Where to see Australian Plants - Australian Capital Territory

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Cultivated Plants


Predominantly Natural Areas (not National Parks)

In compiling this list, National Parks have been omitted. As all National Parks exist for the preservation of flora and fauna, it is obvious that any of the Parks throughout Australia are worth a visit by the plant enthusiast. Further details of National Parks can be found from the appropriate Parks Authority.


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Cultivated Plants

  • Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra

    The National Botanic Gardens is located off Clunies Ross St, Acton, on the slopes of Black Mountain and consists of 40 hectares of developed area on the 90 hectare site. Development of the Gardens commenced in 1949 and were first opened in 1967. The aim of the National Botanic Gardens is to grow, study and promote Australia's flora.

    Over 100,000 plants from over 6,000 species are in cultivation at the Gardens. Plants include species from all parts of Australia and its Territories. Plantings are arranged into taxonomic groupings and there are also several feature areas including the Rock Garden (where a wide variety of plants which naturally occur in habitats ranging from alpine areas to deserts are planted), the Rainforest Gully and the Eucalypt Lawn (which is an ideal picnic area). The Gardens also cultivates plants threatened in the wild and maintains over 1 million herbarium specimens.

    A number of trails (eg. the Aboriginal Trail) have been developed throughout the gardens and guided tours are also carried out daily at 11.00 am and on weekends at 2.00pm.

    The Gardens are open daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm and entry is free. There is a Visitor Information Centre, Bookshop and Kiosk which are open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm, except Christmas Day. Further information can be obtained from the Visitor Centre (02 62509540) or GPO Box 1777, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia or from the Garden's extensive web site.

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  • Booderee Botanic Gardens, Jervis Bay

    Booderee Botanic Gardens are the only Aboriginal owned botanic gardens in Australia. It was established in 1951 as an annex to the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra. The Gardens are located on the New South Wales south coast about 150 km south of Sydney. Access is off Cave Beach Road which leaves the main Jervis Bay Road about 1.5 km inside the Commonwealth territory. "Booderee" is the name chosen for the Jervis Bay area by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and means "Bay of Plenty" or "Plenty of Fish".

    The Gardens were established to provide a frost-free environment for those species which could not be successfully grown in the cold winter climate of Canberra. The Annex comprises about 15 developed hectares on an 80 hectare site. The site features paths through areas of both cultivated and naturally occurring plants.

    The Gardens are open daily but actual hours vary depending on the time of year. Picnic facilities are available. Further details can be obtained from the Booderee Botanic Gardens web site.

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  • Fiona Hall Fern Garden, National Gallery of Australia

    The tree fern species in the garden is Dicksonia antarctica. Fossil records show that it is one of Australia's most ancient plants. The pebbled path through the Fern Garden was laid by the artist and two assistants, using a dry mortar technique. The quartz and silica river pebbles come from an area near Collector in New South Wales. Inscribed on granite pavers in the pathway are some Aboriginal names for the Dicksonia antarctica tree fern, together with the names of the languages/language groups from which they come:

    • larnerallar: PALAWA, Tasmania
    • karak: KRAUATUNGALUNG, Lake Tyers, Victoria
    • kakaura: TATUNGALUNG, Gippsland Lakes
    • kurok mukkin: GUNDITJMARA, Western Victoria
    • kombadik: WOIWORUNG, Melbourne
    • iumbugun: WANDANDIAN, Jervis Bay, New South Wales
    • jer-rung-a-ra: DARUK, Blue Mountains
    • yumbolong: AWABAKAL, Newcastle
    • mumgir: MINJUNGBAL, Tweed Heads

    Fiona Hall designed all aspects of Fern Garden, including its layout, seating, gate and water features. It may be viewed from the foyer of the exhibition galleries, and from the observatory platform at the end of the galleries of Australian Art.

    Access to Fern Garden is through the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden via the ramp alongside the Mirrabook Restaurant.

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  • Parliament House Gardens

    Constructed to coincide with the Australian Bicentenary celebrations in 1988, Parliament House and its flagpole dominate the Canberra skyline. Although the building is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year, the gardens are often ignored. They are well worth taking the time to explore as they cover a very large area and are planted almost exclusively with Australian native species. The overall theme of the gardens is one of simplicity with gardens linked by gravel pathways. Massed plantings of shrubby species such as Grevillea cultivars form effective informal hedges, an application not often considered with Australian plants.

    Admission to Parliament House and the gardens is free, although some portions of the gardens are within private areas.

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  • Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Australia

    A visit to the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra would not be complete without spending some time in the Sculpture Garden, one of Canberra's best kept secrets. It is densely planted, has meandering pathways, marsh ponds and sculptures, providing the visitor with an experience of tranquility and stimulation. Some previously displayed sculptures have disappeared behind screens of native plants, so now it is necessary to go on a journey of discovery to find them.

    The garden has defined areas which reflect the seasons of the year. Each area is planted with species which flower in the corresponding season or which create surroundings conducive to that season.

    The garden occupies three hectares and stretches from the northern face of the Gallery to Lake Burley Griffin, and east to the approaches to Kings Avenue Bridge.

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Predominantly Natural Areas

  • Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

    The Nature Reserve is located about 30 km south west of Canberra city. It is a popular area for tourists because of the large enclosures where kangaroos and other Australian animals and birds can be seen in a more or less natural habitat. The native flora is, however, also worth exploring. Eucalypts include "Mountain Gum" (Eucalyptus dalrympleana), "Alpine Ash" (E.delagatansis) and "Brown Barrel" (E.fastigata) above a diverse understorey of shrubs. Along the creeks can be found a profusion of ferns including "Soft Tree Fern" (Dicksonia antarctica), "Rough Tree Fern" (Cyathea australia), "Water Ferns" (Blechnum sp) and "Kangaroo Fern" (Microsorium diversifolium).

    A very informative Visitor Centre has displays based around the local environment. Further information from the ACT Parks Conservation and Lands web site.

    While in the area, a visit to the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station is not to be missed (about 8km from the Reserve off the road back to Canberra).


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