A recent graduate of Creative Writing, Melanie enjoys shopping for vintage goods and exploring new places.
Published December 24th 2011
Wollongong Botanic Gardens
Located approximately 85 kilometres south of Sydney, the Wollongong Botanic Gardens is a relaxing and tranquil place to enjoy nature away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Although it has been open to the public since 1968, the site was originally part of the Dharwel Aboriginal peoples settlement and the influence of their culture is still evident in the Botanic Gardens.
The Wollongong Botanic Gardens offers the community a wide range of activities to suit every age, including workshops, guided tours, theatrical entertainment and movie screenings.
The Wollongong Botanic Gardens has a variety of gardens, ranging from the Dryland Area to the Rainforest.
One of the most popular destinations in the gardens is the Rose Garden, particularly during mid-October to April due to peak flowering season. A classic gazebo in the centre of the Rose Garden also makes it a popular venue for weddings and other ceremonies.
Next to the Rose Garden is a large lake, which can be crossed using the traditional Japanese bridge. Once over the bridge, you can access the tranquil Japanese Pavilion.
Nearby is the Woodland Garden, which is particularly popular from Autumn to Spring for its' bulb display and vibrant wild flowers. The area is large enough to hold functions and can cater for up to 150 people.
One of the many rainforests in the Wollongong Botanic Gardens is the Illawarra Rainforest, which contains up to 80 different species of trees and 15 different species of ferns. Part of the Illawarra Rainforest also contains plants that were once used by the traditional Aboriginal people as sources of medicine and food. The Dryland Area contains Australian plants that only require minimal water, such as Bottle Trees, Salt Bush and Ephemeral Wild Flowers.
The Sir Joseph Banks Glasshouse is also worth a look as it contains a large variety of plants such as those from deserts, temperate regions and wet tropics. Opened in 1970, the Glasshouse was a significant addition as it marked the Bicentenary of the landing of Captain Cook in Australia.
The Wollongong Botanic Gardens also contains a Herb Garden which is used for school education programs. A variety of herbs can be found here, including rosemary, thyme, lemongrass, mint and chives.
The Discovery Centre is also part of the Wollongong Botanic Gardens and it is an educational facility for both children and adults. The Centre offers guided bush walks, theatrical performances and craft lessons, as well as a number of workshops and short courses.
One of the workshops is titled Bush Medicine and over 1.5 hours people can learn about traditional Aboriginal bush remedies for treating a number of various conditions.
A second workshop runs for 5 hours and teaches people about plant propagation and includes plenty of hands-on experience.
There are also many short courses available for those interested in gardening and environmental sustainability, with course durations varying from a single hour to ongoing lessons for up to several weeks. Short course topics include: Worm Farming, Permaculture, Composting, Advanced Composting, No Dig Gardening and Creating a Habitat Garden.
Guests can also partake in either a walking or bus tour of the gardens. The walking tour and bus tour both run for 1.5 hours and bookings are essential.
Learn how to keep your garden in top condition all year round with various short courses and workshops
If you fancy visiting the Wollongong Botanic Gardens to enjoy the beautiful and diverse surrounds or learn more about environmental sustainability, then you'll be pleased to know that the Gardens are open 7 days a week. On weekdays the Gardens open from 7a.m. to 5p.m. and weekends from 10a.m. to 5p.m. with extended opening hours from 10a.m. to 6.45p.m. during daylight savings.
You can explore the gardens at your own leisurely pace or take a walking or bus tour