1. Tamborine National Park (MacDonald Section), Eagle Heights.
|Piccabeen palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) groves are particularly |
stunning to walk through at Mount Tamborine.
|The upper reaches of Tingalpa Creek are often dry or reduced to|
a chain of small waterholes.
Featuring rolling hills full of eucalypt bushland and lush gullies that are home to wet forest animals and plants, this National Park protects exactly the kind of habitat that we have destroyed so much of elsewhere in Brisbane. Red-necked wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus) often feed in the picnic ground, and down by the headwaters of Tingalpa Creek live eastern water dragons (Intellagama lesueurii) and great barred frogs (Mixophyes fasciolatus), the latter best seen at night. For fitness enthusiasts, the 7.5km Venman circuit is a great trail through open forests of blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis), paperbarks and more.
3. Coombabah Lake Conservation Park, Arundel.
I was honoured to spend much of 2015 volunteering for Gecko, an environmental organisation on the Gold Coast. For this reason, I felt it was my duty to get to know the natural places of the Gold Coast better, a decision that I will reap the benefits from for a long time to come! The highlight for me was discovering this prime birdwatching spot located at the end of Tee Trees Boulevard, where gorgeous black swan (Cygnus atratus) families mingle with uncommon birds like the glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) and white-necked heron (Ardea pacifica).
4. Sandy Creek Conservation Area, Mount Cotton.
Yes, this is the second Mount Cotton location to feature on this list, but what can I say? I love the place! This area has less variety to the forest structure than Venman Bushland National Park, but for my tastes, the birdwatching is even better here, and I was pleased to observe interesting species like the southern boobook (Ninox boobook), spotted pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) and white-bellied cuckoo-shrike (Coracina papuensis) on a morning walk in June.
5. Yandina Picnic Ground, Mansfield.
|Wildlife abounds along Bulimba Creek, including koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), stony-creek frogs (Litoria wilcoxii) and fan-tailed cuckoos (Cacomantis flabelliformis).|
6. Bribie Island National Park, Woorim.
Unless you're a keen four-wheel driver, the one third of Bribie Island that makes up the National Park might be a bit of a mystery to you. Earlier this year however, I found a gravel road at the end of McMahon Street that can be safely traversed on foot for some distance. The surrounding countryside is one that is unique to the coastal regions of South-east Queensland and Northern New South Wales—wallum swampland—and is home to many specialised bird, frog and plant species.
7. Dawn Road Reserve, Albany Creek.
|Thickly-vegetated sections of the reserve are home to northern brown bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus), carpet pythons (Morelia spilota), razor grinders (Henicopsaltria eydouxii) and more.|
8. Currimundi Lake Conservation Park, Wurtulla.
Also known as Kathleen McArthur Park, this nature spot is wonderful because a great bushwalk can be combined with a refreshing swim! Though the trails are short, in summer they can feel rather exposed to the sun thanks to the stunted wallum shrubland environment, so keep hydrated and slip-slop-slap as you look at yellow-tailed black-cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) and dwarf banksias (Banksia oblongifolia).
9. Pine Ridge Conservation Park, Hollywell.
|Some of the low-lying trails in Pine Ridge may be impassable after heavy rain.|
10. King Island Conservation Park, Wellington Point.
A walk out to this tiny bay island at low tide is like a visit to a museum showing relics from an era long gone. Along the spit, the sand is littered with the clinking skeletons of coral colonies that once thrived in the surrounding waters, but now only just manage to eke out a precarious existence. The island itself, formerly home to a pioneering family and a rampant prickly pear (Opuntia stricta) infestation, provides refuge these days for majestic brahminy kites (Haliastur indus) and mangrove honeyeaters (Lichenostomus fasciogularis).