A walk in the forest

During the one month that I’ve lived in Canberra, and for many before I moved, I’ve watched—with growing envy—the city’s locals share glorious pictures of the National Arboretum.

On photos it seemed such a vast area of green nothingness brimming with so much liveliness. Trees smothered brown and yellow during sunsets, mist hanging over unknown mountains, sneaky sunrises playing games of colour in the sky—every picture piqued my curiosity and intensified my urge to be there, live it, and relive it.

Except, I found out soon, the National Arboretum is unreachable by public transport. Although, somewhere in my subconsciousness, I knew I couldn’t just take the bus up there—the many jaw-drop moments I’d seen in photos revealed towering altitudes. Still, it came as a disappointment.

But rejection only makes us want something even more. And when we do get it, at last, we’ll savour it for the rest of our lives.

I will, the Arboretum.

View from the National Arboretum, Canberra
View from the National Arboretum, Canberra

Thanks to a bored brother and a good friend’s decent car, we cruised uphill with my eyes open bright and soul screaming wide. As we went higher and higher, I felt lighter. Trees have that impact on me.

When we stopped and stepped out, I grabbed my jacket to shield myself from the icy breeze. It was the first day of winter and though the sun shone bright, coldness pressed against my skin, tingling my t-shirt, and teasing my boldness to go thermal-less. It wasn’t nail biting, but just enough for me to appreciate the weather without developing a raging hatred towards winter. Nature knows how much to offer and when.

National Arboretum, Canberra
National Arboretum, Canberra

While the cold remained subtle, the views were more pronounced. As far as my eye could reach, I saw nothing but trees—steps upon steps of luscious greenery that refuse to die even in winter. From way above, I was looking down at massive branches appearing to be nothing more than bushes. Ah, Bush Capital indeed.

Amidst the sea of wood, I spotted, like deer in a jungle, benches and footpaths inviting humans to stray away from their handphones and into the amassing wilderness ahead. It wasn’t just a remedy for screen eyes, but rather an invitation to experience the vision of this great green city. With neat guidelines, pathways, and dedicated clearings to enjoy the view from, the Arboretum is the ideal environment for people to take a moment alone with nature without contaminating it with their innate humaneness.

Pine forest at the National Arboretum, Canberra
Pine forest at the National Arboretum, Canberra

As we walked down the path—a path—we came by a large row of pine trees extending to a forest behind them. While the sun prepared to step back for the day, a faint glow erupted from within and beyond the forest, emitting a clarion call for the crazy.

We heard it and heeded it. It’s enchanting to walk into a forest that’s both dense and airy at the same time. It was light enough to see through the trees, but also mysterious and unmoving. The deeper we went, the further we wanted to go. Pine trees always give each other enough space to grow and expand. Like the best of friends. And although they’re upright on a slope, they’re so well rooted that they don’t sway in threatening ways. We could walk quite far into the pine forest and still glimpse the last of the sunset through the branches.

Sunset over the National Arboretum, Canberra
Sunset over the National Arboretum, Canberra

Sitting idle at home two days later, I realised the Arboretum is more than a collection of trees in natural habitat. It’s a trove of magical views, mystic thoughts, and ground breaking moments—a much endearing, must visit.

3 thoughts on “A walk in the forest

  1. I was sure you were wrong about not being able to get a bus to the Arboretum as Route 81/891 went there 5 times a day … I last caught it in early mid April. Rather than accuse you of inaccuracy I though I would check and indeed you are correct – there is no bus to the Arboretum (also the Zoo, Black Mountain, one whole side of the lake and a number of other key tourist attractions). Route 81/891 was scrapped at the end of April, a casualty of the city wide bus review when the tram started operating. This is awful and makes me wonder if a shonky deal has been done with a hop-on hop-off operator which is also not operating that service at present. Watch this spot to see if he comes back again with his ridiculously overpriced and infrequent service. It is disgraceful that a bus service is not operated to these places even though it would have been operating at a loss. They previously cancelled a free service to AWM, Parliament, etc because it was being overused (!) and replaced it with a free service around ANU (useless to anyone other than students/uni staff) which I think has now also gone (presumably under- use!). Anyway leaving buses aside, I greatly enjoyed your review and am glad you made it there. It will be even better in a few years when the trees are bigger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading. I had no idea that they had the route 81/891 earlier. It’s a shame they scrapped it. But there is the Culture Loop service. It’s free and goes through the Parliament House, Museum of Australian Democracy, National Library, Questacon, National Museum, National Capital Exhibition, Visitors Centre, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra Museum and Gallery, and the Canberra Centre. I took that once—it’s free and pretty good. The driver mentioned that he gets around 100-150 people every day. And it runs all day too.

      Liked by 1 person

We are free. Have your say.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.