Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha – Could This Be Brisbane’s Jewel In The Crown

Could this be Brisbane’s best botanical gardens – Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. For those of you that have visited ROAD TRIP’N over the past few years you might have guessed that I have a passion for exploring the huge line-up of Parks and Gardens that are available in Brisbane and Southeast Queensland. They are all so very different and make for an excellent day trip. Offering a huge diversity of plantings, winding paths through sub-tropical rainforests, shady places to BBQ & picnic, playgrounds for the kids, Cafes and one of the best things, most are Free to enter.

Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

Let’s plan a day trip. Just outside Brisbane’s CBD is one of Queensland’s top tier subtropical botanical gardens. Sitting on 56 hectares of Parkland, these gardens offer an experience to suit just about everybody. The Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens are filled with special areas for you to walk and explore. Featuring a Children’s Playground, Tropical Dome, Japanese Garden, Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail, Lagoon and Bamboo Grove, this green haven is set apart in very distinctive zones that merge together to produce this absolutely amazing location.

The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha forms part of the Mt Coot-tha Precinct. Access to the gardens by pedestrian entrance is free and remains open to the public 365 days per year. Parking the car is easy, free parking is available adjacent to the Gardens with an overflow parking area across the road. Head to the Mt Coot-tha Visitor Information Centre and pick up your Visitor Map, it’ll make it so much easier to find all the attractions (you don’t want to miss anything). Signposts are scattered along the way pointing you in the right direction with the distances and approximate times displayed.

Visitor Map
Driving the Gardens Ring Road


  • Dogs are not permitted at any time (except for guide and assistance dogs)
  • The garden paths are all reasonably flat and interconnected, making them accessible for wheelchairs and prams.
  • Note: On weekdays the Lookout and picnic areas are accessible by vehicle. The road loops around the entire Gardens. You can drive around the gardens using the ring road, 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays). Be aware the gates close at 4pm.
  • There is a separate entrance from the pedestrian entrance if you are using this option. Designated parking spots are dotted along the way with several close to picnic tables and seating.
  • Botanic Gardens Café – Coffee, cold drinks, meals and snacks
  • Catch a bus. Brisbane City Council buses will drop you at the front door – Translink has all the information.

If the kids are with you, not only will the Playground add to the excitement of the day they will love the Hide ‘n’ Seek Childrens Trail. With your map in hand the young at heart will be immediately drawn to the Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail. The kids will absolutely love the rainforest, then following the trails where they can take part in a scavenger hunt, discover hidden treasures, and get the lowdown on all the plants and wildlife. Don’t forget to use your map so you can recognize all the incredible plant information and the many surprises around every corner.

Japanese Gardens

We continue on, your appearance at a set of solid wooden gates set in an idyllic quiet part of the Gardens announces your arrival at the Japanese Gardens. The garden is faithful to Japanese gardens designs, and makes full use of many varied Australian tree, native shrubs, and flowers. Waterfalls trickling down from higher above, following water courses to a central lake with trails that wind in and out past ornamental pond features past many artists with their colours and brushes recapturing this magnificent scenery on canvas. We stopped here awhile, with under cover seating, the vistas and the serenity of these gardens, it was easy to understand why there were so many artists in residence.

🔥Tip: Must See – Bonsai House is situated next door to the Japanese Gardens. Meander along the pathways and have a look at over 80 native and exotic Bonsai, including confers and several other plant species.

Tropical Display Dome

The landscape is continually changing as we pass through gorgeous rainforests, past waterfalls and lagoons that are home to turtles and eels, all the while allowing plenty of time to look over the Tropical Dome with all its aroma’s and colour of the lush tropical vegetation and plants.

Enter the climate-controlled atmosphere of the Tropical Display Dome providing the plants with the right atmospheric conditions for perfect growing. You can notice the different temperature variation as soon as you arrive at the entrance, its often described locally as “feeling a bit sticky”. Following a circular corridor upwards through the dome building we are intrigued by the central pond featuring stunning water lilies and native fish. The Tropical Dome also features a range of plants, Aroids, Calatheas, Caladiums and Palms, crop plants from the tropics including Indian Arrowroot, Vanilla, Cocoa, and African Nutmeg can also be found here.  

Fern House

We forge ahead and soon we are rewarded for our effort with the discovery of the Fern House. Ferns are plants without flowers that range in size from the small to quite large tree ferns. That’s what you’ll get to see here. With over 80 different species on display (it’s amazing there are so many different variants) including ones that live on rocks, trees and in the water.


The paths that wind their way in and around and zig zag across this amazing green space will always lead you to something new. Returning to the entrance near the main car park if it’s time for a coffee or something a bit more substantial, the Botanic Gardens Café – Mt Coo-tha is a go to place. Overlooking the bamboo grove and lake the café is one of the most picturesque spots to stop for a meal and cold drink.

Stroll around the Lake path, stop for a while by several grassy spots to take a break and just admire the scenery, what a top place for a picnic. The lagoon is often covered in colourful waterlilies, also being the location for assorted wildlife with turtles, eels, ducks all making themselves at home.

Top Things To See And Do

  • Visitor Centre – Get your Gardens maps or book a free guided Tour
  • Head to the Tropical Display Dome
  • The Fern House with so many different varieties of delicate and large ferns
  • Adventure through the children’s Hide ‘n’ Seek Trail
  • Tour the serene Japanese Gardens and next-door Bonsai House
  • Discover the children’s playground. If the kids have any energy left, then this is the place.
  • Finally, make your way towards the Café, grab a bite to eat and a coffee or have a picnic on one of many spots around the Lagoon.

The Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens has specific zones with separate plant and habitats. Walking through these vastly different environments not one is the same. It’s like visiting many places to see and feel what mother nature puts on show but in this instance it’s all in one place. By driving, you could see the Gardens in about 35 minutes. Take the time to park and walk, bring a picnic lunch, with so many paths, twists, and turns there are just so many eye-opening surprises around every bend.

These Gardens are only one of a number of tourist highlights in this precinct, others that are also worth checking out:

Richard Randall Art Studio – Check the website for upcoming art displays and opening times.

The Planetarium (Cosmic Skydome) – Entry is free, but you’ll need to get a ticket for the shows. Check the website for prices and show times.