This is the third Botanic Garden in Townsville and the largest. Anderson Botanic Garden is 25 hectares and was originally an arboretum so it is home to a magnificent and outstanding collection of tropical trees. Set in sweeping lawn areas these stately rainforest trees have room to grow to their full impressive height and width.
It is now more than an arboretum, it has been extended to a true botanical garden with interesting collections of plants. As we entered we first wandered through a collection of tropical lushness. This was the Cape York Peninsula Collection. Palms, creepers and vines competing with the rainforest trees. butterfly’s were a feature in this area. Fluttering around and teasing us as we tried, unsuccessfully, to photograph them.
A school was on the boundary of the gardens and we ate our lunch (a tuna, salad roll we bought at “Subway”), sitting on a bench under the shade of a huge rain tree listening to the happy sounds of children at play. A blue winged kookaburra perched in the branches above waited patiently for any crumbs. We could only see one other couple and the gardeners as we looked across the expansive lawns. The gardeners told us the park was well used in the early morning and evening by excercisers and dog walkers, but now we had the 25 hectares almost to our selves.
We walked on. The lotus pond offered a photo opportunity. With ducks, water lilies, reflections and of course the lotus flowers and their enormous, plate-like leaves. It was almost the end of the lotus flowering season but a few lingered on in their fading glory.
We walked along grand avenues of trees and then found a corner of the park devoted to a world collection of cycads. There were 300 plants.(I didn’t count them it told us the details in a pamphlet), from 4 distinct zones, Africa, Asia, Americas and of course Australia. These are amazing plants and some of the oldest known species going back to the time of the dinosaurs.
A tropical orchard had many fruit trees I had never heard of before. Elephants nuts anyone?
It was a very interesting and well designed gardens. The helpful, friendly bus driver put us out at one end then told us how we could walk right through to the other end, then where to catch the bus from that end, to save us walking back to where we started. We really appreciated that because after almost 4 hours every short cut was welcomed.
I recommend a visit to all the Botanic Gardens in Townsville, they are so different to each other…