On Thursday mornings after Noah and I have taken Evie to her classroom and he off to Pre-Kindy, I head to our local National Park. I go for a walk or a hike and mostly choose the trails I would not otherwise explore with the kids due to distance or terrain. The main entrance to the park is situated half way between our home and the location of Noah's kindergarten, making it the most perfect way to kick off the time on Thursdays that I have for myself before I get stuck into my work for the day.
The Belair National Park trail network is a labyrinth. One in which I am slowly becoming more familiar with as my routine continues. The 835 hectare region is Australia's second oldest National Park with the Kaurna Aboriginal people being the original inhabitants of the area. Over the years and as it's popularity grew, so too did the quality and quantity of facilities. The park now boasts numerous picnic areas, amenities and BBQ sites, sporting facilities, an adventure playground (which we love to go to with the kids), and even an 18 holed golf course and caravan / camp ground. All these conveniences have been so subtly accommodated for and they do not seem to detract from or disturb the incredible natural beauty they are surrounded by. Sightings of koalas and kangaroos are common and for all of you international readers, I tried to keep a keen look out, but, today there were none to be spotted. I'll see how lucky I get next week.
Not to be overlooked, the park is also home to Old Government House and the State Flora Nursery which focuses on protecting, promoting and selling native plants.
Around these parts, from about mid-winter, not too long after the Winter Solstice, small burst of bright yellow pompoms begin to appear. These are my favourite and bring a delightful cheeriness to the remaining weeks of cold weather. They belong to the wattle tree (from the genus acacia) and are widely spread, covering many areas of Australia and our local National Park, with a golden halo well into spring. There are close to 1000 different species of wattle with nearly all of them (98%) being endemic, meaning they can only be found in Australia. The indigenous uses for wattle are mind-blowing. It really is quite a wonder plant with it's culinary, medicinal (bush medicine) and practical uses. Pretty cool, huh? And get this, on September 1st, 1910, the Sydney Morning Herald described wattle by stating, "To many Australians the wattle stands for home, country, kindred, sunshine and love, every instinct that the heart most deeply enshrines." Oh yes, how can that not be a favourite?
At my return point, I paused to admire the view and wondered about this bench seat behind me. I don't know who Vera is or was, but I'm guessing she liked to linger in this spot for just the same reason as I. Absolutely, Vera, I'm rather fond of it too.