There are roses of all different colours that fill the air with a wonderful floral aroma at the Willunga Rose Garden. In fact, there are approximately 700 rose bushes planted in the beautifully landscaped garden complete with timber arbours, park benches, gravel tracks, and slate pathways.
At first glance it seems the garden is simply a nice place to sit and smell the roses for a while, and that it is. On closer inspection, however, it is apparent that the garden serves another purpose. The paths and archways are not simply decorative, but strategic. The rose garden is a maze.
It is not a large maze, nor a particularly difficult one (it may take a few tries to make it to the centre without cheating though). Signs indicate a solution to the maze should you get stuck and also the "rules", which basically involve staying on the paths, not walking under any arbours or between fence rails, and especially no short cuts through the rose beds.
Once you have completed the maze and enjoyed some time in the rose garden, there is more to do as it is set amid a sizeable recreation area that marks the entrance of the Willunga to McLaren Vale Linear Park.
There is a spacious grassed area perfect to run around, kick a ball, or even partake in a game of bocce as a family were doing during one of my visits. There is also a skate park, bike jump track, and a playground for children with slides, seesaw, swings, and all kinds of fun things.
The park makes a nice setting for a picnic and it is equipped with ample onsite parking, park benches, rubbish bins, and an undercover area with electric barbecues. There are public toilets, but they are currently closed for maintenance due to vandalism.
It is generally thought that the name Willunga is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "place of green trees". The park certainly illustrates this with enormous old gum trees that provide shade, shelter, and a home for the local bird-life.
There is an intriguing, perfectly formed circle of trees near an old water tower. The water tower is a relic from the days of the Willunga Railway and a few other remnants decorate the park. The railway operated as both a passenger and goods train from Adelaide to Willunga between 1915 and 1969. The track now makes up the Shiraz Trail and the adjoining Coast to Vines Rail Trail, which is popular for walking and cycling.
Willunga is a quaint and quiet township located about 50 kilometres south of Adelaide. It is easy to lose a day exploring Willunga. Not far from the rose garden on High Street are shops and cafes, including the Singing Cricket Food Co-op where you can stock up on organic wholefoods and The Green Room on High Street, which is an organic vegetarian cafe that serves all day breakfast, healthy lunch meals, and coffee and cake. The town comes to life on the weekends with the extremely popular Russell's Pizza on Friday and Saturday nights and the bustling Farmers' Market every Saturday morning.
The rose garden is situated on Aldinga Road next to Railway Terrace and the Willunga Recreation Park, which is host to a number of events throughout the year including the Almond Blossom Festival and the Fleurieu Folk Festival.
There seems to be lots of articles at the moment about Port Willunga - have any of the writers checked out the new Ozshacks that have arrived at Big4 Port Willunga Tourist Park? They are a unique funky type of accommodation that are essentially wooden tents so you still get all the fun of camping but without the hassle of pitching tents - they are so cool!! They are designed and made here in Adelaidewww.ozshacks.com.au