Sometimes you just need a little break to find the peace and joys that you as a human need in order to survive. One thing I have learnt at the age of 32 is that our worries and challenges exist until we take our last breath.
It is important to find out where your happiness lays. Different people find happiness in different things. For some it might be partying, drinks and the modern era entertainment while for others, it will be laying in your small camping tent and falling asleep to the instruments of nature. I am for sure the nature person.
If you are someone who shares similar habits of finding peace and happiness in nature, then the Dandenong Ranges National Park is a must visit place! One of the many gorgeous spots in this national park is the Alfred Nicolas Gardens.
As you drive along the gorgeous Sherbrook Road, you will be welcomed by the vivid colours of the Alfred Nicolas Gardens.
I was disappointed to see a visitors toilet on the pedestrian as you enter the garden. I have no idea to why #parksvictoria will do something like this. The impression from those using the toilets were that it is just 'unpleasant".
Do not be shocked by the number of visitors (mostly tourists) visiting this garden. Unless you're someone who is fine to spend extra time to frame a photograph without people in it, you will find it hard to take a photo without visitors in the photo.
As you make your way towards the beautiful lake which also hosts a cozy bathhouse, you will find that you can take the snake shape route to reach to the bottom where the lake is located or simply walk through the stairs.
It is a fair bit of walk to get to the lake and if you're visiting with children or anything heavy, then a word of friendly warning that you may find it exhausting getting to the lake and walking back to the exit is surely the painful part of it because you're climbing up.
There are plenty of spots where you can take a rest if you're tired.
I believe the actual highlight of your visit to Nicolas Gardens will be the lake area. You will see the stunning bridges which are now open to public (used to be closed for years, the photo below was taken when the bridges were closed to public). The lake area also attracts a lot of couples getting married for some beautiful photographs.
As you walk on the first bridge on the left hand, you will see a beautiful waterfall flowing into the lake.
You find yourself in amazing beauty of nature and human's architectural all around while exploring the Alfred Nicolas Gardens.
At the very end of the lake is where you see this beautiful cozy bathhouse with its reflection on the lake, it certainly is something to admire.
Here is a bit of history about Alfred Nicolas sourced from Visit Dandenong Ranges website: https://visitdandenongranges.com.au/activity/alfred-nicholas-gardens
Alfred Nicholas and his brother George developed the Aspro painkiller formula, becoming the first person to officially patent the formula after it was lost from general use after the First World War. He purchased the land in 1929 and proceeded to purchase subsequent land around it, extending the size of the property to 13 acres. The Burnham Beeches Estate is an Art Deco masterpiece, designed for Nicholas in the early thirties, and is somewhat likened to the lines of an ocean liner.
Nicholas traveled to many parts of Victoria and overseas to look for established trees to populate his gardens, designing it with a lake, rock pools, and ornamental designs. He hired an expert gardener to help with the creation of his prized garden.
The gardens were not finished before his death in 1937, although the majority of the planting had been finished. This then left his widow alone to look after the property, resulting in the garden falling into a state of deterioration.
The property has a long history of patronage and has gone through many phases and changes of ownership, including being a hotel, a Children’s Hospital in the early 1940s, a research facility in the 1950s, with new extensions added to it in both the 1950s and 1980s.
After the property fell into a state of disrepair and became unused from the early 1990s, the Estate was purchased in 2010 to be upgraded and refurbished to modern standards.
The gardens itself are now owned and operated by Parks Victoria. Significant restorations were undertaken in the late 1990s, transforming and recreating the spectacular location that has become the Alfred Nicholas gardens that we know today.
A variety of native birds may be seen in the gardens including king parrots and colourful rosellas. There are ducks in the lake and kookaburras can often be heard in the treetops. There is a blend of native and exotic trees including mountain ash, ginkgoes, maples and liquid ambers. Colour is provided throughout the year by a variety of flowering exotic shrubs, bulbs and trees.