If you're partial to leisurely walks to experience great trees close up, try Fig Tree Walk, 6.2km south of Kenilworth. This walk is only 1100m long, a mere 45-minute circuit. Park at the Fig Tree Walk carpark, also part of Little Yabba Creek Park, to easily access the walk via Bill Waldon Bridge. Seconds later, you'll be enclosed in a thriving rainforest.
Boardwalk start of Fig Tree Walk
Moreton Bay fig growing sky-high and anchored to the earth
The Moreton Bay fig trees are intriguing. Their strong sinuous roots are a marvel to see spreading along the earth in search of nutrients strangling everything in sight. Their fortified trunks and canopies reach great stature over life below. These century-old trees first grew as a seedling on another host tree which they eventually strangled with their buttress roots, blocking the sunlight so the host tree would die.
Moreton Bay Figs have buttress roots; shallow and wide reaching
Walking beneath a canopy of abundant rainforest life is always rejuvenating. The forest air was fresh and I could hear birds singing and flitting above in the trees. Connecting to nature is always enriching in its simplicity, and there is also the knowledge of the local environment I gained along this walk. Walks such as Fig Tree Walk can teach us more about our Australian native flora.
Other native trees to see are black bean trees, which are laden with orangey-red blossoms at this time of the year, white cedar, southern silky oaks, lace bark trees and the flooded gum tree. The rainforest also provides a home for diverse animal life including tree frogs, bush turkeys, flying foxes, skinks, bush rats, possums and wompoo fruit doves which like to eat the purplish fruits of the Moreton Bay fig trees.
A fascinating tree I encountered along the walk and am wary of is the giant stinging tree. Stinging hairs grow on the tree's leaves and branches and when stung can inflict pain lasting for days or months. Giant stinging trees are indeed large, although spindly looking in contrast to Moreton Bay figs trees. Their big heart-shaped leaves can be clearly identified under streaming sunlight where they like to grow. There are dry stinging tree leaves strewn along the walk so wear closed footwear as these leaves can still be toxic, even if they've been on the ground for years! An information board at the start of the walk will help you identify giant stinging trees, so you can tread Fig Tree Walk with caution.
Little Yabba Creek Park, across the bridge from Fig Tree Walk, is a picturesque picnic area on both sides of Maleny-Kenilworth Rd, providing basic amenities; drop toilets, sheltered and open picnic tables, rubbish bins, barbeque facilities and water( not suitable for drinking). The grounds are well maintained and the area is flat for comfortable overnight camping (one night only). At the edge of the banks meanders Little Yabba Creek through lush riverine greenery and bushy river silky oaks. Little Yabba Creek flows at the junction of Mary River with inviting clear waters for swimming.
Little Yabba Creek Park offers lovely forest and water views and picnic facilities
The landscape features a poetry trail site of a sculpture of a buttress root designed by artist Barry Smith, inspired by the local rainforest. Made from brushed aluminium, excerpts of poetry are etched on the sculptures sides composed by local poets.
Sculpture inscribed with poetry about the local environment
Expect a scenic drive towards Kenilworth leaving Conondale. Verdant pastures of grazing cattle stretch out at the feet of rolling hills, providing bucolic scenes of inspiration for a landscape painter with an easel and blank canvas.
Fig Tree Walk and Little Yabba Creek Park is open 24hrs. Fig Tree Walk is both bitumen and boardwalk making it accessible for wheelchairs. Make sure those in your company are aware of the giant stinging tree. This is a lovely, interesting walk and charming part of the hinterland.
I never knew this plant existed before I went on the walk. There are a few signs around warning you not to touch the leaves which is good. The walk is shorter than you think and the surrounding camping area is quite peaceful.
I have done the Fig Tree Walk when this tourist attraction was well maintained and cared for, unfortunately, I took a visitor to this site, expressing how lovely it was and beautifully maintained, only to be proven very wrong. There was debris, uplifting bitumen in places and it was unkempt, which was not the case a few years ago. Who is responsible for the upkeep of this area and why is it no longer maintained as in the past?