Warrnambool Botanic Gardens are a timeless and tranquil setting for picnics, peaceful walks and the many guided tours and special events hosted throughout the year.
Set on 20 acres of lush parkland just a short walk north of Warrnambool’s CBD, the gardens feature hundreds of native and exotic trees, ferns, flowers and other plant species.
Warrnambool Botanic Gardens are also home to a significant collection of historic structures, including an original sandstone shed once used by the garden’s first curator Charles Scoborio, now the headquarters of the Friends of the Gardens.
Other highlights include the naval cannon – one of 15 used to defend Victoria’s coastline in the 1800s, a band rotunda, ornamental lake and stone bridge.
The gardens were designed in 1877 by Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens director William R Guilfoyle. At that time, the area was heavily timbered with a dense undergrowth of scrub, ferns and tussock grass. Guilfoyle’s plans saw the land transformed into impressive gardens of his classic style - wide curving paths, large sweeping lawns dotted with specimen trees, glimpses of water, dense shrubberies displaying a rich variety of plants and focal points composed of plants of dramatic form and colour such as Doryanthes, Palms and Bamboos.
By the end of the century additional attractions had been included: a fountain with gold and silver fish, a fernery, rockeries, several aviaries and a number of animals such as monkeys, kangaroos, wallabies and guinea pigs. The aviaries of birds and the collection of animals have long since disappeared, but the restored fountain and fernery continues to delight.
A trip to Warrnambool is not complete without a visit to the delightful Warrnambool Botanic Gardens.
The gardens are open from sunrise to sunset.
The Botanic Gardens are quite large with sweeping lawns dotted with trees and garden beds. There are various interesting areas including a Waterwise Garden, yarn bombed trees, sundial, large cannon, fountain, rotunda, lake with stone bridge and water birds, fernery and a small playground in the north east corner.
The Gardens have toilets, water taps and picnic tables.
The site of these botanic gardens was selected in 1866, replacing an earlier position near the mouth of the Hopkins River. In 1877 Warrnambool Council commissioned William Guilfoyle, then Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, to design an appropriate layout. His vision of sweeping lawns and long curving paths where the viewer can gaze into the distance, was implemented by successive curators, and remains intact. Here endure twenty acres of tranquil gardens which provide a timeless place of pleasure and interest for future generations.