ACT News

National arboretum celebrates second anniversary, celebrates one million visitors

The National Arboretum will celebrate its second anniversary on Monday, attracting roughly one million visitors since it opened in 2013. 

The arboretum turned a place of devastation into one of natural beauty following the 2003 bushfires, transforming burnt out pine plantations into what has been described as a "green heart for Canberra".  

Back, Khu Vu at the National Arboretum with son Long Vu, 2, and, front left,  Kevin Chu, 9, of Hawker.
Back, Khu Vu at the National Arboretum with son Long Vu, 2, and, front left, Kevin Chu, 9, of Hawker. Photo: Melissa Adams MLA

It has attracted roughly 40,000 visitors per month since, and there are hopes that in time it will grow to become one of the world's great arboreta.

Khu Vu and his sons Minh, 5, and Long, 2,  were among many enjoying the arboretum on Sunday, the eve of its second birthday. 

Mr Vu hopes his sons will watch the arboretum flourish in the decades to come.

"I tell the kids they will come here 50 years later, and they won't forget, hopefully," he said.

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"The open space, the nice playground, the good view, that's the main thing at the moment.

"We're looking forward to the trees, but it's not quite there yet I think."

Since its opening in February 2013, the arboretum has quickly become one of the ACT's major attractions, bringing in school groups, hosting business and community functions, and playing stage to cultural events, including the popular Voices in the Forest. 

Roughly 10,500 students are also thought to have visited since its opening.

Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury said the arboretum's unique views and outdoor spaces have gained a strong reputation.

"There is no doubt the arboretum has quickly developed into one of the major attractions in Canberra," Mr Rattenbury said.

"In its first two years there have been tree plantings from high profile visitors to the ACT including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, various heads of state and Australian public figures."

"These have given the arboretum – and Canberra more generally – significant international media exposure."

The arboretum's architecture and design were praised in the ACT architecture awards last year, where it picked up the Sir John Overall award for urban design and the highest honour, the Canberra Medallion.