Set on 56 hectares and featuring over 20,000 plants and 5,000 plant species, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha are Australia’s premier subtropical botanic gardens. More than just a showcase of beautiful flora, the gardens are a must-visit for families, with a range of attractions to excite and engage them. This is the perfect place for a family outing all year round!
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Make the most of your visit to the gardens
Once inside, pick up a map from the Mt Coot-tha Visitor Information Centre so you don’t miss out on any attractions or events (and your little explorers can help you find your way around!). You’ll also be guided by helpful signposts pointing the way to key attractions, including approximate walking times. Most of the gardens can be accessed by flat pathways, making them accessible for prams and wheelchairs. You can download a Visitor Map here, as well as a Mobility Map. You can even drive around the gardens via the internal ring road from 8am to 4pm on weekdays (except public holidays).
There are drinking fountains, plenty of benches for a short rest and toilets throughout the gardens. There are also picnic shelters and many lawns and shaded areas so you can find the perfect spot for a family picnic.
Flora, you can see
The range of flora to be seen at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha includes both native and exotic plants, from arid, tropical and temperate climates. There are stakes showing plant names, as well as more detailed signs to give you more information along the way.
Inhale the amazing aromas of the fragrant plants and herbs in the Sensory Garden, walk in amongst the towering Bamboo Grove, see the fruit trees bearing yummy treats and get lost in the Exotic Rainforest. There is everything from colourful flowers to prickly cacti, native grasses to huge conifers. The Tropical Display Dome has its own microclimate for exotic and native tropical plants. You can even head further afield within the gardens to see Melaleuca Lake and the Eucalypt Woodland. Each separate area is a unique and wonderful world to discover, with its own amazing sights, sounds and smells!
Fauna, can you spot
There is a wonderful array of bird and animal life to spot in the Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha Brisbane. Look out for water dragons and brush turkeys, fluttering butterflies, zooming dragonflies, and buzzing native bees hovering over the flowers. You will often hear the sound of a screeching sulphur-crested cockatoo overhead, and see many other beautiful birds that are regular visitors to the gardens including ibis and curlews. You can also see water birds such as egrets and Pacific black ducks in the lagoons and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for turtles and eels too!
Things to do at the Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha Brisbane
The Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens has designated zones divided by plants types and ecosystems, it’s a bit like walking around the world in one space.
- Begin by checking out the incredible natural creations in the Cacti and Bromeliad House.
- Head into the hot and humid Tropical Display Dome which is always a novelty for the kids.
- Wander into the Fern House, which is a great for a quick visit and stopping to spot tiny fish in the trickling stream.
- Explore the beautiful and serene Japanese Garden, especially heading over bridges.
- Adventure through the Tropical Rainforest to join the Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail (find out more below) and gain a cool reprieve from the heat of the day.
- Picnic by the lagoon or grab a takeaway coffee from the cafe.
- Enjoy the amazing smells at Kitchen in the Gardens, where the kids can see seasonal herbs and vegetables that you can grow at home.
- Finally, finish up at the wonderful kids playground for a play before the ride home.
Especially for kids!
Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail
Within the gardens, there are two must-visit attractions for kids. The Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail is a numbered scavenger hunt that takes kids on an exciting adventure through the exotic rainforest to discover the wonderful hidden treasures in this beautiful setting and to get them engaged with the natural environment. From a croc in the creek to a musical giant fern leaf, there are plenty of fun surprises to discover along the way! You can read all about it in our guide to the Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail.
Visit the playground
Make sure you visit the playground set beyond the Ross McKinnon Lagoon and next to the Queensland Conservation Collection. This nature-themed playground has everything from natural play spaces to climbing frames, swings, slides, stepping stones and more. This is the perfect place for a play to let off some steam after exploring the gardens! Read a detailed review of the kids playground.
Have a picnic or visit the cafe
There is plenty to do here for a whole day, so it’s worth planning to eat while you’re here. There are picnic tables and lawns throughout the gardens so you can find a spot in the sun in winter, or a cool, shaded place in the summer. You can either bring your food for a picnic, or purchase from a wide variety of tasty options available at the on-site cafe.
Special events and holiday programs
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha host different events, displays and attractions throughout the year. From sculpture festivals to cooking workshops, guided tours to an under 5’s reading time, keep an eye on the official website to see what’s on at the gardens. School holidays especially offer a range of workshops, activities and events including treasure hunts, cooking lessons and art and craft workshops.
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
Worth a day trip in its own right, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is also a great place to drop in to while visiting the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. You can see interesting and informative displays on everything with stars, planets, astronomy, and space travel. There are interactive features and a mini theatre, as well as great shows projected onto the huge dome screen of the Cosmic Skydome. Entry to the planetarium is FREE, although you need to purchase tickets for the Skydome shows. Read more about The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.
Getting to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha are located at 152 Mount Coot-tha Road, Toowong. The gardens are open 7 days a week from 8am to 5pm from April until August, and 8am to 6pm September to March. Entry to the gardens is FREE. (Dogs are not permitted.)
The gardens feature an onsite cafe, Botanic Gardens Cafe, where you can stop for a coffee, light snack or main meal. Of course, kids will beg to round off their day of fun with an ice cream here before you leave!
There is plenty of parking, with an overflow carpark across the road for especially busy days. Plus there’s a bus stop within the gardens too (the great circle line and route 451 from the city both stop here), making it easy to get there by public transport.
There is so much for kids and adults alike to enjoy at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, and as it says on the sign as you enter, this is ‘the perfect place to relax and reconnect with the natural world’!
You can read more about the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha here