In what was formerly a cow paddock, there are now thousands of native plants. It has taken a lot of love and dedication by volunteers and local community groups over the past 40 years to get the park looking as beautiful as it does.
Originally, the reserve had only large Eucalypt trees growing on it. There is now a wonderful mix of Eucalypts, Acacias, Hakeas and other trees; bushy Grevilleas, Eremophilas, Correas, Callistemons, Wattles and Banksias with ground-covering Hibbertias, Kennedias and Scaevolas. I challenge you to count them - Nangawooka has more than 2,000 native plants!
The first plantings were in 1983. The northern end of the garden is filled with a range of native species from Western Australia, the centre is a general mix of Australian natives and the southern end of the garden is where you'll find flora that are specific to the Fleurieu Peninsula. Most of the plants in the park have nameplates on them and most will flower at some stage during the year. The peak of flowering is early spring but there's a pretty display of natives from mid-winter to late summer.
The Reserve has well-defined winding pathways through the plantings which are very easily walked and are wheelchair/pram friendly. The scented garden area has paved pathways. There are bench seats dotted throughout the park, which are perfect to just sit and enjoy the surroundings for a while.
Birds flock to the garden - dozens of different birds species have been seen. There's a bird hide in the centre which has multi-layers of viewing holes so that you can watch the birds come in and drink from the pond. Bird and bat nesting boxes are within the reserve too. On any day, you're likely to easily see Pardalotes, Parrots, Blue Wrens and Honey Eaters among the plants. You might even spot a few lizards, insects and even an echidna or two! Snakes also live in the reserve, so watch where you step.
Nangawooka is maintained by The Friends of Nangawooka; a small but keen group of volunteers. Entry is free but a gold coin donation is always appreciated with funds going towards continued planting and labelling. The Friends of Nangawooka Flora Reserve hold a working bee every Monday from 9am to 11am, before they stop for a BYO cuppa and a chat. The group is always welcoming more volunteers. For more information, contact: 0419827166. The group also hold plant sales in Spring and Autumn at the Lutheran Hall. Check their Facebook page for the next sale date and time.
Nangawooka is a council public reserve and everyone is welcome to use it for individual or group activities and functions, such as weddings etc.
If you love wandering a beautiful garden, then you're going to love the Nangawooka Flora Reserve. The paths, toilet and bird hide are all wheelchair accessible and there's a gracious-looking rotunda at the northern end of the garden, which would be perfect for family gatherings. A tip - if you're hosting a gathering there, drive through the gate near the main entrance and continue up the road. There's a gate into the garden next to the rotunda - this will save you carrying your picnic baskets through the garden from the main carpark.
Nangawooka is open every day during daylight hours. Entry is free.