Cafe & playground,  Free to do,  Playgrounds

Gold Coast Botanic Gardens

We love getting outdoors, and botanical gardens are a great place to find a treasure trove of activities. The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens are located in Benowa, and are open every day of the year, from dawn to dusk.

The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens have something for everyone – whether you’re a gardening guru or not! Free to visit, you can smell, touch and taste plants and flowers in the Sensory Garden, discover butterfly friendly plants in the Butterfly Garden, smell the roses and find out about all the varieties in the Rose Garden, check out the Bush Tucker gardens for ideas on edible plants, play in the playground or grab a coffee in the cafe.

On arriving at the gardens, we parked near the Sensory Gardens. This is near the entrance to the Gardens and was a great spot in walking distance of everything that we wanted to visit. I’d recommend looking at the park map before you go and working out the sections of the Gardens you want to visit to ensure you don’t add too much extra distance to your journey!

The Sensory Gardens are split into 5 raised garden beds, located beside the Feature Lake. Entirely accessible, there are information signs and speakers at each of the garden beds, and visitors are encouraged to engage in the sensory experience. Master A loved gently touching the plants and discovering which ones were soft, prickly, rough and smooth; tasting some of the herbs and edible plants; smelling the flowers and fragrant greenery; and looking at the different shapes and types of plants. I loved that interacting with these garden beds is highly encouraged, and they were well maintained to ensure an informative experience.

When we had finished at the Sensory Gardens, we walked along the boardwalks around the Feature Lake over to Coffee @ the Gardens cafe. It was nice to see so many families out and about – a lot with scooters, bikes and kiddy trikes – making use of the many paths and boardwalks around the Gardens. With so many well established trees it’s a nice shady place to go for a walk or a ride with the kids. Coffee @ the Gardens is run by The Friends of The Gardens and while simple, serves everything you need – coffee, cakes, sandwiches, drinks and ice-creams. We grabbed a table on the deck overlooking the gardens and it was a nice spot to sit and watch all the birds flying around.

After we had finished our ice-creams, we walked over to the children’s playground. This section of the Gardens is very popular on the weekend for children’s parties, with ample space to set up shade marquees, toilets nearby and the playground. While the playground isn’t fenced, it is situated far enough away from the road and in the middle of a big field that kids have room to run and play without needing to watch for cars.

Further on from the playground is the entry to the Bushtucker Garden, Butterfly Garden and other points of interest, but we had walked enough for the day and Master A was getting tired so it was time for us to head back to the car and go home. The circuit we walked was an easy walk and not too far if you needed to push a pram or carry a child. It was also ideal for little kids riding trikes (a few of which we did see!) without venturing too far into the gardens and away from the carpark (meaning parents don’t need to carry bikes far if the kid gives up on it half way!).

We’ll definitely be heading back to the Gold Coast Regional Botanical Gardens as there is so much more for us to see and do. You can also check out the Gold Coast City Council website for a list of events that are on at the Gardens – there are always guest speakers, demonstrations or workshops, and a really great Naturally GC Little Nature Lovers program for the kids (aged 3-5 years)!

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