A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published September 3rd 2020
The family-owned Wallis Creek Watergarden is a place of serenity in the Hunter Valley, born from a barren 10-acre block almost 40 years ago. It's off-the-beaten track, surrounded in bushland, with one of the largest collections of water garden plants in Australia. You'll also find a range of other plants, including rare plants and those that bite, in this beautiful haven.
The water lilies and lotus flowers here come in a variety of colours and include types from temperate to tropical and night-flowering. As I arrived early, I had the best of both worlds with the night flowering plants still open and the temperate to tropical plants responding to the light of day.
A lovely walk around the gardens also saw me discovering giant hibiscuses, woodland plants, edible plants and fruits, a bottle tree forest and a rainforest, amongst ponds of native plants and carnivorous plants, decorative ponds and ornamental sculptures, a wooden bridge and a fountain.
New wonders are being introduced all the time and requests from customers have also been answered, like the Midnight Blue Scilla now available. In the winding wall garden, arrangements of bromeliads and foxgloves have been planted, whilst in the rainforest rock wall garden you'll find ferns and foliage plants amongst orchids. An interesting Irish strawberry tree produces bell-shaped blooms and red/orange warty spherical fruits, very different from Australian strawberries.
What a lovely calming place this is with lots of shade from trees and bench seats scattered about for when you need to take a breath or just want to sit and admire the charm of the place.
A nursery is available for you to purchase plants and related products, with experienced staff willing and able to assist you on plant selection and all aspects of water gardening. Alternatively, if you can't make it here, you can order plants online to be delivered. Information sheets for growing different types of plants can also be found on their website.
In warmer months, native rainbow fish are for sale. These are suitable for frog-friendly, native mosquito eating predators in outdoor ponds. But that's not all. The nursery also has a small gallery with works from local artists depicting gorgeous flowers and scenes.
Yes, it's a place not just for garden lovers but for painters, photographers, birdwatchers and frog enthusiasts, and they have studio accommodation should you wish to stay a night or two. Close to the vineyards, Wallis Creek Watergarden makes for a great weekend getaway. It's just streets away from the little village centre of Mulbring and a world away from the stress of city life. Entry is free (although donations are appreciated) and, prior to Coronavirus, the general opening days/hours were Fri-Tues, 9am-5pm (closed in July). Due to the pandemic, you will need to make an appointment to visit. This situation is ever-changing and will likely become more flexible with spring upon us.