ACT News


Australian Botanic Gardens sees record number of visitors

The Australian National Botanic Gardens has experienced its busiest 12 months on record. 

More than half-a-million visitors flooded through the gates of the nature-based attraction to check out the wide array of plant life but also the growing number of events and activities on offer.

On Saturday, young Lachlan Washington was one of them.

Lachlan adores romping around spotting dinosaurs and meeting new friends whilst exploring the rainforest and Red Centre Garden.

His mother Caitlin Jacob said the Queanbeyan family had become aware of the activities on offer just recently and had visited the garden three times in the past month. 

"It is a great way to get outside with him, the crowds are dispersed over such a large area," she said.


"We will be back. I'll be keeping abreast of the events but even just when its a nice day its a great place to go." 

Gardens manager Peter Byron said the 513,800 visitors was a "new high watermark" for the was 13 per cent increase on last years' figures. 

"This is probably the biggest jump we've had in many years,"  he said.

Booming interstate and international tourism had certainly helped, however Mr Byron chalked-up the success to that and the gardens' wider range of programs.

"Continually doing new things give a lot of the public a reason to come back and experience the gardens in all the different seasons," Mr Byron said. 

"You can go from the rainforest through the desert and a third of Australian plants are grown here, so it is a great experience." 

The Summer Sounds concerts, sunset cinema, the after dark tours pull in huge numbers as do school holiday programs such as dinosaurs in the gardens run for three consecutive years in conjunction with National Dinosaur Museum.

The expanded events calendar has been bolstered by investment in facilities on site. 

In April the gardens reopened the refurbished Pollen Cafe.

Construction of a whimsical Treehouse is set to begin within weeks and a $5 million federal funding injection will see the Ian Potter National Conservatory built and opened in 2019.

Several projects within the gardens' master plan have been realised including the bushland nature walk, which boasts beautiful views across the heart of Canberra and has attracted visitors since it opened in December.

Mr Byron said the master plan would enhance visitor experiences along with horticulture and research capabilities over the next 20 years.

"These fantastic projects are part of a journey that we're on and we're really looking forward to seeing more and more people take an interest in this world class botanic garden and all it has to offer," he said.