Butterfly haven in the Tropical Shade Garden

The Botanic Gardens' Tropical Shade Garden and Fernery is an experience that will send hearts a flutter.

You may have seen an abundance of Tirumala hamata, commonly known as the Blue Tiger Butterfly recently in your own garden, as they are currently migrating back up the coast to North Queensland. Papilio ulysses, commonly known as the Ulysses Butterfly has also been spotted flying. We loved watching these winged wonders so much, we thought you might to. Click on the video below to see what else can be seen in the Tropical Shade Garden and Fernery. What will you discover on your next visit?

Attracting Butterflies to your garden

If you are interested in creating a garden to attract different butterfly and moth species, or would simply like to know which plants are the larval food plants for different butterflies and moths, the list below will help you. Larval food plants are important to butterflies and moths as they provide  a site for the butterfly to lay eggs and are also a food source for the emerging caterpillar. If you are planning to grow these in your garden, be prepared for heavy grazing by the caterpillars!

ButterflyWinged wonders flutter in the gardens

Blue Tiger are mostly a tropical butterfly and can be seen nearly all year round in North Queensland.

They are migratory and fly south during spring and summer reaching southern Queensland and NSW, sometimes even Victoria.

When cooler weather arrives, Blue Tigers will head back north in April and May. They are known to congregate in huge numbers over winter, clustering on stems and vines in sheltered gullies in central and north Queensland. Read more about the Blue Tigers and what they eat here.

Papillio ulysses, Ulysses Butterfly


We have been very lucky over the last couple of months to see a few of the stunning Ulysses Butterfly, one of North Queensland’s most distinctive and unique butterfly species. We were very lucky this month to take a few photos of them visiting the Tropical Shade Garden and Heritage Gardens.

This species is considered to be one of the most elusive butterflies and can be very challenging to photograph as their bright blue colours are easy to spot by their predators, so they fly very quickly and erratically to protect themselves.

Did you know?

  • The wing span of the Ulysses Butterfly is between 100mm and 130mm.
  • The Ulysses caterpillar is green and white which is the same colour as the plants they feed on. This provides excellent camouflage from predators.

Disclaimer: Any advice included herein was created for advisory purposes only. It does not constitute legal opinion. Neither the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens nor Mackay Regional Council will accept liability  for any information, errors, omissions or consequences in any way whatsoever to any person, business or corporation that relies on the information provided, or for the recommendations expressed and conclusions reached. The (information) has been prepared in good faith on the information available at the date of provision.

Contact: Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens

Phone: (07) 4952 7300

Email: botanic@mackay.qld.gov.au