The Japanese have a word for everything…’Hanami’ loosely translates as ‘flower viewing’ but really means much more than that. It refers to enjoying the transient nature of cherry (sakura) blossoms; these beautiful blossoms can only be enjoyed for a two week period, highlighting the beauty and fragility of life!
The Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan is a huge deal, so much so that the Cherry Blossom ‘Front’ is forecast each year, in previous years by local meteorologists, and now by private agencies. It occurs in late March/early April.
A little closer to home, we can all enjoy the Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival, held annually at the Auburn Botanic Gardens. This year, the festival kicks off on Saturday the 20th of August and runs that weekend, and the following weekend finishing up on the 28th August. It promises Japanese food and cultural experiences such as Ikebana (flower arranging), Origami and Kendo (martial art) demonstrations along with live music.
Despite having lived in Sydney for 17 years, I had never been to the Auburn Botanic Gardens. Kinga and I headed out to check it out before the weekend and were pretty pleased with what we found. The park is super seventies, (which makes sense as it was indeed opened in 1977) and evokes a sense of nostalgia, as it’s so much like parks my folks used to take me to as a kid. It is a top spot, particularly for families with younger kids, and it’s pram and wheelchair accessible.
It features a traditional Japanese garden (where the cherry blossoms are located) a scented garden, a rose garden and an excellent equal access playground. Animals are always a hit with the littlies, and at Auburn there is a retro Aviary (located across the road from the Botanic gardens main entry) and a sweet fauna reserve, featuring plants and animals that were indigenous to the Auburn area prior to its development…native geese (with black and white striped goslings, super CUTE!) wombats, roos and wallabies…even an albino wallaby! At 10am and 2pm on weekends you can watch the keepers feed the animals.
The gardens are free to enter during the week. During the festival it is $5 per person, residents of Cumberland council, children under 16 and cosplay and kimono wearers get in for free!
Auburn Botanic Gardens
Chiswick Road, Auburn
Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st August
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th August