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Our Nature

Our Nature

Biodiversity is generally defined as the variety of life forms in a particular area, including the different plants, animals, and micro-organisms, and the ecosystems that they are a part of.

The ecosystems in our city take in an array of environments, from suburban gardens to natural shrubland, dunes, and of course, the sea.


The trees and plants around our city are quite different from those that were here before European settlement. The dunes would have been much larger, both taller and spread more inland; the estuaries played host to bull rushes, reeds, and swamp paperbarks; and in the woodlands, various eucalypti, tea-trees, acacias, and sheoaks with a diverse understorey. Today, many of our public gardens and parklands include introduced species, however, we remain committed to improving biodiversity in the natural and built environments, which will benefit the community and future generations.

Managing our biodiversity includes targeting the eradication of high-priority weeds, reintroducing rare and threatened species, and managing threats to these ecosystems. We encourage our community to connect with nature for multiple benefits, so we provide amenities such as benches and pathways.

More Information

If you are planting a water-wise, wildlife-friendly garden and looking to use local native plants, please see our green living page. If you'd like to plant up your verge with native plants, we provide a suitable list of species on our verge page, along with our Verge Management Policy and Verge Application Form, which you will need to submit before planting.

Natural Reserves

There are four designated natural areas in our city, each with its own history and ecology. However, they share the common purpose of preserving the natural environment as much as possible.

  • Barton Gully is at our most southern boundary and is centred around a gully that carries stormwater out to the sea. The upper section opens out into grasslands while the lower section becomes quite steep and narrow. It has a small, unique remnant section.
  • Gilbertson Gully is our largest natural open space (>3 Ha), also near our southern border, and follows an ancient seasonal watercourse through a residential area. It also has at least one small, unique remnant section.
  • Kingston Park Cliff Face marks the point where the foothills meet the sea. It is our highest biodiversity site, with more than 90 native plant species, and significant in being the only coastal cliff remnant within 15 km of the CBD. At the southern base of the cliff face is the Tjilbruke Spring, a 25 square metre shallow marsh, fed by underground seepage that discharges there and drains into the sea.
  • Pine Gully adjoins the Kingston Park Cliff Face and forms part of a steeply-sloped gorge. Due to its terrain, only a small section of the reserve is currently accessible. It has been highly modified and is dominated by Aleppo pines.

Key Locations