One of my favourite places in Canberra to escape to, while getting closer to nature, is the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
I have been visiting the Gardens on and off since moving to Canberra more than 10 years ago. But since my son was born, we have found ourselves visiting more often because it is an awesome place to take kids. (We actually celebrated his first birthday there!)
The Gardens are actually made up of lots of different types of Australian garden settings – from rain forest right through to desert – and are home to more than 6,000 different species.
There’s also a cafe, a bookshop, a treehouse for kids and a waterfall within the Rock Gardens. A warning though, if you are afraid of reptiles than maybe avoid the waterfall, because it is home to lots of water dragons of all different sizes.
On our most recent visit with my husband, son and my parents, who were visiting Canberra, we started our adventure with some coffees at the Pollen Cafe. Then we made our way across to the Paperbark Treehouse, which you can access from the path or, if you’re feeling a bit playful, from some large stones crossing a little creek.
Then we made our way up the main path, through the Sydney Region Flora section, to the Red Centre Garden at the top. This garden is so unexpected and different from anything else you could find in Canberra. The colours are vibrant and the plants are striking and unusual. There is also a great view up Black Mountain to Telstra Tower.
We then headed back down through the fascinating Rock Garden (and past all the water dragons!), and down into the Rainforest Gully. The rainforest is still my favourite section, because it is so peacefully, cool and calming.
FYI – Entry to the Gardens is free, but the on-site car park is paid parking.