Review: Australian National Botanic Gardens

Of all the attractions at Canberra – Australia’s bush capital – the National Botanic Gardens are among the best established and fastest growing.

Dating back to the 1940’s, the 35 hectares of gardens are said to feature about one-third of all Australian native plants.

Located minutes from the hustle and bustle of Canberra city centre , the gardens offer a breathtaking array of native plants in a spectacular bushland setting.

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On the lower slopes of Black Mountain, Canberra, the attraction contains more than 6,300 species and describes itself as a “living laboratory on plant classification, ecology and horticulture”.

At the same time, the gardens are a tourist attraction in their own right, providing a unrivalled display of colour.

There’s an informative visitors centre; free guided walks; a bookshop; eco spa; outdoor cafe; and a 45 minute guided shuttle bus called Flora Explorer.

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Numerous walks – some catering exclusively for children – are held through the site. For example, the Aboriginal Plant Use Trail, takes visitors on a trip of discovery through the plants that were used by Australia’s indigenous peoples.

The garden itself contains an area of rainforest; grassy woodlands; a rock garden; Eucalypt lawn and a section that specialises in plants of the Sydney Region.

Another feature is the ‘Red Centre Garden, which allows you to experience the unique landscape, colours and plants of Central Australia.

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The gardens also cultivate plants that are said to be threatened in the wild: thereby protecting against extinction.

This attraction started humbly in the years after World War II, when a range of Eucalypt trees were planted on the site. In 1949, during a visit by international foresters, a celebration oak tree and more gum trees were planted to mark the official start of the botanic garden project.

Development continued apace until the 1960’s, when buildings were constructed for the Herbarium and administration, and a nursery was established.

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By 1967, the gardens were opened to the public, with interpretive signs placed along the paths to complement the extensive labelling of plants.

In October 1970, the gardens were officially declared open by the Australian Prime Minister.

Australian National Botanic Gardens are in Canberra Australia. The gardens are said to be the only place in the world you’ll see such diversity of Australian native plants in one location.

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