Sahul being a technical name for the continent comprising mainland Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, Seram, and neighbouring islands

At the time, the sea level was as much as 150 meters (490 feet) lower than it is today; rising sea levels created the separate landmasses we recognize. When Sahul was a single continent, many of the islands of Indonesia were joined to the South East Asian mainland in another Pleistocene era continent called “Sunda”.

Land mass names
Landmass names during Pleistocence epoch

Map of Australasia showing extent of the Sunda and Sahul continental landmasses with Wallacea in between. Biogeographical lines of Wallace, Huxley, and Lydekker are indicated, as is the Isthmus of Kra.

It’s hard to imagine that the time in which Australian Aboriginal crossed into Australia the environment was totally different to todays. You could understand why you would walk down the pathways shown by pre-historical Aboriginal people.  The coastal area for food and then passes the mountain ranges to inland Australia.

Terra Australis aerial view


Australia in the Pleistocene was drier in the central areas than on the coastal fringes, as it is now. But the cooler, wetter climate at the end of the last Ice Age also allowed a much larger area of open woodlands to flourish. Vast shallow lakes stretched across the inland, and the grasslands that now cover much of inland Australia had only just started to spread across the land.

Pleistocene climate was marked by repeated glacial cycles in which continental glaciers pushed to the 40th parallel in some places. It is estimated that, at maximum glacial extent, 30% of the Earth’s surface was covered by ice. Water levels changed.

View the Monash University site demonstrating the Sahul time water level.

interactive map of land and water level changes by era

Monash University – Explore Sahul Time

An interesting article to read :  Sahul: Pleistocene Continent of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea; What Did Australia Look Like When the First People Arrived? By K. Kris Hirst. Updated January 04, 2018.

Because of the waxing and waning of the polar icecaps, the climate in Australia continued to cycle rapidly between icehouse phases (cold, dry conditions) and greenhouse phases (warmer, wetter conditions).  During icehouse phases sea levels fell, creating land bridges that would then be flooded during greenhouse phases.

Australia’s plants were already well suited to dry conditions, but the pattern of forests, grasslands and deserts was constantly changing.

Vegetation in the landscape differed then the current day landscape.  Dreamers were survivors and ate the food that existed at the time.  Dreamers keep moving to survive.

This demonstrates why Aboriginal Australians moved during the Sahul era, which was to follow the grass land and the large Megafauna animals

Climate during Megafauna Epoch

Image captured from (October 18 Volume 342, Issue 6156 – page 321-323 “Did the Denisovans Cross Wallace’s Line? By A. Cooper, C.B. Stgringer etx ) site that does not exist when attempting to revisit.

The information was however taken from Science Magazines

Move onto the Megafauna Epoch or return to Dreamtime Terra Australis