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Published March 20th 2019
Explore Canberra's magnificent Cork Oak Forest
Cork is one thing we don't often think about.
In fact, many of us really only think of cork when we open up a wine bottle. Or when we think of the corks dangling from the brims of the hats of jackaroos and swagmen.
But where does cork actually come from?
Well, it comes from a tree, of course! From the cork oak tree, or to use its scientific name, Quercus suber. And you can find a magnificent forest of cork oaks right here in Canberra, at the National Arboretum.
Canberra has a special history with the cork oak. The Cork Oak Plantation at the National Arboretum was first planted in 1917. Walter Burley Griffin saw the potential of cork oaks in Canberra's dry climate and so in 1916, he sent a supply of acorns that he had sourced from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne to Yarralumla Nursery for trial by Charles Weston. The acorns were planted in the site where the forest now stands.
Over the years, the cork oak trees have been harvested or 'stripped' of their cork and used commercially not only as bottle stoppers but also as heels in shoes, cork tiles and stage gaskets in internal combustion engines.
The Cork Oak Plantation also managed to survive the devastating Canberra bushfires of 2003 because the bark of cork oaks is actually fire-retardant.
The Cork Oak Plantation at the National Arboretum is a perfect spot for walks, picnics, or to sit under the trees and meditate and breathe in the forest air and practice what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku (forest bathing).
For more information on the Cork Oak Plantation at the National Arboretum, please go here.
The Cork Oak Plantation is located at Forest Drive, off the Tuggeranong Parkway at Weston Creek. Once you enter the Arboretum, just follow the sign to the Cork Oak Forest.
Open from 6am to 8:30pm seven days a week during Daylight Savings Time and from 7am to 5:30pm seven days a week during Eastern Standard Time (Non-daylight Savings Time).