VISIT BALLARAT BOTANICAL GARDENS
A historic landmark
A visit to the old gold rush city of Ballarat in Victoria isn’t complete without taking some time to wander the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Set in front of the magical Wendouree Lake on the western shore, this beautiful garden and parklands is a historic landmark and popular attraction of Ballarat.
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens dates from 1857 and is an impressive reserve spread over 40 hectares, which is larger than the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.
With formal gardens and large lawns, mature trees, a lily pond, a conservatory, a large floral clock, a statuary pavilion and more, the grounds offer plenty for everyone to enjoy. I visited on a warm sunny day and it was magnificent, with people having picnics, walking and relaxing.
Open Air Art Collection
I love the collection of awesome statues all around the gardens. It gives it a European feel. In fact, some of the statues are from Italy, bought and donated by wealthy local citizens. Other statues are sculpted by wonderful Australian artists.
You’ll find a Statuary Pavilion housing 5 grand marble statues. These are from Carrara, Italy, depicting females displayed on pedestals, centred around the main statue, “Flight from Pompeii”.
Other statues in the gardens include mythical and historical figures, and representations of the 4 seasons, plus two majestic marble lions welcoming you at the main entrance. These are typical adornments of 19th century landscapes.
Apparently, the founders of Ballarat had dreamed of making it a “city of statues”.
Prime Ministers Avenue
Amongst the sprawling heritage listed gardens, you will discover a unique feature seen nowhere else in Australia, the Prime Ministers Avenue showcasing bronze busts on pedestals of all the nations’s PM’s since 1901.
Stroll down this avenue lined with Horse Chestnut trees to get up close and personal to all the past leaders of the nation, displayed in order of their term in office. The heads have quite a good resemblance to their namesakes.
These national monuments have been sculpted by various artists commissioned by the local council, which has struggled to keep up with some of the quick changes in Prime Ministers over the years.
The Gardens boast many large trees, including the giant Sequoia trees which stand up to 30m high and are over 150 years old. These imposing redwood trees from California create an abundance of shade in the garden, perfect for Summer days.
The Gardens are also well known for the huge display of begonias, as well as many other seasonal plantings all throughout the year.
Formal hedges, animal topiaries, a rose garden and a fernery, are just some of the other landscaping highlights you’ll see whilst strolling around.
One of the most delightful aspects of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens is the Conservatory, bursting with seasonal flowers, planted throughout the year.
The building itself is quite an interesting architectural design of glass panels in geometric shapes.
The fairytale Lake Wendouree is opposite the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. So, definitely go and check it out when you’re here.
One of the most cherished aspects of the lake is the Black Swans that inhabit the wetlands here all year around. There are about 100 of these native Australian birds here. But be warned, they will chase you if you have food!
General Information about Ballarat Botanical Gardens
- Located about 4km from the centre of Ballarat.
- Open every day of the year.
- Free to enter.
- Dogs are allowed.
- Pipers By The Lake cafe restaurant is located on Wendouree Parade which runs through the gardens.
- The Ballarat Begonia Festival is a popular annual event held each March.
- Outdoor music events are held in Summer.
- You can join guided walking tours around the Gardens to learn details about the history and plantings.
- Garden Explore.