Using your senses
Meandering along the banks of The Lagoons, once the main channel of the Pioneer River, the gardens Stage 1 officially opened in May 2003 - Stage 2 opened in July 2006 and with the botanic themed playgarden "Under the Banyan" opened in September 2006 - there's a lot to see in the Gardens.
Here the tropical and subtropical communities of Australia intermingle to create a diverse and interesting landscape - and a fun and relaxing place to visit. The gardens have been planned to interpret many of the natural physical features of this part of Queensland, with spectacular landform representations accessed by a system of pathways, ramps and bridges. Boardwalks span sections of the lagoon to allow close interpretation of wetland species and newly-created wildlife habitats. The diverse cultural heritage of the city will also be celebrated in specialised gardens displaying the plants of the South Sea Islands, Aboriginal cultures, Torres Strait Islands, and Maltese inspired landscapes.
Over 88% of plants located here in our formed and natural landscapes are Australian natives. The very best and most spectacular plants of the region are displayed along the orientation walkway and gardens - the main approach to the Visitor's Centre on Lagoon Street. The petals and stamens of the orchid flower were the inspiration for the design of this unique building sited high above the slopes of the lagoon to provide views and vistas from the observation deck, some 10 meters above water level. The Visitor's Centre provides facilities for administration, visitor information, a herbarium, meeting rooms and interpretation gallery with spectacular decks overlooking the lagoon and Finch Hatton Gorge waterway - in fact almost the entire botanic gardens can be seen from this breezy vantage point.
Nature offers us her hidden gifts in the forms of scents and smells - some delicate - some strong! Discover strong and powerful scents beside the sugar cane wall sculpture and in the orientation garden by rubbing the leaves of Plectranthus - granticola and parviflorus and enjoy the citrus oils emanating from the Lemon Myrtle hedge - Backhousia citriodora backing the Malta and Japan Garden lawns.
But there are other pleasures too! From the 'memory' smell of a freshly cut lawn, catching a wafting summer breeze laden with the sweet smell of Mock Orange - Murraya - even the delicious smell of your picnic lunch outdoors. Smell adds to your gardens visit in so many ways.
Sit quietly and listen to the sound of running water, feel the gentle mist of high mountain rain - as though you're in the middle of a rainforest. Nestled centrally in the main forecourt is a large sculptural 'rock court' into which the roof-caught rain water cascades during tropical downpours before flowing through the Finch Hatton Gorge waterway to the Lagoon. It's a sight to behold in the wet. Adjacent to this area is the Eungella Cloud Garden where a climate-modified, three-dimensional garden displays the unique and delicate plants found along the mist shrouded tops of the coastal ranges. Descend to the base of the Finch Hatton waterfall cascade and imagine a mountain stream tumbling over granite.
Listen to the sounds of your footsteps along gravel pathways in our Tropical Shade Garden and The Fernery - take advantage of the shade cast by large, existing trees. An extensive pathway system links all of the garden areas and a bikeway/wheelchair network has been designed to provide access for all. Slow down, spend time and rediscover peace and tranquillity as the city bustles around you.