The beautiful, heritage-listed Sherwood Arboretum sprawls along the river, having been officially opened on March 21, 1925. The gardens are unique in that they contain in excess of 1,000 species of almost entirely native flora.
In fact, the Arboretum is probably how Brisbane’s landscape would look had the early parks superintendents not favoured the ornamental and exotic introduced plants such as jacarandas, palms and poincianas that we see in abundance.
Many of the 72 mighty Queensland Kauri pines, planted back in 1925, that form the tree-lined avenue that the Arboretum is most remembered for, feature plaques with details of who the tree planter was, so make sure you spend some time learning about the community of Brisbane in that era.
The arboretum is made up of seven different planting precincts, with flora pockets ranging from lush rainforest through to the leafy, open eucalypt and gum forest, wetlands and mangroves, and has a number of self-guided trails that you can wander around at your leisure: Tree Trail, Bird Trail, Kauri Heritage Trail and the Environmental Trail.
A popular spot is the wetland habitat that is home to turtles and a myriad of birdlife – more than 170 species, in fact, such as dusky moorhens, purple swamphen, Australasian grebe, Pacific black duck, royal spoonbill and the Australian white ibis – it’s a bird lovers' nirvana.
If you live on the river or have your own boat, you can visit this remarkable wildlife sanctuary via the Sherwood Aboretum Pontoon, and whilst no mooring is allowed, you can use the pontoon for 10 minutes at a time for passengers to disembark and reboard.
The pathways that lead up from the river loop through the gardens, and are great for kids to trundle along on their bikes or scooters at their own pace.
The 15 hectares of parkland is a popular spot for picnics, with plenty of grassy spaces to lay on the picnic blanket in the shade of one of the many trees and marvel at how majestically old they are.
In addition to the natural wonders, there’s two substantial playgrounds for older and younger children to explore that are well-shaded.
As you can imagine with such a vast, open area, it’s the perfect spot to get active and kick a ball, set up a game of backyard cricket or, with plenty of open air, kite flying is a must-do option, too. Otherwise, if an easy amble around the forest precincts is more your cup of tea - or even just stealing a quiet moment together surrounded by nature - there's plenty on offer to explore.
Free-to-use barbecues and picnic tables are scattered around the grounds in different locations, and being close to the river, its best to pack some insect spray for when you're sitting idle just in case the critters are hungry.
Don’t miss finding the 1974 ‘flood marker’ sculpture which stands as an eerie reminder at the top of the riverside ridge, located between the playgrounds and the river.
Nice to know – There are wheelchair accessible toilets onsite. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash at all times.
By Danella Perrins
87 Jolimont St