See & do

Botanic Gardens: people, plants, possibilities

June 5, 2019

The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually and is fast becoming a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

There’s plenty to see and do at the Gardens and you’ll be surprised what is hidden away right in the heart of this beautiful city. The Mangroves to Mountains is a must walk, featuring more than 12,000 plants put in by volunteers. Montane Rockery showcases plants normally only seen by bushwalkers on exposed mountains in South East Queensland and there is also a Rose Garden, Sensory Garden, Gum Tree Corridor and Butterfly Garden where the plant selection is based on the needs of butterflies.

the gardens provide much needed habitat for native birds, frogs, lizards and insects

Kate Hefferman, a horticulturist and founder of Friends of the Botanic Gardens, says the gardens are an important part of the Gold Coast and reflect the region’s diverse natural environment.

“They invite respect for the physical world immediately around us,” she says.

“They provide for relaxation, social inclusion and healthy community activity as well as education and inspiration.

“They are often the first  stop for tourists visiting the Gold Coast who want to get a sense of their surroundings and a glimpse of the natural environment that once existed across the whole of the region.”

Hefferman is behind The Story of our Country landscape located at the Botanic Gardens, which shows plants motorists might pass every day as they drive across the cities natural areas.

“In the Story of our Country these same plants tell the story of the deep understanding, connection and sustainable use of the land by the Yugambeh people of this region,” she says.

“It shows plants used for food, as fruit straight from the tree or carefully treated to remove toxins, or seeds ground into flour. It shows plants which alerted the start of fishing season, provided shelter or were essential in hunting grounds. There are also plants used for utensils, tools, weapons, bags, nets and string or plants used to treat ailments.

“The project is also significant for the partnerships which worked towards it. The Yugambeh Museum, Green Army, Friends of the Botanic Gardens, City of Gold Coast Council, Conservation Volunteers Australia and the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage.”

Woggabaliri – children from the Bogan and Lachlan rivers area of NSW played a kind of football with a ball made from possum fur.
Kee’an – this game comes from North Queensland and was used to practice throwing skills. Traditionally a large animal bone with twine attached to it was thrown over an emu catching net and into a pit.
Kai – this game comes from the Torres Strait and traditionally uses the thick, red, oval fruit of the kai tree, which is light when dry.

There are some great games to explore at Gold Coast Botanic Gardens. The Kaialgumm Games Trail takes you to six sites where you can use the QR reader on your smart phone or tablet to find out more about traditional indigenous games and how to play them.

The trail has been designed to teach locals and visitors more about our aboriginal cultural heritage. Playing to learn is something children do all over the world and, here in Australia, Indigenous children traditionally used games to practice skills such as hunting, fighting and even looking after their babies. Many of these games have been handed down for generations and are still played today.

The word kaialgumm comes from the local Yugambeh language of the Gold Coast. The kaialgumm was traditionally the chief in hunting. Practice the games with your friends and find out who is the kaialgumm in your group!

National Botanic Gardens Day – 9 June

Are you due for a family day out? Grab the picnic blanket and join us.

We have plenty happening to keep the young, and the young at heart entertained.

Learn the art of growing your own edible flowers and herbs for delicious teas, composting techniques, how to build a green wall, bush foods display, learn how to make traditional Aboriginal pigments, face painting, kids craft activities, reptile show, guided walks, food and much more.

Plus guest speakers from Griffith and Southern Cross Universities will be presenting on plant genetics and eco-chemistry.