The Wellington Osawano Japanese Gardens are a great addition to any visit to Wellington, particularly if you're already there to see the Wellington Caves (the gardens are probably not unique enough to draw you to this area of the Hunter Valley by themselves).
The gardens can be found right next to the Wellington Caves Caravan Park, which indeed includes the Wellington Caves, itself located a few kilometres south-east of Wellington, on the Mitchell Highway. The larger towns of Orange and Dubbo are on either side of Wellington.
The attraction consists of a very peaceful 6000 square metres of Japanese tranquility that combines tended gardens, waterways and an open pavilion that looks out over a pond of fish.
This last feature offers a good place to relax once you've finished exploring, particularly if you're just visiting for the day and not staying overnight at the complex nextdoor.
There are over 1500 plants of 126 different species here, which include those of both Japanese and Australian origin
A network of paths allows you to explore the gardens easily, and many are lined with hedges and arches
Water is an important element in Japanese gardens and this one has it in abundance, with a pond, a brook and waterfalls
The pavilion is a place of serenity
The glimpses of typical Hunter scenery in the background make it a particularly special oasis
The Wellington Osawano Japanese Gardens came about due to a $270,000 gift from Wellington's Japanese sister city, Osawano. It was constructed in 1999, according to a desihn developed by Wellington Council, and was officially opened on November 21 1999, by the Mayor of Osawano Maachi, Mr Tadao Nakasai, and Wellington Mayor, Mark Griggs.
While you're at the attraction, another place worth visiting is the Bottle House, located directly across the road from the gardens. It is made from over 9000 wine bottles and is open between 10.00am and 4.00pm on Sunday and also during the school holidays, selling mineral specimens, crystals and fossils.
The Wellington Gateway Sculpture can also be found nearby, out on the Mitchell Highway, marking the turnoff you need to take to get to the caves and gardens. It marks the entrance to Wellington Shire and includes elements that reflect the town's character, such as references to the fossils that have been found at the caves, the area's fertility and vegetation, and its history and culture. It has been constructed of recycled materials.
Where: On the Mitchell Highway, eight kilometres south-east of Wellington (take the Wellington Caves turn-off)
When: Open seven days a week, 9.00am to 4.00pm (closed Christmas Day)