|Dark bar-sided Skink (Eulamprus martini), Ferntree Creek National Park.|
|Featured areas: (1) Jacaranda Drive, (2) Ferntree|
Creek National Park, (3) Nambour Golf Course, and
(4) Parklands Conservation Park. Image courtesy of
1. Jacaranda Drive
This street and the adjacent Oleander Drive are the main residential areas of Parklands, both named after exotic flora. Indeed, the gully at the bottom of Jacaranda Drive has been infested with aggressive introduced trees, particularly the camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla) and African tulip (Spathodea campanulata). Despite this, healthy specimens of native cabbage tree palms (Livistona australis) and flooded gums (Eucalyptus grandis) still thrive in the moist soil, providing a home for eastern whipbirds (Psophodes olivacea) and cicadabirds (Coracina tenuirostris).
|The native vegetation growing on Jacaranda Drive indicates a high rainfall for the area.|
2. Ferntree Creek National Park
This small National Park has been set aside primarily for the conservation value of its endangered vine forest ecosystem. At present, there are no recreational facilities offered here, nor are there any plans to develop them in the future. Walking along Oleander Drive however, I met a local resident who introduced himself as 'The Barefoot Bushman of Nambour'; he showed me a rudimentary park track that begins near the end of Oleander Drive, before the quarry gates. As the friendly Bushie took me down the overgrown track (barefoot of course) to show me a large Australian brush-turkey (Alectura lathami) nest, he filled me in on the local wildlife, including a dingo (Canis lupis) that he frequently sees emerging from the park after sunset.
Left to my own devices in the National Park, I was particularly impressed by the quality of the forest. The trees are an interesting mix of turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), brush box (Lophostemon confertus) and grey gum (Eucalyptus propinqua), and it's likely they would have covered much more of the suburb before European settlement. Sweet sarsaparilla (Smilax australis) vines grow in abundance on the forest floor, providing shelter for lace monitors (Varanus varius) and northern brown bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus). At the bottom of the sloping hillside is a dam where tusked frogs (Adelotus brevis) are known to occur.
|Orange lacewing (Nymphes myrmeleonides), Ferntree Creek National Park.|
3. Nambour Golf Course
Though thoughtfully edged with eucalypts and paperbarks, the Nambour Golf Course is - like all golf courses - mostly just playing turf. The break in surrounding forest cover does allow for clear views of raptors like whistling kites (Haliastur sphenurus) and grey goshawks (Accipter novaehollandiae) however, as well as passing butterflies. Along Boronia Street, the edge of both the Golf Course and National Park can be walked, though here the margins of the latter are being invaded by garden plants such as the firespike (Odontonema tubaeforme).
|Ferntree Creek National Park, as seen from Boronia Street.|
4. Parklands Conservation Park
This large conservation park is a shared-use area with 15km of trails for horse-riders and walkers to enjoy, and yet more for the mountain bikers! The main entry into the park is off a small exit on the Bruce Highway named Radar Hill Road; there are other entry points also, though the one off Atkinson Road is very steep. Be aware that although dirt bikes are prohibited, you will most likely still encounter them on weekends, and they may startle children, horses and wildlife.
Vegetation in the conservation park is mostly a mix of dry and wet eucalypt forest, and the density of each respective ecosystem dictates what kinds of birds and animals live there. Where trees like the blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) are spaced more widely, eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus) and fan-tailed cuckoos (Cacomantis flabelliformis) eke out a living, but where the vegetation gets thicker, beautiful gems like the noisy pitta (Pitta versicolor) and four-spined spiny spider (Gasteracantha quadrispinosa) can be found.
Fungi enthusiasts will also find plenty to admire in the park, thanks to the fact that it sits in a high rainfall zone. This same feature however means that the various creeks criss-crossing the park will cut the trails at certain times of the year.
|Dusk beside a creek crossing in Parklands Conservation Park.|