bush

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens


 

Southern Wetlands

ABOVE: The Southern Wetlands Boardwalk – Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

Late last week I decided I should do something with the final day of my annual leave that I had taken this time round, so I thought I’d pop into the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens near Raymond Terrace in New South Wales, Australia. I had been here before, but that was a long time ago. I wasn’t impressed on that first visit, so after more then a decade had it improved? Well that was the question I was keen to answer.

Rotunda

ABOVE: The Rotunda  BELOW: Succulents Section

Succulents

There was a $4.00 ‘escape’ fee, which would allow a token to be purchased and then the boom gate would rise once it was placed into the proper slot at the exit. So no entrance fee, just an exit fee. I was willing to pay this for a quick look and wander around the gardens.

So has it improved. Yes it has thankfully, but I still don’t rate it as brilliant or even what would come close to mildly impressing me for a botanic gardens. It is probably on the right track, but has a long way to go. And here’s the thing I think – a botanic gardens really needs time to develop, so those who will really benefit from the gardens are those who will visit it in about 25 years or so, when the plants have been allowed to mature somewhat across the gardens. It will also allow other pieces of infrastructure to be completed and for the gardens to achieve some ‘polish,’ so to speak. The central section of the gardens is very good and has been progressing well over the years (yes, it is a relatively young botanic gardens) – areas such as the bromeliad section, orchids, etc – even the succulent section a bit further away.

Orchid

ABOVE: Orchid  BELOW: Bromeliads

Bromeliads

So should you go? Look, it’s only $4.00 to get out of the place once you are there and you can get to see some great plants and do some good, easy walks – especially into the natural bush and wetland areas. So I’d say yes, just don’t expect a fully developed botanic gardens.

For more on the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens visit:
http://www.huntergardens.org.au/

Tree Ferns

ABOVE: Tree Ferns and Palms

Blackbutt Reserve


Since I was unable to visit Gap Creek Falls the other day, I decided I might pop in to have a look at the new animal enclosures at Blackbutt Reserve near Newcastle. I will say straight off the bat that I do have something of a prejudice against Blackbutt Reserve, as I see the place as nothing like a natural bush setting, it being far too ‘corrupted’ by human activity, weeds and the like. Having said that it is a good place for a family or group outing/event. It certainly has its place, but it is not a true nature reserve (in my opinion).

Visitor Centre

ABOVE: Visitor Centre

I do think that some well designed animal and bird enclosures at Blackbutt could lift the value of the reserve dramatically and make it a really great place for families, especially young families. There are opportunities for educational visits for kids, possible environmental activities and the like there. So the potential is certainly there for Blackbutt.

The enclosures of my youth are giving way to those that are much better and up to a more modern standard, which is great to see. Certainly the improvements I saw are great and some of them are outstanding. The Quoll enclosure, with nocturnal habitat viewing was brilliant. Some of the other enclosures are getting there also, though I was disappointed with the size of some of the aviaries and poor vegetation choices they appeared to have. They didn’t look to great for the birds, which I think is not a good look. Still, they are a major improvement on what had been there before.

Some of the other enclosures for snakes and amphibians were really good also I have to say and overall the place is going ahead and improving all of the time. So I think it has a place into the future, if it can continue to improve along the way. Just some thoughts…

Modern Enclosures Koala

ABOVE LEFT: Modern Enclosures  ABOVE RIGHT: Koala BELOW: Nocturnal Quoll Enclosure

Nocturnal Quoll Enclosure

Bulahdelah


So I was right about my day when I spoke of it yesterday. Not a lot going on today, so today’s post will be more about yesterday. I hope that makes perfect sense to everyone – it sounded even worse with the original way I was going to write it (I was trying to be clever, so went for simplicity in the end).

Bombah Point Ferry

ABOVE: The Punt at Bombah Point BELOW: On the Punt

On the Punt

To get to Bulahdelah from Hole in the Wall, you need to go via Bombah Point and the ferry service there. I guess you could also call it a punt. Many people still call it that. Anyhow, as the pictures show, it doesn’t cover a great distance. How much is the charge for this journey – at the moment it’s $5.00 AU. Seems a little excessive for something that’s over in less than 5 minutes. Still, there is a wage to pay, maintenance, etc. Still, you wouldn’t want to be doing it too often. You do get a ticket though (see picture at right). Punt Ticket

The road to the punt isn’t too bad for an out of the way road. On the other side between the punt and Bulahdelah though… well, that’s a different story and is typical of gravel roads in this council area. It is full of large pot holes. The road from Hawks Nest to the punt is all sealed. You also go past the Pacific Highway upgrade near Bulahdelah and Mount Alum.

So arriving in Bulahdelah you enter near the old Court House, so I thought I’d stop and have a quick look.

The Court House isn’t open to the public too often. The note on the door indicated it was open on Saturday mornings, but I wouldn’t be too confident in what was on the note, it had been there for quite some time and was rather weather beaten. There are some old bits and pieces laying around the grounds of the Court House, from Bulahdelah’s logging and mining history. Being into history, I enjoyed having a bit of a look at these items, which you do see time and again throughout the region in various museums, parks and even in the bush. The whole region enjoys a similar history, particularly logging.

Bulahdelah Court House

ABOVE & BELOW: Bulahdelah Court House

Bulahdelah Court House

Mining History

ABOVE: Mining History Relics BELOW: Logging History Relics

Logging History Relics

Following the time spent at Bulahdelah Court House, I decided it was time for lunch and if you follow me on Foodspotting or visit my profile page, you would know that I found a cheese and bacon sausage roll (from Bulahdelah Bakery – best bakery in the district) for lunch (I actually had two – naughty), while reading a newspaper parked out the front of the visitor centre. Why there? Well I decided I might as well grab some info. on some areas I’m thinking of visiting in coming days, as well as further down the track. I have a visitor centre practically next door to me, but since I was here I might as well pop in.

Bulahdelah Bakery

ABOVE: Bulahdelah Bakery BELOW: Bulahdelah Visitor Centre

Bulahdelah Visitor Centre

So after that it was back down the highway and to Tea Gardens once again.

For more on Bulahdelah:
http://www.bulahdelah.net.au/

For more on Tea Gardens:
http://www.teagardens.nsw.au/

Gloucester Tops: Andrew Laurie Lookout


2007_0429_ 008 This shot is taken from the Andrew Laurie Lookout, which is on the short track to the Gloucester River Falls in the Gloucester Tops section of the Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales, Australia.

The walk from the car park to the lookout is only about 5 to 10 minutes of easy walking, with a further 5 to 10 minutes until the Gloucester River Falls are reached. The circuit track back to the car park only takes about 30 minutes to complete in total and is an easy walk on a bush track, with some minor rises along the way.