Perfect Botany in the Bay
by Dawn Simpson
Eurobodalla Botanic gardens
“The bush is a place of magic to discover and rediscover with the changing of the seasons” Jack Davis
With these articles, I aim to take you visiting some of the Eurobodalla Shire’s ‘best kept secrets’ and I believe that the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens is probably top of the list!
Port Douglas and the Daintree are an expensive journey, thousands of miles away, whilst here in our own backyard we have our own unique rainforest.
Just 5 kilometres south of Batemans Bay, on the Prince’s Highway, is the left turn into The Botanic Gardens. Turn in, follow the road another kilometre, turn right and you will find yourself in the carpark.
Gravel paths guide the visitor to the very well appointed Visitors Centre which includes, plant sales, a herbarium and the Chef’s Cap Café but more about that delightful café later!
Our very friendly guides for the day were Helen and Bruce Cox, volunteers who are enthusiastic about the gardens. Armed with a ‘portfolio’ of information we headed off.
There are 6 tracks in all, ranging from 30 minutes to one-hour duration, including a Limited Mobility Track suitable for wheelchair access.
We chose the walk to the Deep Creek Dam viewing platform.
Live a McCubbin painting as you stroll through the iconic Australian bush, listen to the sounds of native birds and animals and breathe in the heavy scent of the eucalypt. What a fabulous place to bring overseas visitors…or locals!
Great for children of ALL ages as the paths wind up and down, over creeks, stepping stones, bridges, past ponds; there is even a fallen tree which looks remarkably like a whale breaching! For the amateur botanist, the trees and plants are identified with small discreet labels ‘Corymbia Maculata’ or for us more common folk, that’s a plain old spotted gum!
If you get tired, there are lots of places to sit and contemplate nature in her glory; you may even see some wildlife if you stay nice and quiet. Kangaroos, wallabies, lyrebirds, parrots, finches, firecheeks and later at night owls, bats and possums.
BBQ’s, picnic tables, toilets, weather shelter, bird watching platforms, bush walking, it is amazing to think that so many locals are unacquainted with this wonderful facility right on our doorstep.
At the viewing platform we stopped and enjoyed our regular thermos of tea and today’s treat of Bush Banana and Berry Bread, which seems in keeping with we bored baby boomers on a budget!
It started to drizzle with welcome rain whilst we were visiting but we were having such a peaceful, serene time that we were in no hurry to leave and so we strolled on through the forest with the light rain forming a misty blanket around us. The forest was hushed and the far off tinkling of the bellbirds kept tune with the creek bubbling quietly through the gardens.
On our return journey, we admired the Mt. Gambier Limestone Sculpture “The Guardians” by Kathleen M McKenzie, the guardians of the forest, of our children’s forest for generations to come.
The gardens are always looking for volunteers. Don’t be frightened as training is offered.
As we headed back towards or car for the quick trip back into town, we passed The Chef’s Cap Café, and the aroma of the coffee, wafting on the air, stopped us in our tracks. Well after all, our thermos was empty!
Entrance to the Botanic Gardens is free, so we thought we could stretch the budget to a cup of coffee and I can honestly say that it was the best cup of coffee I have had for some time and ONLY $2.50 to boot! Our handsome Chef, Fred, tempted us further….must have been that cute accent, with the ‘All Day Breakfast,’ which was absolutely delicious! The background music was very soothing ‘oldies’ and the staff were polite, good looking and attentive. The Chef’s Café will be opening for Saturday night dinners on the 17th March and I cannot think of anywhere in the Shire more unique than this venue. Bookings will be essential so keep your eye out for Fred’s advertisement with details in the local paper, The BayPost.
If you are planning a special event, whether it be for a pre school group, a wedding, a birthday or reunion, why not give the Botanic Gardens a second look or give them a ring on (02) 4471 2544 after 10am.
So my temptation for this month is get acquainted with the bush.
Slip, slop and slap, pack a batch of low fat Bush Banana and Berry Bread………………..Oh and don’t forget the thermos!