In every state and territory of Australia, breathtaking gardens play host to diverse flowers, trees, landscapes and wildlife.
An abundance of land has been dedicated to these spectacular public gardens, with years of history and hard work behind them. We picked a few that you simply can’t miss.
Cockington Green Gardens, Canberra ACT
For 40 years this beautiful garden landscape has been family-owned and operated. Four generations have added to the fascinating miniature buildings scattered around the park. The Australian Tourism Award-winning Cockington Green is constantly growing. It now features the Rose Room indoor exhibition, café and playground. Plus, a miniature steam train and roughly 35,000 flowers planted each year.
Its main displays spread across two sections – the International Display and the Original Display. The latter is inspired by the colourful and wondrous views of Great Britain, where the original owners holidayed in 1972. Many of the miniature scenes throughout the garden are recreations of beautiful locations in England.
Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, Cowra NSW
This garden was built in recognition of Cowra’s relationship to the people of Japan, which originated with the construction of a POW camp here in 1944. Sixteen years later, the Japanese Government decided to rebury all their fallen Australian-based war soldiers in Cowra. The idea of the garden developed from there. Incorporating designs that replicate parts of the Japanese landscape, including elements of mountains, waterfalls, rocks, lakes, pine trees and rivers that flow into oceans, the garden is inviting to all visitors. You can experience regular garden talks by directors and staff on different parts of Japanese traditional design.
Victoria State Rose Garden, Werribee South VIC
More than 5000 roses cover almost five hectares in this colourful tourist gem. Victoria State Rose Garden was awarded the International Garden of Excellence by the World Federation of Rose Societies in 2003. Not only was it the first rose garden outside of Europe to receive this award, it was the only garden during that time run exclusively by volunteers alone.
Everywhere you look there are unique roses; the Maxi Vita, orange-pink with a yellow-orange base; the Fourth of July, a vibrant and unusual red with yellow marking that fades to white; and the intense yellow Victoria Gold, bred to celebrate the Centenary of the Rose Society of Victoria.
Adelaide Himeji Garden, Adelaide SA
Designed to celebrate the partnership with Adelaide’s sister city – Himeji, Japan – this garden blends two classic styles. The first, senzui (lake and mountain garden), conjures a sense of vastness and grandeur. The second, kare senzui (dry garden), incorporates rocks and sand to evoke the presence of water and the sea.
Many aspects of the garden represent religious significance to Japanese people and aim to remind visitors of the beauty of nature. Although relatively small, the garden is a quiet spot that provides a calming break from the city, with plenty of spots to have a picnic or read a book.
Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Alice Springs NT
Meander around walking trails within this arid zone botanic garden. Visitors can climb up Annie Meyer Hill to take in the views of Alice Springs and Todd River. Founded by prominent anthropologist Olive Pink, the garden is home to more than 600 Central Australian plants. The garden grows bush goods and medicinal plants such as native lemongrass and bush passionfruit.
There are also birdwatching and wildlife viewing opportunities, with more than 80 bird local species. There are even a few reptiles and marsupial. The Bean Tree Café is a wonderful place for breakfast, morning or afternoon tea. It’s a great spot to keep an eye out for all the birdlife.
Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World, Sunshine Coast QLD
This gorgeous garden sits inside a magnificent rainforest within Glass House Mountains National Park. The 4-hectare property has seven hectares of gardens winding together with stunning waterfalls and lakes. The walking paths guide you past roses, annuals, orchids and some of the rarest cycads in the world.
There are daily tours showing off 18 gazebos with breathtaking views. It’s more than just a garden though, as the name suggests. Bird World is home to more than 700 native and exotic birds from all over. Visitors can interact with them up close within the garden’s four walk-through aviaries.
Cave Gardens, Mount Gambier SA
These gardens feature something extraordinary: a sinkhole. This original source of water for early settlers can now be seen by visitors from many viewing platforms, with a waterfall that’s exposed in wet weather.
In the evening, a magnificent light show tells Indigenous Dreamtime stories, with the best views seen from down below in the cave. A historical garden filled with roses and other plants flows down into the sinkhole. During holiday season, Christmas lights hang from the cave walls. And in spring, the showstopper in the collection of roses that bloom all around.
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart TAS
Take a guided tour through this remarkable garden which spans more than 14 hectares. The Botanical Gardens are home to around 6500 species and varieties of plants, of which more than 400 are Tasmanian.
It’s also home to the largest public conifer collection in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll find Wollemi pines, a tranquil Japanese garden, an impressive conservatory, a traditional herb garden and the Tasmanian Community Food Garden. Don’t miss out on rare plants from Macquarie Island in the Sub Antarctic Plant House. Be sure to marvel at the historic Arthur Wall, internally heated to grow exotic plants in the cooler climate.
Araluen Botanic Park, Roleystone WA
Winding paths lead visitors through 14 hectares of exotic gardens and 59 hectares of native bushland. At Araluen Botanic Park, roses, tulips and hydrangeas grow along the banks of Stinton Creek. Other common species, including azaleas, water lilies and ornamental fruit trees.
The gardens also supplies a variety of habitats for several bird species. Keep an eye out for white-faced herons, southern boobook owls, cockatoos and yellow-rumped thornbills.
Blue Lotus Water Garden, Yarra Junction VIC
Extensively landscaped with a tropical theme, this garden is detailed with dozens of built waterways. Visitors can traverse the various lakes, ponds, lagoons, bogs and even a waterfall.
Each waterway is home to hundreds of varieties of flowing lotus, while the surrounding gardens feature perennial flower beds, creating an array of colours everywhere you look. There’s also the Flower Fairy Garden for kids to enjoy – especially when the Fairy Queen makes an appearance for story time.
Explore deeper on the native river walk, which follows the Little Yarra River with opportunities to see rare platypus, cockatoos and the occasional koala and wallaby. Head back to the main garden to view the Giants of the Amazon water lily exhibit where the largest species can reach more than two metres in diameter.