Explore Cairns Botanic Gardens with beautiful tropical plants and calming surroundings.
Cairns Botanic Gardens is one of Australia’s best exhibits of tropical plants. You can stroll through the gardens in the early morning or the evening and see the beautiful tropical flora and horticulture.
What gardens can I see?
Cairns Botanic Gardens has many different types of garden areas and collections to explore. From playgrounds that the kids can climb on to calming gardens where you and sit and relax.
Aboriginal Plant Use Garden
The Aboriginal Plant Use Garden has a range of different rainforest plants that the Aboriginal people in the area use. These plants were used for food, medicine, clothing, shelter, and more.
Flecker Garden features all the tropical flora that you can find across the world in tropical regions. You can expect to see some plants from Tropical North Queensland, Africa, South East Asia, and South America.
The Nature Playground is perfect for children to climb ropes, crawl through tunnels, sensory playing, and many more! The playground will help the kids learn about the surroundings and learn more about nature.
Saltwater Lake exhibits the saltwater ecosystems from the plants and animals like crabs and many birds. By the lake, there is a garden with shrubs and tropical fruit trees with BBQ facilities, picnic shelters, and a playground.
You can bring the family and have a BBQ or picnic near Freshwater Lake. The lake has waterlilies and is home to many types of birds so you may spot a few ducks around. There is even a playground for the kids to enjoy.
Zhanjiang Friendship Garden
The Zhanjiang Friendship Garden is a Chinese style garden that sits by Freshwater Lake. The garden represents Cairns and Zhanjiang, a city in China. The garden has traditional contemporary style features and even reflects Cairns cultural heritage.
Most of the bamboos in the collection are tropical species with some being as tall as 30 metres!
The Rainforest Boardwalk takes visitors back in time to show them what Cairns would look like before settlement. Follow the boardwalk and see the layered tassel fern which is an endangered plant that was very common in the area.
Watkins Munro Martin Conservatory
This conservatory was made to resemble the licuala palm which features on the Cairns Regional Council logo. The conservatory protects the Botanic Gardens’ most tender and valuable plants, with plenty of butterflies to see too! Follow the path and see the collection of plants like ferns, palms, and many more.
Gondwanan Heritage Garden
The Gondwanan Heritage Garden has seven different zones that represent the stages of plant evolution. As you follow the trail, you’ll learn about the evolution of plants from the first photosynthetic bacteria and even to modern plants!
Fitzalan Gardens is three separate gardens that are connected by bridges, paths, a waterlily pond, and trees. This garden is one where you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Fitzalan Gardens is also named after Eugene Fitzalan who was the first Botanic Gardens caretaker.
What can I do?
Aside from seeing all the beautiful plants and flowers at the Botanic Gardens, there is plenty more you can do. From doing a guided walk to getting some food and watching the wildlife.
Visitor Information Centre
The Visitor Information Centre focuses on teaching you about the Botanic Gardens. The centre has an exhibition and small gifts you can buy like books and souvenirs that are designed by local artists.
If you have any bags or luggage with you, you can drop them off at the centre while you explore the Botanic Gardens.
At Cairns Botanic Gardens, there are free walking tours available to learn more about the plants, flowers, and animals. There is a guided tour that takes you through the Flecker Gardens which shows the Conservatory and Aboriginal Plant Use sections. But if you want to meet some birds, the Bird Watching walking tour might be best for you, just bring some binoculars! Lastly, there is the Gardens and Tanks Precinct Heritage walking tour.
As you make your way through the gardens to see the beautiful flowers, you may notice a lot of different types of birds flying around. There are around 50 different birds you can spot throughout the year! As the seasons change, there will be different types of birds living in the gardens. It may be tempting, but don’t feed these beautiful birds as they may get sick from the food.
Within the Botanic Gardens, there are two cafes that offer delicious food. Botanic Gardens Restaurant Cafe and TANK sixty four are open for breakfast and lunch. TANK sixty four will also reopen for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
Botanic Gardens Library
The library is in the Friends of Botanic Gardens House in Flecker Garden. The library has a collection of books on botanical and horticultural as well as tropical gardening, and plant science.