North Coast Regional Botanic Garden

North Coast
Regional Botanic

Nature Trail

The Nature Trail, which is located in the natural forest on the western side of the Main Path, is a winding paved path that takes visitors on a comfortable 300 metre walk through vegetation which stands much as it did before Coffs Harbour was settled. The walk is well sign-posted, indicating the flora and fauna of the forest with descriptions of the inter-relationships between animals, insects and plants, and the effects of fire on a forest, as well as showing habitat trees. This is a favourite walk for schoolchildren who learn much about forest biodiversity and ecology. An area of bench seating provides an ‘outdoor schoolroom’ halfway along the first section of the walk.

The area may appear to be wild, but natural bushland is never tidy! Branches, bark and leaves around the base of the trees, especially blackbutt (E. pilularis), turpentine (Syncarpis glomulifera) and scribbly gum (E. signata), are left to slowly release their nutrients into the soil. The downside is that this detritus is also the fuel for fires. Common understory plants include gristle fern (Blechnum cartilagineum), native sarsaprilla (Smilax glyciphylla), bracken (Pteridium esculentum), climbing guinea flower (Hibbertia scandens), and wild parsely (Lomandra silaifolia). Several native orchids also grow here, (e.g.) tartan tongue orchid (Crypyostylis erecta), and hyacinth orchid.

The Nature Trail is home to a variety of fauna, so if you walk quietly here you may see a land mullet (Egernia major), the largest skink in the world, which grows to 700mm, or a red-bellied black snake (Pseuduchis porphyriacus) in a sunny spot. Often you will hear birds call before you see them: listen for fairy wrens, currawong and kookaburra. There may be a koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) high above in the fork of a tree, and signs of bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus). A hollow tree may house birds, insects or spiders, and there are plenty of fallen logs, which are home to small animals and beetles.