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Brisbane’s Naturescapes A Guide to the City Botanic Gardens

Brisbane’s Naturescapes: A Guide to the City Botanic Gardens

One of the best things that we love about this city is that it has generous pockets of green scattered all around. The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, the city’s premier botanic garden, is nestled right in the middle of this bustling Sunshine State capital.

It has an abundant collection of over 600 flora species which makes for quite an interesting walk in the park. But apart from that, this lush urban landscape also has other attractions that you shouldn’t miss! 

No more beating around the bush. Get ready, as we walk you through our ultimate guide to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens!

Where is the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens?

The City Botanic Gardens in Brisbane is located by the river on Alice Street within the CBD and across Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park. The Queensland University of Technology and the Queensland Parliament House are both located beside the gardens. 

How to Get Around the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

How to Get Around the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens can be accessed by bus, train, or ferry. The nearest train station is Central Station which is a 10 minute walk away. 

If you’re taking the bus, there are several bus stops along Alice Street, and the Gardens will just be a short walk from there. You can also take the free City Loop buses which stop at Alice and George Streets. 

For those taking the ferry, you can take the CityCat or CityHopper ferries and hop off at the QUT ferry terminal or the Riverside ferry terminal which are both just less than a 10-minute walk away. 

To plan your trip, you can check out the TransLink website here

Alternatively, the Gardens is a great destination for walking or cycling. You can access it by bike or on foot via the entrance of the Parliament House on George Street, via Alice Street at the Albert or Edward Street intersections, or Goodwill Bridge from South Bank. 

You can also check out the Brisbane Cycling Map for a more detailed guide on biking in the city. 

Meanwhile, if you’re taking a car, take note that only paid parking options are available. But if you go on a Sunday, you might chance upon free parking.

Best Time to Go to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Best Time to Go to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Image Source: Pexels

Brisbane’s subtropical climate provides wonderful weather all-year round, so you can visit the City Botanic Gardens any time of the year! You can also visit the Gardens any time of the day or night since it’s open 24 hours. 

But if you want to know the most perfect season to visit the Gardens, it would definitely be in spring from September to November. During this season, you’ll get to see the flowers in full bloom, in all their vibrant glory! 

Things to Know Before Your Visit to Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Things to Know Before Your Visit to Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you’re planning to visit the City Botanic Gardens soon, here are just some things to know before you go:

  • Before you plan your trip, it’s important to take note that Brisbane has two botanic gardens. First is the City Botanic Gardens on Alice Street in the CBD, which is what this article’s all about. 

The other is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha, which is about a 20-minute drive from the city center. You can learn more about Mt. Coot-tha here

  • Entrance to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is free, except during ticketed events. You can check out what’s on here
  • The Botanic Gardens is open 24 hours, so you can visit any time. It’s also a perfect place to take an evening stroll! 
  • The Botanic Gardens has a number of public amenities for your convenience and enjoyment. This includes toilets, picnic areas, drinking fountains, a playground, wheelchair access, and wi-fi. 

A Brief History on the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

A Brief History on the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Brisbane Botanic Gardens 1891 / Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is a 49-acre heritage-listed botanic garden, which was formerly known as Queen’s Park. 

According to the Queensland Heritage Register, it’s “the most significant, non-Aboriginal cultural landscape in Queensland, having a continuous horticultural history since 1828.”

The area was first established as a farm in 1825 to provide food for the Moreton Bay penal settlement. The flora in the garden were originally planted by convicts, which included food crops. 

In 1855, a part of the garden was declared a Botanic Reserve, with garden curator Walter Hill being appointed as the Reserve’s first superintendent. His planting and experimental programs resulted in the rapid development of the gardens. 

Some of his projects included undertaking trials to determine the suitability of certain plants and crops in a subtropical setting. 

Hill also introduced crops like mangoes, pawpaws, pineapple, sugar cane, ginger, tobacco, coffee, as well as ornamental plants that would delight visitors. 

Notably, Australia’s first jacaranda tree was planted here in 1864. The jacaranda seedlings were gathered by a curator from an international shipping vessel that was docked in the Brisbane River. 

Today, the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is home to approximately 600 species of plants. 

Things to See and Do in Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

This tranquil pocket of green in the heart of Brisbane is a perfect place to take a scenic walk among lush surroundings with captivating views of the cityscape. 

Apart from taking a casual stroll, here are some of the top things to see and do at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens! 

Bamboo Grove

Image Source: Brisbane City Council Flickr /  David Kan

Walk among this impressive collection of 23 bamboo species that was planted in commemoration of the bamboo trees that were lost in 1937. 

The bamboo plantation did not survive after the gardens’ Fern Island was drained and filled due to mosquito infestation. 

Walter Hill Fountain

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This water fountain commemorates the Botanic Gardens’ first curator, Walter Hill. It was originally built in 1867 as a drinking fountain, and was renamed in 1972 as a tribute to Hill’s achievements.

Apart from being the first curator of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Hill was also Queensland’s first Colonial Botanist. 

Weeping Fig Avenue

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Take a peaceful walk under the shade of trees at Weeping Fig Avenue. The trees were planted in the 1870’s to serve as a barrier between the northern perimeter of the gardens and Queen’s Park. 

Jemmy Morrill and the Brolgas Sculpture

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is a sculpture crafted by Queensland artist, Lindsay Daen. The artwork commemorates Jemmy Morrill, a seaman who survived a shipwreck on the Great Barrier Reef in 1846 after being discovered by Aboriginal people. 

He went on to live with them for 17 years before going back to a European settlement in the Bowen district. Morrill was able to play a pivotal role in improving the relationship between the early settlers and Aboriginal people. 

Baldwin Lawn Playground

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Baldwin Lawn Playground is a play area for people of all abilities. It provides a safe environment for children of all abilities to play together. 

The playground provides wheelchair access and includes different stimulating equipment for kids. The pathways around the area were also created wider in order to allow enough space for people in wheelchairs and their companions. 

Ornamental Ponds

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The ponds at the gardens are great places to see birds, ducks, and other wildlife. The top ornamental pond was created between 1958 and 1960 and was designed by Harry Oakman, former Parks Manager and landscape architect of the Brisbane City Council. 

The lower ornamental pond is the only part that remains from the original natural creek system of the City Botanic Gardens. 

Take a Guided Tour

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you’re interested to learn about the diverse plant species that can be found at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, then you should join their free guided tours! 

Tours take approximately an hour at a leisurely pace and are available Mondays to Saturdays at 11am and 1pm. To join the tours, you can head to the information kiosk located by QUT’s Main Drive pathway. 

We also recommend checking their website for tour availability as holidays may affect the schedules. 

Go on a Picnic

Image Source: Pexels

You can roll out your picnic blanket and just take in the views at the gardens by the river. Just look for your spot on the open grass picnic areas or find a table under the shade of trees. 

The Royal Palms Lawn and the area around the playground are the most popular picnic spots. 

Catch a Show at the Riverstage

Image Source: Pexels

The Riverstage is an outdoor entertainment venue within the City Botanic Gardens and it hosts some of the biggest concerts and events in Brisbane. 

The outdoor venue by the river has a capacity of 9,500. Some popular local and international acts that performed here were Powderfinger, Florence and the Machine, Ed Sheeran, and The Chemical Brothers. 

Check out the latest events at Riverstage and catch a show here

Visit the Gardens at Night

Image Source: Brisbane City Council Flickr / Phoebe Paradise 

Visiting the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens at night is a whole different experience as you’ll get to see the cityscape light up. 

You’ll also get to catch some interesting events such as the annual “Botanica: Contemporary Art Outside,” which happens every May. This exhibit is open to the public and showcases installations and interactive artwork that brings the gardens to life. 

Where to Eat Nearby Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Spending a day exploring Brisbane’s premier gardens will surely work up your appetite. Here are some of the best restaurants to try nearby! 


Address: 75 Gardens Point Rd, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Contact: +61 7 3012 9606

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7am – 3pm; Saturday & Sunday, 7am – 4pm

Pricing: $$

Nestled within the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, The Gardens Club is the perfect spot to take a break among the leafy surrounds, coffee in hand. 

We love having their smashed avo or eggs benny for brunch. You can even order a picnic basket, which is perfect for an afternoon hangout at the gardens. 


Address: Queensland Parliament, George corner Alice St, Brisbane QLD 4000

Contact: +61 7 3553 6377

Hours: Wednesday – Friday, 12pm – 2pm; 6pm – 9pm (Fridays only)

Pricing: $$$

Dining at Strangers’ Restaurant is a unique experience with its halls steeped in history. Located within the Parliament House, the restaurant was originally called “Members’ Dining Room,” exclusively used by male members of the Parliament until 1966.

In 1970, the dining hall welcomed members and their guests, and was then renamed “Strangers’ Dining Room.” The “strangers” referred to the guests who weren’t members of the Parliament. 

It was only in 2006 that the dining room was opened to the public. Visitors can indulge in traditional high tea in the beautiful heritage dining room, or an elegant dinner on a Friday night. 


Address: 18 Charlotte St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Contact: +61 7 3221 6433

Hours: Open 24 hours

Pricing: $$

Another fascinating dining destination just a short walk from the gardens is Pancake Manor. The restaurant is set in an old brick building that used to be a church built in 1904. 

In 1979, the building was leased and refurbished by the founder of the Pancake Manor, Roger Meadmore. Since then, it has become a Brisbane icon that served generations of Brisbanites day or night. 

This is a great place to take the family for hearty servings of pancakes, waffles, and other savory bites from their wide menu offerings. 


Address: 12 Edward St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Contact: [email protected] / (07) 3012 7128

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11:30am – 3pm, 5pm – 9pm

Pricing: $$ – $$$

If you’re in the mood for Italian food, Olive & Angelo offers authentic Italian cuisine in a beautiful courtyard setting, and it’s just a short walk from the gardens on Edward Street. 

We love that their menu caters to specific dietary requirements as they offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Everything, from the pizza to the pasta, are all lovingly home-made, which makes every dish absolutely memorable. 


Address: 157 Elizabeth St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Contact: [email protected] / 07) 3221 7778 / 0433 017 020 

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11:30am – 3:15pm, 5pm – 10pm; Friday, 11:30am – 3:15pm, 5 pm – 11pm; Saturday, 11:30am – 3:30pm, 5pm – 11pm; Sunday, 11:30am – 3:30pm, 5pm – 10pm

Pricing: $$ – $$$

A superb choice for lunch or dinner, Maru Restaurant is one of the best places to get Korean food in Brisbane. It’s the go-to Korean restaurant in the city as they always bring fresh, quality food on your plate. 

It’s a great place to dine with groups as you can order grilled food and hot pot for sharing. They also have a wide selection of Korean a la carte meals that are definitely must-tries! 

Where to Stay Nearby Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Staying close to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens allows you easy access to this urban nature escape as well as other key attractions in the city! Here are some of the best hotels we recommend! 


Address: 80 Albert St, Brisbane City QLD 4000 

Contact: +61 7 3013 0088

Pricing: $$

Capri by Fraser Hotel is just a quick 3-minute walk from the entrance of the Botanic Gardens. 

The hotel offers studio and apartment units along with top-notch amenities that’ll make your stay even more comfortable. They have a 24/7 gym and yoga space, heated indoor pool, sauna, and a 24/7 launderette with interactive games. 

If you book their one bedroom executive suite, it’s really convenient that it has its own washer and dryer. 


Address: 222 Margaret St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Contact: +61 7 3003 0880

Pricing: $$$

The Brisbane Skytower by CLLIX offers a new level of luxury, with breathtaking views all around along with five-star services and amenities. 

They offer one, two, and three bedroom apartment accommodations that give guests the best views of Brisbane and beyond. You’ll also get access to their indoor swimming pool, fully equipped gym, barbecue facilities, and unlimited wi-fi.


Address: 1 Edward St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Contact: +61 7 3221 1999

Pricing: $$$

Stamford Plaza Brisbane offers an elegant accommodation by the river, with the Botanic Gardens just a few steps away. 

You’ll get to enjoy classic riverside luxury rooms which provide an ideal space for rest and relaxation. We love that all accommodations offer stunning views of the Brisbane River and cityscape. 

What’s more, they have in-hotel dining, bars, and you can even treat yourself to a traditional high tea as well. 


Address: 152 Alice St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Contact: +61 7 3221 3411

Pricing: $$ – $$$

Royal on the Park Hotel is nestled right beside the City Botanic Gardens which gives guests a relaxing atmosphere surrounded by lush greenery. 

They have a range of accommodation options available, from deluxe rooms, premium rooms, to junior and executive suites that all offer stunning garden and city views. 

The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and spa, fully equipped gym, and a restaurant and lounge bar that offers an exquisite dining experience. 

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