The day we had planned for a scenic drive from Healesville dawned wet and windy but, with limited time, we forged on regardless. Ten minutes down the road, we parked at Maroondah Dam and braved the elements to explore the beautiful gardens. Landscaped in the early English style after the completion of the dam wall in 1927, exotic and native trees cohabit. Some had shed the last remnants of their autumn apparel
while evergreen stalwarts proudly displayed their verdure.
The Rose Stairway, constructed in the 1940s, was so named because the stone steps were originally flanked by roses. For some reason, they were replaced around 1980 with Golden Pencil Pines.
We ascended the stairs to the small rotunda at the top and,
following a signpost to the dam wall, passed another of the five rotundas in the park, the Bell Rotunda.
The path led across the dam wall to a lookout on the other side but we weren’t willing to challenge the ferocious wind.
With camera in one hand and inverted umbrella in the other, I ventured far enough to catch a glimpse of Maroondah Reservoir. The 26,000 acre catchment area is entirely eucalypt forest and no human activity is allowed on the water.
Risking life and limb, I was determined to get one shot of the temple-like outlet tower.
The impressive 41 metre high concrete dam wall is arched to withstand the pressure of the water upstream.
We beat a not too hasty retreat down the Rose Steps, hoping to avoid spectacular slippage,
stopping to admire a very late or very early Azalea bloom.
The towering dam wall is even more dramatic when viewed from below.
The valve houses have stood the test of time and are even more beautiful wearing nature’s adornments.
Seemingly a serene lily pond, the compensation channel is the point where water released from the reservoir flows back into the Watts River.
Spring would be the perfect time to explore the park, stroll along the walking trails and perhaps enjoy a picnic. We will just have to return one day.