Cape Hillsborough National Park is a delight for plant and tree lovers. Hidden Valley in particular is renowned for its magnificent trees, while various fungi are a feature in the wetter months.
Vegetation Communities found in Cape Hillsborough National Park
Notophyll Rainforest (Tall to very tall notophyll closed forest)
Habitat & Distribution – steep to moderate slopes below central plateau especially on south-facing slopes. It is widespread on the western and north-western side of the central plateau, north of the main access road, and the southern side of Hidden Valley section.
Hoop Pine Closed Forest (Tall microphyll closed forest)
Habitat & Distribution – common on the eastern and north eastern side of central plateau. Limited occurances on the western side of the plateau and on the northern side of the Hidden Valley section.
Brush Box – Ironbark Woodland (Lophostemon confertus/Eucalyptus drepanophylla mid-high woodland)
Habitat & Distribution – widespread throughout hillsides of the park, on granite or trachyte parent material, and including the majority of Wedge Island, where a stunted form of the community prevails, dominated by Eucalptus exserta.
Paperback – Popular Gum Woodland (Melaleuca viridiflora/E. Platyphylla mid-high woodland)
Habitat & Distribution – this unit occurs on low lying alluvials where the water table is close to the surface, and on the lower reaches of water courses. It has a fairly restricted occurrence south of Smalley’s Beach and straddling one section of the main access road.
Sheoak – Eucalypt Low Woodland or Shrubland (Casuarina littorailis/Eucalypt acmenoides low woodland or tall shrubland)
Habitat & Distribution – this unit comprises the whole of the central plateau.
Gully Forest (Mid high notophyll closed forest with Araucaria emergents)
Habitat & Distribution – this unit is confined to the bed of Cascade Creek and its tributaries.
Littoral Rainforest (Mimusops elengi low closed forest / a diverse range of rainforest species growing just above high tide mark)
Habitat & Distribution – this unit was recorded from the area north of Smalley’s Beach. These have been subject to disturbance, include animal overgrazing and past removal of trees.
Foredune Forest (Mid-high notophyll closed forest with sclerophyll emergents)
Habitat & Distribution – the unit comprises vegetation on the dune systems behind Smalley’s Beach and from the southern part of Wedge Island and probably occurs elsewhere along the littoral zone.
Mangroves and Salt Pan
Mangroves are a group of flowering shrubs and trees that occuy saline intertidal sand and mud, and are important to us because they directly support local and offshore fisheries, provide physical protection of the coastal fringe and a habitat for wildlife, inparticular birds, crabs and fish.
This community occupies a considerable part of the park. It is quite diverse with 20 of the 30 species of mangroves occurring in Australia being represented. The large tidal range of 6.5 metres had produced distinctive tidal zones with extensive salt pans.
Beach Sheok Woodland (Eucalyptus tessellaris/Casuarina equisetifolia mid-high open woodland)
Habitat & Distribution – this community is confined to beachfront habitats. It occupies a large area of the park, particularly shallow soils and exposed coastal slopes. A range of colourful flowering species are present, including members of the genera Acacia, Callistemon, Banksia and Leptospermum.
More than 500 species of vascular plants have also been identified at Cape Hillsborough.
Reference: Cape Hillsborough and Pioneer Peaks National Parks Management Plan by Qld National Parks and Wildlife service and Qld Government Dept of Environment (1998)