Top 10 Gardens / Botanical Vacations in Australia and the South Pacific
Despite its rugged landscape Australia offers flower and plant lovers a wealth of choice in spring flower festivals, 19th century gardens and natural paradises. Journey to Canberra for some innovative landscape gardening, go to Melbourne for the best botanic gardens in the country or Bowral for colorful tulips.
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
These are widely regarded as the finest in Australia and comprise 35 beautiful hectares of landscaped gardens. It’s a good spot for a stroll or a picnic or to catch an open-air film over summer.
- Wellington Botanical Gardens, New Zealand
Take a cable car up to these gardens for views over the city and enjoy the 25 hectares of landscape, protected forest, specialized plant collections and colorful floral displays.
- Inverawe Native Gardens, Tasmania
This 10-hectare paradise outside Hobart is unique for its collection of native plants. Take a tea on the terrace to soak up the atmosphere with views sweeping down to the shoreline, or stroll across the grasslands or admire the plants. You’ll need a notebook to list the species you want for your own garden! The garden also abounds with birds.
- Carnival of Flowers, Toowoomba, Queensland
This annual horticultural event is the longest running in Australia and somewhat of a Spring icon. It brings together horticulture, entertainment and gourmet foods – one of the best combinations possible.
- Tulip Time Festival, Bowral, New South Wales
This annual event is the time to visit Bowral to admire the amazing colors of more than 100 000 tulip bulbs in Corbett Gardens. The event is held in spring and coincides with a number of other activities and a large number of Open Gardens held locally.
- The Garden of Australian Dreams, National Museum, Canberra
Vladimir Sitta is an architect who treats a garden as a stage. This is nowhere more apparent than outside Canberra’s National Museum where an ultra modern façade is underpinned with Aboriginal philosophy. The garden surface is a stylized map of the nation where one step is equivalent to traveling 62 miles. The word ‘home’ is repeated here in 100 different languages and lines crisscross the map including dingo fence lines, roads, surveyor’s marks and indigenous nation and language boundaries.
- Floriade Festival, Canberra
This free, month-long festival is held every spring in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park. The annual blooms and bulbs transform the park into a tapestry of colors. There’s plenty of entertainment for kids, wine bibbers, food lovers, shoppers and green thumbs.
- Hunter Valley Gardens, New South Wales
These gardens are set in the wonderful wine region of the Hunter Valley that is in itself a tourist attraction. The gardens have been developed over 300 hectares and are often termed gardens within gardens with formal, rose, storybook and even Japanese styles. Each is unique but all enjoy somewhat of an Australian twist. Five miles of paths connect the different sections.
- Chinoiserie, Mittagong
This colorful, perennial garden is set over 1.25 acres and consists of an angel garden, stream and pond, peony garden, woodland garden and many rare and unusual plants. Stay in the delightful Storybook Cottage B&B preferably between September and November for the best blooms.
- Mount Macedon, Victoria
Travel just 45 minutes outside Melbourne and you could be in a different world. This is a land of hills and vales, sheep and cattle stations and delightful mansions with fine gardens. Mount Macedon’s private gardens form one of the most significant collections of 19th-century gardens in Australia. The private estates open on select weekends from Spring through to Autumn. Highlights include the daffodils and lupins of the Garden St Erth, Forest Glade garden and the centuries-old botanic gardens in Kyneton and Malmsbury.