Nestled at Benowa in the heart of the Gold Coast, 10 minutes from central Surfers Paradise, are 31 hectares of well planned gardens, bushlands, lakes, and wetlands waiting for your inspection. Planting began in 2003 therefore the gardens are fairly new but they are very well designed and developed. There are gardens to please green thumb enthusiasts, nature lovers, families, photographers, dog lovers, walkers, and picnickers. The display gardens and boardwalks are flat areas designed with disability access in mind.
The sensory gardens are a wonderful idea - five distinct gardens dedicated to the five senses; touch, smell, sight, taste, and sound make the gardens a tangible experience suitable for children and adults.
The mangrove to mountains walk is a literal slice of the Gold Coast's many vegetation environments. Although still only relatively young the walk is already impressive. Visitors will in time be able to journey through well-established estuarine wetlands, low heathland and beach ridge settings, to tall shrubland, open forest, woodland and closed forest.
The wetlands section of the mangroves to mountains walk
Many native plants are suitable for traditional and contemporary garden styles. The native cultivar gardens exhibit many of the plants indigenous to Australia in organised and attractive garden beds to inspire and tempt local gardeners. Native flora encourages native fauna and who wouldn't want honeyeaters, lorikeets, and finches visiting their backyard?
The Kangaroo Paw or Anigozanthos 'Bush Gold' is native to Western Australia but grows well on the Gold Coast
The horticultural display gardens feature a range of ecologically compatible plants from similar climates and growing conditions around the world. This garden is designed to give local gardeners an idea of plants that should grow well in their gardens.
The butterfly garden features natives specifically planted to provide a food source for caterpillars, and the nectar rich flowers attract roaming female butterflies to lay their eggs. At the right time of year you could glimpse a kaleidoscope of butterflies flittering from flower to flower. Also, what botanic gardens would be complete without a rose garden? Be sure to take time out to smell the roses at this traditional garden bed.
Many of the display gardens border a large picturesque lake which really is the centrepiece of the grounds. Boardwalks and picnic areas follow the water's edge and eucalyptus trees and the rainforest gorge remind visitors of just how diverse the Gold Coast is. Keep your eyes open for water dragons and fresh water turtles as well as the many water birds in the area.
Dogs are not permitted within the boardwalk and display garden area bordering the central lake, although they are allowed in the rest of the grounds on a leash and in the designated off-leash exercise area near Lake Rosser at the rear of the park.
The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens are open year round, from dawn to dusk. Entry is free and visitor parking is provided.