Thursday, January 23, 2014

City Botanic Garden and Surroundings - Brisbane, Australia

Morning Star Statue
At the Gardens Point on Brisbane River, adjacent to the the city's CBD, is the City Botanic Garden, the metropolis' green lung. To be honest, it feels more like a "park" than a mere "garden". It can be approached from either Alice Street or George Street. I found this park while hiking around the city and strolling along the Riverside Walk of Edward Street.  

The terrain is a rolling green of foliage with a special collection of cycads, palms, figs and bamboos. The Heritage Society considers it as, and I quote,  "the most significant, non-Aboriginal cultural landscape in Queensland with a continuous horticultural history since 1828, and without any significant loss of land area or change in use over that time. It remains the premier public park and recreational facility for the capital of Queensland, which role it has performed since the early 1840s". Long words, right? 

But I have always been careful where parks are concerned because, if I were to speak like a broken record, I was mugged at a beautiful park (Retiro) in Madrid once upon a time. That experience taught me a lot about traveling - and it has changed me forever. You see, sometimes, bad things yield great lessons.

The thing with parks is that, it cannot control its human environment so it is open to a variety of souls of different persuasions. The air maybe fresh, but rotten elements may likewise lurk in the bushes. But I only mention this so people always approach public parks with a healthy amount of caution. 

The whole sprawl of the City Botanic Garden is 20 hectares (49 acres) with sectional themes. This park carries a rich historical background behind its leaves and fauna. In 1828, colonial botanist Charles Fraser picked this site as a public garden. The food crops that the convicts used to grow here were destroyed to  give way to a leisure area. Some parts have been planted with colorful flowers while others have palms and figs.

Special points of interest includes the City Gardens Cafe that was originally the curator's house; the Walter Hill Fountain that was designed by architect Charles Tiffin; and a Cycle Station near Albert Street for those who require bikes to roam the park. Weddings are a familiar sight here. The "Morning Star II" (top photo), designed by Jon Barlow Hudson was a product of World Expo 88. At the Brisbane River Stage, free tours could be had between 11 AM and 1 PM daily. But who needs a guide in a park? Like, seriously? Plays are also mounted at the aforementioned stage.

In the vicinity of the garden, I found the QUT - Queensland University of Technology and the City Parliament. If you're a tourist and you require to, say check your mails or update your Facebook, here is a good place because there's free wifi.

From here, at the QUT area, one could walk towards Friendship Bridge if their next destination is the Southbank Parklands at the other side of the River. One could probably spend a couple of hours relaxing among the greens.

But like most times, I couldn't stay longer than necessary. I had places to go.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Mangrove Board Walk

This area is considered the center of the garden.

Brisbane River Stage

Walter Hill Fountain

This Cook Pine is the tallest tree in the garden, reaching a height of 60 meters. It was named after Captain James Cook, the British navigator who explored much of the South Pacific. This tree (left)  was planted by Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria's son, on his first royal visit to Australia in 1868. See how a plant outlives the thinking creature.  

Cycle Hire

QUT (above and below)

In 1908, this art noveau structure was built as the curator's house. It briefly served as a mess hall for the soldiers during World War II. The residence officially closed in 1980 when Harold Caulfield, the garden's last curator, died. When the garden began redevelopment in 1987, this was remodeled into the City Gardens Cafe, a restaurant that opened its doors on September 1989. I was gonna step inside, but got intimidated because it looked expensive. Haha! Looking back, I am sure it isn't. After all, the surrounding is populated by students and park-goers.

The way to Friendship Bridge.

Map of the City Botanic Garden


My Unfinished Life said...

I also agree its more of a park than a garden!!

lovely landscaping though!!

eye in the sky said...

True. It's a pleasant place when you want a little solitude in the city. :)