Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha#1 in Best Things To Do in Brisbane
After you've admired the sweeping views at the Brisbane Lookout, Mount Coot-tha, walk (or drive) about 1.5 miles northeast to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha. At this 138-acre subtropical conservatory, you'll find a host of native and exotic plants, not to mention the largest collection of Australian rainforest trees in the world. Within the garden you'll come across several themed spaces, including the Japanese Garden, the Lagoon and Bamboo Grove, the Fern House and the Fragrant Plants and Herb Garden – all containing different varieties of plantlife. When you're not admiring the spectacular flora, see if you can spot the fauna: Visitors say you'll likely come across iguanas and other reptiles, not to mention plenty of insects and birds.
Past visitors said the gardens provided a beautiful setting for kids to burn off some energy. The Brisbane City Council also offers a "Hide 'n' Seek Children's Trail" with surprises and facts for youngsters to discover as they make their way through the garden. And do be sure to bring your camera since this outdoor attraction boasts plenty of photo-op-worthy spots, including areas with superb views of the city.
You can navigate the garden yourself using the Brisbane City Council's recommended map. Or, consider participating in a free volunteer-led walk. The hourlong walks leave from the Information Centre at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. every day except public holidays. The gardens, meanwhile, are open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. between September and March and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. between April and August. Amenities found inside include a library, a planetarium, a cafe, restrooms and several picnic areas. Entry is complimentary, but note that vehicles are not permitted within the gardens on weekends and public holidays or after 4 p.m. on weekdays. If you're not coming from the Brisbane Lookout, you can take the No. 471 bus from the CBD or park for free in the property's lot. To see more information about garden events and to download a visitors' map, check out the Brisbane City Council's website.
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#2 City Botanic Gardens
If you're searching for a quiet respite from the city bustle, you don't have to go far: The City Botanic Gardens are less than a mile southeast of the CBD. In fact, visitors can get to this free attraction by walking, renting a bike from a local vendor, riding the ferry to the QUT Gardens Point terminal or taking the complimentary City Loop bus to several nearby stops. Limited free parking is also available. Once you've reached the gardens, which were the first in Brisbane, you'll find all sorts of relaxing spaces, including the Bamboo Grove, two ornamental ponds, a riverfront cycling area and the Weeping Fig Avenue.
To explore the gardens, travelers can take a self-guided tour using the Brisbane City Council's points of interest map or a free guided walk with one of the City Botanic Gardens' volunteers. Guided walks leave twice daily – at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – from the property's rotunda. Whichever option you choose, visitors say you'll encounter stunning scenery.
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