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A Tasmanian Gem
Spring into Springtime at Hobart’s Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens to enjoy the season’s colourful blooms. I recently did just that and spent a glorious half day wandering around this delightful gem, because who doesn’t love gardens and flowers, right?
History of the gardens
Located at the Queens Domain, the area was first inhabited by the Aboriginal people. Established just over 200 years ago in 1818, the Hobart botanical gardens is one of the oldest in Australia, second only to Sydney’s botanical gardens. Originally, convict labour was used to build parts of the gardens, including the two long brick walls which span across the middle of the grounds. Convicts also tended the gardens to grow fruit and vegetables for the then new colony.
Today the public gardens are a historic part of the state of Tasmania and not to be missed. Stretching over 34 acres, a fabulous view of the Derwent River is seen from many vantage points throughout the garden as you stroll around the manicured grounds. Click here for a map.
There are about 6,000 species of plants and almost every plant is labelled. How wonderful for those of us who are wanna-be botanists, interested in learning more about flora.
The gardens are open every day and entry is free, which makes it the perfect attraction for the budget traveller, families with young children and anyone who enjoys the outdoors. This gem is just a short 10 minute drive from the city centre.
I immediately found the gorgeous pond, with overlapping decks shaped like lily pads and a cute little white bridge over the steam. It’s so picturesque here, I could spend hours sitting and enjoying the peacefulness. This area is one of the biggest attractions here at the Hobart botanical gardens, for all ages.
Dragging myself away from the pond, I walked down the main stairs past the stunning magnolia trees and under the historical Arch, which was relocated from one of the city buildings in 1968. As you can imagine, many photo shoots are held here under this romantic heritage piece, particularly for weddings.
This beautiful flower clock in the middle of the sloping lawns was in full spring with tulips when I arrived, one of my favourite flowers. Hence, my visit here was very timely (pun intended), don’t you think?
Tucked away in one of the corners is the very tranquil Japanese Gardens. This section is my particular favourite and not to be missed, but can be easily overlooked, as you can’t really see it. Just look out for the delightful cherry blossom trees which greet you at the formal entrance.
Inside the gate it is magical. I was transported to another world. Designed by a Japanese landscape architect, you can appreciate the use of the three essential elements of stone, water and wood. There is a waterwheel too and Japanese lanterns. Many of the plants are from Japan, including Japanese Maple trees. I spent quite a bit of time here absorbing the zen!
The fernery is an enclosed shelter and is a true oasis. It has a delightful cascading waterfall surrounded by a variety of ferns, from tall tree ferns to small delicate ferns. Don’t miss it if you are a fern lover.
Built in 1939, the Conservatory was constructed out of reused sandstone. A fountain has pride of place in the centre and there are orchids galore, another of my favourite flowers. It is a popular spot to take cover if it’s a rainy day. The facility is also used for functions and events.
If you get peckish during your tour of the gardens, then wander up to the restaurant, called Succulent. Of course, I had to try it out and had some lovely devonshire tea on the balcony overlooking the grounds and the river. You get a great elevated view from up here.
Many people come to the gardens just to dine here. Alternatively, you can bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawns.
Other features of the garden
Other features of the Hobart botanical gardens that you may enjoy:
- A community food garden called ‘The Patch’, maintained by outside groups and much of the food grown here is given to charity.
- A French explorers garden, with a very unusual looking wooden water feature. I’m not a fan of this one, but kids seem to like it.
- A sub-antarctic garden with subzero temperatures houses cold-loving plants. A unique environment, but I didn’t venture in here, as it’s a little too cold for me.
So that’s my fun visit to the royal botanical gardens of Tasmania. If you’re going to Tassie, be sure to check it out. Allow at least 2 hours.
Bye for now.