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Review: Australia’s National Arboretum

P1010607The National Arboretum Canberra, is one of Australia’s newest attractions.

Stretching across 250 hectares at Weston Creek on the outskirts of Canberra, the National Arboretum is home to 94 forests and more than 48,000 trees, from 100 or more countries.

What’s to see?

An initiative of the Australian Capital Territory Government, the arboretum spans out around an attractive ‘Village Centre’.

The centre features huge skylights and panoramic views over Australia’s bushland national capital.

Visitors enter through an attractive tunnel-like entrance to find a restaurant, shop and viewing decks on most sides.P1010580

There is also a nearby pavilion for staging private functions.

Eye-catching sculptures

Set high on Dairy Farmers Hill is a striking sculpture of an eagle on its nest. ‘Nest 111’ is proving a hit with arboretum visitors.

On another hillside, in large letters, stand the words ‘Wide Brown Land’, taken from the famous Australian poem, ‘My Country’, by Dorothea Mackellar.

Forests writ small

P1010600Don’t miss the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, which includes some of the world’s finest miniature trees and forests.

This collection is located adjacent to the ‘Village Centre’.

The hills are alive

Another popular attraction is a large U-shaped amphitheatre, which increasingly is being used for concerts and performances.

The amphitheatre is fully grassed.

Himalayan Cedars

These trees are among the oldest at the arboretum. Visitors can sit beneath the majestic limbs and enjoy a typical Aussie picnic.

Pod Playground

P1010599In keeping with its natural surroundings, the children’s playground at the National Arboretum features giant acorn-shaped climbing structures; ‘nest’ swings and other fun experiences.


Self-guided walks of the arboretum’s highlights take about one hour.

Alternatively,  free-of-charge guided tours are held throughout the day, leaving the ‘Village Centre’ about every half-an-hour.

Opening hours

P1010604Located on Forest Drive, off the Tuggeranong Parkway, Weston Creek, the arboretum grounds are open from 6am – 8.30pm each day in summertime (Australia’s daylight saving period) and from 7am – 5.30pm in winter.

The ‘Village Centre’ and the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection are open daily from 9 am until 4 pm Monday to Sunday, except on Christmas Day.

The National Arboretum Canberra is free to visit, but there is a charge for using the main car park alongside the ‘Village Centre’.

Getting to Canberra

Australia’s national capital is located 285 kilometres or 177 miles from Sydney via the Hume Highway and Federal Highway. The journey takes about three hours. See Google Maps.

Our friends at VisitCanberra say the city is serviced by major domestic airlines, as well as international carriers, Qantas and Virgin Australia.

A flight from Sydney usually takes about 48 minutes and there is an express bus service to and from Canberra Airport.




About Ian Roberts (266 Articles)
Ian Roberts is a veteran Australian journalist, PR man and writer/reviewer on accommodation and travel. Over many decades, Ian has travelled widely reporting and recording his experiences. His newsy columns - including Memorable Destination - have gained a big following among people seeking suggestions and objective information about accommodation, travel and destinations world-wide. Along with wife, Sue and her camera, Ian has taken up a particular challenge to help budget conscious seniors 50 and upward with travel and accommodation ideas - including suggestions for holding family reunions. Readers in Ian's home city of Newcastle Australia may also be aware of his travel and accommodation column in a local newspaper.

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