Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha
Set on 56 hectares and featuring over 20,000 plants and 5,000 plant species, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha are Australia’s premier subtropical botanic gardens. Way more than just a showcase of beautiful flora, the gardens are a must-visit for Brisbane Kids with a range of attractions to excite and engage them. This is the perfect place for a family outing!
Getting there and around
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha are located at 152 Mount Coot-tha Road, Toowong. The gardens are open 7 days a week from 8am to 5pm (8am to 6pm September to March). Entry to the gardens is FREE. (Dogs are not permitted.) There is plenty of parking, with an overflow carpark across the road for especially busy days. Plus there’s a bus stop within the gardens too, making it easy to get there by public transport.
Once inside, pick up a map from the Mt Coot-tha Visitor Information Centre, which opened in September 2017, so you don’t miss out on any attractions or events (and your little explorers can help you find your way around!). Along the way, you’ll be also be guided by helpful signposts pointing the way to key attractions, including approximate walking times. Most of the gardens can be accessed by flat pathways, making them accessible for prams and wheelchairs. You can download a Visitor Map here, as well as a Mobility Map. You can even drive around the gardens from 8am to 4pm on weekdays (except public holidays).
There are drinking fountains, plenty of benches for a short rest and toilets throughout the gardens. There are also picnic shelters and many lawns and shaded areas so you can find the perfect spot for a family picnic.
Flora you can see
The range of flora to be seen at the Botanic Gardens includes both native and exotic plants, from arid, tropical and temperate climates. There are stakes showing plant names, as well as more detailed signs to give you more information along the way.
Inhale the amazing aromas of the Fragrant Plants and Herbs, walk in amongst the towering Bamboo Grove, see the Fruit Trees bearing yummy treats and get lost in the Exotic Rainforest. There is everything from colourful flowers to prickly cacti, native grasses to huge conifers. You can even head further afield within the gardens to see Maleleuca Wetlands and Open Eucalypt Forest. Each separate area is a unique and wonderful world to discover, with its own amazing sights, sounds and smells!
Fauna can you can spot
There is a wonderful array of bird and animal life to spot in the Botanic Gardens. Look out for water dragons and brush turkeys all around the gardens, as well as fluttering butterflies and buzzing bees hovering over the flowers. You will often hear the sound of a screeching sulphur-crested cockatoo overhead, and see many other beautiful birds that are regular visitors to the gardens. You can also see water birds such as egrets and Pacific black ducks in the lagoons, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for turtles and eels too!
Key attractions at the Gardens
Check out the crazy natural creations in the Cacti and Bromeliad House, before heading into the hot and humid Tropical Display Zone. From there, it’s a short distance to the Fern House, which is a great for a quick visit and stopping to spot tiny fish in the trickling stream. Kids love to explore the beautiful and serene Japanese Gardens, especially heading over bridges and stepping stones, as well as marvelling at the tiny trees in the Bonsai House. Then carry on the Tropical Rainforest to join the Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail (find out more below). The lagoon is also a must-visit and a great place to stop for a rest overlooking the lily-pad covered waters.
Centred around the 18 megalitre Ross McKinnon Lagoon, there is a brand new four-hectare development within the gardens that kids will love. They will be blown away by the amazing smells at Kitchen in the Gardens, where they can see seasonal herbs and vegetables that you can even grow at home. There is a Conservation Walk, and the excellent Kuta Kids Playground that all kids will love!
Another great attraction is the onsite cafe, Botanic Gardens Cafe, where you can stop for a coffee, light snack or main meal. Of course, kids will beg to round off their day of fun with an ice cream here before you leave!
Especially for kids!
Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail
Within the gardens, there are two must-visit attractions for kids. The Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail is a numbered scavenger hunt that takes kids on an exciting adventure through the exotic rainforest to discover the wonderful hidden treasures in this beautiful setting and to get them engaging with the natural environment. From a croc in the creek to a musical giant fern leaf, there are plenty of fun surprises to discover along the way! You can read all about the Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail here.
Kuta Kids Playground
Set in the newest area of the gardens, beyond the Ross McKinnon Lagoon is the great new Kuta Kids Playground. This nature themed playground has everything from natural play spaces to climbing frames, swings, slides, stepping stones and more. This is the perfect place for a play to let off some steam after exploring the gardens! Find out all about the Kuta Kids Playground here.
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
Worth a day trip in its own right, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is also a great place to drop in to while visiting the Botanic Gardens. You can see interesting and informative displays on everything to do with stars, planets, astronomy and space travel. There are interactive features and a mini theatre, as well as great shows projected onto the huge dome screen of the Cosmic Skydome. Entry to the planetarium is FREE, although you need to purchase tickets for the Skydome shows. You can read all about The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium here.
There is so much for kids and adults alike to enjoy at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, and as it says on the sign as you enter, this is ‘the perfect place to relax and reconnect with the natural world’!