Five must-see local trees, chosen by our tree staff

Published on 22 July 2022

Moreton Bay Fig

We asked some of our tree staff about their favourite plants in the local area. Their selections range from trees that are hundreds of years old to recently planted saplings, and they span the whole LGA. Why not go and visit one while you’re out for a walk?

If you’ve got free time and walking shoes, you and a friend could even turn this list into an epic tree pilgrimage across the east.

Joel Pecotich, arborist

My favourite tree is at Camp Cove Reserve. It’s a giant Ficus Macrophylla, or Moreton Bay Fig. I don’t know how it’s grown the way it has, but it has one huge branch that grows straight out of the trunk about two metres above the ground, for four or five metres. The branch is about as thick as a car; it’s just gigantic. It’s like a whole separate tree growing horizontally, cantilevered off the ground. It’s got a great canopy too and the big, buttressed roots of a rainforest tree. Plus it’s in a beautiful spot by the water in Camp Cove.

Woman standing under huge fig tree
The magnificent Moreton Bay Fig at Camp Cove

Rudi Adlmayer, Bushcare Coordinator

My favourite tree is the Smooth-barked Apple Angophora costata. I love the shape and form these trees grow into and the country they are associated with.

I have been lucky to have planted over 50 of them in Woollahra's Local Government area, many which are quite prominent now. It is good to know they will provide shade and habitat when I'm long gone.

They grow to to about 15 to 25 metres and often the trunk is gnarled and crooked with a pink to pale grey, and rusty-stained bark. Old bark is shed in Spring in large flakes exposing a surreal new salmon-pink bark.

Our best specimens are on the Cadigal Walk in Cooper Park and in the gully walk at Parsley Bay.

Rudi Adlmayer's favourite tree
Rudi Adlmayer's favourite tree - Smooth-barked Apple Angophora costata

Simone Woodman, tree officer

I started at Council in 1991 as a bushland regenerator. I’ve left and come back since then, but I always loved the enormous Moreton Bay fig tree up the hill from the south-eastern side of Trumper Oval in Trumper Park. It’s at least 20 metres in height, and the canopy is about 40 metres across. When you stand at the base of the tree and look up at the enormous limbs and twisted trunk, the tree looks almost like a reptile snaking upwards. A local resident even wrote a book about it called The Riddle of the Trumpalar. It might be as old as European settlement, but the only way to be sure would be to chop it down and we’re certainly not going to do that!

Fig tree in Trumper Park
The fig tree in Trumper Park could be over 200 years old

Nick Bornholt, arborist

My favourite tree is a blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) in Harbourview Park in Woollahra (which doesn’t actually have a view of the harbour). There’s a stand of three of them, and they’re all great. The one I’m thinking of is still pretty young, about 25 or 30 years old, but you can tell it’s going to be a monster. It’s already 30 metres tall and it’s got a nice structure and good form. It’s a reminder of what a tree is supposed to look like in an urban environment where so many trees are shaped to meet our expectations.

Trees in Harbourview Park
Harbourview Park

Alexia Hill, coordinator trees and maintenance

I’m really excited about all the new street tree plantings we have done recently. The quality of the trees and planting has been fantastic.

We’ve been working hard and it’s great to see the new trees as I drive around the different suburbs. We’ve been busy replanting any vacant planting pits and looking for new opportunities to expand our canopy coverage.

My favourite new trees are leopard trees (Caesalpinia ferrea), which have a beautiful light shady canopy and spectacular spotted bark as they age, as well as yellow flowers in summer. It’s not a tree that you see every day but we have some wonderful examples in Paddington and Double Bay. I am trying to increase its use so everyone becomes a little more familiar with it. It’s too good not to share.