On-site guided and self guided nature walks: Lagoon Walk
From Reception walk through the main building to Paperbark restaurant. Then walk straight through the restaurant along a paved path towards a small thatched dining area on the other side of a lawn. To the right of this thatched building follow the narrow paved path for 12 metres where it passes through a timber fence. If you have already done the Teddy Bear Walk, you will remember the Geisha Girl plant with the beautiful blue flowers (past the fence on the left hand side).
This is where the Lagoon Walk starts. Take the path that curves around to your left.
Notice a low clumping plant with bright red flowers next to Geisha Girl.
This showy plant is Costis Ginger and is related to the edible ginger.
Walk a little further along the path towards the lagoon and you will see a Coconut Palm growing near the waters edge. Notice the large clumps of coconuts clustered around its fronds. They probably look different to the coconuts you see on supermarket shelves. This is because on the palm, they have a large husk, which is usually removed before they are sold.
Facing the lagoon, with the Coconut Palm on your left, you will see a large clumping plant on your right and near the waters edge. This is a Mangrove Fern. It is a very hardy native and is the only fern that can grow in salty water.
Moving a little further along the path, 7 metres past the Coconut Palm, there is a large spectacular clumping plant with aerial roots and long green and yellow striped leaves. This is a Variegated Pandanus. Aboriginals carefully noted where pandanus were growing and used it as a sign indicating subterranean water. Pandanus produces a pineapple-like fruit which is red in colour and very fibrous. It is not very palatable but nevertheless was eaten by Aboriginal people.
Another 3 metres beyond the Variegated Pandanus is a magnificent Royal Palm from South America. In South America, this palm was placed on the Spanish coat of arms and could only be planted by royalty.
Walk along the path as it curves around through a shady area. On the left hand side a ramp joins the path and just beyond is a sinister plant ! The Strangler Fig. See how its roots have wrapped around the rocks. It has a very small seed, which birds deposit high on a branch of a rainforest tree. The seed germinates and sends a root filament through the air down to the ground. As the fig gets larger its roots circle the host tree, eventually killing it. The host tree starts to decay and releases nutrients, which are absorbed by the fig. Some fig trees eventually grow to be amongst the giants of rainforest trees.
25 metres beyond the Strangler Fig along the main path, on the right hand side there are 4 planks crossing a small stream. Take this path and walk 5 metres down this new path. Here it forks. Take the left hand path. You can sit in the chairs beside the freshwater lagoon as it is a good place to see fish ‘Sooty Grunters’ and birds.
The two large clumps of bamboo in this area are Giant Clumping Bamboo. We are told this particular clump produces the best bamboo flutes.
After 5 minutes return back to the small path and turn left. You will see a sign on the left “Rock Pool”. Walk 50 metres along this path through the Paperbark forest. On the right hand side there is a fine Pandanus. Aboriginals carefully noted where pandanus were growing and used it as a sign indicating subterranean water. Pandanus produces a pineapple-like fruit which is red in colour and very fibrous. It is not very palatable but nevertheless was eaten by Aboriginal people
10 metres beyond the Pandanus is a small timber bridge adjoining the rock pool. Look down the stream to your right and there is a magnificent stand of Coopers Treeferns.
This is an ancient plant and is a survivor from the continent of Gondwana, when Australia, India, South America and Antartica were joined together. A time when dinosaurs were roaming the Earth. It now grows on the edge of the rainforest; often along creek banks. It can grow as tall as 15metres in height. 5 metres beyond the bridge on the right is a timber seat overlooking the lagoon. This is a good spot to pause and enjoy the tree fern glade.
While you are sitting here, you can hear the plants breathing.
This is some of the freshest air on Earth. These plants are nature's lungs.