Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens in the World
Historians can trace the origin of botanical gardens back to European medicinal gardens known as physic gardens. Apothecaries (doctors) founded The Chelsea Physic Garden in London in 1673 to study the therapeutic qualities of plants, leading to it becoming one of the most important centres of botany in the world.
As time moved forward, botanical gardens devoted resources to the study and conservation of plants, as well as making the world’s plant species known to the public.
There are now estimated to be 1775 botanic gardens in 148 countries with many more under construction. Universities or scientific research organisations maintain many of these gardens to document collections of living plants for conservation, scientific research, display, and education. However, the vast majority of botanical gardens are open to the public as outdoor spaces designed to connect with the natural world.
The scientific cultivation and conservation of ancient and modern species by botanical gardens will guarantee that future generations will have the opportunity to witness some of the most unusual and beautiful plants varieties from around the world. Botanical gardens will also play a vital role in researching and controlling issues surrounding environmental climate change.
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With contributions from fellow travel bloggers, I can bring you 50 of the Best Botanical Gardens in the World.
These gardens have been personally visited by each blogger.
They have given their insights into what there is to see in each one and what makes the gardens special for them.
Enjoy your tour of the world’s most unique and beautiful botanic gardens.
Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes a Botanical garden?
The English dictionary records “An establishment where plants are grown for scientific study and display to the public.”
Which Botanical Garden is:
The Royal Botanical Garden at Kew in London covers 230 acres of land and has the world’s largest collection of living plants and flowers. It is a Unesco World Heritage Centre and leads the world in research into plant species.
The world’s first botanical garden was created in Padua, Italy in 1545. It still retains its original layout – a circular central plot, symbolizing the world, surrounded by a ring of water.
Oman Botanical Garden is currently under development and will be situated on 430 hectares of land in Muscat. When finished it will combine the study and conservation of Oman’s rich native flora and will hold the title of being the largest botanical garden in the world.
Facts about Botanical Gardens Around the World was gathered from BGCI (Botanical Gardens Conservation International)
Botanical Gardens in Africa
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – South Africa
Contributed by Angie of Where Angie Wanders
Established in 1913, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the world’s great botanic gardens and one of the best places to visit in Cape Town. Few gardens can match the sheer magnificence of the setting of Kirstenbosch against the slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. In 2004, the Cape Floristic Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The gardens encompass 1,320 acres of cultivated gardens and nature reserve, sectioned into different areas, all offering the visitor a chance to see some of the most amazing plants on the planet. For me, it was seeing the native proteus (flowering South African flowers) in bloom that took my breath away; the first time I had seen such a plant in its natural setting.
There are over 9000 plant species in Kirstenbosch, around 6200 of which are endemic, not found anywhere else in the world. The gardens have areas that focus on South Africa vegetation and animal life, and if you are lucky, you will spot the beautiful birds and butterflies that call Kirstenbosch their home.
A 130m Canopy Walkway allows you to get into the treetops and view the gardens from a different prospect. There is also a sculpture trail of African art that is an exciting addition to the beautiful gardens. You can book a tour of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with a professional guide if you want to know more about its history.
Pamplemousse Botanical Garden – Mauritius
Contributed by Chandresh of Family On The Wheels
Pamplemousse botanical garden was founded in 1735 by the French Governor of the island. The gardens were named, The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden after the First Prime Minister of Mauritius.
The first sight of the gardens gives a glimpse of changes it has been through in the last 250 + years with memorials & spots dedicated to various international dignitaries who have visited & appreciated this place.
Spread over 37 acres, it has more than 650 varieties of plants, including Baobabs, the Palmier Bouteille, Giant Water Lilies, a plethora of medicinal plants, including a dedicated section of the spice garden. One of the unique features is the presence of 85 varieties of Palm Trees curated from across the globe. These varieties include TALIPOT PALM, which blooms just once every 50 years.
This garden also boasts rich flora & fauna, offering delight to bird watchers. Also, there is a chance to get up & close with the world’s largest Aldabra tortoises roaming around in the garden, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mauritius.
Majorelle Gardens – Morocco
Contributed by Angie of Where Angie Wanders
Not officially a botanical garden but so beautiful that I felt the Majorelle Gardens in Morocco had to appear on this list of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world.
Created in 1886 by the painter Jacques Majorelle, the house and gardens were a work of art and comprised beautiful mixtures of plants, meandering pathways, fountains and gentle streams offering an oasis from the dusty streets of Marrakesh.
Sometime after Majorelle’s death, the gardens became the property of the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner. They restored them to their former glory and to the tranquil paradise that tourists can visit today.
Planting in the Majorelle Gardens is from the five continents and is juxtaposed by the famous blue art-deco house and sculptures around the area. Majorelle was particularly interested in cacti plants, and he planted 30 different varieties around the property. Bamboo from Southeast Asia is also visible throughout the gardens. Visitors can also visit the on-site Berber museum for an insight into the Berber culture.
Botanical Gardens in North America
Butchart Gardens – Victoria
Contributed by Kay of The Awkward Traveller
I visited Victoria, BC, a few years ago, and the top item on my list to do, aside from high tea, of course, was to see the world-renowned Butchart Gardens. Even as someone who admittedly doesn’t even like plants all that much, the garden is drop-dead gorgeous. I mean, over a million people from all over the globe visit every year!
The history of the Butchart Gardens starts with a man named Robert Butchart, a pioneer who worked in the cement industry and decided to open a vast quarry. He planned to service the high cement demands from Vancouver Island (where Victoria is) down to San Francisco. His beautiful and intelligent wife, Jennie Butchart, was hired as the company’s chemist.
Like many of the beautiful natural resources the Americas had before colonisation, the limestone deposits grew scarce. That’s when the brains of the operation, Jennie Butchart, decided to transform the abandoned quarry into a garden.
The Butchart Gardens have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada and are in different sections. The Chinese Garden, The Italian Garden and The Japanese Garden – but the site is most known for its extensive Rose Garden section. My favourite part of the gardens is the short boat ride across a serene lake, and I also appreciated that the gardens were very wheelchair accessible. During holidays, there are fireworks and craft items from local artisans.
For sustainability lovers, the park is also committed to its green initiatives, with a self-sufficient water and irrigation system and recycling water runoff from the parking lot.
The United States of America
Huntington Botanical Gardens – California
Contributed by Francesca of HomeRoom Travel
The Huntington Library and Gardens is in San Marino, California, 12-miles from Downtown Los Angeles and a great cheap place to visit in the Los Angeles area. It costs $25 to get in, but there are special free days each month. This 120-acre property contains a vast research library, art collections, and fabulous botanical gardens founded by Henry and Arabella Huntington in 1919.
The Huntington offers 16 themed gardens that are perfect for taking a stroll or spending a relaxing day. From desert-themed gardens to a playful children’s park, there is a garden for everyone at the Huntington Library. All of the gardens are spectacular and beautiful. The cool thing is that there is always something different to see each season. Spring is an excellent time to visit as many of the gardens are in full bloom. I also like that they have a variety of programs throughout the year.
The Japanese and the Chinese Garden are my favourite gardens to visit. The Chinese Garden was recently remodelled and contains gorgeous pavilions, a stunning lake, and tons of rock features. The highlight of the Japanese Garden is the Zen Garden and bonsai collection. I love how peaceful and relaxing the Zen Garden is. Inside the Japanese Garden is also a Japanese teahouse where you can observe a tea ceremony during select times. Huntington is one of the most incredible botanical gardens to visit in the United States.
Boothbay Harbor Botanical Gardens – Maine
Contributed by Wayne of Daily Tourist
One of the best botanical gardens globally is in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, known as the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. It is one of Maine’s top attractions as it is the perfect place for people of all ages to come and explore meaningful connections to plants and nature at their own pace.
The idea for this garden began in 1991 where a small group of MidCoast residents dreamed of building a world-class public garden on vast acres of land that would one day be both an economic engine and cultural anchor for the region. After 16 years of planning, the gardens opened to the public in the summer of 2007.
What makes this garden so special is that it is the most extensive garden in New England. It spans a whopping 295 acres wide, 17 of which are gardens that feature native plants and species from the state of Maine and other suitable plants for northern coastal conditions.
The best part about this garden is that depending on which season you visit, you may encounter various flowers and plants in full bloom. For instance, in April, you’ll be able to see Early Spring Bulbs and Spring Ephemerals blooming most spectacularly.
Dow Botanical Gardens – Michigan
Contributed by Sherry of Traveling Michigan
Dow Gardens, located in Midland, Michigan, is one of Michigan’s most spectacular botanical gardens. Visitors will marvel at the forest of stark black and white birch trees that flank the walkway leading from the visitor’s centre. The paved pathway continues to meander through large boulders and tall pine trees until you reach a fork in the path.
My favourite route is to turn left to walk past the gorgeous rushing waterfall and the sparkling river that flows next to the pathway. All along the way, you will enjoy seasonal flowers, flowering trees and rolling grassy hills.
Dow Gardens is a photographer’s paradise as the well-kept gardens and scenic vistas provide hours of photographic opportunities. The iconic red bridges will catch your eye as you explore the gardens, providing a fantastic backdrop for memorable family photos. The red bridge at the back of the gardens is my favourite go-to spot as it is less travelled and spans a beautiful pond.
The Children’s Garden is also a popular spot to visit for many people. The tunnels, bubble making stations, and climbing opportunities delight children of all ages. Several different vegetable gardens are growing throughout the year to teach young ones how our food is grown visually. Take your time and enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells of Dow Gardens!
New York Botanical Gardens
Contributed by James of Travel Collecting
The New York Botanical Gardens is in the Bronx in the northern part of New York City. The gardens are incredible. There are more than one million plants spread out over 250 acres. There is even a ‘train’ to drive you around, as the distances are too large to walk.
There are multiple gardens and landscapes, which means there is something to see no matter when you go. There are gardens devoted to specific flowers, including a stunning lilac collection, a rose garden, and gardens filled with peonies, daylilies, daffodils, and azaleas. Other areas are devoted to particular kinds of landscapes rather than specific flowers.
You can wander through a native plant garden, a rock garden and a perennial garden, stroll along a wetland trail, take a seasonal walk, and enjoy the children’s adventure garden. There are hundreds of trees too, and there are specific arboretums devoted to ornamental conifers, magnolias, crabapples, cherries and tree peonies, as well as a stunning maple collection and even a forest.
My favourite area, however, is the conservatory. This beautiful domed glasshouse has a series of interconnected galleries featuring a desert landscape, a tropical rain forest, a palmerie and a bonsai collection. It also houses its annual Orchard Show in spring and the Holiday Train Show around the holidays. Outside the conservatory are ponds filled with stunning water lilies and lotuses, which bloom early summer through fall.
The gardens are considered a “living museum”, and there is also an enormous library you can visit, plus classes you can take in gardening, art, design and the environment.
I live in New York and love visiting the gardens several times a year to see nature put on a different show each season. Visitors can pre-book tickets to visit the gardens here.
San Francisco Botanical Garden – California
Contributed by Noel of Travel Photo Discovery
One of the most beautiful gardens to explore in the USA are the San Francisco Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park. The garden was established in 1926 when Helene Strybing, the prosperous widow of a San Francisco merchant, bequeathed funds to establish the botanical garden to allow people to interact with nature.
The botanical garden is expansive and fun to explore, specialising in 8000 different worldwide plant species and rare species from California. Different zones through the 55-hectare garden distinguish the South African, New Zealand, Latin countries, Australian, California and other major Mediterranean areas of the world in a gorgeous botanical space.
Walking through the botanical gardens is fun, with other areas of interest, including a Japanese garden, biblical garden, Asian inspired garden and even a pre-historic garden with large and unusual plantings.
The botanical gardens at Golden Gate Park are amazing, but there are even more inspiring places to visit around the park. Check out my post on exploring the gardens of Golden Gate park here to see the top attractions and places to visit around the park for inspiration and what to see.
United States Botanical Garden – Washington D.C
Contributed by Heather of Raulerson Girls Travel
With all the politics and government buildings everywhere you look in Washington D.C., it is lovely to find an oasis of fragrant flowers right at the foot of Capitol Hill. Established in 1820, the United States Botanical Garden is the countries oldest continuously operating botanical garden.
Over 65,000 plants and flowers are here, including roses, cacti, and even two currently blooming endangered Corpse Flowers. My favourite flowers are in the impressive collection of over 5,000 rare and unusual orchids. The explosion of pink, fuchsia, white, purple, red, orange and yellow colours balance well with the delicate, subtle fragrance wafting toward you as you walk through the tall plants lining the pathways.
The Conservatory highlights different ecological areas such as the desert, medicinal plants, the Meditteranean, Hawaii plants, a Jurassic landscape with ancient plants and ferns, and a tropical rainforest. In the Tropics, you can go up and view the rainforest from the 24-foot catwalk above.
The newest addition is the three-acre National Garden that showcases Mid-Atlantic plants and flowers. Some of the specialised gardens to view in the National Garden are the Rose, Butterfly, and the First Ladies Water Gardens. The Conservatory and the National Garden are free for visitors to enjoy. You are guaranteed to see plants and flowers in bloom when visiting the U.S. Botanical Garden.
Botanical Gardens in South America
Botanical Garden Carlos Thays – Argentina
Contributed by Carley of Home to Havana
Spanning 18 acres in the busy Palermo neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, the Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays is an ideal respite from city life. Founded in 1898 by famed French landscape designer Carlos Thays, the garden has grown to include nearly 6,000 species of plants, several greenhouses, sculpture gardens, and more. The impressive winter house imported from France in 1900 is one of the only of its Beaux-arts style still in use in the world.
I was most impressed with the variety of plants and the unique gardens that the Jardín Botánico features, like the cactus garden, butterfly garden, and especially the collection of trees and flowering plants native to Argentina and the Americas. I was taken aback by the accessibility of the garden – despite its enviable collection of flora, it still feels like a neighbourhood park with friends and families catching up on benches amidst sculptures and flowering trees for an inviting atmosphere.
Make sure to take advantage of the free guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 am and 3:00 pm to see all this garden has to offer.
I accompanied my trip to the Jardín Botánico with a visit to the nearby Rosedal as well, accessible from the Jardín Botánico through a series of connected parks spanning several city blocks. El Rosedal has the feel of a European rose garden complete with over 18,000 roses in bloom from over 93 unique varieties of roses, another garden not to be missed.
Botanical Garden Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Contributed by Bruna of I Heart Brazil
Hands down, strolling around the well-maintained paths of the Botanical Garden Rio de Janeiro’s is one of the best things to do in Rio. Birds perched on the trees, the fresh smell of nature purifying your body, and the Christ, the Redeemer statue watching over the city, are some of the things you can experience in this oasis.
Surrounded by buzzing streets, these gardens are a place to disconnect, unwind, and have a deeper contact with nature. No vacation to Brazil would ever be complete without catching a glimpse of the country’s diverse fauna and flora.
In this botanical garden, you can spot sloths, turtles and many species of birds and monkeys. Mind you, these animals are cute, but restrain yourself from petting or feeding them. After all, these are wild animals and need to feel safe.
Beyond that, my biggest tip for visiting this attraction in Rio would be to apply a good repellent with picaridin to avoid mosquito bites. You will want to use it to wander through the whole city. Rio de Janeiro is a coastal town with many parks and green areas, and therefore, a decent repellent, together with a hat and sunscreen, are essentials items.
It’s also a fantastic spot for Instagrammable shots of yourself. Just remember to charge your camera because you’ll want to photograph the well-maintained green halls and beautiful plants of this botanic garden. After all, why not? You’re in the middle of an oasis.
Botanical Garden Medellin – Colombia
Contributed by Anna of Green Mochila
The Botanical Garden of Medellín sits at the crossing of two busy roads, a half-an-hour walk from the city centre. There’s a university nearby and an events space that bears the beautiful name of ‘Park of the Wishes’.
When we walked into the 14-hectare area, we immediately forgot the heavy traffic we left behind and dived into an oasis of nature. The entrance is free, and many locals come here to relax or picnic in the grassy areas, study or kiss on the benches, or have a walk, alone or with their family.
The garden showcases several types of Colombian landscapes with their typical vegetation, like a desert, palm land, tropical forest, to name a few. It also includes a butterfly house and a greenhouse with many species of orchids. My favourite part of the garden was the little lagoon which provides a home to lovely turtles and intriguing iguanas. At the time of our visit, a completely unconcerned iguana checked us out on the lakeshore, which was quite an attraction for us.
When visiting Medellin, I recommend exploring the botanical garden. Not only it is a great way to get a taste of the incredibly diverse landscapes of Colombia, but it’s also a perfect place to spend a moment soaking in the local life.
Vallarta Botanical Gardens – Mexico
Contributed by Isabella of Lets Travel To Mexico
Among the fantastic things you can do in Puerto Vallarta, I strongly recommend visiting the Botanical Garden. You don’t need to be a flower freak to appreciate this beautiful place fully; being a nature lover would be enough to want to spend an entire day there. Besides, it’s a great way to take a break from the beach.
From the parking lot, you feel like you are entering a magical place. The property offers fantastic hiking trails and short walks throughout the garden among flowers and tropical plants, besides greenhouses and specific areas dedicated to cultivating many different kinds of flowers. You can also join guided tours if you wish to have a complete experience.
A great restaurant offers local dishes on its terrace from where you can watch all kinds of birds coming for their supper. The gardeners install a table of fruits for the birds to come and feed on the sweet nectars. The Vallarta Botanical Garden is considered one of the most extensive gardens in Mexico. It includes flower species from all different parts of the country, including the most visited public collection of orchids in the entire region.
Located 1-hour from Puerto Vallarta, you can get there by BUS or taxi if you don’t have a car. Take a bus for TUITO from the corner between Carranza and Aguacate in the Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta. Cost 50 MXN. By TAXI from the Zona Romantica would be around 400 MXN (20USD) one way. Puerto Vallarta Botanical Garden is open every day from 9 to 6 pm, and the entrance fee is 200 MXN per person (about 10USD).
Botanic Gardens in Australia
Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens – Adelaide
Contributed by Natalie of Curious Campers
The Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens are in the Adelaide Hills, about half an hour from the city. Beautiful gardens feature global plant varieties and are on a hillside surrounded by native Australian bush vegetation. With kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras present in European and Asian garden settings, this setting gives it a unique feel.
The garden has two main features. At the bottom of the hill is a lake framed with deciduous trees. In the Fall, thousands of people visit and walk around the lake to take in the red, yellow and orange foliage. Watching children kick their way through deep carpets of leaves and seeing the colourful reflection in the lake is lovely.
The other feature of the garden is several themed gullies running up the hillside. There is Rhododendron Gully, Fern Gully and South American Gully, to name but a few. Our favourite is the Magnolia Gully. We go there in early spring to see the magnolia trees from around the world blossom; some of the flowers are enormous!
The other thing we love about the gardens is that they vary so much across the seasons. In winter, little streams trickle down the hillside, and the conifers smell amazing. We love spending time there in summer because it is usually much more temperate than down on the plains. Visiting the gardens is an easy day trip from Adelaide and a must-do activity when you visit the Adelaide Hills.
Mount Coo-tha Botanical Gardens – Brisbane
Contributed by Monica of Brisbane Explorer
Located just a short ten-minute drive from central Brisbane is the glorious Mount Coo-tha Botanical Gardens, recognised as the best sub-tropical gardens in Queensland, Australia. Covering an impressive 52 hectares (130 acres), the Mount Coo-tha Botanic Gardens are relatively new, having been established in 1970 after many plants from the original riverside city botanic gardens were washed away by floods.
With a diverse range of plants on display, the Mount Coo-tha Botanical Gardens feature a fern house, a bonsai collection, a Japanese garden, a children’s hide and seek trail, a tropical dome, a kitchen garden and an arid region full of cactuses and desert flora.
However, the Mount Coo-tha Gardens are most famous for its vast collection of Australian native plants which attract plenty of Australian native birds and animals.
A couple of my favourite sections are the Melaleuca wetlands set around a picturesque lake and the Australian Native Flower Garden, with its riot of colour flowing down a little hillside. Although there is plenty to explore at the gardens, don’t miss a walk through the Bunya forest to discover incredible city views from the Bougainvillea surrounded lookout.
Aside from its pleasant manicured lawns (perfect for picnicking), the gardens have become quite creative with programs ranging from free guided discovery walks and pilates in the park to kitchen garden classes and artist-in-residence workshops and performances.
The Australian National Botanic Gardens – Canberra
Contributed by Alison of Adventures in Wonderland
In the early part of the 20th century Canberra, Australia’s capital, was carved out of sheep grazing land. In the 1930s, it was decided by officials that the city needed a national botanic garden. Information was gathered from around the world, and following WWII, a start was made on the lower slopes of Black Mountain. From those early beginnings, with significant development in the 1960s, the Australian National Botanic Gardens has grown to have the world’s most comprehensive display of living Australian native plants, with 75,000 plants and various areas focusing on the different regions of the country.
My earliest memories are of being thrilled and fascinated by the rainforest gully reproducing the environment of Australian rainforests and a typical hot summer day wandering through the rock garden overjoyed by the rich colours of the everlastings and kangaroo paws, and of picnicking with family on the eucalyptus lawn. The entire garden is crosscut with wandering tracks and has an extensive water feature, areas of native bushland, and an Aboriginal trail.
For all that the gardens are varied and beautiful, the thing I love most about the gardens is the wildlife! I’ve seen kangaroos, wallabies, water dragons, echidnas, and a wide variety of colourful native birds. Go quietly up to the higher part of the garden to see kangaroos grazing at the foot of Black Mountain, or wander the perimeter of the water feature and river to see a variety of water dragons, from tiny to over a metre long.
I’ve seen a whole new family of Australian wood ducks waddling across a lawn and an echidna shuffling across an open space and back into the cover of the bush. It’s probably the best place in any city anywhere to see wildlife in the wild in the middle of a city.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Melbourne
Contributed by Pauline of BeeLoved City
Located in South Yarra, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne are an excellent place to visit to escape the hustle and bustle of the city; it only takes 5-10 minutes on foot from the CBD.
This little oasis is home to 8,500 species of plants but also zen lakes. It’s an excellent opportunity to discover the native-Australian flora and other species coming from the rest of the world.
The best thing to do is go on a 4 km long walk around the gardens. It’s a straightforward walk and will take you through the lush forests, along the Fern Gully stream and to the Ornamental lake.
Although visiting the botanical gardens is a popular thing to do in the city, it always feels like you are a bit on your own, away from the crowds. It’s very relaxing!
Make sure to take the boardwalk to the rainforest section. It’s incredible and often overlooked by visitors. It feels like you are in Queensland, and you completely forget that you are in one of the biggest cities in the world.
Another exciting thing to do is participating in one of the workshops or taking a walking tour organised by the staff. You will learn plenty about the plants and birds.
The entrance is free so visiting the botanic gardens is a must-do even if you only spend a day in Melbourne.
The Western Australian Botanic Garden – Perth
Contributed by Ariana of World of Travels With Kids
The Western Australian Botanic Garden in Kings Park has to be one of the world’s most spectacularly sited Botanic Gardens. Located overlooking the majestic Swan River and the Perth city skyline, I keep going back again and again. As part of the world’s biggest inner-city park, the Kings Park Botanic Garden is located right in the middle of Perth city and showcases the best of Western Australia flora.
The Kings Park area was first put aside for public purposes soon after the European settlement of Western Australia around 1830, with the Western Australian Botanic Garden being established in the 1960s.
The state of Western Australia is massive – think all of Western Europe can fit inside it – and as such has a vast diversity of flora. I love these Botanic Gardens because you can travel around Western Australia in the gardens, as many regional gardens showcase various plants.
The best time of year to visit is during September, which is during the Australian springtime and time for the Kings Park Festival – dubbed the biggest flower show on earth! I have a couple of favourite parts of the gardens, one is walking down to the indigenous garden, and another is the Water Pavilion garden.
In summary, what makes the Kings Park Botanic Garden so very special is its spectacular location and views, as well as the incredible diversity of colourful flora that you can discover!
The Royal Botanic Garden – Sydney
Contributed by Angie of Where Angie Wanders
To say that the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney are sprawling is a slight understatement; the fact is they seem to go on forever! These extensive public parklands are set next to Sydney Harbour and are one of the most visited attractions in Sydney.
Opened in 1816, these are the oldest botanical gardens in Australia and one of the most important botanical institutions in the world. They are also the second oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, just after Rio de Janeiro.
I walked from Mrs Macquerie’s Chair (a viewing point of Sydney Harbour Bridge) and through to the Sydney Opera House. I loved that there were palm trees all around – not something I am used to in the UK. Not so alluring was the black and yellow spiders clinging to their webs within the trees! I also couldn’t get over how many white cockatoos, colourful parrots and ibis birds were walking and flying around the gardens – such a delight to see.
The gardens are divided into sections showcasing native Australian flora and international varieties, and free guided walks are available at the weekends. There is just so much to see and do at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney that you may like to pre-plan your visit, so you don’t miss anything!
Finish your visit off at Terrace on the Domain cafe, and if you sit outside, you may get to see the native kookaburras who are just waiting to steal a crumb or two from your plate!
Mount Tomah Botanical Garden – Blue Mountains
Contributed by Holly of Globeblogging
Tucked away in a UNESCO listed National Park is the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah. Located on the Bells Line of Road approximately 90 minutes drive from the centre of Sydney, it’s not easily accessible by public transport, so this is one you’ll need to bring the car. At 1000 metres above sea level, be prepared for a different climate from the one you leave behind in Sydney.
Entry to the garden is free. There are 28 hectares open for public access and divided into several different habitats, including southern and northern hemisphere woodlands, conifers, meadows, rainforest and the Wollemi Pine, one of the oldest and rarest plants in the world. The Wollemi Pine is the subject of extensive research to protect it, and as I walked by these trees at Mount Tomah, I noticed the pinecones are bagged to catch any seeds released.
I love to visit Mount Tomah with my camera to stroll through the grounds and watch how the gardens and colours change with the seasons. They also have an impressive collection of the Protea plant, which is commonly mistaken as an Australian native but is actually from South Africa. It’s a popular spot for weekend picnics, with plenty of grass areas through the gardens to spread out a blanket with the family or relax on a bench under the shade of a tree.
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens – Hobart
Contributed by Angie of Where Angie Wanders
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Tasmania were established in the early 19th century, making them Australia’s second oldest Botanic Gardens, launched just two years after the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. The gardens are very close to the city centre of Hobart, and if you fancy a walk, it will only take you 20 minutes to reach them.
The 14-hectare site is a beautiful natural environment full of trees and plants, many dating back to the 1800s. Tranquil pathways meander alongside ponds and water cascades, and strategically placed seating areas allow visitors to immerse themselves in this oasis of calm.
There are lots of different areas to explore, from the French Explorers garden to the lily pond and from the native plant and fernery collection to the floral clock, to name but a few.
My favourite part was the beautiful Japanese garden with its red bridge and pagoda and trickling waterfall. The area felt very feng-shui with bonsai and bamboo plants and koi carp swimming in the pond. I completely fell in love with it.
Another area that stood out was the Sub Antarctic Plant House. As you step into the building, you encounter icy fog, which mimics the environments of sub-Antarctic islands in the high southern latitudes. Here you can see plant species from the Antarctic regions making this collection the only one of its kind in the world. Make sure you wear a jumper it is cold in there!
Garden tours run each day at 11 am and give an insight into the creation and maintenance of one of Australia’s most beautiful Botanical Gardens.
Botanical Gardens in New Zealand
Auckland Botanical Gardens
Contributed by Cassie of Cassie The Hag
The Auckland Botanic Gardens are a great place to relax, go for a walk or picnic, just 20-minutes from the heart of the city, easily reached by car or bus. Although it was busy during the Spring weekend I visited, it was easy to find peaceful sections amongst the many trails, leaving me feeling rejuvenated from my Auckland temp job. Allow yourself at least one or two hours to enjoy the gardens, covering a vast 64 hectares of land. There is plenty to see here, with a range of plants native to New Zealand and internationally inspired sections,
You can also go for a long walk, up to 2-hours long, through the forested areas on a fine day. Due to the need to protect New Zealand flora and fauna that is endemic to the country, the gardens have reproduced habitats to enhance the rich biodiversity. The large bush area is considered an accurate way to experience the kiwi bush without leaving the city. It is intended to be a precise representation of the native forest. The whole trail here is 4km and was my favourite section of the garden.
Elsewhere, there are romantic rose gardens, colourful conifers and camellias, and pretty perennials. The African Plants Garden is also worth enjoying, and I was lucky enough to see the cherry blossoms in bloom when I visited too. Walking around the Auckland Botanic Gardens is a lovely way to get a sense of South Pacific floral colours and a calming contrast to city life beyond the walls.
Hamilton Botanical Gardens
Contributed by Nadine of Le Long Weekend
Hamilton’s award-winning gardens were born of humble beginnings, yet today they’re one of the best places to visit in New Zealand!
The site, to the south of the central city, was once used as a rifle range and a rubbish dump before development on the gardens began in 1980. Since then, it has blossomed, and growth hasn’t stalled, making it one of the best things to do in Hamilton.
There are now five collections of gardens, each housing several themed gardens within them. The paradise collection is my preferred area, and I’m not alone in loving this internationally acclaimed garden! This collection houses gardens from around the world – including an Indian Char Bagh Garden, an Italian Renaissance Garden (my favourite – it feels like you’ve been transported across the globe), a Japanese Garden of Contemplation, and an English Flower Garden, among others.
The Productive collection centres around food production and sustainable gardening techniques. The Fantasy collection encompasses a tropical garden, a perfumed garden, a Tudor garden, and a surrealist garden. The Landscape collection is more about appreciating the natural habitat, and the Cultivar collection is all about flowers.
You can easily spend the entire day there, enjoying the many gardens, the onsite cafe, and the grounds. And if you’re visiting with kids, they’ll adore the adventure playground too!