Thursday, 12 March 2009

A Train without tracks

Photo: Simone Cottrell

This may come across as a bit an advertisement for the so-called 'trackless train' at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. Well, so be it.

I rode on the train for the first time yesterday, doing my favourite thing - speaking into a microphone and talking about the botanic gardens. I was leading a special group of Friends of the Gardens, the Waratahs. Waratahs are Friends who give an extra donation each year, in addition to their regular membership subscription.

Our journey took us to just below Morshead Gate, through the Palm Grove to Victoria Lodge and along Farm Cove to the Queen Elizabeth II gate near the Opera House. I used this route to talk about our plans for 2016, the bicentenary of our botanic gardens.

First stop the Macquarie Precinct, with new gate and vistas, visitor centre, tree top walk and connections to a string of public glasshouses.

Then around Victoria Lodge, the Children's Garden with treehouse and fantasy plantings.

We looked across to Mrs Macquaries Point where the top end will be converted to pedestrian priority, with stripping back to natural sandstone and a view of the 'Octopus's Garden' under the harbour.

And finally, a new Australian rockery opposite the Opera House.

These are just some of the projects for the Sydney estates, and I mentioned the Mount Annan and Mount Tomah projects between stations.

The real discovery was the fun of travelling in the train and how useful it is for giving guided tours to this spectacular site. I'm sure there will be more of it.

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