The Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens are located in the Queens Domain region on the northern edge of Hobart. Queen’s Domain is a short walk from the CBD and an even shorter drive if you’re lazy. I’d highly recommend taking a stroll through the Soldiers Memorial Avenue on the way as it’s one of the most poignant and fitting memorials to fallen soldiers I’ve ever seen. I’m not Australian but even I got a little emotional when walking through the avenue and seeing the touching sentiment and care given to those who died fighting for their country. It was just before Anzac Day when I visited the area and each of the memorial plinths had a small Australian flag and poppy or similar flower resting on them which was really nice to see.
It took me a little while to realise that all the trees in the park represent the life of a solider who died. They were planted around 1918 after the end of WW1 and those that have survived have grown rather tall and harbour all sorts of life which I guess was the intention when they were planted, new life and rebirth from such tragic deaths.
The Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens or RTBG as I’ll call them going forward are located about halfway through the avenue next to the Tasman Bridge on the River Derwent. I hadn’t looked up anything about them before I arrived as I always like to explore new places with a fresh mindset and without knowing what to expect. I find that’s the best way to experience things as you don’t know what you’re going to see and can just enjoy your time without having to see that particular exhibit or that specific point of interest.
I’m not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination but I can certainly appreciate the beautiful creations that have evolved in nature and the species on display in these gardens are quite wonderful indeed. There’s something for everyone whether you love exotic flowers and plants or prefer to see large trees and local species. My personal highlight was the Japanese Gardens which are exceptional in this instance. The sense of calm and serenity within them is just magical, I could happily sit there for days. It’s not so much about the plants on display as the water features and man-made features like the red bridge which takes pride of place in all Japanese gardens and the delicate pathway constructed over a small pond which just begs to be crossed.
Elsewhere there’s a Subantarctic Plant House which is chilled to a noticeably chilly 7.5 degrees which you really feel upon your exit. The plants within aren’t the most exciting to look at but it’s fascinating to know that these species can survive in some of the most inhospitable places on the planet making them rare assets which need to be preserved.
Botanic Gardens, like their Zoological counterparts are becoming more important than ever as man’s influence on our planet is damaging ecosystems beyond repair and pushing species of both plants and animals towards extinction. It’s great that we can come to places like the RTBG and experience that natural wonders that are out there. Of course that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t explore Tasmania’s picturesque landscapes and witness these delights for themselves in the wild.