A freelance writer who loves photographing the beauty of nature, travelling, writing, swimming, and singing
Published May 22nd 2016
Wildflowers and wallabies chase your worries away
Drive into these bushy surrounds and the peacefulness sweeps over you. The Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden was established by Ku-ring-gai Council as a Public Garden for the study and preservation of native Australian flora and fauna in 1968.
The 123 ha of bushland that makes up the wildflower garden has remained Crown land and is a tranquil escape from the noise and rush of city life. Discreetly positioned just off Mona Vale Road in St. Ives, Sydney, you're only a 30-40 minute drive north of the CBD.
Car parking and entrance is free. Tracks and trails range from step-free, wheel-chair accessible, to the steeper, rocky challenging explorations. During the warmer months you may spot green tree frogs and a variety of birdlife. Swamp wallabies are regular visitors.
Highly qualified rangers, caretakers of the ecosystems, are kept busy with school groups and seniors visits. Bush birthday parties can be organised with ranger-led close-up encounters with some of the friendly wildlife, such as the wallabies. Craft sessions using natural bush materials to create works of art are also available. The Visitor Information Centre and Gift Shop can help you with trail information, gift ideas, and organising groups.
Lamberts Clearing, right next to the lower carpark, has a covered picnic area, and the swamp wallabies like to hang out here, nibbling on the grass. This wide green space is level and safe for children and seniors. Free gas barbeques, a playground, and accessible toilets make this a wonderful venue for a family gathering, especially on a winter's afternoon, when the sun streams down. You may just want to curl up next to one of the local lizards.
Close to the clearing is Fern House , which houses cycads, mossy ponds, and an array of ferns. And just a few metres further along the rock platform is Knoll Garden, an attractive bush garden maintained by the Australian Plants Society. Spicy scented leaves and native plants from all over Australia make this a scented trail for your senses.
Mueller Track For the more adventurous and fit, descend from the top carpark into the steep-sided valley below. Wear sturdy boots and bring a snack and water. You'll pass through forest filled with birdsong, Coachwood trees and Sydney Red gums, the Phantom Falls, rock pools and platforms, and find yourself in secluded spots perfect for a rest and a paddle to cool down.
Whipbird Gully Ku-ring-gai Creek and Tree Fern Gully Creek intersect here. Grass trees line the path, and cave-like hollows where sandstone cliffs overhang give much needed shade if you're doing this walk in the summer. The silence is only interrupted by the tiny bush birds coming down for a drink and splash. Linger long enough and you might spot some orange coloured yabbies that live here.
On the last Sunday in August each year, the Wildflower & Garden Festival celebrates the arrival of spring. Rare and beautiful native plants are available for purchase. Guided walks are held by plant enthusiasts, and informative displays of insects, frogs, insects are brought in from specialists groups.