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With picturesque vistas of the ocean and an impressive variety of Australian native plants in a bushland setting, you'll feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life at Illawarra Grevillea Park in Bulli.
Heading south from Sydney on the Princes Highway, autumn is the time to forsake that Bulli Pass and discover this garden's extensive collection of not only hundreds of species of grevillea but also other native species and hybrids, such as banksia, boronia, wattle, myrtle and various flowering shrubs.
Large display beds see hundreds of new plants, many rarely seen, now in flower. New paths have been built through the rainforest at the back allowing you to better explore the plants and appreciate the views.
A chapel in the park serves light refreshments and is surrounded by picnic benches and seating. It's a great place to take a breath and relax, admiring the views. A barbecue is nearby as are toilets. You'll also find a large range of native plants available for sale and an extensive variety of books and cards too.
The chapel used to be available for weddings but unfortunately is no longer due to the disrespect of some people in the park leaving rubbish, double booking dates and not paying. These autumn open days, on the weekends of 5-6 May and 12-13 May, hope to educate the public in seeing and appreciating the uses of native plants. The future may see weddings again and, if so, the website will be updated to this effect.
The park was originally opened in September 1993 as an educational resource for the study of native plants by various groups and plant societies. This year it celebrates 25 years and has come a long way from its beginnings, whilst still retaining the education aspect as its priority. Be sure to pick up some advice on growing native plants as well and enjoy the fauna that now inhabits the park. Look out for echidnas, water dragons, bandicoots, blue tongue lizards and wallabies nearby.
Watch out for the camouflaged echidnas
There's also plenty of birdwatching and spotting of ducks, ibis, cockatoos, a peregrine falcon, laughing kookaburras, rainbow lorikeet and other parrots, fairy wrens, whistlers, honeyeaters, fantails, robins, currawongs and many more.
Simply walking through the gates of the park invokes a feeling of getting back to nature. Feel the stress of city life dissipate and do as little or as much walking as you like here. Suitable footwear is required. Most areas are wheelchair and pram friendly.
The park (open 10am-4pm) is located off the highway at the end of Grevillea Park Road, behind Bulli Showground. There's parking for those driving and, if coming by train, it's a short walk from Bulli station. A map will be provided on entry for you to get the best out of your visit. A small entry fee of $5 for adults (accompanying children free) goes towards maintaining the park and allowing it to continue to thrive.
For further information, visit the park's website.