Araluen Botanic Gardens – more than just tulips and a place where kids love nature!
Spring had sprung and what better place to enjoy it than Araluen Botanic Gardens. In the heart of Roleystone Araluen is a Perth institution. But did you know that at one time the splendid gardens were completely abandoned? It was very hard to believe as we pulled into the lush greenery with flowers of every imaginable colour.
Araluen was founded in 1929 as a venue for youth camps for the Young Australia League by Australian businessman, politician and founder of the Young Australia League, J.J. “Boss” Simons. Today, throughout its 59 hectares you will find water features, paths, stone stairs, seated areas and manicured gardens. The gardens are now owned by the state government and run by The Araluen Botanic Park Foundation.
It’s easy to focus on the beautiful flowers (and I will get to them) but Araluen is also steeped in history. Originally there was accommodation for the campers and visitors, and whilst most fell into disrepair when the park was not in use it hasn’t been forgotten. Near Totterdell Cottage you will find a gigantic fire place, the only remainder of one of the cottages. The fire place and chimney alone is magnificent though and you can start to imagine the work it would have taken to create not only that but the whole cottage.
As you walk past Totterdell Cottage towards the Grove of the Unforgotten you pass several gazebos which at first glance may be mistaken for just a rest spot. However these gazebos contain some of the original stone pillars and chimneys from the cottages. It is fantastic that these pieces of history have been kept and reused for future generations to enjoy.
And then there is the Grove of the Unforgotten, as one of the staff said to me you have to see it “it’s the whole point of the garden”. The Araluen website describes the grove as “Built in memory of 88 Young Australia League members killed in World War I, The Grove is a series of terraces descending a steep slope, flanked by pencil pines that form the shape of a lyre, a symbol of music. A waterfall cascades through the terraces, settling in a calm reflection pond.”
Unbelievably it’s even more spectacular than the description. It’s a really special area in the gardens, a spot of remembrance for those 88 men but also as a reminder of the effort that has gone into the gardens. The giant stones have all been strategically placed and the design of the waterfalls that trickle down each level is amazing. My boys loved popping leaves in each level and watching them flow down. When you arrive at the bottom there is a serene pool filled with water lilies and surrounded by tulips. Particularly convenient that part of our homeschool curriculum this term has been about Monet and his water lillies.
Ok, so the flowers! I have never seen tulips in person and I really didn’t expect them to be so big and vibrant. I get it now, why people flock to Araluen during tulip season. The kids loved running from one area to another looking for new colours and there were so many to find.
It’s not just tulips though, Araluen has a diverse range of flora and you could spend the whole day exploring. As we walked around there were many gardeners busy as bees planting and tidying the gardens. The kids loved finding all the different flowers, Araluen has many including roses and magnolias in addition to some spectacular trees. We were joined on our day by several birds including seeing a red tailed black cockatoo and a kookaburra.
We just loved Araluen, it’s such a beautiful mix of history, nature and science and a very pleasant day to be had in the hills of Perth.
Enjoy a beautiful day out at Araluen Botanic Gardens and receive a 2 FOR 1 Park entry with your KidzaBuzz Membership. Download your membership today and find this great discount in the ‘Fun & Physical’ section of KidzaBuzz.
For more information on Araluen Botanic Park, visit www.araluenbotanicpark.com.au