Wilson Botanic Park

Wilsons Botanic Park

A couple of weeks ago we visited Wilson Botanic Park, just off the Princes Highway in Berwick. It is hard to believe that until the late 1970’s, this beautiful park was actually a working quarry. Founded in 1859 by William Wilson, the quarry produced high quality basaltic Victorian bluestone – a hard volcanic rock. Bluestone was a popular building material in the 1850’s, and also used for cobblestone roads and railway lines. In 1976 the land was donated to the community, and in 1992, after massive redevelopment, the botanic gardens were opened.
The map wasn’t brilliant, so we left the Visitor Centre and just wandered around following the signs – as the park is only about 100 acres, we didn’t really get lost (much). There were wide paths through a variety of natural environments. Sometimes we were over-shadowed by tall arching trees, including oaks, cape chestnut, white cedar and popular – one tree was so bright green, it was almost yellow. Other times we climbed sloping open grasslands, to reach stunning hill-top views – from the Hoo Hoo Tower and the Directional Marker we could see for miles. Pleasant and varied walks encircle two very blue lakes, which were previously the quarries. The ‘Anniversary Lake’, is the largest, where the remains of the Crushing Plant Pylon – the last relic of the old quarry –  juts out of the water overlooked by a basalt rock face, and where we saw turtles skimming just below the surface of the water. The smaller ‘Basalt Lake’ has a bird hide where it is possible to spot many different species of birds.
It is a beautiful park, and a lovely way to spend a morning.

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