forest of Mount Wanungara has its evolutionary origins on the supercontinent Gondwana. The Antarctic Beech genus Nothofagus has a continuous fossil record to 90 million years before present. Fossilised remains of this type of tree can be found in Antarctica. A number of species of Nothofagus exist and they occur in Tasmania, New Zealand, South America, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. Nothofagus moorei is the species that occurs on Mount Wanungara and on nearby peaks and ridges and as far south as Barrington Tops near Sydney. The Antarctic Beeches reach their northern limit in Australia in the mountains around Mount Wanungara. In the vicinity of Mount Wanungara they occupy only the highest peaks and ridges, places of frequent mists and cool temperatures. This position in the landscape makes the Antarctic Beech forest in the area particularly vulnerable to climate change, it has no "up" to retreat to as temperatures rise and the cloud level lifts. Some plants that occur only in the Antarctic Beech forest around Mount Wanungara occur nowhere else on earth and are threatened by climate change (see below).
Helichrysum sp. (Mt Merino) a species of daisy that is yet to be scientifically described, occurs only at high altitude on the fringes of Antarctic Beech forest and on cliff faces on the northwest rim of the Tweed Caldera including Mount Wanungara.