Wednesday 23 February

Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris)

Wednesday 23 February 2022: National Arboretum #2 – S/E. A Wander in the more southerly and central Arboretum CBC walk ~6 kms. Please park near the Zoo ready to walk by 8.30am and then we will walk through a small tunnel to the Arboretum. From there wander through the Forests to the southern border including the Callery Pears planted to remember 9/11, the Clanwilliam Cypresses planted in memory of the Australians who fought in the Boer War, past the Franklin Tree, no longer living in the wild and a host of other interesting Forests. Further on we will look at the Wollemi Tree and walk up to the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion and around the Amphitheatre to the 6 special Gardens. From there to the Visitors Centre —yes you can look at the Bonsai and have a coffee. We will complete this walk by going down the zigzag path and back to the tunnel . Along the way I will talk about some of these forests and you may understand why this Arboretum is a World First and a repository of many endangered, rare and some extinct forest species . Turn up on the day or email me if you wish, and please be prepared to wear masks in the VC and Bonsai areas.


Distance: 7.2km | Climb: 145m | Time: 2hrs 10mins moving time, plus 1hr 30mins of stops and breaks | Grading: S/E; E(5).


Photographs are available here.

gpx File

Download the gpx file recorded via AllTrails here (in AllTrails, activate …, Download Route, Select a file format, OK).

Track Notes

AllTrails trip report.

A second look at the National Arboretum, led by the fabulous Janet D.

Janet begins the tour

Some different areas this time, including the Gallery of Gardens, which I don’t think I’ve visited before.

There’s a great interactive resource at (as long as the wretched ACT Government IT people don’t change the URL, as they are very much wont to do!), as part of the National Arboretum web site at .

There’s an Arboretum map at .

We walked from the front of the National Zoo and Aquarium along its outer fence to a tunnel under the Tuggeranong Parkway, headed SW through various forests to near the power lines.

National Arboretum, southern forest

Then generally NE, past a sculpture …

National Arboretum sculpture

… and through more forests and the Wollemi Pines.

Male Wollemi Pine seed – got you this time

Under the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion …

Under the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion

… and up the beautifully green Amphitheatre

Walking up the Amphitheatre

… to the edge of the Village Centre. Here we were met by the Arboretum Director, who told us about several aspects of the operation of the Arboretum. A real bonus. We then strolled through the Gallery of Gardens.

Gallery of Gardens area

A lovely view down the avenue leading to the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion.

Entrance to Margaret Whitlam Pavilion

Then to the Discovery Gardens.

Cactus and Succulent Garden

And finally the Bonsai display.


Here I look my leave and walked back to the start, just in time for a rain shower.

It’s really worth a look through the photos or, better still, visit yourself!

Track Map

The best track map is available via AllTrails, where you can pan and zoom.

Here it is, too.

Track National Arboretum #2


Leader Janet D. 33 walkers.

Sunday 13 February

Sunday 13 February 2022: National Arboretum – M/M. A circuit of the Arboretum with good views and some hills. From Cork Forest we walk up the hill to Wide Brown Land sculpture with expansive views. From there follow the track to STEP, another forest designed and planted by botanists to show case the original vegetation before white settlement from the coast to inland about Orange/Tamworth area. From there we traverse many of the forests at the back of the Arboretum.and rarely visited. Climb the hill passing the pine forest and onto the southern area. We walk through forests that are now severely endangered or extinct in the wild eg. Franklin Tree. From there walk back towards the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion to view the Wollemi trees and onto Visitors Centre. After visiting the VC wander down the zigzag path and back to the Cork Forest.


Distance: 8.1km | Climb: 224m | Time: Starting 9.10am 2hrs 45mins moving time, plus 2hrs 15mins of stops and breaks | Grading: S/E-M; E(6).


Photographs are available here.

gpx File

Download the gpx file recorded via AllTrails here (in AllTrails, activate …, Download Route, Select a file format, OK).

Track Notes

AllTrails trip report.

“Suffer in your jocks” is a classic line from the 1997 Australian film ‘The Castle’. It means “a real pity you missed out!”. There should be plenty of suffering by those who missed this walk. Led by Janet D, a long-time National Arboretum volunteer and guide, she shared with us a huge wealth of information. Most of it went in one ear and out the other for me, not for lack of trying to remember, but there was so much to take in. It was marvellous to hear the stories of the Arboretum development and forest characteristics as we walked about.

We met in the Cork Oak car park and headed up through the nearby forests.

National Arboretum

A lot of my photos are just labelled ‘National Arboretum’ as individual forest signs had been vandalised and since removed.

Our route took us to Lakeside Hill and the ‘Wide Brown Land’ sculpture.

Wide Brown Land

Then W-ish across the northern edge of the Arboretum. Unfortunately the STEP (Southern Tablelands Ecosystem Park) area was temporarily closed. We joined the main vehicle road at another sculpture, perhaps not quite so well received.

Sculpture – purportedly a public servant bending over backwards

The National Arboretum is a popular place. A whole heap of vehicles, people, bike riders and walkers today. Apparently the third most popular tourist destination in Canberra.

We stopped at several more forests, each of course unique. At each, Janet had superb information for us.

Wonderful information from Janet

Unique forests

A lot of our route was off-track and we approached Dairy Farmers Hill from the NW. Views to the developing Molonglo Valley suburbs.

View to Molonglo suburbs from near Dairy Farmers Hill

Dairy Farmers Hill is the high point of the Arboretum. A couple of sculptures, including the wonderful nest.

Nest sculpture on Dairy Farmers Hill

We stopped for morning tea and to enjoy the views.

View towards Civic from Dairy Farmers Hill

We headed SW from here, across the underground water storage tanks and down through a cool, mature forest.

Entering cool forest

Then S into the flatter part of the area.

Walking south through the flatter part of the Arboretum

A brief attempt by me to get the digital tour going. This must be the way to do it, if you’re without an experienced guide, due to the lack of forest signage.

Tried to get the digital tour going

By this time we were down near the Parkway.

Dam near the Parkway

Many dignitaries plant trees in the Arboretum.

9/11 plaque

We stopped for lunch in the shade, with views up towards the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion and down towards the main dam.

National Arboretum

After lunch we walked up towards the Wollemi Pines.

Walking one of the many tracks

This planting was the pièce de résistance for me. Not only seeing the growing Wollemi Pines, but appreciating the hours of volunteer work that goes into collecting seed to ensure the continuation of this rare tree. Each of the hundreds of little bags are individually numbered.

Wollemi Pine seed collection

Wollemi Pine seed collection

The foliage is also unique, three sets of leaves (must be a technical term I don’t know) growing at 90°.

Unique Wollemi Pine foliage

David Noble, the discoverer of Wollemi Pines, has a (sunburnt at the top) Pine dedicated to his visit. “Wollemia nobilis (Wollemi pine). This tree is dedicated to Mr David Noble, in recognition of his discovery of the Wollemi pine in 1994. In celebration of Mr Noble’s visit to the National Arboretum Canberra during Tree Week 2015”.

David Noble’s Wollemi Pine

We walked under the Visitors Centre and intersected the zigzag track. Patches of colour.

Patches of colour on the ZigZag Track

Our final leg took us up and across the main entrance road and through the Himalayan Cedars.

In the Himalayan Cedars

Down through the Magnolias …


… and figs (the volunteers make jams and chutneys to sell on market days).


Back to the cars.

A wonderful tour of the Arboretum led by a most knowledgeable guide!

Track Map

The best track map is available via AllTrails, where you can pan and zoom.


Leader Janet D. 9 walkers.

Post Script

If you want to “suffer in your jocks” no more, book on Janet’s No 2 Arboretum Wednesday Walk on 23 February when it’s advertised.