Royal Botanical Gardens
Updated: Apr 17
We have spent many hours here roaming the beautiful gardens. A great place to picnic and unwind.
TOP LOCATIONS The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is Australia’s cool climate garden, with a number of unique collections including Australia’s only Subantarctic Plant House. With a total of 14 hectares to explore, visitors can take time to relax and explore or tailor a walk based on personal interest. Established in the early years of the colony of Hobart, the rich history of the gardens is evident throughout the site, and it is Australia’s second oldest Botanic Gardens, established just two years after Sydney. The Gardens are easily viewed over the course of a relaxed day. Here are some of our favourite must-sees!
Features at a glance: In addition to its beautiful parklands and collection of large trees, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is home to an ever-evolving and a significant number of specialised collections and gardens. Especially unique are the extensive Tasmanian native collections, which provide real live plant examples that can be used by visitors to help them identify plants they have encountered in the wild, it includes many rare and threatened species. Some parts of the Gardens have special significance for people who have made them a feature of their celebrations and festivities over the many years. Many areas of the Gardens are available for hire for private functions. For information on hiring, view the Functions and Events page.
The Conservatory The massed colour and scent from our ever-changing Conservatory display make this a ‘must-see’ experience while you’re visiting the Gardens. Wander through the Conservatory to admire the plants, or rest awhile on the seats near the sandstone fountain. The Conservatory was designed by Superintendent Ira Thornicroft, and completed in 1939. Its walls are built of sandstone salvaged from a demolished section of the Hobart General Hospital. It is also available for hire and is popular for weddings and corporate functions.
Historic Walls In 1829, Governor George Arthur ordered the construction of a heated wall to protect frost tender plants and extend growing periods of fruit trees on the boundary of the Colonial Gardens. In the milder climate of Van Diemen’s Land, fruit trees flourished without artificial heat, and the convict-built wall was only heated for a few years. Perhaps to rival Arthur’s wall, Governor Sir John Eardley-Wilmot also ordered the construction, also by convicts, of a wall 280 metres long on the eastern boundary of the Gardens. The walls provide structure and unique heritage value to the Gardens.
Anniversary Arch Just a short distance from the Botanical Gardens Restaurant and Visitor Centre, this romantic carved arch is set at the base of stone steps surrounded by tall shady trees and shrubs. It is a popular site for weddings and ceremonies. The arch was originally constructed in 1913 to span the entrance of the Australian Mutual Provident Society’s original Elizabeth Street building. When that building was demolished, AMP donated the arch to the Gardens. It was re-erected in 1968 in time for celebrations of the Gardens’ 150th Anniversary. The intricately carved stonework shows the skilled craftsmanship of Mr Amos Vimpany, a well known local stonemason of the time.
Lily Pond One of the most recognisable and beloved areas of the Gardens, the Pond was formed in 1840 by damming a natural stream that drained the adjacent hill. Originally used as a reservoir, water lilies have grown in the pond for more than 100 years. The nymphae lilies are planted in pots on the bottom of the pond. Dormant over winter, they shoot in spring and flower throughout summer. There are over twenty different cultivars present, flowering in shades of white, apricot, pink, red and yellow. The Lily Pond, with its picturesque setting and bridge, is a popular spot for photographs and weddings.