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New trails open at the National Arboretum

By Lisa Martin - 12 November 2015 11

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The National Arboretum has a new attraction for visitors with a series of recreational trails opening earlier this month.

The new trails extend throughout the arboretum grounds spanning out from the Village Centre and are perfect for a weekend or after work walk.

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The arboretum features more than 44,000 trees from across Australia and the world, with some of the forests nearly 100 years old.

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I tested out the new trails on the weekend, starting at the Wide Brown Land sculpture. There’s a road up to the sculpture and plenty of parking. The sculpture itself is worth a look – the words derived from Dorothea Mackellar’s famous poem ‘My Country’.

From here, you can take the Himalayan Cedar trail. The walk officially starts from the Pod Playground, but as I was planning to do all the trails that morning, I decided to start there.

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If you start from the Pod Playground this trail is 2.2km return.

From the Wide Brown Land sculpture, you start on a winding trail that leads to a picnic area and viewpoint. Then you start heading downhill on a dirt trail, making your way through towering trees.

This was a good relaxing walk through the cedar forest with only a few hilly sections. This forest was planted between 1917 and 1930. You can continue on through the cedar forest onto the cork oak trail. The cork oaks were planted in 1917 and 1920 by acorns provided by Canberra’s designer, Walter Burley Griffin.

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Back up at the Wide Brown Land carpark, I continued down to the Village Centre and the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP) trail, which leads to a community garden created as an educational resource.

Dairy Farmer’s Hill was the highlight of my visit to the arboretum. The path up is a gently sloping winding dirt trail passing a combination of rare, endangered and colourful tress such as the purple leaved smokebush (a plant I’ve never seen before) and Turkish pines.

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The signage says it’s a 2km walk up but there are various paths up and some appear longer than others. The path I took was about a 15 minute walk up from the Village Centre.

The panoramic view up the top is spectacular with 360 degrees views of Canberra from Black Mountain, part of the lake, Parliament House, Woden, Tuggeranong and over to the mountains and nearby farmland. This is the best view I’ve found of the Canberra centre so far because you get to see so much of the city.

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It’s a great set up at the top of the hill with the trees, timber benches and grassed areas perfect to sit and take in the view.

There were a lot of people up here – many having a picnic while soaking up some sunshine.

I wish I’d discovered this viewpoint sooner – if you only do one of the new trails, do this one.

The suggested timings of the walks are generous to cater for all abilities and would be good for a family outing or a nice spot for a picnic if you don’t want to stray far from the city centre. I did all the trails in about an hour and a half.

Some of the paths are quite exposed so bring a hat and slap on some sunscreen before you head out as the weather heats up.

If you’re heading to the arboretum with children, make sure you pay a visit to the Pod Playground. It made me wish I was a kid again!

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Parking is available throughout the arboretum. If you park at the Village Centre, it’s pay parking for $2 an hour from 9am to 5pm. Parking is free up at the Wide Brown Land sculpture.

The grounds are open from 6am to 8.30pm seven days a week during Daylight Savings Time.

 

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
New trails open at the National Arboretum
1
Acton 8:16 am
12 Nov 15
#

2
Manana 4:03 pm
12 Nov 15
#

Great write up and really glad you enjoyed them Lisa. I was really proud to have developed the Trails Concept Plan and design for the Arboretum and am really happy with the way the team from Makin Trax finessed the design and built them. I hope that this first stage is just a taster of the full potential of this fantastic facility.

It’s wonderful to see more people getting out of their cars and walking and cycling through the forests and I, for one, am looking forwards to seeing the development of the active user trails over the next few years that will take people to the further flung places (like the Silk Floss Trees).

Anthony

Anthony Burton & Associates

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3
dungfungus 5:50 pm
12 Nov 15
#

Manana said :

Great write up and really glad you enjoyed them Lisa. I was really proud to have developed the Trails Concept Plan and design for the Arboretum and am really happy with the way the team from Makin Trax finessed the design and built them. I hope that this first stage is just a taster of the full potential of this fantastic facility.

It’s wonderful to see more people getting out of their cars and walking and cycling through the forests and I, for one, am looking forwards to seeing the development of the active user trails over the next few years that will take people to the further flung places (like the Silk Floss Trees).

Anthony

Anthony Burton & Associates

“perfect for a weekend or after work walk” appears in the OP.
That’s impossible if the track is to be shared with bikes as Manana states.
So, what’s the real situation? More taxpayer funded bike tracks?

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4
rosscoact 6:07 pm
12 Nov 15
#

I always take visitors to the Arboretum and they are invariably blown away, what a glorious asset it is for the city. I’ve take a couple of the trails informally and now they’re open proper, off on the weekend weather permitting.

well done to all involved. Is there plans to do more?

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5
Maya123 6:45 am
13 Nov 15
#

I would like to see some car parking in the lower areas, so that visitors wanting to walk or cycle the lower areas don’t need to go up and down that steep hill.

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6
Ezy 8:43 am
13 Nov 15
#

Maya123 said :

I would like to see some car parking in the lower areas, so that visitors wanting to walk or cycle the lower areas don’t need to go up and down that steep hill.

There is a larger car park down at the rock garden just outside of the arboretum down on Barrenjoey Drive. While you are there, water the rocks to make sure they keep growing.

Nice work on getting the trails up Anthony! You and your team have done a great job. I am yet to ride the trails, hopefully on the way to work one morning. No doubt MakinTrax have done a great job.

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7
rubaiyat 1:25 pm
13 Nov 15
#

To encourage more typical Canberrans to enjoy what you have to offer may I suggest a marketing change of the name to:

“The National Car Park & Arboretum”.

As with everywhere in Canberra, it is the expanse of delightful rough as guts car parking that hits the eye before anything else.

Once you get past that the Arboretum and its spectacular views are indeed a delight.

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8
dungfungus 3:27 pm
13 Nov 15
#

rubaiyat said :

To encourage more typical Canberrans to enjoy what you have to offer may I suggest a marketing change of the name to:

“The National Car Park & Arboretum”.

As with everywhere in Canberra, it is the expanse of delightful rough as guts car parking that hits the eye before anything else.

Once you get past that the Arboretum and its spectacular views are indeed a delight.

I am writing a novel, set in contemporary Canberra called “Revenge of The Cars”……………….

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9
Dreadnaught1905 11:40 pm
13 Nov 15
#

rubaiyat said :

To encourage more typical Canberrans to enjoy what you have to offer may I suggest a marketing change of the name to:

“The National Car Park and Arboretum”.

As with everywhere in Canberra, it is the expanse of delightful rough as guts car parking that hits the eye before anything else.

Once you get past that the Arboretum and its spectacular views are indeed a delight.

Nah, it’ll be ok we’ll just pop a station from Arthur’s giant chair lift up at the arboretum. Then we won’t ever need a car park there!

(for those who missed what I am assuming was a satirical post from a few months ago, link is below)

http://the-riotact.com/how-should-we-select-a-modern-transport-system-for-canberra/148851

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10
dungfungus 5:03 pm
14 Nov 15
#

rubaiyat said :

To encourage more typical Canberrans to enjoy what you have to offer may I suggest a marketing change of the name to:

“The National Car Park & Arboretum”.

As with everywhere in Canberra, it is the expanse of delightful rough as guts car parking that hits the eye before anything else.

Once you get past that the Arboretum and its spectacular views are indeed a delight.

What describes a typical Canberran, Rube?
(think carefully about your response or you might score another own goal)

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11
123Bobb123 10:06 pm
27 Nov 15
#

We love the arboretum and take visitors there and also take our grand daughter to the playground. Can anyone tell me if there are plans to add a whacking great deck on the front so we can enjoy coffee with a view in the outdoors for the appropriate part of the year it is possible? It strikes me as an absolutely ideal spot for a huge deck. Can someone tell me why oh why they kick everyone out at 4pm on a sunny summers evening? Surely not just to make a quid out of private functions at the expense of us taxpayers who (willingly) fund so much of it???

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