Australia’s must-see botanic gardens

Adelaide Botanic Garden's Palm House is a seriously grand building.

Glorious botanic gardens are dotted throughout the Australian landscape and attract visitors and locals alike for their magnificent colours, extravagant beauty, and tranquil surrounds. Whether positioned in major cities or small towns, Australia’s botanic gardens are a source of immense pride.

You could easily have the attitude ‘if you’ve seen one botanic garden, you’ve seen them all’. However, if you think all Australian botanic gardens are the same, think again. So many of them have individual or rare attributes that ensure they are essential attractions when on your travels.

We’ve handpicked a wonderful selection of gardens that make essential viewing, so it’s time for you to wake up and smell the roses. Literally.

If you want botanic gardens with SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY,  check out…

Adelaide Botanic Garden, SA: With its positioning on the fringes of the city centre, this garden allows for easy viewing of a wide variety of alluring gardens. Yet the standout features are two man-made structures: one old, one new. The Palm House is a striking, historical Victorian glasshouse that commands strong attention. Meanwhile, the Bicentennial Conservatory is a whopping, spaceship-like facility that’s home to a mini-rainforest. Marvel at these sights when staying at a BIG4 park in Adelaide.

Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, QLD: Sprawling, sub-tropical surrounds that attract abundant bird life and provide endless appealing picnic spots are enough of a drawcard to these gardens. But that’s just the start. Within these confines are some of Bundaberg’s biggest and best attractions, including the Hinkler Hall of Aviation, which pays tribute to an underrated aviation hero; Fairymead House, where you can delve into the history of the local sugar industry; and the Bundaberg and District Historical Museum. After a busy day’s exploration, rest up at BIG4 Cane Village Holiday Park.

Ballarat Botanical Gardens, VIC: A feast of flowers, abundant National Trust-listed trees, and a wonderful positioning on the edge of Lake Wendouree ensure these cool-climate gardens are enticing. But the surprise find within here is the series of bronze busts of Australia’s many Prime Ministers. And judging by the rate that we’re going through Prime Ministers, this area might need more space! BIG4 has a couple of great Ballarat parks to choose from.

Busts of Australian Prime Ministers make for interesting viewing at Ballarat Botanic Gardens.

If you want botanic gardens with GREAT VIEWS, check out…

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, NSW: No need to worry if you don’t know your pansies from your petunias: it won’t impact on your experience at this majestic site. While this is one of Australia’s most beautiful gardens – packed with cool-climate plants from across the globe – it’s the spectacular views stretching across the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area that’ll leave you wide eyed. Check it out on a day trip from Sydney.

Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens, Daylesford, VIC: Have the camera handy when strolling through these historical gardens, which are perched at the top of an extinct volcano. As you meander along paths it’s easy to be enchanted by the magical surrounds: myriad plants and flowers jostles for attention. Yet it’s from atop Pioneer's Memorial Tower that you’ll really want that camera: exceptional panoramic views are laid out in front of you. Take a peek when visiting the neighbouring Goldfields region.

Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth, WA: There are 3000-plus varieties of Western Australian plants to discover, and various points of interest, but the reason this is one of Perth’s biggest attractions is all to do with the sensational views that are gifted from here. Head for the State War Memorial for outstanding city vistas, or climb the DNA Tower for widespread views. Check this out while staying in Perth.

Awesome views are on offer at Perth's Kings Park and Botanic Garden.

If you want botanic gardens that showcase a DIFFERENT SIDE of Australia's landscape, check out…

Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta, SA: This is not your typical botanical garden, and a visit here is an eye opener. Uncover another side of Australia’s landscape – that of the southern arid zone of Australia. Marvel at the survival skills of the many plants that thrive in harsh conditions, where the temperatures are hot and the rainfall scarce. Contrast this with the garden’s neighbouring marine landscape, where mangroves are heavily populated. 

Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Alice Springs, NT: This is another garden that falls into the ‘not your average’ category. Like the above entry, it wonderfully showcases the immensely interesting plant life of Australia’s arid zone. In addition, abundant species that are endemic to the Red Centre are also on display. BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park makes the ideal accommodation option when in Alice Springs.

Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens highlight another side of the country's landscape.

If you want botanic gardens with HISTORY, check out…

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, NSW: This is Australia’s oldest botanic garden and it certainly pinched a prime piece of land. The garden is spotted on Sydney Harbour, within waving distance of the Sydney Opera House, so expect glittering views. The eyes should also give much attention to the host of feature gardens, including the gorgeous Oriental and rose gardens. Also take a peek at the Wollemi pine, one of the rarest plants on the planet. Explore it all when enjoying your BIG4 accommodation in Sydney.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney are packed with history, as well as great views. Credit: Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW.

If you want a dedicated JAPANESE GARDEN, check out…

Cowra Japanese Garden, NSW: This an exceptional example of a traditional Japanese garden, where manicured hedges and vibrant colours dominate the surrounds and evoke a feeling of pure relaxation. This is all backed by a host of features that includes waterfalls, an open-air teahouse, a bonsai house, and a cultural centre. Abundant bird life flourishes in these surrounds, too. Admire it all when touring the Central NSW region.

Cowra or Kyoto? Cowra Japanese Garden will have you feeling like you're in the Land of the Rising Sun. Credit: Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW.

If you want botanic gardens to take you on a WORLD TOUR, check out…

Australian Inland Botanic Gardens, Buronga, NSW: Billed as the first semi-arid botanic gardens in the southern hemisphere, this attraction showcases plants from every continent (minus Antarctica!). The collections are very well-presented and feature rare and endangered species. In addition, these gardens join that select group with a significant focus on plants from arid climates. Be sure to check out the ‘wow’ tree, estimated to be a whopping 2500 years old, as well as the magnificent rose garden. The gardens are only minutes from Mildura.

See the world at the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens. Credit: KenM Photography.

If you want botanic gardens with the BIGGEST COLLECTION of Australian flora, check out…

Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, ACT: If you want to immerse yourself within the largest collection of Australian native plants on the globe, this is the place to go. Presented within a bushland setting, the gardens’ collection includes various rare and endangered plants. One of the most popular areas is the rainforest gully, which is particularly refreshing in summer. 

Canberra's Australian National Botanic Gardens has an almighty collection.

Is your favourite Australian botanic garden on this list? Or have we overlooked a botanic beauty that deserves more attention? 

Don't forget to book your next garden-inspired break with BIG4.