With the regulations easing from this past weekend in Brisbane, it is only natural that everyone will be tentatively opening that front door and peeking out. It is still a little frightening for all of us to venture out in complete confidence but we can do so when we take sensible steps and do so with all the regulations in place.
And the best way to do so is to organise a picnic with a few close friends or family members to well-known picnic spots in Brisbane and we are the luckiest people as Brisbane is full of the most beautiful venues by the river, think New Farm, West End, Victoria Park and so many more.
However today I am going to talk about two venues which offer so much more. Mount Coot Ha and Sherwood Arboretum. The Botanical Gardens at Mount Coot - Ha are magical, with changing scenery depending on when you visit. This is not a particularly colourful time but what makes it remarkable are the autumn days, the amazing skies and the sheer beauty of those plants against the backdrop of blue.
You can wander down to the lake or lagoon and pick your picnic spot before taking the path into the rainforest section and the Japanese garden. The bonsai house will amaze you and the dome will have you admiring the epiphytes and climbers.
Then take a walk in the entirely new section, which was built as the road works for the Legacy Tunnel were being completed, and admire how much the plants have grown into the hillside and the landscape.
One of the fig trees
There is a lot to take in before finally taking a break and digging into your picnic from interpretive walks to reading the signage to admiring the plants themselves.
The second place I am going to take you to is the Sherwood Arboretum. There are some works going on at the moment, so the car park is a little reduced but there is parking on the road. On a weekday, there should also be plenty of space. It's a lovely place for a picnic, a short walk from the car, playgrounds and facilities nearby.
This is a smaller Arboretum than the gardens but what is significant about this place is that it is steeped in history and you can literally absorb it as you walk down the long and majestic row of Queensland Kauri Pines, which were all planted by citizens of this city as it was growing. The Arboretum dates back to 1925. On the day it was opened, 72 Kauris were planted by prominent citizens and officers and their names are displayed on the trees.
The Arboretum concentrated on many Australian native trees, so it is a wonderful place to have a good understanding of them. Just off to the left of the main avenue are a couple of shady playgrounds. If you continue straight, you come to the river's edge. Right will take you round to the lagoon and the wetlands where you will be able to see moorhens and ducks, dragonflies and butterflies.
I loved looking at the names of all the trees some of which were new to me. The Bayur tree with is broad two-toned leaves from Asia. The Leichhardt Tree - I knew of the man but not of the tree. The Burdekin Plum and the Baobab hiding a discreet bench behind its fat lower trunk and the impressive Hills Weeping Figs, which extend outwards in so many directions, that some of them have supports.
Visiting both these places will offer you so much more than a park, a lesson in Queensland Natives, an insight into history, an appreciation of different types of plants and trees as well as being great for walks and entertaining the family members.