The East Point Mangrove Boardwalk consists of two sections of boardwalk joined and extended as an upper public beachside walking track traversing the north-eastern side of East Point. The site is located just east of Darwin city, Australia’s uniquely tropical capital city. The walk provides an excellent vantage to view and inspect a selection of the unique mangrove ecosystems of the Northern Territory being those inhabitating rocky and sandy shorelines with a 4-5m tidal range. The boardwalk sections span the upper tidal range of the sandy area including: a small high intertidal stand of Lumnitzera racemosa; and an incomplete 100 m section from the beach to a beautiful parkland seafront forest dominated by Sonneratia alba and Rhizophora stylosa. This is the only public mangrove boardwalk in the Northern Territory. It provides an excellent starting point in becoming familiar with Australia’s northern mangrove species before venturing into the more biodiverse estuaries of the larger rivers of the region, particularly the Alligator rivers and Kakadu.
The site has 11 local mangrove plant species. All are found elsewhere but the local variants are well worth inspection for their unusual northern Australian regional characteristics. Some stars are the Kapok Mangrove (Camptostemon schultzii) and the Myrtle Mangrove (Osbornia octodonta). The latter has aromatic foliage reputed to be an insect repellant reminiscent of Australian eucalyptus trees to which they are closely related. The Kapok Mangrove is unusually more common on such sub-arid and hot coastlines of the region compared with the wetter east coast.
The site was used for cultural food gathering by the Larrakia traditional owners. One of the favorite foods was the Darnijarda or ‘Long Bums’, the Telescopium mollusks shaped like Cornetto ice cream cones, are plentiful across the sandy mangrove sediments. Keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles swimming nearshore along the edge at high tide. Let us know what birds you see, as there seems to be quite a few.
The boardwalk and walking tracks were constructed by the Darwin City Council as part of a Greening Australia project commencing in 1994. Unfortunately, the boardwalk section remains incomplete when visited in August 2007. Significant works are required to extend the boardwalk section to a planned observation platform within the spectacular seaward frontal stand. The boardwalk has considerable potential, but it is not well known or appreciated as a local attraction by Darwin locals. The signage and tracks are excellent in design but they lack completion and regular maintenance.
- Distance/length: 100 plus.
- Location: East Point Recreation Reserve, near Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory.
- Walking Time: 20-30 mins.
- Address: Alec Fong Lim Drive, East Point, Darwin Northern Territory 0820, Australia.
- Directions: Follow directions using Darwin street map via Fannie Bay. Easy access by vehicle and public bus.
- Contact: For more information phone the Darwin City Council (+618 8982 2595).
PLANTS AND ANIMALS YOU MIGHT SEE
MangrovesClub Mangrove (Aegialitis annulata)
River Mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum)
Grey Mangrove (Avicennia marina)
Rib-fruited Orange Mangrove (Bruguiera exaristata)
Kapok Mangrove (Camptostemon schultzii)
Smooth-Fruited Yellow Mangrove (Ceriops australis)
Milky Mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha)
White-Flowered Black Mangrove (Lumnitzera racemosa)
Mrytle Mangrove (Osbornia octodonta)
Stilt Mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa)
White flowered Apple Mangrove (Sonneratia alba)
SaltmarshSea Purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum)
Other PlantsIndian Beech Tree (Pongamia pinnata)
Invertebrates in the mudTelescopium telescopium
Invertebrates in the vegetationButterflies, spiders
Rare/ Endangered Biota
WaterlifeFish and crocodiles
Monitoring Projects and Educational Resources
- Greening Australia, N.T., 1995, East Point Mangrove Boardwalk: an educational resource kit, Greening Australia NT, Darwin. Greening Australia
- “Growing Mangroves. Who eats what?” Adapted from East Point Mangrove Boardwalk: an educational resource kit for primary and junior secondary teachers, Greening Australia. Marine Education Society of Australia
Norm Duke, The University of Queensland, Centre for Marine Studies (10-11 Aug 2007)