Botanic Gardens

Booderee Botanic Gardens are the only Aboriginal owned botanic gardens in Australia. The Gardens cover 80 hectares of Booderee National Park and include a unique setting of cultivated areas surrounded by natural bushland.

Visitors can learn about bush tucker and medicinal uses of plants, the long association that Koori people have had with the area and the plants of south eastern Australia.

Explore the gardens

Explore the gardens

Exploring the gardens

Learn about the fascinating plants of the region and how they have been and continue to be used by local Koori people. Follow the well formed paths through the rainforest, heath, forest and other cultivated areas. Many of the paths through the cultivated areas are suitable for assisted wheelchair use and prams.

Experience some of the natural coastal vegetation communities of the area by walking along one or more of the nature trails. You can combine the nature trails and other paths to do a loop walk around the Gardens of 3.7 kms. Allow from one hour to a whole day for your visit.

Enjoying the peace and quiet

Enjoy the peaceful setting of the Gardens by relaxing on the grass lawns, or using the picnic tables provided. At the Scribbly Lawn, electric BBQs and a sheltered picnic area are ideal for large groups or wet weather use. There are a number of beautiful walking trails through the Botanic Gardens and National Park and it is an excellent place to observe birds and other fauna.

Education and guided tours

Koori led tours and other tours are available during the school holidays, and also on request (depending on staff availability). Guided school sessions are also available. Bookings are essential for all guided activities. Check the tourism website for further information on educational tours or phone the Booderee Visitor Centre.

Public reference herbarium

A public reference herbarium is available for those wishing to identify their own plant specimens or for detailed study of the regional flora. Contact the Collections Officer to arrange a visit.

Opening hours

The Gardens are open every day including public holidays. Admission to the Gardens is included in the Park use fee or Booderee National Park. Please pay at the park entrance station.

1 October - 30 April

Open 9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Friday
Open 8.00 am - 6.00 pm Weekends and Public Holidays (Daylight Saving)
Open 9.00 am - 5.00 pm Weekends and Public Holidays (EST)

1 May - 30 September:

Open 9.00 am - 4.00 pm daily

December/January School Holidays:

Open 8.00 am - 6.00 pm daily

Past, present and future

As well as Aboriginal people having a long association with the area, the non-Aboriginal involvement in the area of the Gardens has been varied and interesting. In the early 1900 the site was part of a farm of the Australian piano manufacturer Octavius Beale. The farm, known as "Bherwerre", was used by Beale in an attempt to grow timber for his piano frames. The timber plantations failed and the farm then focussed on grazing and dairy. A rock commemorating the homestead site is located in the lawn area below the rainforest.

Management and development of the Gardens has been and continues to be an evolving process. Development of the site as a botanic gardens started in 1951 when the area was selected as the frost free annex of the Australian National Botanic Garden and was called the Jervis Bay Botanic Gardens.

Since the early days of the gardens, local Koori people from the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community have worked on the site, a tradition which is now into its third generation. Many of the paths, rock walls, garden beds and plantings were developed by these earlier generations of staff.

The local Koori community at Wreck Bay successfully acquired the ownership of the gardens, and the park, in 1995, and with the Director of National Parks, now jointly manage the Gardens for the enjoyment of everyone. To reflect the Aboriginal ownership of the gardens the name was changed to Booderee Botanic Gardens in 1997. In 2000 the Gardens ceased to be an annex of the ANBG, however strong ties and a close working relationship with the Australian National Botanic Gardens staff continue. The collections policy now focuses on the Aboriginal use of plants, as well as the flora of south eastern Australia's coastal environments.

Volunteering

Learn more about Booderee by joining the volunteer Park Care Group. The Group helps with propagation and revegetation projects in both the Gardens and the surrounding Park. To find out more information and to join the volunteer Park Care Group email: booderee.mail@environment.gov.au

Venue hire

The Gardens are available for special events such as weddings and other public gatherings. Permits and special conditions apply. To find out more email: booderee.mail@environment.gov.au