Ever Wondered What Plant is That?

Native flora of Sydney Harbour with EcoWalks Tours. 

What are some of the plants found in Sydney Harbour National ParkWe just love showing our visitors the unique flora on our walks. Lately it has been during our virtual tours but we are now super excited to be back hosting our face to face guided walking tours.

Here are some of our favourites that you’ll be able to spot on our walks.

Eggs and Bacon Pea

Eggs and Bacon (Dillynia retorta). This plant is a dense twiggy shrub with small needle-like leaves. The Eggs and Bacon Pea thrives in shrub lands on sandy soil. Although there are other yellow peas about, this one has yellow ear-like flowers bloom in clusters that have a scarlet centre.

Prickly Moses

The Prickly Moses (Acacia ulicifolia) is a wattle that grows in open forest, woodlands and heath on sandy soils with low fertility. Flowers are pale cream sphere-like heads on long stems beyond the reach of the prickly needle-like leaves that defies the touch. Watch a video about Prickly Moses here

Correa

This is the Correa reflexa which is a small shrub and is found in sheltered, wet sandstone gullies. Kids usually see it first as it’s only about 1 meter in height. The leaves are opposite, and may be heart-shaped with drooping flowers that vary in colour from red with yellow or green tips.

Have you seen the Correa reflexa before?

Happy Wanderer

The Happy Wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea) is a climbing vine with small bright purple flowers that are typically shaped like others of the pea family. With alternating leathery leaves that are dark green and oval shaped it is easily identifiable to others.

Nielsen Park She-oak

The Nielsen Park She-oak (Allocasuarina portuensis) and it was only discovered by botanists in 1986. That’s right, these sticky little plants are only found in Sydney Harbour’s and were just went unnoticed. With extensive efforts from NSW Parks personnel, scientists and conservationists alike, the Nielsen Park She-oak was saved from extinction. Although still listed as endangered, there is still hope for recovery. Now, there are six individuals at Middle Head thanks to the Rangers.

Red Five Corners

Red Five Corners (Styphelia tubiflora) has vibrant red flowers that have rolled back petals revealing their fluffy inside. In bloom between May to October and are just an absolute delight to see when walking our new wildlife meandering walking tour

Come see the Red Five Corners with us by booking a Wildlife Meanders Tour at Q Station.

Black Wattle

The Black Wattle (Callicoma serratifolia) is not a true wattle at all. A wonder full leafed large shrub to a medium size tree. These flowers are delightful puffy balls of cream colour that resemble some Acacia flowers. The leaves are bright green with serrated edges with a woody texture. Unmistakable the Black Wattle is and one of our favourites that’s for sure.

Pink Kunzea

The Pink Kunzea (Kunzea capitata) is a beautiful flower among the heath flora of North Headland, Car-rang-gal. Closely related to the genus Callistemon or bottlebrush. Just gorgeous!

Native Flora of Sydney Harbour and Conservation

Mosman Parks and Bushland Association (MPBA) are the guardians of Sydney Harbour’s bushland of Mosman. In particular, Kate Eccles OAM leads the wonderful volunteers of MPBA are currently working on removing invasive plant species found in Sydney Harbour National Park at Chowder Head, Mosman. The crew of EcoWalks Tours sure are looking forward to improving the local bushland at Middle Head and assist MPBA whenever we can. So, why not help where you can and join MPBA and improve the natural environment of Sydney Harbour. Visit MPBA here.

Celebrating the natural, historical and traditional heritage of Sydney Harbour whilst in lockdown.

Sydney Harbour Tourism Walks

Photo Credit: Destination NSW

Staying connected and celebrating the natural, historical and traditional heritage of Sydney Harbour whilst in lockdown, I decided to post a picture a day on our Instagram for seven days.

Using the #7daysofsydneyharbour, I invited our followers to post their favourite photos of Sydney Harbour and use this tag too. So, in case you missed it, I’ll catch you up on our recent campaign to stay connected on our Instagram.

Day 1 Athol Bay

Boat docked in Athol Bay with views of Sydney Harbour, Mosman.There was no better place to start our virtual tour of Sydney Harbour then here in Athol Bay. Our Georges Head Walking Tour and our Picturesque Mosman Heritage Walking Tour start here in Athol Bay. It is here where our visitors experience the walk along the sandy shoreline of this magical place. Photo credit:Destination NSW.


Day 2 Obelisk Bay

Obelisk Bay is an ideal place for bird watching and snorkelling as there is amazing fish life thriving here in the shallows. This attracts the local ospreys, sea eagles, falcons and a variety of cormorants here to fish. But think twice about bringing your camera or binoculars as Obelisk Bay is one of the few beaches in Sydney Harbour that allow clothing as an option.

 

Day 3 Collins Beach

Recently, the wonderful Susan Moylan-Coombs and Caroline Glass-Pattison of the Gaimaragal Group perform a ‘Welcome to Country’ with their families and friends. They often conduct smoking ceremonies and ochre blessings to bring people together and connect to heal country. Photo Credit:Hamilton Lund, Destination NSW.

 

Day 4 Quarantine Station

Quarantine Station Walk

This is a place where thousands of passengers aboard ships and would endure the 4 month journey to Sydney only to arrive in Spring Cove to endure a quarantine. Yes, just like our lockdown. Recently, we have opened our new ‘Wildlife Meanders Tour’ for bookings and we super excited to be guiding you on this one!

 

Day 5 Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach SunriseThis place has a special place in everyone’s heart. For those of you who walk, run, swim, picnic, sail, bike or occasionally surf here, you’ll know what I mean. After last year’s lockdown, I had the pleasure of coordinating the local Heart Foundation Mosman Walking Group where we would walk along Balmoral Beach every Wednesday afternoon. Photo credit:Chris Meredith.

 

Day 6 Booraghee

Two Kookaburras

In 1788 Booraghee was renamed Bradleys Head after First Fleet Lieutenant, William Bradley. However, it was the home of the Borogegal Clan who were the original custodians of this area and occupied parts of Middle Head Peninsula foreshore for thousands of years before White European settlers arriving.

 

Day 7 Golden Grove

Golden Grove Sydney FerrY

One of the mightiest Sydney Ferries on the Harbour is the Golden Grove of the First Fleet Class. Since 1985, this workhorse has operated countless trips to Taronga Zoo Wharf from Circular Quay but still this is one of the best ways to see Sydney Harbour other then our walking tours. Photo credit: Quest North Sydney.

 

Stay connected during our lockdown in Sydney and support local

I hope you have enjoyed our #7daysofsydneyharbour celebrating the natural, historical and traditional heritage of Sydney Harbour.

Remember, stay connected during this lockdown and support our local tour business through these three simply ways: Share this blog, follow our social media and purchase a gift voucher to use once you get our of lockdown.

Sydney Harbour EcoWalks Tours

Photo Credit: Destination NSW

Psst….Have You Heard Yet?

Sydney’s own EcoWalks Tours completed the ECO Certificate program.  

Here at EcoWalks Tours we have once again proven our sustainable business practices surpass industry standards. Recently, we successfully passed Ecotourism Australia’s internationally recognised audit program.

Photo Credit: Destination NSW

So, why did we undergo an audit?

We wanted to show the WORLD that we promote and uphold the highest standards of sustainability. So we went ahead and shifted our focus on excelling in the internationally accredited ECO Certification program which Ecotourism Australia endorses.

Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman says that by

“Having an auditor is essential in ensuring transparency and the authenticity of a business’ claims to sustainability.”

So, we conducted our evaluations, adjustments and refinements over several months along our sustainable journey.

But, what does this mean?

Well, we provide excellence in sustainable tourism and the audit was essential for identifying and enhancing our tour business. It provided opportunities for reflection as well as useful resources for improving and adapting our business operations.

Community and Consultation with Gaimaragal Group

Also along our sustainable journey, we reached out to enhance community partnerships with the Gaimaragal Group. This was for us to learn more about and promote local Aboriginal histories and cultural practices within Sydney Harbour National Park. Auditor Fiona Sleight says that she was particularly impressed with

“our consulting and working with Indigenous organisations to enhance the understanding of Sydney’s cultural heritage.”  

As a result of our community consultation and connection with our local Aboriginal representatives, we have been invited to host a walking tour celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Gai-mariagal Festival.

So, we are proud to be hosting a cultural experience later in this year to enhance community connections and learning of Aboriginal heritage.

Discussing community activities for the future

Lee De Gail, Matthew Springall and Susan Moylan-Coombs at Caba Caba looking over Borogegal land along the shores of Sydney Harbour National Park.

EcoWalker Bush Explorer Tours

When kids join our EcoWalker Bush Explorer Tour they participate in a number of learning activities that investigates the special relationships between plants, animals and the Aboriginal People of the Sydney Harbour National Park. 

Guide shows kids how wood decays

Aboriginal Heritage

Kids participate in an Acknowledgement of Country to recognise the Borogegal Clan of the Cammeraygal People as the traditional custodians of the Middle Headland of Sydney Harbour National Park. These curious kids learn about traditional ways that the Aboriginal People used plants for food, medicinal purposes as well as tools and resources to assist them with shelter, fishing, hunting and gathering. Kids love hearing about the unique fishing culture of the Borogegal People as well as the many uses of the Green Grasstrees harvested in this area of Sydney Harbour for everyday life.

Connecting with Nature

When curious kids are out on the trail they are happily chatting about all the unique animals as they complete their scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt encourages kids to spot, tally and ask questions about a range of animals that include mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates. This is so the kids develop an understanding of biodiversity as well as energy flows through the food web specific to Sydney Harbour National Park.

Two lorikeets

Also, the kids go wild when spotting the gorgeous flowering herbs, shrubs and trees along the trail. Kids will learn about the native acacias, grevilleas and eucalyptus trees as a producer of food for animals but they just get so excited when they see the huge variety of native flowering pea plant species along the trail. This includes flowering peas such as the Love Creeper, Happy Wanderer, Golden Spray, Heathy Parrot Pea, Dusky Coral and Large-Leaf Bush Pea as well as the Common Aotus. So many other wonderful wildflowers of Middle Head can be found all year round.

An entertaining educational experience in the Sydney bush. Everyone loved the details you showed us particularly the delicate wildflowers.” Camilla

Sense of Adventure

When kids take on the role of an EcoWalker Bush Explorer they actually get dirty, laugh, learn and really have a fun time outside in the bushland. They get an up close and personal look at the life cycle of a Bush Tick by making observations of ticks at different stages in life. No need to worry though, kids use a plastomount, photos and infographics to learn fun facts about ticks and how to avoid them but more importantly, what they need to do when they spot one. Also, as part of having an adventurous spirit outside in Sydney’s bushland, the kids become citizen scientists and listen to the squeaking calls of the endangered Red Crowned Toadlet. This little creature is so difficult to find, the kids get into a frenzy trying to spot one amongst the ferns as they hear the unique calling of this frog.

Searching for the Red Crowned Toadlet

Book Your Kids on Our Next EcoWalker Bush Explorer

So, whether you know kids that go crazy for the great outdoors or you want to encourage kids to learn more about the Sydney bushland or simply just need to get outside more, then the EcoWalker Bush Explorer is for them. Our staff have a passion for sharing their knowledge and understanding of the Sydney Harbour National Park and are sure to provide kids with a memorable experience that will inspire them.

Three great nature loving, informative hours for children to learn and enjoy on school holidays.” Dallas

Ever Wondered What Native Flower is That?

As a lover of all things in nature big and small in Sydney Harbour National Park, I have developed a passion for sharing my love for all the native plants that are found on Middle Head.

Here are some of my favourite floral displays I love to show visitors on my tours. So I wonder if you too feel the same. Let’s find out.

Lilac Lily

The Lilac Lily (Schelhammera undulata) is a solitary flowering herb with pink to violet petals grow out from a stalk. This little beauty is found growing in moist sandy soil in shady places within the Sydney Harbour National Park. The Lilac Lily is in bloom July to September but you have to know where to look to find it.

Hops Bush

The Hops Bush (Dodonaea triquetra) has unusual green, 3 cornered membranous with rounded edges that resemble the fruit of the beer brewing hops species. It has slender but large leaves that are dark green with pointed tips and visible veins.

Coastal Rosemary

The Coastal Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) is a dense along exposed coastal heat, it can withstand shrub with dark green narrow pointed leaves with margins the curve downwards to channel water droplets towards the base of the plant to be soaked up by the roots. Found in shallow soilsd strong winds. Noticeable by the irregular shaped white, pink or blue flowers at the top of a well-leafed stem.

Heathy Parrot Pea

The Heathy Parrot Pea our Eggs and Bacon (Dillynia retorta) is a endemic plant to Sydney Harbour National Park. It is a dense and spreading twiggy shrub that grows to a height of upto 2m it thrives in heath shrub land on sandy soil. Vibrant yellow ear-like flowers bloom in clusters during the months of July to November that have a scarlet centre.

Prickly Moses

The Prickly Moses (Acacia ulicifolia) is a wattle that grows in open forest, woodlands and heath on sandy soils with low fertility. Flowers are pale cream sphere-like heads on long stems beyond the reach of the prickly needle-like leaves that defies the touch.

Sunshine Wattle

Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis) is endangered due to habit loss and competing invasive plant species. However, there are still individual plants still situated throughout the park and with ongoing conservation efforts from local community groups and such as Mosman High School Enviro Group in partnership with NSW Parks and Taronga Zoo, the number of individual plants are increasing. A unique wattle that is a the forefront of conservationist’s minds.

Sydney Golden Wattle

The Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia) has yellow flowers resembling balls are grouped together along the stalk that gives a cylindrical appearance. The  long leathery leaves are not leaves, rather, phyllodes with longitudinal veins that run through them. Phyllodes do not have stomata or pores as true leaves do. This is so moisture is not lost through transpiration during dry conditions. 

Wallum Heath

The Wallum Heath (Philotheca buxifolia) is a native plant found throughout sandstone heath that has a sticky appearance with gorgeous white to deep pink flowers along its stem. A pleasant display of flowers among the heath landscape of Sydney Harbour National Park bushland.

Common Aotus

The Common Aotus (Aotus ericoides) is found all along the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS) landscapes within Sydney Harbour National Park. This flowering shrub loves shallow sandy soil usually along sandstone gullies with an abundance of sunlight.

Love Creeper

The Love Creeper (Glycine clandestina) is a climber with a very slim stalk that has 3 leaflets growing out from a short stalk. The flowers are petite with shades of purple to mauve that vary in shape and size. Similar to other pea flowers.

Happy Wanderer

The Happy Wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea) is a climbing vine with small bright purple flowers that are pea shaped with alternating leathery leaves that are dark green and oval shaped.

Flannel Flower

The Flannel Flower (Actinotus helanthi) is endemic to Sydney Harbour National Park and blooms between September to April. It gets its name from the woolly-like hairs and fluffy tuffs that appear all over the plant and the creamy white flower blooms on top.

Although I have selected these plant species to showcase to visitors, there are so many other unique and gorgeous flowering plants located in Sydney Harbour National Park.

For further information, I recommend Australian Plant Society NSW.

Three Sydney boutique hotels you need to know about!

Where do you stay in the Lower North Shore?

Glenferrie Lodge

Large heritage hotel in Kirribilli

Glenferrie Lodge

This place provides essential and easy access to Sydney Harbour’s foreshore, North Sydney, Circular Quay and Sydney’s CBD. Located in Kirribilli, this boutique budget hotel provides quintessential amenities for travelling families and discerning travellers seeking a quiet place to unwind. 

Easily recognisable by its unique design and boosting large decorative verandahs along the front of the hotel with timber posts and timber railings, offers guests with a perfect place to sit and relax. Unique to The Glenferrie Lodge is the family and pet friendly garden and outdoor entertaining area. It has a large grassed area, challenging, robust and safe play equipment for children to busy themselves with. Also, there is comfortable outdoor furniture for travellers to relax on whilst under cover enjoying breakfast. Furthermore, The Glenferrie Lodge is a place of heritage and is ideal for all guests wanting to stay in an affordable hotel in near proximity to all of Sydney’s attractions.

Visit Glenferrie Lodge for bookings and further information.

Cremorne Point Manor

Sydney’s Cremorne Point Manor

The Cremorne Point Manor

The Cremorne Point Manor welcomes all travellers and offers a variety of essential services that exceeds expectations. As a AAA tourism rated 4 Star Harbourside Guesthouse, it has 29 spacious rooms that offers visitors privacy and comfort. Perfect for weekend getaways. Nestled among the quiet harbourside streets of Sydney’s Lower North Shore, it provides excellent access to Sydney Harbour’s foreshore pathways, parklands and reserves as well as essential public transport. The Cremorne Point Manor is a beautifully restored heritage hotel that harnesses a relaxed atmosphere with an air of sophistication to accommodate all visitor needs. Additionally, The Cremorne Point Manor has had a long history of providing exceptional services to its guests and will continue to impress its visitors.

Visit Cremorne Point Manor for bookings and further information.

Albert Hotel

From the red-tiled roofs of comfort,

And the gardens and lawns of taste;

Safe from the city’s clamour,

And safe from the city’s Haste;

From a vision of range and ocean,

And a hint of the sea-cliffs grey,

Look down from the heights of Mosman,

To the depths of Mosman’s Bay. 

Henry Lawson

Situated at the top of Cowles Road in Mosman, safe from the city’s clamour and haste, is the newly refurbished boutique heritage hotel, The Albert. With 26 stylishly appointed rooms available for guests to unwind and enjoy the contemporary furnishings, The Albert is the ideal place to stay whilst visiting Sydney. 

Mosman is an exquisite place to visit, with a rich tapestry of old world history and charm. Its streets are aligned with red-tiled roofs and gardens of taste that will sure show you old charm. Staying at The Albert provides guests with the opportunity to walk these streets and visit destinations such as Balmoral Beach, Middle Head, Bradleys Head and Mosman Bay.

Visit The Albert for bookings and further information.

Heritage hotel refurbished

 

School Holiday Biodiversity Activity

Give the kids a school holiday activity they’ll never forget!

EcoWalker Bush Explorer Tours provide children aged 8 to 12 with a bush adventure finding invertebrates like bugs, beetles and spiders within Sydney Harbour National Park.

The kids will take on the role of a Bush Explorer and participate in a number of activities that investigates the special relationships between plants and animals.

Activities are focused on the NSW Stage 2 and Stage 3 curriculum and are conducted in a safe learning environment.

The location is Bradleys Head in Sydney Harbour National Park and these tours are from 10am to 1pm at a cost of $25 per child.

Limited places available on Wednesday 8th & 15th July during this upcoming school holiday!

Click on BOOK NOW and complete your booking.

EcoWalks Tours is proud to announce a partnership with Zoe Wittber

Zoe Wittber is an accomplished, motivated and passionate Visual Arts educator and has completed a Masters by Research in Visual Arts, with a thesis publication on the importance of Visual Arts in the education of all children.

So, to provide meaningful learning activities for children during our EcoWalkers Bush Explorers School Holiday Biodiversity Tours, we have collaborated to produce educational resources with Zoe’s artworks.

Zoe works with acrylic paint/pen on canvas and board and her current focus is on Australian animal life. The patterning she creates is decorative and repetitive, adorning the animals and the surrounds, to frame and celebrate them.

As well as creating artwork, she is SAHM to her two boys during the day and working as an educator in Visual Arts in both secondary and tertiary education in the evenings. She has a passion for education, particularly in the arts and a love of nature based education and learning. She encourages this love of nature for her boys through playful experiences and learning activities.

Visit Zoe’s Artworks

Check out her artworks through her Etsy store link: www.etsy.com.au/shop/walkinginthewild

Personal Connections 

EcoWalks Tours welcomes visitors to Sydney Harbour National Park from all around the world.

EcoWalks Tours is a locally based accredited NSW Parks Eco Pass guided tour operation in Sydney Harbour National Park and established out of enjoyment for the conservation of this place.

As the founder of EcoWalks Tours, I strive for excellence by providing visitors with in-depth knowledge of the ecological features and historical aspects of the park during my guided tours.

Connecting and learning about the natural, social, historical and traditional heritage of Sydney Harbour National Park and the surrounding suburb of Mosman is a wonderful past time in which I enjoy sharing with visitors.

There are so many hidden secrets awaiting for you to discover on a tour with me. One of my favourite places to show visitors is the sandstone gully and headland of Taylors Bay to Chowder Bay. In this area you can find the blue lizards bathing in the sun on lichen covered rocks to the small vibrant mauve crowea flowering shrubs among the sunshine wattles blooming under the shade of the Sydney red gums. Sharing this place as well as other sites within the park with visitors brings me great joy and I would like to invite you to come and see for yourself.

So, join me and be guided by my personal connections, experiences and knowledge of the Sydney Harbour National Park.

Sydney Harbour Views

Are you wanting to get outside and explore Sydney Harbour?

EcoWalks Tours is a locally based accredited NSW Parks Eco Pass guided tour operation in the Sydney Harbour National Park.

We pride ourselves in providing scenic and educational tours that respects the natural, historical and social heritage of Sydney Harbour National Park.

Although, we are temporarily closed due to current social distancing regulations, you can still purchase no expiry gift cards for future tours.

Simply click on ‘BOOK NOW’ and select gift cards and make your purchase.

Thank you for supporting our local business.

Photo credit: Destination NSW