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Coasting : Coastal Life 17th Dec 2009
central coast tourism Summer 2010 COASTAL LIFE 7 Q&A: Vicki Langley of Mount Penang Gardens Q: What is your role at Mount Penang Gardens? A: I'm a Blue Thumb. We are a group of volunteers who usually lead visitors up the garden path. Q: Why are you known as a Blue Thumb? A: Well, a green thumb is someone who knows everything about gardening. But we Blue Thumbs don't necessarily know everything about gardening. Q: What does your role entail? A: We take groups of people on tours around the gardens. We explain the gardens, and have lots of interesting anecdotes about the plants. A tour can last from one to two hours. It's an easy walk, and we have places around the gardens where you can sit down and have a rest if you need to. We also answer visitors' questions. And we learn from our visitors -- some of whom are experts in particular plants. Q: What can people expect to see when they visit Mt Penang Gardens? A: There's more than six hectares of gardens - 70 per cent natives, and 30 per cent exotics. They are set out in 17 different garden rooms (displays). There are also five fissure displays which showcase different plants including bromeliads, rainforest species and wind-pruned plants. There's a series of stunning water features, and at this time of year, the lotus are quite spectacular, as are the water lilies. There's also the Waterfall Café, and sandstone sculptures carved from local sandstone. Q: What most surprises fi rst-time visitors to the gardens? A: The gardens look a bit bare from the outside, near the entrance, but once people walk over the bridge they are astonished at the number and variety of plants in the garden. Although the garden was opened only in 2003, there are many large and mature specimens, including old Queensland box trees which have grown naturally at the site, as well as newly imported bottle trees from the Northern Te rritory which are from 50 to 70 years old. Q: What's your favourite part of the gardens? A: It's so hard to choose just one, because the garden changes so much with the seasons. But I love the lotus, the banksia ericifolia, and the geebungs. Q: The wildlife must love it there? A: There's even a pelican who visits us. He drops in regularly for a snack of fish from the dam and ponds on site. The resident ducks are also quite fond of lining the banks of the dam to watch the local model boat club driving their craft. And last summer, a purple- breasted swamp hen nested in the pickerel rush right in front of the café. Q: What's the funniest thing that's happened on a tour? A: One recent visitor at the rainforest fissure was distracted while talking to a companion and despite warnings to be careful of the pond, he walked straight in, much to everyone's amusement. Q: Anything else you'd like our readers to know about the gardens? A: Children love the garden -- if given the chance to. Parents who visit the garden with children should pack a towel and even a change of clothes. The children particularly like the puddle garden, where they are encouraged to paddle. The misty mountains next to the first pergola are also popular with kids. And the Dip Dip Dip days, which are held during the school holidays, also involve water. And if you are taking small children along, keep and eye on them because all of the water ponds have mud bottoms and can be up to four metres deep. Greatoutdoors Cedar Park is a working lavender farm in the scenically beautiful Ya rramalong Valley, a 90 minute drive from the centre of Sydney and one hour from Newcastle. Visit us for an opportunity to - • Stroll through fragrant rows of lavender plants from which we distil essential oil in season; • Visit our shop where you will find our skin care products, soaps, bubble bath, lavender essential oil, lavender lollies, sachets, pomanders, dried and stripped lavender, lavender seedlings and plants and Provencal style table linen imported direct from Nice. Mention this ad in Coastal Life and receive a 10% discount on any purchases. Visitors always welcome. No entrance fee 952 Ya rramalong Rd, WYONG CREEK Phone: 02 4356 1025 Fax: 02 4356 1570 email: firstname.lastname@example.org c8656596-17Dec of stunning feature gardens, cascading waterways and unique native plants. Yo u can wander through the gardens at your leisure or, better still, join a guided tour (see Q&A story this page) with a resident 'Blue Thumb'. Cedar Park Lavender (4356 1025) at Wyong Creek, in the picturesque Ya rramalong Valley, west of Wyong, is a working lavender farm featuring rows of thousands of lavender plants. Visitors are welcome to enter the farm shed where oil distilled from the lavender plants is available for sale. A range of products including soaps, skin moisturisers and even lollies is available, too. Entry is free. Enter a timeless world of alchemy at St Fiacre Distillery (4365 6155) at Erina where you can wander the tranquil gardens and sample the award-winning spirits and liquers hand-crafted from Australian botanicals. The region's magnificent waterways are a massive drawcard. The estuaries of Brisbane Wa ter and Tu ggerah Lakes have been holiday playgrounds for families for generations, while the beaches are among the most beautiful anywhere on the east coast. And modern new surf clubs at beaches such as Wamberal, Copacabana, Avoca and Te rrigal ensure that the creature comforts are always close at hand for beach-goers. SWELL TIME: Surfers at Avoca Beach. Picture by Phillip Hearne. MAGESTIC: Mount Penang Gardens, at Kariong, features cascading waterways and stunning summer aquatic gardens as well as 17 different garden 'rooms'. Picture by Aaron Brown. BOAT HIRE Go fishing or cruise around the beautiful Brisbane Waters. • Self drive boat hire, no licence required • Half cabin, open or aluminium boats with canopy & outboard motors • Boats cater for 6-8 people • Cold drinks, ice cream & fishing gear available. Open 7 Days 3a Petit Street, Booker Bay • 4341 3219 www.andersonmarina.com.au • email@example.comDec Picture by Aaron Brown.
Issue 6 Dec 2009
Issue 7 Jan 2010