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.
There is also a nearby pavilion for staging private functions.
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
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.
These trees are among the oldest at the arboretum. Visitors can sit beneath the majestic limbs and enjoy a typical Aussie picnic.
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.
Located 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.