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Emerald Botanic Gardens

Home > Brisbane > Day Trips | Escape the City | Gardens | Outdoor | Parks
by T. A. Rose (subscribe)
Enjoying challenging myself to add to the WeekendNotes vast library.
Published June 14th 2022
A very green theme indeed
Emerald Botanic Gardens
Emerald Botanic Gardens - Opal Street entrance.

Emerald Botanic Gardens
5km run map, front entrance, Emerald Botanic Gardens.

The Emerald Botanic Gardens is a large garden around the Nogoa River, with colossal palm trees and fun activities for the family. According to many reviews, on websites such as Tripadvisor, it often surprises visitors, and I suppose, it's possible to feel that way. Emerald is definitely a pleasant surprise but I tend not to be overly surprised by it, plausible because it's got a healthy combination of the Outback gateway, the highlands and the river, yet plausible given the location is near many good places for primary industries hence the apparent wealth of the place. Yet I also see the implausible side that surprised many visitors. I reckon it's good taste - just the style of the buildings, the railway station of yesteryear and the rural charm, but I just tend to think people aren't expecting it, but in fact, they should.

Situated on the banks of the Nogoa River and founded in 1987 by the Emerald Shire Council, their 42 hectares (420,000 square metres) give residents and visitors a wonderful place to relax and/or exercise in much space and privacy - as well as a proper chance to gain valuable insights into the region's natural environments. According to, these botanical gardens have six kilometres of walking tracks that lead to picnic areas, playgrounds, mazes, sculptures and specialised plant communities - representing plant species that are native to the region.

The botanic gardens are also indicative that there are quite a few touristy aspects to Emerald, so it is not just a mining or agricultural economy. The Van Gogh sunflower easel monument uptown is another such place to take in, along with the many nifty eateries and bakeries, the green parks and the outback science centre (Outback Exploratorium). Emerald is becoming a great place to live and do business as well as to stay and try something new.

At the botanic gardens, I walked across the road there from the railway station. It's a little far to access by the railway stop-off - one might miss their train if they try to access the gardens whilst disembarking for a rest, but it's definitely on the bucket list if stopping by as a motorist, or even staying in town on business or on a holiday. The gardens are extensive as seen by the signage, and so I accessed them from Opal Street - a large south to north street traversing most of Emerald, that is the best way to access them if coming from the Emerald CBD. But there is so much more to them, as seen on the 5km run signage also seen in this review, it could easily take a day or half-day to gain full benefit from exploring the gardens. For me though, a fun way to get some fresh air, a lot of nesting birds become all too apparent in August to October, so that is worth considering, but in June, in winter, you won't get a much better outback oasis experience, as seen in the photos the palms are sky high and present the ultimate canopy for a delightful cooling walk.

Despite feeling hot and bothered when walking in direct sunlight to the gardens, the shade once there is such a great concept - it allows one to get extra paces in, and Emerald is quite a hot climate, so I think many visitors realise how gorgeously designed they truly are.

On that note, the walk back to town was fascinating, while I can't declare this official, I saw a "rush hour" yes, a peak time for traffic with so many large vehicles bustling their way home after some sort of commute - perhaps to places on the fringe of town? You would not necessarily realise that when you first set foot in town, to see Emerald at 9.30 AM is another world from seeing the Central Highlands' main city at 4.30 PM, it goes from tranquil to bustle.

Emerald can be a holiday in itself, as it has a fun and laidback feel and offers something different to try, and highly accessible by plane, train and coach. Its botanic gardens are one aspect of the Central Highlands' administrative centre and outback gateway to entice visitors to try something new.

Emerald Botanic Gardens
Nogoa River traverses the Emerald Botanic Gardens.

Emerald Botanic Gardens
Collage of plantlife at Emerald Botanic Gardens

Emerald Botanic Gardens
Another river scene - Emerald Botanic Gardens.

All photos courtesy of author 2022.
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Why? Well known botanical gardens in Central Queensland.
When: Open all year round, from sunrise to sunset.
Where: Emerald, Queensland 4720 (entrance at Opal Street).
Cost: Ideally free.
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