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Indigiscapes – a bushland oasis in Brisbane

Indigiscapes is a 14.5 hectare block of native bushland in Capalaba dedicated to environmental education and recreation. The facility is maintained by Redland Council and has recently undergone some major development work.

Visit for the Koalas

We’ve been coming out here for over a decade and it’s been one of our most consistent spots for brining visitors to spot a koala in the wild. There is koala still spotted here, including a large male recently as we move into the breeding season, but like everywhere the urban sprawl and busier roads are having an impact on their environment.

Wild koala
Wild koala can be difficult to spot through the branches and leaves

Indigiscapes does more than provide a habitat for koala, they provide an education for the community on how we can live together with these adorable little marsupials and avoid further endangering our most recognised national animal.

If you live on a bigger section and have koala nearby you can stop in at the native nursery after your walk and get free koala food trees to plant at home. They’ll take a few years to grow but we’ve had koala visit our Brisbane garden for the paperbark tree which is still only mid-sized although they do prefer the neighbours’ gums where they can climb higher.

Short bush walks

There are several short walking tracks to explore each with a slightly different environment within the relatively small reserve.

Tallowwood Walk

The 20-minute Tallowwood Walk starts just past the environmental centre with a bridge across the waterway. There’s a second bridge slightly further along and one of the main features of this track is the 400-year-old Tallowwood tree.

There is also a viewing platform over the lagoon where you can spot the water birds, turtles and eels. Rather than bread which can harm the birds, it is suggested instead that you bring a small amount of frozen vegetables like peas, carrot or corn for children to feed them.

The viewing platform is around halfway along this path and from here you can continue through the bush path out to Korawal Street. You return to the environmental centre along the same track.

Fairy wren walk

The fairy wren walk is a short but pretty 5-minute loop track on a boardwalk through braken fern. Overhead is an umbrella of tall trees making it particularly nice in the heat and humidity of summer.

There’s a good chance of seeing fairy wrens in here but you may also see them on other paths. We’ve seen the three types found in Brisbane at Indigiscapes but these variagated fairy wrens are very cute and love to tease the camera jumping in and out of the frame.

Variegated Fairy Wren
A variegated fairy wren at Indigiscapes

Wildflower walk

This 10-minute loop track starts in front of the cafes and cuts around in front of the environmental centre. From the first part of the loop you can see through to the lagoon and then it twists around through the scribby gum, tallowwoods, black she-oak, swamp box and pink bloodwood trees.

This loop has been our lucky trail for spotting koala over the years, they do love the big scribbly gum trees.

A good spot for birders too

The variety of bush makes it a good place for a variety of birdlife and the soft growth of the wildflowers brings in the butterflies at the right time of year. One of my favourites is the little fairy-wrens and we’ve seen all three local varieties particularly on the Wildflower Walk or the aptly named Fairy-wren walk.

Spotted pardalote
Spotted pardalote builds its nest in the hole in the bank behind it.

The spring is a good time to see spotted pardalote entering and exiting their holes in the bank down by the bridge on the Tallowwood Walk. After you cross the second bridge there is a loop that goes down to a platform over the lagoon where you can spot a variety of water birds, turtles and some large eels.

Dusky moorhen
Water dragon taking a free ride on the Dusky Moorhens floating nest

Some local history

Towards the end of the Tallowwood Walk is a loop around a giant old Tallowwood tree. This tree has stood in the bushlands for around 400 years, spin around and you will see most of the other trees are much smaller and younger, that’s because this speciman was considered too flawed for the timbercutters who cleared the surrounding lands of their native timber from the mid 1800’s to the late 1900’s.

This grand old tree was struck by lightning when it was around 100 years old, if you look you can still see the burn mark on the trunk. After that it grew so twisted and gnarly that it was not worth the effort of felling and milling.

I think it must have got some skilled love and attention in the past decade as it looks much healthier now than it did 5 years ago and we, well maybe not us personally, may be lucky enough to see another century of growth on the old girl.

The purpose-built wooden recliner for 2 is a lovely spot to lay back on a quiet day and look up into the old branches while you contemplate the changes it has seen in the surrounding landscape.

The botanic garden section

Another aspect to Indigiscapes is the botanic garden section. They have eight garden ‘rooms’ that demonstrate different aspects of native garden design and use of native plants. The garden sections include:

  • Coastal
  • Bush tucker
  • Wildflower
  • Formal
  • Wildlife
  • Sustainability
  • Wetland
  • Rainforest
Indigiscapes botanic garden rooms

Stop in at the environmental centre

Indigiscapes was closed in 2019 while extensive work was done rebuilding the environmental centre, offices, cafes and conference facilities. It then only opened for a matter of weeks in February 2020 before it was closed during the pandemic so now is your chance to enjoy the fresh new look.

Inside there are displays that provide good information for everyone on the environment and koalas and wildlife the interactive exhibits particularly engage the children. There is a small shop section of local products, these are focused predominantly on native foods, think wattleseed, pepperberry and quandong or those that support the environment like envirocups and beesax wraps.

The Indigiscapes cafe has also had a complete overhaul with indoor and outdoor seating, we will try it at some point but on a Sunday afternoon, there wasn’t an outside table available when we went past so fortunately we had our hot cups and home baking with us and there are several picnic tables set out in the sun and under the shade of the trees. There is also a gas-powered BBQ available to use.

Childrens playground

If there the younger visitors still have some energy after finishing the walks there is an excellent adventure playground just beyond the botanic gardens and before the meadow and Fairywren Walk. There are some tables and seating just back from it where parents can sit and still keep an eye on things.

Along the trails we noticed several painted fairy rocks that can be incorporated into family activities and if you have painted your own the kids might want to bring those along to add to the collection.

More nature walks in Brisbane

While Indigiscapes is a fantastic resource and short walk destination in the Redland area, there are many other options that offer slightly longer walks, good opportunities for spotting Australia’s wildlife in a natural setting. Some of our local favourites include

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Indigiscapes brisbane bushland poster
Indigiscapes brisbane bushland poster
Indigiscapes brisbane bushland poster

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