Tawau Hills Park

Tawau Hills Park

Named after the nearby cocoa producing town of Tawau, Tawau Hills Park is home to some of the tallest tropical trees in the world.

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Bordered by forest reserves, cocoa and palm oil plantations, Tawau Hills Park spans across an area of 27,972 hectares. The park was gazetted in 1979 to protect the water catchment resources for the town of Tawau as well as the Semporna peninsula. There are seven main rivers which flow through the park, forming breathtaking waterfalls and deep water pools, including the local favourite Table Waterfall. The park is covered mostly by dipterocarp forest which is being gradually replaced by thick damp mossy forest as the altitude increases. An abundance of interesting species of plants and wildlife can be found within the park's enclosure. Some of the wildlife that has been spotted includes macaques, tree squirrels, honey bears and civet cats.

One of the main attractions in Tawau Hills Park is the Bombalai Hill. Standing at 530 metres above sea level, it is part of a volcanic field in the North East of the island of Borneo. The hill is actually a low volcanic cone located north of Sebatik Island. It has an approximately 300 metre wide crater which can still be seen from the summit.

In recent years, the park's popularity has grown immensely after a group of American researchers discovered that some of the world's tallest tropical trees are thriving in the park itself. The Suraya Kuning Siput or Shorea Faguetiana Heim, standing at an amazing height of 88.32 metres is one of the tallest tropical trees found in the park. There are seven other trees, all measuring a good 80 metres or more, located nearby.

Other interesting sights include the Gelas Hill Waterfall and the Sulphur Springs. The hike to these places from the park's headquarters take approximately 3 hours. There is also the Lowland Gardens where a myriad of wild plants like wild ginger, herbs and orchids are bred for display purposes.

The Tawau Hills Park is located approximately 24 kilometres from the town of Tawau and is accessible by road. The road to the park is well marked by signboards indicating the way there.

Accommodation in the park is managed by a private company. There are chalets and lodges available for rent. Camping is permitted and there is a fee charged for the rental of camping grounds.