The 123 hectares of St Ives bushland that make up the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens are great for bushwalking, picnicking and even holding your child's next birthday party. Best of all, unlike nearby Muogamarra Nature Reserve, they're not just open during the wildflower season, but the whole year round, and entry is even free.
If you're looking to hold a family picnic, then you'll find plenty of tables scattered around the gardens. If it's a particularly special occasion, there are also four different venues that can be booked in advance, depending on the size of your group.
These seats and play equipment are located not far from the entrance
The facilities that you can book include the accessible Bidwill's Clearing Picnic Area, the private Dampier's Clearing Picnic Area and Lambert's Clearing Picnic Area, which is the largest and has a playground, is close to the Fern House and seems to be frequented by wallabies. The Bushland Education Centre is another option for big groups, as it's indoors, has the most extensive facilities and can hold around 100 people.
Part of Dampier's Clearing Picnic Area, where there is also sheltered seating
You can take your pick of any of these venues and plan your own event, but the gardens also have a Bush Birthday Party program, which creates themed parties for your kids with hands-on activities like bug hunting, bush walking, fauna encounters, dipnetting and organic bush crafts. You're also provided with a ranger to keep the fun going.
During school holidays, there are educational activities here for children aged between 2 to 12 years, while the Wildflower and Garden Festival (also known as the Festival of Wildflowers) is held on the last Sunday of August each year.
The pond is located near the Bushland Education Centre
On the average day, one of the main activities to do at the gardens is explore the many bushwalks. If you have young kids, the Senses Track may be best as it's flat, sealed and suitable for strollers, though there's not much to see.
Older families may enjoy, the Mueller Track (3km), the longest walk here, while the Solander Trail is a bit shorter (2km) and can be cycled. The rest are only a few hundred metres long each and cross-cross in a tangled web throughout the park, offering a combination of sealed sections and rocky bushland.
On the way to the Solander Trail
If you want to visit the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens, you'll find it off Mona Vale Road in St Ives. It's open from 8.00am to 5.00pm every day, except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.