Photographer Wayne Lawler has spent a number of weeks taking photographs in the Bush Heritage Currumbin Reserve.
If one phrase could sum up Currumbin Reserve it would be ‘hidden treasures’. The Currumbin access road leads to a high ridge-top overlooking the valley, where you find a small ordered garden with lawns, some rare native shrubs and terraced rockeries. Hardly a nature reserve!
But plunge into the subtropical rainforest on the steep slopes below and you find an incredible diversity of life crammed into the secret green worlds within. Currumbin is only about four hectares, yet it has such a concentration of biodiversity that size is no measure of its conservation value.
High on the slope is microphyll rainforest with the endangered sweet myrtle and other small-leaved species. Lower down you encounter a band of tall brush box forest, then proper subtropical rainforest, before you reach the leafy creek flat at the foot of the slope complete with a piccabeen palm grove.
Currumbin Reserve provides a vital link between the Nicoll Scrub National Park - the last complete example of lower old-growth rainforest on the Gold Coast - and the continuum of natural vegetation higher up the valley slopes. This saves the National Park from becoming a habitat island and gives the Reserve great strategic importance.
For me, the highlights of my visit were the many wildlife encounters, including my daytime sighting of a magnificent all-black mountain possum with young, nestled in the cleft of an old rainforest tree deep in the Reserve.