George Brown Botanical Garden
Directions - There are two car parks for the Botanical Gardens, the first (eastern entrance) is at the end of Geranium St that comes off Stuart Hwy and the second (western entrance) is off Gardens Rd that can be accessed via Gilruth Ave or Stuart Hwy.
The Walk - With a week to explore Darwin and a morning walk along the waterfront already in the bag, next on the agenda for the day was a trip to the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. I have a love for botanical gardens and made a point to visit as many as I could in reach city when we went over to Europe in 2017. There is something calming and relaxing about walking in a nice botanical garden, seeing all the different areas representing various landscapes from around the world. I think the thing I love about Perth Zoo more than the animals is just being in the gardens and walking around.
With that in mind I was excited to check out the Darwin Botanical Gardens as having a tropical climate meant more potential in terms of plants I'd not seen before. With another perfect, sunny day with temperatures in the low 30s we were joined by Caris' mother and partner as they were also keen to check out the gardens. It's only a short drive from the CBD and we had parked up at the eastern entrance in no time at all. Entry is free so you just park and wander in, although it is advisable to start with the visitor information building so you can get a map and some advice on where to start (there are signs around the place to direct you). We didn't do this and instead started aimlessly wandering around with the map on my phone, starting with the community garden section near the car park. Full of fruit trees, herbs and vegetables, this was a cool little project that involves the community a lot more, gets people interested and keeps them connected. We eventually made our way to the visitor information building as it looked like there was a fair amount of construction going on around the gardens. The helpful staff said there were major upgrades being built in the middle of the gardens and kindly drew on our map the paths and areas that were closed.
With that in mind we made a plan to visit the rainforest area first and make our way around from there. After taking a service road we thought was a shortcut we eventually ended up at an information sign that pointed us towards the rainforest section. The map has a creek system running through the gardens but unfortunately with it being dry season and other works going on upstream, there was no water to be seen. Not a fantastic start as we made our way towards the Tiwi Wet Forest and Shade Garden. The Tiwi Wet Forest was interesting to see and after enjoying this area we decided to move on to the denser rainforest section. We spotted a lawned area that was having some work done to it and some flowering water lillies in the pond that were similar to the ones we'd seen on a Mary River Wetlands tour a couple of days prior. Finally reaching the rainforest section and the waterfall, Caris recognised several plants she knew (our unit is like a greenhouse we have so many indoor plants). It was an enjoyable walk through here and the waterfall was a nice feature to end the loop. Plenty of ferns and a thick canopy of tall forest made this a very pleasant area and this continued as we made our way back to the information board we started at.