Nuwara Eliya is located 150 km away from Colombo in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.
To the South of the Victoria Park is the Racecourse and behind the Race course is Lake Gregory. Nuwara Eliya’s finest Golf Course is located just opposite the Victoria Park. Built in 1891 by the British colonialists in Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, this 18-hole golf course is well maintained by the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club. The club rents golf equipment and charges a fee for playing at its golf course.
10 km southeast of Nuwara Eliya, sprawling at the base of the Hakgala Rock at an elevation of 5000-6000 ft is the Hakgala Botanical Gardens
established in 1861 by Mr G.H.W. Thawaites then director of Royal Botanical Gardens
Originally established to grow Cinchona, the source of Quinine, the anti-malarial drug, Hakgala soon became a host to a wide array of foreign species. The roses that bloom during April to August steal the limelight at Hakgala. The hill is wooded with a range of foreign trees: Cypresses from California; fine old cedars; enormous tree ferns; stands of Japanese camphor; and pines eucalyptus; and bark-shedding Australian melaleucas.
Hakgala Botanical Gardens is host to a considerable flock of endemic mountain bird species including the dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lankan whistling thrush and Sri Lankan bush warbler.
From the Pedro Tea Estate , take a very enjoyable 5km (round-trip) walk to Lovers Leap, an impressive waterfall.
From the tea factory, cross the main road and follow the signs to the tea manager’s bungalow along the dirt road. At the first crossroads go left and at the the three-way junction take the middle path until, after about 15 minutes, you hit a dirt parking area. A foot-only track heads left through the tea gardens towards the forest and a rock face. Follow this trail and, just beyond the small Shiva shrine, you’ll see the spluttering waterfalls.
Vatadage, a circular relic house possesses an elegance and beauty that is rare even in ancient Sri Lanka. In line with the outer circle of stone pillars is a tastefully ornamented screen wall patterned with four petalled flowers.
The access stairs at the cardinal points are beautifully carved. At the head of each flight is a Buddha statue in stone. Vatadage is lavished with moonstones and guard stones.
Seetha Amman Temple
On the way to the Hakgala Gardens, near the 83km post, is the colourful Hindu Seetha Amman Temple at Sita Eliya. It’s said to mark the spot where Sita was held captive by the demon king Rawana, and where she prayed daily for Rama to come and rescue her. On the rock face across the stream are circular depressions said to be the footprints of Rawana’s elephant.
Tamil wedding parties make it a point to stop here for puja (8am, 1pm, 2pm and 6pm).
Galway’s Land National Park
One of Sri Lanka’s newest (2006) and smallest (29 sq hectares) national parks
, Galway’s Land is a dense patch of montane forest a few kilometres east of town. It is renowned for its birdlife, including 10 Sri Lankan endemics, as well as wild boar, barking deer and other mammals. Park guides are available by donation from the park office and a 2km-long walking trail also leaves from here.
Lake Gregory which is spread across an area of 91.2 hectares was built British colonial Governor Governor William Gregory for the purpose of making use of water from River Nanuoya that flows past Nuwara Eliya. Boating opportunities for the visitors are made possible by the boat house at Lake Gregory.
An old tea factory turned into a fine hotel is about 30-45 minutes away at Kandapola. Managed by one of the largest hotel chains in Sri Lanka, it offers good food and excellent accommodation.
Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest exporters of tea. Since the introduction of tea to Sri Lanka in the mid 19th century, Nuwara Eliya has been the capital of the tea industry. For many miles prior to reaching Nuwara Eliya from either direction you will find acres of tea plantations; in fact nothing but tea estates. There are many factories open for visitors which also consists of tea sales outlets for you to purchase.