With a 19th century Victorian glasshouse, wetlands, giant Amazonian lilies that only bloom at night, a tunnel of wisteria vines, a cathedral-like avenue of ancient figs, a rose garden, restaurants and a misty rainforest ecosystem contained within an enormous conservatory, you could easily spend the good part of a day at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.
OPEN: Mon – Fri opens 7.15 a.m. Weekends and public holidays 9.00 a.m. Closes at sunset.
Adelaide Botanic Gardens Highlights
1. The Palm House
This exquisite Victorian glasshouse was imported from Bremen, Germany, in 1875 and is the only one of its kind in the world. It houses plants from Madagascar. Open: 10 – 4.
2. Amazon Waterlily Pavillion
The Amazon Waterlily flowers at night and its blooms are a whopping 30 cm in diameter. Even its leaves are enormous. An interpretative gallery explains the flower’s unusual sex life. Open 10 – 4.
3. Bicentennial Conservatory
This unusually-shaped conservatory encloses a humid rainforest ecosystem complete with little beasties such as stick insects, spiders and centipedes. There are lower and upper walkways from which you can view the rainforest. Open 10 – 4.
4. Wisteria Arbours
In spring, when the wisteria is in flower, this becomes a tunnel of purple. In summer, it’s green and just as pretty.
5. Murdoch Avenue
This is Australia’s oldest avenue of Morton Bay Figs. Their branches stretch upwards like a cathedral ceiling. Walk among these ancient giants and feel their majesty.
6. 100 year old Figs
Next door to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens is the Botanic Park. Bordering the Botanic Gardens is a stately avenue of plane trees planted in 1874. You’ll also find the snaking buttress roots of these 100 year old Morton Bay Figs.
7. Rose Gardens
Stop and smell the roses at this sprawling rose garden. With over 5,000 rose bushes, it’s a heady experience.
Adelaide Botanic Gardens has three eateries. Simpson Kiosk ($) is the most casual and reasonably priced with satisfying pre-made sandwiches, hot food and sweet treats. You can take a table under the shade of a sprawling oak, by the pond, or wander off for a picnic in your favorite part of the garden.
Cafe Fabonacci ($$) serves mid-priced pizzas, pastas, and wood-fried sandwiches along with local wines, beers and cocktails. It overlooks the Mediterranean gardens and waterfall.
Blanco Botanic Gardens Restaurant ($$$) is the most formal and expensive. It is set in a white gazebo overlooking the lake. The food is ethically farmed. Most of the vegetables and herbs are gathered daily from the Botanic Gardens to minimise food miles. You can enjoy local wines, beer and botanically inspired cocktails with your meal.