Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania, is a charming and vibrant place that offers many attractions and activities for visitors.
One of the places that I was eager to visit was the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, which is among the oldest botanic gardens in the world and home to a magnificent collection of plants from different regions and climates.
I decided to spend a whole day there, exploring the various gardens, learning about the history and culture of the place, and enjoying the beauty and tranquility of nature.
In this blog post, I will share with you my experience and some interesting facts about the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are located about 22 kilometres (14 miles) from Hobart central business district, on the banks of the Derwent River.
There are different ways to get there, depending on your preference and budget. You can drive, take a bus, join a tour, or even cycle or hike to the gardens.
I chose to take a bus, which was convenient and affordable. The bus ride took about 40 minutes, and I enjoyed the scenery along the way.
The bus stopped at the main gate of the gardens, where I could see the Visitor Hub, which is the first point of contact for visitors.
The Visitor Hub
The Visitor Hub is a modern and welcoming building that provides information and services for visitors.
There, I could get a map of the gardens, ask the staff about the highlights and events, and buy some souvenirs from the Botanical Shop.
I also learned that the gardens are open daily from 8 am to 5 pm (or 6 pm in summer), and that the entry is free, but donations are welcome.
I also learned that the gardens have a dual name policy, which means that they are officially called putalina / Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, to respect both the Aboriginal and the European names.
Putalina is the name given by the Mouheneener people, the traditional owners of the land, and it means “place of the shellfish”.
The gardens cover an area of 14 hectares (35 acres), and they have more than 6,500 plant species, including some rare and endangered ones.
The gardens are divided into different sections, each with its own theme and character. Some of the sections are:
The Tasmanian Collection, which showcases the native plants of Tasmania, such as eucalyptus, ferns, orchids, and wildflowers. This section also includes the Greater Hobart Garden, which displays the plants that grow in the local area, and the Conservation Collection, which features the plants that are threatened or extinct in the wild.
The Subantarctic Plant House, which is the only one of its kind in the world, and which recreates the environment and the flora of Macquarie Island, a subantarctic island that is part of Tasmania. This section has a cool and humid atmosphere, and it has plants such as mosses, lichens, grasses, and megaherbs.
The Japanese Garden, which is a tranquil and elegant garden that reflects the principles and aesthetics of Japanese gardening. This section has a pond, a bridge, a waterfall, a pavilion, and a tea house, and it has plants such as maples, azaleas, bamboos, and bonsais.
The French Memorial Garden, which is a formal and symmetrical garden that commemorates the French explorers who visited Tasmania in the 18th and 19th centuries. This section has a fountain, a sundial, a statue, and a plaque, and it has plants such as roses, lavender, boxwood, and holly.
The Herb Garden, which is an educational and aromatic garden that displays the plants that have culinary, medicinal, or cosmetic uses. This section has a pergola, a sundial, a bee hive, and a sculpture, and it has plants such as mint, sage, thyme, and chamomile.
The Cactus and Succulent Garden, which is a colourful and diverse garden that displays the plants that can survive in dry and harsh conditions. This section has a rockery, a pond, a fountain, and a mural, and it has plants such as cacti, aloes, agaves, and echeverias.
There are many other sections in the gardens, such as the Lily Pond, the Fuchsia House, the Fernery, the Chinese Collection, the Southern African Collection, the New Zealand Collection, the Vegetable Garden, and the Community Food Garden.
Each section has its own charm and beauty, and I enjoyed exploring them and discovering the different plants and their stories.
The Succulent Restaurant
After walking around the gardens for a few hours, I felt hungry and thirsty, so I decided to have lunch at the Succulent Restaurant, which is located in the Visitor Hub.
The Succulent Restaurant is a stylish and spacious restaurant that offers delicious food and drinks, using fresh and local ingredients.
The menu has a variety of dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pastas, and desserts, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
I ordered a chicken and avocado salad, a lemon and lime soda, and a chocolate cake, and I was very satisfied with my meal.
The service was friendly and efficient, and the atmosphere was relaxed and cozy. I also enjoyed the view of the gardens from the large windows of the restaurant.
The gardens are not only a place to see plants, but also a place to enjoy events and activities.
The gardens host many events throughout the year, such as festivals, concerts, exhibitions, workshops, and guided tours. Some of the events are:
- The Spring Community Festival, which is a family-friendly event that celebrates the arrival of spring and the diversity of the community. This event has live music, food stalls, craft stalls, games, rides, and performances.
- The Blooming Tasmania Flower and Garden Festival, which is a floral extravaganza that showcases the best of Tasmania’s horticulture and gardening. This event has floral displays, garden displays, plant sales, demonstrations, and talks.
- The Shakespeare in the Gardens, which is a theatrical event that presents the works of William Shakespeare in the gardens. This event has actors, costumes, props, and music, and it invites the audience to join in the fun.
- The Botanica Moonlight Cinema, which is a cinematic event that screens movies under the stars in the gardens. This event has a large screen, a sound system, and a projector, and it allows the audience to bring their own picnic, blankets, and chairs.
I was lucky to catch the Botanica Moonlight Cinema, which was showing The Lion King, one of my favourite movies. I bought a ticket, which was $15, and I found a spot on the lawn near the screen.
I brought some snacks and drinks, and I settled in for the movie. The movie started at 8:30 pm, when the sun had set and the sky was dark.
The movie was amazing, and I enjoyed the story, the characters, the songs, and the animation. I also enjoyed the experience of watching a movie in the gardens, surrounded by nature and other people. It was a magical and memorable night.
After the movie ended, I decided to go back to the city. I took the bus again, which was waiting at the main gate of the gardens. The bus driver was very friendly and informative, and he told us some stories and jokes along the way.
He also pointed out some interesting places, such as the Tasman Bridge, the Government House, and the Salamanca Place. I enjoyed the ride back, and I felt happy and satisfied with my day in the gardens.
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are one of the best attractions in Hobart, and I would highly recommend them to anyone who loves plants, nature, history, and culture.
They are a place where you can see different kinds of plants from different regions and climates, and where you can learn about the history and culture of the place.
They are also a place where you can enjoy events and activities that suit your interests and preferences. The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are a place that you will never forget.