Dairy Farm Nature Park

Last Updated on 4 May 2024

Picture this: a bunch of Fresian cows basking under the tropical sun, munching on grass in the backyard of Bukit Timah. Sounds wild, right? Well, once upon a time, this was the real deal – a legit dairy farm with actual milk cows, right where Dairy Farm Nature Park now stands.

Today, all that’s left as a hint of those cow days is the park’s name and the road next to it. The area is now a hotspot for hiking and biking, with trails cutting through thick jungle leading to the summit of Bukit Timah Hill or to the Singapore Quarry.

You’ve got parking covered too, with options at car parks A and B. Parking is charged by the minute at $0.60 per 1/2 hour. Early birds score free parking from 6.30am to 8.30am.

The tarred paths and packed gravel trails that lead to Singapore Quarry are smooth sailing – perfect for runners, walkers, and even the not-so-sure-footed. Bikers have their own dedicated trail.

On a magical morning when the sun’s rays pierce through the woods, we are able to enjoy nature’s artwork in its various shapes and forms.

And keep an eye out for the locals – the sociable Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) often come out for walks in the park with their young ‘uns in tow.

Listen out for the chatterbox of the forest – the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus), sporting his distinctive twin racket tails wherever he flits about.

But remember, while straining your necks to look for the resident birds, watch your step too – you don’t want to stumble upon any surprise snake encounters!

Singapore Quarry boasts a rustic wetland vibe and a wealth of captivating flora and fauna, making it a magnet for nature enthusiasts.

Visitors often find joy in observing the antics of the vibrant koi fish and playful catfish from the comfort of the viewing platform.

Meanwhile, monitor lizards patrol the waters, eyeing up their next meal.

Occasionally, the celebrity Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) steals the spotlight with its dazzling attire, featuring a striking orange suit, a royal blue cape, and vibrant red footwear.

With luck, we might even catch a glimpse of the visiting migrant Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), who loves to hang out in the quarries and hunt for fish. His long snake-like neck and pointy bill are well-designed for spearing fish, which he does while submerged under water.

Other resident birds we are likely to spot here include the many species of bulbuls, such as the Olive-winged Bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus)

…and the critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus).

Dragonflies also reign supreme, with the Scarlet Skimmer (Orthetrum testaceum) being a frequent visitor, easily recognisable by its vivid red abdomen.

When making your way back to the carpark from Singapore Quarry, keep an eye out for the Dairy Farm Pass sign. This little blue marker will guide you to the Dairy Farm Quarry.

Yes, you heard right – two quarries in one nature park! And if that’s not enough quarry action for you, swing by Hindhede Nature Park to check out Hindhede Quarry.

While most of Singapore’s quarries were left as craters and became water-filled pools over time, Dairy Farm Quarry was filled with earth, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the quarry wall. No wonder it’s a hotspot for rock climbers!

The grassy field surrounding the quarry is a favorite hangout for some of our fine feathered friends, like the Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)

…and the Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis).

As for the lush forest surrounding the quarry, it’s the wild boars’ playground! We had the pleasure of encountering the wild boars (Sus scrofa) one morning during our visit and respectfully made our exit, giving them the space they deserve.

On the eastern side of Dairy Farm Nature Park lies the Wallace Trail, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, a key figure in evolutionary theory. It’s a short but scenic forest hike where you can immerse yourself in rustic surroundings.

The trail takes you up and down stairs through dense forest vegetation, with occasional encounters with Wallace’s favorite fruit – the durian! Keep an eye out for durian trees (look for leaves with golden undersides) and practice your dodging skills just in case one decides to drop!

This area used to be a kampong, and you can still spot old ruins slowly being reclaimed by nature.

During fig fruiting season, you’ll spot many small round green fruits bursting from the tree trunks in clusters along the Wallace Trail. Surprisingly, Singapore boasts 48 species of native figs! Along this trail, you’ll encounter four common species: the Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina), Malayan Banyan Fig (Ficus microcarpa), Common Yellow-stem Fig (Ficus fistulosa) and Common Red-stem Fig (Ficus varigata).

When the Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) trees start fruiting, it’s like the dinner bell for fig-loving birds. Fig-loving birds flock to this spot to feast on the fruits, while bird-loving enthusiasts like us flock here to catch glimpses of these avian diners, including the Thick-billed Green Pigeon (Treron curvirostra), who has a cultivated taste for this particular type of fig.

Adjacent to the Wallace Centre, you’ll find a cluster of Pink Lime-Berry Trees (Clausena excavata), also known as the False Curry Leaf Tree due to its resemblance to the Curry Leaf Tree. These trees are a magnet for birds attracted to their delicious fruits. Click here to find out who are the culprits popping these plump pink berries.

When the White Mulberry (Morus alba) trees along Wallace Trail are fruiting, many birds will also hang around and help themselves to the juicy fruits. For that reason, the tree is affectionately known among birders as the “Magic Mulberry tree”. White mulberry-loving birds that we have spotted here include the leafbirds, bulbuls, bluebirds, flowerpeckers, and many more. Want to know more about the White Mulburry? Head over to the Magic Mulberry page, where you will also get to see which are the birds we have caught feasting on these fascinating fruits.

During the winter migratory season, we keep our eyes peeled for birds flying south for their winter getaway. Among them, the Dark-sided Flycatcher (Muscicapa sibirica) is a regular visitor, who has a favourite hunting perch from which he swoops for insects before returning to the same spot.

Other flycatchers who have their own favourite perches include the Green-backed Flycatcher (Ficedula elisae)

…and the Ferruginous Flycatcher (Muscicapa ferruginea).

A less common sight is the Orange-headed Thrush (Geokichla citrina), often found foraging on the forest floor in the park’s darkest corners, making it a challenge to spot.

Another rare winter guest, the Oriental Scops Owl (Otus sunia)¬†seemed to fancy the accommodations at Dairy Farm Nature Park, returning to the same bed-and-breakfast each year for its winter break. Sadly, it hasn’t made an appearance in recent years.