One of the best things to do in Hobart is to visit the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. I spent two nights in Hobart at the end of my Tasmanian road trip and got to see the gardens during their 200th-anniversary celebration – superb timing!
There are more than 140 botanical gardens in Australia and these ones are almost the oldest. The botanic gardens in Hobart were established in the early 19th century and opened just two years after the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney.
The 14-hectare site is a beautiful natural environment full of trees and plants, many dating back to the 1800s. Tranquil pathways weave their way to strategically placed seating areas allowing visitors the chance to rest and immerse themselves in this oasis of calm.
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Hobart Botanical Gardens Opening Times
8 am to 5 pm April to September
8 am to 6.30 pm October to March
Hobart Botanical Gardens Entry Fee
The gardens are free to enter, but a small donation is appreciated if you want a Hobart botanical gardens map.
Hobart Botanical Garden Tours
Hobart’s botanical garden tours run each day at 11 am, giving visitors an insight into the creation and maintenance of one of the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens.
How to Get To Tasmania’s Royal Botanic Gardens
The gardens are not too far from the centre of Hobart. You can walk to them through an area called the Queen’s Domain in about 30 minutes.
Hobart botanical gardens parking is available in lower Domain Road for the main gate and Domain Highway for the lower entrance.
If you prefer to use public transport you can get to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens by bus. These lines and routes have stops nearby – 502, 615, 625, 722 and 732.
Alternatively, use the Hobart hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour bus that stops outside the main gate. What could be easier!
Hobart’s Botanical Garden Areas
Pick up a map at the main entrance, and you can enjoy a self-guided tour of the different garden areas.
I loved the whimsical statue of the head gatekeeper by the entrance to this charming cottage. Visitors can step inside and discover the story behind the Gatekeepers cottage. Back outside, the numerous shrubs and flowers planted around the borders make for a charming area.
The main focal point in the gardens is the tranquil lily pond. With a beautiful decking area built out over the water, visitors can get close to the water and the ducks! A white bridge leads across a tiny stream, and plants with huge leaves shade you from the glaring sun.
Native Plant Collection and Fernery
Make your way around this area of the gardens, and it will make you feel as if you have stepped into a rainforest. Look out for the tall lush ferns and iconic Tasmanian Huon pine trees, Australia’s oldest living tree species, that tower above you as you wander along the pathways. It’s a great area, and I loved discovering plants that I had never seen before.
An unusual feature in the botanical garden is the Anniversary Arch celebrating 150 years of the garden opening.
A myriad of brightly coloured flowers makes up the floral clock’s super cool design, which sits close to the anniversary arch.
My favourite area was the beautiful Japanese garden with its traditional red bridge. Feng-shui planting representing water, wood and stone made this area feel calm and tranquil.
Japanese maples, bonsai and bamboo plants have found their home around a central pond, where Japanese koi carp glide gracefully through the water. A walkway across the pond leading to small cascading water features adds a mystical vibe to the setting, and I loved it.
French Explorers Garden
I didn’t expect to find a garden area dedicated to a country thousands of miles away, but here it was in Tasmania.
Plants found in Tasmania by 18th century French plant hunters share this space with a structure of the bow and sails of an early French sailing ship. Beautifully crafted from Huon pine, it marks the bicentenary of the first French voyages of discovery to Tasmania.
Antarctic Plant House
An area that stood out for me was the Sub Antarctic Plant House, where you can learn about the plants that grow in this region. It was fascinating as I wouldn’t have thought any plants could survive in these harsh temperatures, but they do!
As you step into the plant house, you encounter icy fog and hear noises that mimic the environments of sub-Antarctic islands in the high southern latitudes. Make sure you wear a jumper it is cold inside!
Food and Drink at Hobart Botanical Gardens Restaurant
Visitors can enjoy a menu featuring the freshest Tasmanian produce at the renowned Succulent restaurant.
If you only want a quick bite like ice cream or a sandwich, you can buy these from Sprout Takeaway.
Nearby, you will find the Hobart botanical gardens shop from where you can pick up a souvenir to take home with you – I bought some earrings and a bookmark to remind me of my visit.
Weather warning note:
I had a fabulous time exploring the Hobart Botanical Gardens, but I spent too long in the Australian sun and guess what – I ended up with sunstroke!
That night was awful as I was very ill. Knowing I had to return the hire car the next day and catch a flight to Sydney to continue my round the world trip did not help my recovery, but I’m happy to say I made it thanks to the constant care my son showered on me (I knew I had brought him on this trip for a reason!)
If you are travelling to Australia, please remember that the ozone layer is thinner and the sun more potent and dangerous. It’s not the same as the sun I am used to in England!
Be aware of how long you are in the sun, wear a sun hat, and drink gallons of water. Please don’t end up like me!
Want to find more out about Tasmania?
Check out my blog posts below for helpful information if you plan to visit Tasmania.
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