We enjoyed last weekend’s outing so much that we decided to return to Lavender Bay & visit Watt Park. We were glad we did.
If you do decide to visit, don’t do as we did & park in the streets above the park. There is a road down to the park making accessibility easier. The hills & steps here are quite something. Still, the journey down to the park was interesting. People here care very much about the outside of their property & their front gardens. Massive trees are common, as well as verge gardens filled with flowers, walls covered with vines & greenery everywhere. This makes walking a pleasant experience.
We walked halfway down some steep public steps before we realized this wasn’t the way to Watt Park, but rather was another access point under the railway line to the waterfront. Back up the hill & further west we found a set of very old sandstone steps. This took us the ‘back way’ into Watt Park.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of concrete. We walked along a well trodden path through mass plantings & past very large old trees. Then the vista of the park was revealed. The first thing my husband said was it reminded him of the parks in Europe – big trees, fallen leaves, some grass & lots of plants.
We discovered a well that supplied drinking water to the people of this area in the early years of settlement. It had been covered with a barrier for safety, but you could still see down the well to the water below. It must have been very hard work carrying the water back to the houses for the people who lived here. From 1885 water was piped to homes in Lavender Bay. There is an interpretive sign that gives the history of the well.
A massive Queensland Kauri (Agathus robusta) stands at the centre of the park. There was also a memorial tree planted – a Weeping Lilly Pilly. There were quite a few old Jacarandas, all in bloom & spreading a lavender carpet over the grass, road, steps & the one path through the park. It looks very beautiful.
There was also a Pecan, a Bull Bay magnolia, a Cape chestnut & a Camphor laurel that had to be over 100-years-old. There were also many Fig trees, some of which were very large. One has side branches of at least 20-metres.
Fig trees are also growing on the cliff above the park & they have large aerial roots finding places to set root & further support the tree. There were also lots of shrubs & tree ferns in a large area that would provide habitat & safety for wildlife.
A Bush Turkey wandered around pecking for food in the grass & received some grief from a Magpie who chased it out of its area of the park. How did a Bush Turkey get here, so close to the city & is there more than one? This is a spectacular addition to an inner city park.
There is a very nice heritage-themed playground surrounded by trees & again, no concrete. A birthday party was in progress while we were there. One of the play equipment was a boat on springs that would move like a boat in water.
I also saw tree supported by a poles. It’s great to see this used, rather than lose a perfectly healthy tree.
Watt Park is a jewel. It is rare to find such a place of peace without having to leave the city. The trees are fantastic. The park itself & the area directly around the park is filled with beauty. There are also many birds, so it sounds nice. The only traffic you hear is the odd car coming down to park.
An old park like this is something special & I am glad that North Sydney Council is retaining the old-world feel here, including retaining the exotic trees.
Of interest was the lack of litter or graffiti tagging. No cigarette butts, no drink bottles, no rubbish of any kind. I do wonder how there can be so much difference in how people treat the environment only 30-minutes drive away. Hopefully it is catching & more people will recognise that sullying the environment is wrecking things for others & ultimately themselves when they return.