Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Directly opposite Lake Wendouree, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens are a must see on any trip to Ballarat. Long stretches of winding paths take you through rows of huge shady trees of endless variety. Gardens abundant with colourful flowers interspersed with statues, water features or artful structures.
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens cover around 40 hectares (so where some sensible shoes) and is divided into three areas being the central Botanical Gardens (the main gardens offering a Victorian pleasure garden), and open parkland on either side known as the North and South Gardens.
The Ballarat Botanical Garden is a significant cool climate garden with a large collection of mature trees, and marble statues in garden bed displays. Entrance is free and access is available seven days a week.
The Prime Ministers Avenue is considered of national significance (although in recent years they must be having trouble keeping up with the changes). It is a collection of busts of all of the Australian Prime Ministers going back to federation lining the grand Horse Chestnut Avenue of the Gardens. I find it very interesting that the recent Prime Ministers are done in a non classical form, personally I don’t find them as good as the previous sculptures.
The Prime Ministers are are bronze heads mounted on polished granite pedestals. The statues in the gardens are magnificent and worth the trip just to see them. They are Italian supplied by Thomas Stoddartas as a gift to the citizens of Ballarat in 1884. When first unveiled they attracted thousands of visitors from Melbourne.More statues arrived in 1888, following a bequest from another Ballarat citizen, James Russell Thompson.
I highly recommend a visit to the Robert Clark Centre in the botanical gardens. The centre opened in 1995 using by $2,000,000 bequest from the grandson of the co-founder and proprietor of the Ballarat Courier (the local paper – still going). It is made up of the Conservatory and the Resource Centre. If you take a look at the slide show on this page you will see how beautiful and colourful the conservatory is.  Don’t miss it.

Wendoree Parade, Ballarat VIC 3350  Open on Everyday

 


Geelong Botanic Gardens

The Geelong Botanic Gardens are situated in Eastern Park just around the corner from Eastern Beach. These magnificent gardens are not to be missed and are one of the best gardens I have ever visited.  Being over 150 years old, the Botanic Gardens give the opportunity to experience the foresight of Geelong’s founders as well as enjoying the addition in 2002 of a new section at the entrance with a 21st century style.

In the 1850’s an ambitious plan to set up over 80 hectares of botanical gardens was undertaken but not completed. Realising their plans didn’t fit in with the harsh climate it was decided to limit the area to around 2 hectares and eventually just under 4 as it is now.

I enjoy visiting botanic gardens in any town. They are an opportunity to see plants and trees not being grown by the general public. They are also a place of peace and beauty that anyone can escape to, from a busy city or town and they’re nearly always free.

The Geelong Botanic Gardens are colorful lush gardens and hothouses that are well worth a couple of hours on your next visit. Huge shade and palm trees adorn gardens filled with flowers and bushes from around the world. It’s not just the plants though. The statues and fountains throughout the gardens are a pleasure and the walking tracks are designed to break up the views so it’s like walking through several gardens.

The new section added in 2002 takes advantage of drier climate plants and has what I regard as a futuristic look.  I prefer the older section but enjoy walking through the new section as well.  Check it out and form your own opinion – in 150 years it will just be another heritage section of the Geelong Botanic Gardens.

There is a picnic area with lush lawns and a small cafe – no cappuccinos unfortunately but the tea was nice. The Geelong Botanic Gardens are open 7 days a week.
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