Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden St Ives
Bushland tracks to explore
Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden in St Ives is such a beautiful place to visit. Located in Sydney’s North the gardens are an easy 20 kilometre drive from the Sydney CBD.
It is a perfect blend of bushland tracks, grassy picnic spots and native animals. It is one of my go to spots when I need a recharge, or to get the kids out of the house.
So put on your picnic pants and check out these awesome picnic spots in Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden.
First up…….Stop in at the Visitors Centre and Plant Nursery
Take a wander through the native plant nursery
The Visitors Centre is a great place to start your day. Here you will find maps, self-guided walk information, details on current flowering plants and a native plant nursery (with lots of plants for sale).
There is also a small gift shop and some drinks and ice creams for sale.
Drag in the kids in as they will enjoy the play corner that has some drawing paper and pencils. There are also some small animal enclosures that feature real life frogs, stick insects, snakes, yabbies and spiders. Look out for the native bee hive just out the front and write a message in the visitors book if you have time.
It’s a great idea to get a map here so you can get your bearings on where everything is. You may also find the map below handy.
To find the Visitors Centre continue straight as you drive in and you will come to it on your right.
Use the map to find your perfect picnic spot
Spot 1: Lamberts Clearing
Lamberts Clearing is an excellent picnic spot for families
Lamberts Clearing is an excellent picnic spot by anyone’s measure. It is definitely my favourite picnic ground mainly because there is so much to do here – walks, kids playground, free BBQs, toilets and picnic tables.
Lamberts Clearing also includes a Fern House and the Knoll Garden, both interesting spots to explore. Make sure to do the little bushwalk out the top gate of the Knoll Garden – there is a lovely lookout here with views down to the clearing.
You can also walk to the pond at Caley’s Pavilion via the short Banks Track (note that this track is not suitable for prams or wheelchairs).
Most importantly Lambert’s Clearing in is a great place to see the resident Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden Wallaby family. If you are here for long enough you are bound to see one or some of the Wallaby crew.
It is important to note that Lambert’s Clearing is a bit of walk from the carpark and you cannot park your car next to the picnic ground. Whilst the walk is paved, it is hilly in parts and may not be suitable for anyone with mobility issues. Read on to find out what the other picnic sites have to offer if you need to park beside your picnic ground.
The Knoll Garden, Fern House and wallaby make Lamberts Clearing a great spot to spend the day
Spot 2: Bidwell’s Clearing and Caley’s Pavilion
Bidwell’s Clearing is a great picnic spot for a group
Bidwell’s Clearing is a lovely peaceful picnic spot located next to Caley’s Pavilion. Visitors will enjoy free BBQ’s, picnic tables and a small stream. It is a great alternative to Lamberts Clearing as it has easy access with parking available at Caley’s Pavilion. It is great for little kids as it is fully fenced – although you might need to watch the stream!
Caley’s Pavilion is a beautiful spot to explore. Take some time to walk around the area, look for animals and enjoy the pond. The pond is a great spot to look for frogs and turtles, it is also surrounded by a boardwalk so is very easy to navigate.
There are also picnic tables and toilets in the Caley’s Pavilion area.
From Caley’s Pavilion you can take the Banks Track to Lamberts Clearing for those of you who want to check it out.
Bidwell’s Clearing isn’t marked on the map above but you will find it just to the left of Caley’s Pavillion.
The pond will please even the fussiest of bushwalkers
Spot 3: Dampier’s Clearing and the Senses Track
Dampier’s Clearing picnic area is a great spot for a group who wish to have a private BBQ or lunch. Set in a secluded spot but very convenient to the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden Visitors Centre this is a lovely place for a peaceful day.
Located in the picnic area are tables and chairs, BBQ, running water as well as picnic tables and toilets.
Right near Dampier’s Clearing is the The Senses Track. This great track includes interpretive signage that outlines interesting facts about the bushland. There are two loops of 400 and 500m as well as a lookout to enjoy.
Make sure you also…..walk or ride the park
Many bushland tracks to explore
One of the best thing about the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden is the abundance of walks and cycle paths it offers. And even more importantly the walks cater to all fitness levels and age groups.
Grab a map at the Visitors Centre (or see one of the many that are located around the garden) and plot your path. The Ku-ring-gai Garden website also has great information on each walk. The photo below should also give you some guidance on the best walk for you.
Make sure to take a bottle of water with you, tell someone where you are going and keep your phone handy.
Lots of walks to choose from
And lastly admire the wildflowers
You won’t be disappointed by the floral displays
Of course when you are at a Wildflower Garden then the number one activity must be to spot wildflowers! The best time to visit to see flowers is August to September, but you will see flowers all year round.
When you stop in at the Visitors Centre make sure to view the flower display out the front, which displays which plants are flowering at the time. A great activity for kids is to take a photo of the display and see how many you can spot.
Other fab things to do at Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden
There’s so much to do here it’s hard to know when to stop writing about it all! If after visiting the gardens you are keen to know more then why not:
- Join a Botanical Lecture: these take place on a Monday at Caley’s Pavilion and involve a lecture and a gentle bushwalk. Check out the Australian Plants Society of NSW website for more details
- Discover the kids programs: if you want your kidlets to get some more exposure to the bush then you should consider one of the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens Kids Programs
- Join in the Wildflower Art and Garden Festival: this festival is held in August each year and showcases the very best of the garden and the area.
- Take part in the weekly Parkrun: held each Saturday morning at 8.00am the Parkrun is 5km where you can run, jog or walk. Check their website for more details.
If you want to be sure you get your favourite picnic spot, they can all be booked through the Ku-ring-gai Council website.
Five reasons to visit Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden
- Enjoy one of the eight bushwalks
- See beautiful wildflowers
- Visit the pond and boardwalk
- Simple bbq facilities
- Purchase plants from the nursery and explore the Visitors Centre
- Entry: Free
- Toilets: Yes
- Wheelchair friendly: Yes (in parts)
- Free carparking: Yes
- Free BBQ facilities: Yes
- Time to spend here: 1 hour to all day
- Food available: Drinks and snacks in the Visitors Centre
- Address: 420 Mona Vale Road, St Ives NSW 2075
- Further details: Visit Ku-ring-Gai Wildflower Garden directory listing