Tallebudgera Creek Conservation Park is a Gold Coast City Council reserve on the south west side of Burleigh Heads, a prominent rocky headland forming a significant break in this mostly otherwise beach-dominated coastline. Tallebudgera Creek is a place of cultural significance to the Kombumerri people, and its estuary contains one of the last large tracts of mangroves on the Gold Coast - the rest having been removed for urban expansion. The small estuary at the mouth of the creek is currently a popular fishing spot, and a place to have a quiet swim - especially for younger kids and the less energetic - away from the reknowned surf beaches. Part of Tallebudgera Creek estuary is also a Fish Habitat Area, originally declared in 1971 by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries Department. The FHA facilitates educational use for field studies including sampling by local schools and tertiary institutions; protection of remaining estuarine habitat; as well as, nursery areas for both fish and crustaceans.
The Tallebudgera Creek park, with its walking track, also borders the David Fleay Wildlife Park, a popular spot to see some of Australia’s unique wildlife at this campus for research and education into threatened species. The boardwalk forms part of the walking track (1.5 km long) that ends at Burleigh Heads. The boardwalk is fairly old (est. around the 1980s), but although safe, it does require maintenance. The landward bank is also overgrown with asparagus fern, an exotic weed. From the car park to the Fleay park entrance, the boardwalk is 2 m wide and it has lighting. After the entrance, the platform narrows to an unlit 1.5 m wide platform.
Along the boardwalk, there are excellent examples of mature grey mangroves, some growing amongst natural exposed rock formations at the far end. These, and the stilt mangroves, are inundated by clear ocean waters. Sediments upstream can be muddy, but they are notably sandier as you continue along the boardwalk towards the sea. Sandier areas are commonly dominated by stilt mangroves. There are wonderful views of Tallebudgera Creek through the mangroves, and of the creek mouth at the end of the boardwalk. Along the walk, there are useful interpretive signs (provided by the Environmental Protection Agency Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Marine Education Society of Australasia Inc.) with information on mangrove ecology and physiology, fisheries value and indigenous use. There is also seating that offers rest spots if needed, or places to pause and take in the sights.
- Distance/length: 400 m one way.
- Location: David Fleay Wildlife Park, Tallebudgera Creek, Gold Coast.
- Walking Time: 30 min. stroll.
- Address: West Burleigh Road, West Burleigh. Directions: Take exit 89 off Pacific Motorway, go north on Tallebudgera Creek Road, turn right into main carpark entrance of Fleays Wildlife park. The boardwalk is at the entrance to the wildlife park.
- Gates to the Wildlife Park car park open from 0800 – 2200. Wildlife park opens from 0900 – 1700.
- No facilities at the boardwalk itself – you would need to go into the wildlife park – which would include the entry fee.
PLANTS AND ANIMALS YOU MIGHT SEE
MangrovesGrey Mangrove (Avicennia marina)
Stilt Mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa)
River Mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum) – a few
SaltmarshSaltcouch at both the near and far ends of the boardwalk.
Saltcouch (Sporobolus virginicus)
Beadweed (Sarcocornia quinqueflora)
General VegetationAsparagus fern
BirdsIbis, Kingfishers, Herons, Egrets, Brahminy Kite
Invertebrates in the mudMud Whelks
Crabs (grapsids) & crab holes
Invertebrates in the vegetationMolluscs, Periwinkle
Rare/ Endangered Biota
WaterlifeLots of toadfish
Kurt Derbyshire and Rebecca Batton (Fowler), Queensland Department Primary Industry & Fisheries, Marine Fish Habitat Unit (11/12/2006)