National Arboretum Canberra

Nest III by Richard Moffatt

Nest III by Richard Moffatt

At the start of our visit we drove to the top of Dairy Farmers Hill where Richard Moffatt’s Nest III overlooks the wide view. Just the spot an eagle would choose! The Village Centre can be seen on the left, but the other building, the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion is obscured by the metal nest. If you look closely you can see that the sculpture is made from found metal objects, mostly abandoned farming equipment.

views over Lake Burley Griffen and Canberra

views over Lake Burley Griffin and Canberra

The Molonglo River was dammed to form Lake Burley Griffin, the watery heart of our National Capital. The Scrivener dam is just below the arboretum, so from these hills there are wonderful views over the whole of the lake and almost all of Canberra’s significant buildings. Molonglo is thought to come from an aboriginal word meaning ‘like the sound of thunder’ so it is just a little sad to see a placid lake where once the water thundered joyfully!

looking south to Woden

looking south to Woden Valley

Autumn colours are starting to shine through the evergreens around Canberra! The day before this visit I had lunch with a friend in Duffy, just to the west of the Woden Valley. After lunch I drove past the arboretum in blazing sunshine, where the young Royal Couple, William and Kate were busy planting an English Oak. It was quite a change to see it cold and cloudy the next day.

Next we visited the Wide Brown Land sculpture, and the Himalayan Cedar forest, which is fairly advanced. Most of the other planting is recent, taking place after the devastating bushfires of 2001 and 2003 cleared the area of an existing Radiata Pine plantation. Duffy, quite close to the arboretum lost about 200 houses in the 2003 bushfire.

Himalayan Cedars

Himalayan Cedars

signage and boy

signage and boy

The Village Centre is a modern timber construction, making use of local stone to create a sense of space, light and solidity. Interactive displays were well used, especially this microscope and samples easily understood by children. Adults might have had more difficulty!

The Village Centre and Sprout Cafe

The Village Centre and Sprout Cafe

retaining wall, Village Centre

retaining wall, Village Centre

A rather wonderful Bonsai and Penjing collection is housed adjacent to the Centre, but I will share those images in a separate post. Let’s finish with some serious somersaulting!

There was nothing worse than a muddy knee and a bleeding nose after twenty minutes of this fun. She said “I tried to stop but the ground came up and rolled around me!”


28 thoughts on “National Arboretum Canberra

  1. Oh the vividness of a child’s perception and language! What place to spend a day with grandchildren. I’ve never visited the Arboretum, in all my trips to Canberra. You’ve put it on my list of things to do when I return from Eastern Europe.

  2. Rotten ground. You can’t trust it for a minute. πŸ˜€ What a beautiful place. Do you think it will better withstand bushfires now, with all the new plantings, or will fire always be a problem?

  3. Once again I love the way the children are thoroughly enjoying the place: doing and enjoying what kids do! I was last in Canberra in 2004 ,when she was still recovering from the fires, and I was a convention centre out past Mt Stromlo.
    So happy to know that “she” has recovered. The arboretum remains on my “to see” list

  4. Christine, it’s fun to see your fall colors at the arboretum as we in the northern hemisphere are just going into summer. That looks like a beautiful place. I love that metal found-objects sculpture. And it looks like the children had a fine time. Lovely post. πŸ™‚

  5. What a lovely post. I didn’t know about these places in Canberra, so am adding to my list for when my Mum is next here πŸ˜ƒ We played golf at Royal Canberra, which is also an arboretum – really beautiful old trees there. Love your granddaughter’s somersaulting perspective, haha.

    • You could easily spend three days in Canberra enjoying the benefits of Federal funding .. πŸ™‚ … and yes, children still have an understanding that life is not just the way we think it is!

  6. sounds like an enjoyable outing in a beautiful place.
    the ground came up and rolled around me! what a great description. except for the bleeding nose, the somersaulting sounds like it was lots of fun.

  7. It looks like a really nice place to visit. I always like places where I can learn things.

    Was it hard to leave the eagle’s nest? Looks like it was a wrench!

  8. Ah, the Himalayan Cedars! And, I love the way the trees are being replanted after the fire. The yellow among them tells me it’s fall there. I have a hard time imagining cool weather in Australia for some reason. My child’s fixed and mixed-up geography, I guess. πŸ™‚ The children are beautiful and I loved seeing them frolicking and enjoying all of the features of the place. A lovely project there! πŸ™‚

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