We were down in Burleigh Heads last week to visit the Fleays Wildlife Park and afterwards decided to take the Tallebudgera Conservation Park Walk. It had been years since we’d spent much time in the area and the boardwalk has been substantially upgraded from what I remembered. As it’s a return walk you can start at either end, there’s a big public carpark at the Fleays end and a few car parks at Ocean Parade.
The walkway is a public track that runs from outside Fleays Wildlife Park through to Ocean Parade in Burleigh Heads. It’s 3km return and you’ll want to allow about 90 minutes to stop and enjoy the views and wildlife along the way. If you aren’t ready to return directly from Ocean Parade you can continue on via the road down to the Burleigh Heads National Park and beach or make a loop across the bridge and back up the other side of the creek but that is a much longer circuit, probably around 8km and not all in green space.
The trail isn’t suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs beyond the mangrove boardwalk section. The track is well formed and would be classed as an easy walk but includes some uneven ground, hills and steps along the way. The steps at the washout were steep and I imagine a fair bit of water and debris would run through there from the hills above after heavy rains.
The initial mangrove section is quite dense and healthy and appeared to be predominantly grey mangroves. We walked in early afternoon when birds in that section were a bit sparse but I believe it was a Gerygone that I heard calling through there although you had to listen to hear much about the sulphur crested cockatoos screaching at each other above us. As you moved up into the hill you were under the shelter of the trees and birds were more prevalent particularly white-browed scrub wrens, lewins honeyeaters, grey fantails and further along superb fairy-wrens.
The views out over the creek through the tree line is great but it is densely covered and there aren’t open viewing areas as such. Koala obviously appreciate the density through as this one walked along the bank above us for a while then came down to the path and walked in front of us before ambling off further downhill to find his next tree. It’s fairly unusual to see them wandering around down on the ground in daytime particularly when he was obviously aware we were there but wasn’t in any great hurry to get where he was going. He seemed to be in good health so hopefully there is a stable population of them still in the area.
Down in the exposed sand bars in the creek we could see a sea eagle enjoying his catch, a great egret and a variety of other seabirds.
I’d definitely recommend the track in addition to a visit to the National Park above the beach if you’re in the area, it’s a little more out of the way so very quiet giving a better chance of spotting local wildlife. It’s always a nice surprise to find little gems like this so close to the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast strip.
If you’re after something else to round out your day down this end of the coast there are some gorgeous beaches that are among my favourites and if you want a more concentrated wildlife experience two very different but excellent sanctuaries are located nearby, David Fleays Wildlife Park is at the end of the track and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary only 9km away.
If you get the chance to do the Tallebudgera Conservation Park Walk or could recommend another track nearby I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.