With over 114 species of birds the Gardens are a popular place for bird watching.
Purple swamp hens can be seen walking through the gardens and crossing roads. The size of a chicken, they have black, blue and purple feathers, red bills and shields and long orange-red legs. They often flick up their tails as they walk along exposing their white under feathers.
Use the boardwalks that extend out across the lakes to see other waterbirds including Dusky moorhens, Eurasian coots, Pacific Black Ducks, Australasian Darters, cormorants and pelicans.
Search for eels along the edges of the lakes. Growing up to 90cm, the short finned eel, Anguilla australis, has a long tubular coloured olive-green body with a silvery belly. Its large mouth extends right under its small eye, and it feeds on fish, worms, insects and water plants.
These curious animals have short teeth formed in plates, and will only bite if provoked. In damp conditions these eels can move overland, using snake like movements, in damp conditions.
Turtles can often be spotted in groups with their heads poking through the water. The Broad Shelled Turtle, Chelodina expansa, is about the size of a large plate and has the longest neck of any turtle in the world. Due to its narrow under body it is unable to completely conceal its neck, arms and legs inside its shell.
Krefft’s Turtle, Chelymys krefftii is a short necked turtle with bright to pale yellow facial stripes that run from the eye to the ear.
Eastern Water Dragons
Eastern water dragons Physignathus lesueurii can be seen basking on the rocks, logs and overhanging branches. They are identifiable by spines that start at the top of their head and run all the way down the body giving them a prehistoric look.
These lizards often jump in the water if surprised, and can slow their heart rate, staying submerged for up to 2 hours. Powerful swimmers, they push themselves forward with their tails. Male dragons, who have a bright red chest, bob their heads and wave their arms to stop other males coming into their territory.
These reptiles are unusual as they catch prey with their tongues, while all other Australian lizards use their jaws to grab their food.
The Gardens have a number of native bee hives in the Gardens to help with pollination.
Australia’s native bees are tiny, black and for the most part stingless. Nests are usually found in hollow trees or in urban environments in cavities in the wall or underneath concrete footpaths.
Solitary bees do not store honey in their nests, only collecting small amounts of nectar to feed their young, while the 11 species of social stingless bees make and store honey in small pots.
As you walk through the Rare Fruit Tree Orchard look for part of a hollow log with a wooden top. Look closely at the trunk and unless it is very cold, early in the morning or late at night, you should be able to see the bees coming and going.
To find the other two bee hives, head towards the Bundaberg and District Historical Museum and continue to follow the path that heads towards the lake. At the end of this short path you will find another two hives on the right hand side.
Please leave the hives as you find them so as not to disturb the bees.
The bees are helping pollinate the thousands of flowering plants in the Gardens including the endangered Macadamia species in the Rare Fruit Tree Orchard.