Peace Haven Botanic Park is heaven for lovers of gardens, trees, birds and family. Around 400 species of native trees and plants are a delightful feast for the eyes.
A leisurely stroll through the gardens in the fresh air is just what the weary traveller needs. There's something special about Australian native trees that reminds one of a childhood sans stress. Aromas exude from the eucalypts, birds wheel and call exuberantly and you'll see species of trees you've probably never seen before.
Themes organise the plantings of Peace Haven:
Kuhl Woodland - mature eucalypts Brachychiton Garden - eg kurrajongs, lacebark, bottle trees Dinosaur Garden - araucaria species, eg Wollemi pine Wildlife Garden - attracting bird and insect life Sclerophyll Woodland - dry sclerophyll woodland plants
Rainforest Area - regional species and other rainforest varieties Dry Rainforest Area - of the Darling Downs Exotic Deciduous Garden - exotic, flowering deciduous trees
Island Garden - native cultivar species
Wetland Area - native plants, eg casuarinas, melaleucas, grevilleas
Western Downs Garden - eg acacias, dry rainforest plants
She-Oak & Entrance Gardens - natives and exotics
Kuhl Dairy Garden - natives and exotics, mostly grevilleas
Kuhl Fence - eg native climbers, hibiscus, dianellas
Peace Compass - memorialising Stan Kuhl's vision for world peace
Wildlife is purported to frequent the park. Birds visible on my visit: rainbow lorikeets, little corellas, galahs, maned geese, Indian mynas, swallows and others including waterfowl.
A contemporary sculpture of Stan Kuhl welcomes the visitor. Giant frogs, ants and footpath friezes are some of the other artistic surprises. The Stump in Time is a tree poem dedicated to a blackbutt hardwood tree that is now only a massive, but well preserved, stump. Hewn down in 2005 for safety reasons, the stump's rings are marked for the years of its life, which began in 1780. The main events that occurred during its lifetime are outlined on a plaque. It was 70 metres tall, but don't despair of its demise, there are even older trees in the park.
The Stump in Time tree poem fascinates with its size and the history of its timeline.
Rotunda, Water Features, Lawns
With two expansive lawns and a unique play area, there are lots of family options to keep the kids happy while the gardeners drink in the Australian trees and shrubs. For me, the most fun thing in the playground would be the faux fossil of a T Rex 'buried' in the sand. A lake and jetty provide an opportunity to feed the waterfowl. Please feed in only small amounts, things like chopped lettuce, grapes cut in half, oats and soft peas or corn. Other water features dot the park. A rotunda overlooks a panoramic view towards the Bunya Mountains.
The rotunda provides a panoramic view towards the Bunya Mountains.
Stan Kuhl, a successful farmer of Highfields, donated 4.7 hectares plus $100,000 to provide a peaceful and beautiful place for the Highfields community. The Crows Nest Council developed the first stage of the parklands.
Colourful floral garden near the buildings at the entrance.
Enjoy a picnic lunch making use of the undercover gas barbeques, lawn and picnic tables. The toilets are near the Old Dairy. There is ample parking at the entrance and a rear entrance off Jack St. There will be no additional floral display for the Carnival of Flowers, but there is a floral garden near the buildings. Portions of land are still to be developed.
If you want to visit Peace Haven's nursery and perhaps buy some plants, the hours of operation are Thurs 9am -12:30pm and Sat 9am - 1pm.
Music in the Park
Coming up for the park is the Music in the Park festival. The first act on Sunday, 8 September 2019, is the Victoria Q Duo performing ballads and hard rock, spanning six decades of music. See the website for more upcoming acts and details.
Peace Haven Botanic Park is situated at 56 Kuhl's Road, Highfields, 15 mins from Toowoomba. A must-see for visitors to the Carnival of Flowers. It's Highfields' best kept secret.
Left to right: a fringed wattle and a flourishing, prehistoric Wollemi pine.