Wondering what to do in Hervey Bay after you’ve been whale watching, soaked up sun on the beaches and visited Fraser Island? If you have an interest in plants, garden design, birds or local wildlife then the Hervey Bay botanical gardens are well worth a visit. The gardens include formal style, natural bush, wetland areas and lagoons. They’re not as structural or precisely maintained as some of the major city gardens around the country but they are a beautiful environment to display the plants of the Wide Bay and Great Sandy Region. In addition to the local flora they also house some interetsing international collections and styles. The gardens are located on a 26 hectare property on Elizabeth Street not far from the foreshore of Hervey Bay. As you drive in or from the park area near the bush tucker garden it’s worth noting how far you are from the waterfront, 6,000 years ago the area where the gardens stand were foreshore dunes.
The Central Lake area
The lake area is a gathering point in the botanical gardens. It can be enjoyed from several different areas, the main lawn, from the grass area outside the orchid house and from the island. There are plenty of places all around to have a picnic including sheltered seating areas and BBQs. The large number of waterbirds and turtles in the water were an absolute hit with the children and kept them quietly amused for ages. One of my favourite spaces was the Japanese bridge and small island, there we so many turtles in the water visible from here.
There is a small bush chapel in a corner of the gardens that’s available for small weddings and memorial services. Surrounded by the rainforest trees it would be hard to imagine a more serene and intimate setting for a special event.
Aboriginal Bush Tucker Garden
The site of the bush tucker garden was previously used as a camping site (warun) by the traditional owners, the Butchulla people. It’s a really interesting area to walk through and see how many of the trees we pass whenever we walk in local bush lands are actually food trees. I particularly appreciated these words from Auntie Joyce Smith, a Butchulla elder who has been involved in the development of this section.
Ngamlu galangoor biral and biralgan bula nyin djali
May all our good spirits be around you throughout the day!
Wanya nyin yanman wanai djinang djaa
Where ever you go, leave only footprints
One of my favourite areas are the wetland paths, you’ll see more wildlife down here but make sure you have your insect repellant on, the mozzies were really aggressive even in the middle of the day. On some of the tracks you’ll also need to dodge the giant spiderwebs that are strung across the path but the rewards are worth it, it’s shady and slightly cooler along side the stream. The goanna at the top of the page is the smaller of two we saw on our walk down this part of the park.
Birds and wildlife
As you walk through the gardens look up and down there is plenty to see. Goanna and turtles are plentiful, there are also bats, possum, gliders and a wide range of birds. Local birding groups would regularly list 70+ bird species on a walk through here. While I didn’t get anywhere close to that I was impressed with the variety there and that I am starting to get a bit better at identifying them.
Fees, Hours and other Information
The gardens are located on Elizabeth Street in Urangan and are open daily from 6.30am to 8.30pm. Admission is free.
Guided tours are available and run Monday to Friday at an additional cost. There is also an orchid house which is open Monday to Friday 10am to 3.45pm for an additional entry fee.
Have you been to the Hervey Bay Botanical Gardens? Do you visit gardens and parks around your home town and when you travel?