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Dunkeld Arboretum in the Southern Grampians

Home > Horsham > Free | Gardens | Outdoor | Views | Walks
by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published October 19th 2014
Feel the serenity
Deciding on a spring break and a road trip, we needed a get away and weekender. Plus time out to detox from modern living. What better place to revive than the glorious Grampians.

A stunning array of spring wildflower are now on view in and around the Grampians. Despite the devastating fires that came through in February of 2013, the wilderness areas are regenerating. Some areas are still thick with ash underfoot. But grass trees (formerly known as black boys) are abounding in these corridors of ash and the desolate landscape.

Dunkeld Arboretum
Dunkeld Arboretum


A lesser known haven of flora, birds and trees can be found in the small southern Grampians township of Dunkeld. The Dunkeld Arboretum is a place of serenity with a series of walking tracks around lakes and wetlands.

The strict definition of an arboretum is a collection of trees. Its purpose is to showcase a living collection of the world's trees.

The History
The land of the Dunkeld arboretum was set aside in 1992. Originally grazing land, containing a water reserve and a saw mill. The land now houses a collection of diverse and exotic trees such as a Persian Ironwood, Lemonade berry, Colorado Pinyon and Chian turpentine tree.

This tree collection is quite a restful oasis to find. Apart from exotic species there is the avenue of river red gums and paths surrounded by these huge majestic, old war horses of trees. They also stand in open fields of grass and by the water glades.

Dunkeld Arboretum
Dunkeld Arboretum


Fishing
Rainbow trout are released into the ponds twice a year, providing access for anglers. But be aware, a fishing licence is required by law in Victoria. One can be obtained from the local Dunkeld Newsagency. Except for the day we wanted one, as the power was out in the main street for planned maintenance, which meant no electronic licence recept could be issued. Those fish lived to see another day!

The Dunkeld arboretum has much natural wildlife. Birds throng to this lush habitat. Water fowl nestle in the reeds, fluffy kookaburras call and small wrens and thornbills flirt and twirl about the undergrowth.

The Labyrinth
The Labyrinth


The Labyrinth
To enhance and build on the natural serenity to be found here an arboretum labyrinth was established in 2011. This has been constructed using local sand stone and used as a place of contemplation.

Fitzpatrick's Saw Mill
Fitzpatrick's Saw Mill


The Old Mill
Near the path of old river reds sits Fitzpatrick's Saw Mill. Which was established in 1943. The site of the mill was chosen due to allow for access to the railway and highway. The hardwood collected at the mill was used in building constructions and the mill was still in operation up until 2001. A recent open day, entitled Discover Dunkeld featured the old mill in action.

The Wetlands
The Wetlands


The Wetlands
The Dunkeld arboretum was originally the town's main water reserve. Following damming of the watercourse the current series of ponds and wetlands was developed.

The wetlands have bridges across and the whole area has a peaceful and unhurried pace to it.

Dunkeld Arboretum
Dunkeld Arboretum


For lovers of European trees there is also one of Australia's largest collections of oak trees here.

This area has been set up with the help of the local community and volunteers. With support from government agencies and other benefactors.

Mosaic feature
Mosaic feature


The Dunkeld community may be a small one but notably active as just near the visitor centre there is a mosaic feature and sculptures.
A path follows along the creek beds to the arboretum. Quite a lovely walk through rich country. But be warned, the magpies are swooping along their territory here in spring.

This was an unexpected delight to find in this small Southern Grampians Township.

Worth taking a detour to find.

The Wetlands
The Wetlands
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Why? A living collection of trees
When: All year
Where: Dunkeld Victoria
Cost: Free
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