Earlier this year, a Sydney-based travel writer named the Maleny Botanic Gardens (and Bird World) on Traveller.com.au as one of the top six gardens in all of Australia and the Asia Pacific region. But we’d been to Maleny several times and we’d never seen or heard of these gardens.
So, to satisfy our curiosity, we visited today to understand exactly why Katrina Lobley had given the Maleny Botanic Gardens the same elite status as:
- Imperial Palace Gardens, Tokyo, Japan
- Garden of Dreams, Kathmandu, Nepal
- Shamian Island, Guangzhou, China
- Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, Blue Mountains, NSW
- Alice Springs Desert Park, Alice Springs, NT
Fortunately, we were not disappointed. Boasting over 6km of walking paths that meander around thousands of different plants (including some of the rarest cycads in the world), The Maleny Botanic Gardens – opened to the public in 2012 – were very impressive.
With spectacular views, abundant terraced gardens and ponds, secret waterfalls, plentiful picnic tables and gazebos, green lawns and sitting areas, we spent hours wandering around (and hanging around) this idyllic setting. And that was before we took the kids to the mega 400-bird aviary – opened in 2013, animal enclosure and petting zoo!
Maleny Botanic Gardens also includes: an Oriental-inspired garden, a fairytale garden, a rainforest walk, an orchid garden, a cycad garden, rose gardens, a gardenia garden, a camellia garden, and an absolute abundance of plant life and greenery to enjoy.
We thoroughly enjoyed our outing today and concur with Katrina Lobley: Maleny Botanic Gardens are worthy of inclusion in Asia-Pacific’s best gardens and if you love everything grass and garden, we highly recommend a visit.
5 Reasons We Loved Maleny Botanic Gardens
1. To-die-for views of the Glasshouse Mountains
Location, location, location. Perched high in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, the Maleny Botanic Gardens enjoy to-die-for views of the Glasshouse Mountains. We genuinely felt blessed to be able to enjoy the grass and gardens with such a spectacular scenic backdrop.
2. So many green lawns
Being a site that helps you get your lawn mowed, it’s not surprising that the second thing we loved were the number of green lawns everywhere. This can be contributed to both: (a) deliberate landscaping; and (b) the fact that the Maleny Botanic Gardens are spread over a whopping 14 acres of a 110 acre property. But for anyone seeking space and solitude, these lawns are exactly what the doctor ordered in between all of the featured gardens.
3. Water, water, everywhere
There’s something about adding water to a garden setting that injects that added boost of tranquility and wonder. We counted more than 20 ponds in the Maleny Botanic Gardens. Almost everywhere you looked, were relaxing ponds to complement the garden and Glasshouse Mountain views.
4. Secret waterfalls
The kids made a game out of finding the next waterfall, because the waterfalls were never typically visible at first… they just kind of snuck up on you when you turned the next corner. There were lots of secretly placed little waterfalls and we drew delight in finding all of them.
5. Colourful macaws flying in the aviary
These long-tailed neotropical parrots (aka New World parrots) are a gift to nature. So colourful. So beautiful. And being able to walk around in the aviary that they’re flying in, as well as enjoying them landing on your shoulders, was worth the drive to Maleny alone. Full marks to Maleny Botanic Gardens for setting up such a beautiful bird enclosure with over 400 birds for visitors to marvel at and enjoy.
If your children get scared by birds, they should still love the animal enclosure and petting zoo. Pottering around you are a pony, a donkey, an alpaca, a goat, a sheep, chickens and a group of guinea fowl.
Or if you/your children are just not that into animals, just keep to the rest of the Maleny Botanic Gardens – take a picnic lunch and/or grab a Devonshire tea at the cafe – and enjoy the beautiful setting and views!