National Arboretum

12 Jun

On a Sunday afternoon in May, a handful of Canberra‘s Twitter population meet for the (almost) monthly #cbrtweetup (which can be roughly translated as Canberra Twitter meet up). There’s not much better than being able to catch up with friends with a beautiful view as a backdrop, so we descend on the National Arboretum.

We could just sit inside the beautiful building and admire the views and the stunning architecture (it’s worth going just for that) and avoid the biting wind. But we don’t. Of course we don’t. We head outside onto the viewing deck, and check out what will soon be a playground (do you ever see things like playground equipment and genuinely wish you were still a child? This new equipment evokes exactly that feeling). Resident magpies wonder what we might be doing.




It’s easy to see how the National Arboretum is – or at least soon should be – a great place for bird watchers.

But some of us have been watching the magpies too intently! I catch up with the group who begin to move around the front of the building…


013… to enjoy the enormous amphitheatre.

Big blues skies yawn above us

Big blues skies yawn above us

Heading towards the Margaret Whitlam pavilion

Heading towards the Margaret Whitlam pavilion; check out those purple-bottomed clouds, not unlike those I love to see from Mt Painter


Not sure the view from the National Arboretum could possibly get any bigger or bluer

We stop at the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion (that pointy building you see from the road), and it’s its own piece of artwork. Check out the door!



It’s a little similar to a baby enjoying the wrapping of a present more than the present itself: we marvel at the architecture and another gorgeous view before we’re distracted by and begin enjoying the reflection of Canberra in the glass of the front of the building – and the reflection of ourselves!

Here's a photo of us taking a photo of ourselves in the reflection...

Here’s a photo of us taking a photo of ourselves in the reflection… thanks to Alison for this photo

And our reflection...

And our reflection…

We can’t go to the National Arboretum without expending some energy to get an even better vista from Dairy Farmers Hill. There appears to be no path yet, so we trek where we reasonably expect the path to eventually be. It’s a steep but manageable stroll (and at least it’s short!). There’s a great eagle nest sculpture at the top, but I’m too busy talking and admiring the views to take a picture. You’ll have to go for yourself!

Looking west from Dairy Famrers Hill - these folk below are trying to fly kites... good luck

Looking west from Dairy Farmers Hill – these folk below are trying to fly kites… good luck

And looking back to Civic

And looking back to Civic – Margaret Whitlam Pavilion in the centre of the shot

Two of the nicest tweeps you'll ever meet - Hilary and Alison

Two of the nicest tweeps you’ll ever meet – Hilary and Alison

It’s still a bit windy and cool (okay, freezing), so we begin to make our way down the road. Again, there’s a need to exercise caution because a suitable way to descend hasn’t yet been built, and because cars come around the corner quickly.

But if there was a suitable way, maybe I wouldn’t get my favourite photo of the entire day:

080It’s easy to see why you could spend hours enjoying and exploring the Arboretum – and it will be truly fascinating to watch it grow, in every sense.

Date: Sunday, 2 June

Cost: Free (plus parking… parking is not free; it’s also difficult/impossible to get a bus to the Arboretum – at least on Sundays)

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile – borderline highly worthwhile

Want more? Try here. The National Arboretum also has a Twitter account. There’s SO much more to do at the National Arboretum than our short Sunday trip (bonsai collection, anyone?) – truly, check it out.


3 Responses to “National Arboretum”

  1. hilarywardhaughphotographyHilary June 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    I reckon you’re right, Tara! Was a lovely afternoon, though breezy! It is very photogenic! It was lovely to meet you too!! Looking forward to the next one!

  2. Bells June 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    I was a great outing and so nice to meet you at last. I’m a big fan of this place and will watch its development with joy.


  1. Canberra Centenary year in review | In The Taratory - December 21, 2013

    […] National Arboretum opened to a great deal of fanfare and deservedly so – the views are sweeping and what it […]

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