Unique Places in Australia and Oceania

  • Rottnest Island
    by littlebush
  • Hinze Dam
    Hinze Dam
    by balhannah
  • Looking south from one of the headlands
    Looking south from one of the headlands
    by iandsmith

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Australia and Oceania

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    Stanwell Park 35 years ago..wonder how it looks

    by unravelau Updated May 28, 2010

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    to-day. So pleased that the slide lasted the distance and that the local camera shop was able to pull off a great print. Lovely area.

    This is a snippet taken from the site below:-

    Originally inhabited by the Wodi Wodi Aborigines the first Europeans to pass through the area, in 1797, were the survivors of the wreck of the Sydney Cove. Shortly afterwards George Bass travelled down the coast looking for other survivors. He discovered coal near Stanwell Park at Coalcliff.

    Looking down on Stanwell Park.
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    by DG1272 Written Jan 17, 2010

    The Maldives are excellent but may be a bit rainy at that time of year. January should be better, towards the end. If you're going to Australia then you might try Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth which is quiet and idyllic but not far from the mainland. Equally the resort of Broome in north west Australia is perfect for the traveller.

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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Water Sports

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    Exploring the Gold Coast / Surfers Paradise.

    by Odinnthor Updated Oct 14, 2009

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    I am often asked, when visiting Cairns, Arilie and Hamilton, - if the Gold Coast in general and Surfers Paradise in particular should be included. How can you not love a city with a name like Surfers Paradise. That really is the name, and it is in the center of the Gold Coast. It does indeed live up to its name. It was where I first attempted to surf to mostly comical effect. The Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise, is kinda reminicent of Miami Beach, for a lack of better comparison. But it does have a charm all its own. Even the names are reminicent of Miami Beach, like Palm Beach, Broadbeach, Main Beach, Mermaid Waters and Paradise Point. Most are on the Gold Coast Highway (2), which weers off the main highway (M1), around Tweed Heads in the south, and rejoins the M1 around Helensvale in the north. Up from the beach are extensive waterways, that include some highly coveted real estate. The activities available cover the spectrum. If you can think of it likely it is here. Check out the following website. Be safe and enjoy.

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    State of Victoria

    by olja1234 Updated Sep 4, 2009

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    I remember this park. There was the exibition
    of roses. Many, many sort of them. You won't beleive how many sorts of this wonderful flower exist. And around the the building is locatet beautiful park.

    The park

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    State of Victoria

    by olja1234 Updated Sep 4, 2009

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    Another beach

    This is another beauteful beach we visited. I admired a tiny light sand, full of shells, different shapes. It is divine to walk bare-foot along the beach. The water was quite warm, but the level was very low there.

    The beach

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    State of Victoria

    by olja1234 Updated Sep 4, 2009

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    The beach

    It was a very windy day. That's the reason, the beach is so empty. Friends told me, that this beach is a paradise for surfers, the waves are incredible. Anyway, we left the beach very soon.

    The beach

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    by AusPinay Updated Jul 7, 2008

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    Walking high above the treetops in the Australian warm temperate rainforest of the southern highlands is probably one of our most memorable experiences as a family! We drive almost every school holiday to the south coast and our latest find is certainly something I am eager to share to the world!

    The first weekend of the July school holidays saw us trek to the relatively new 500 metres long Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk, constructed in February 2008 with walking towers from 10 to 45 metres above the forest floor!

    You will literally walk among the treetops of the most amazing eucalypts (gum trees) you will ever see- ancient year old trees and lovely ferns of various species.

    For AUD$49 for a family of four, the reward is not just a healthy workout as you make your way to the start of the tower via lush green surroundings with adorable native Aussie animals like the wombats, koalas and other birds. You get to glimpse sweeping views of the rolling cliffs, scenic hills and vast valleys beneath you from the fly walk.

    Aside from the gum trees, favourite food of our koalas, you will find other tree and plant species like native mulberries with shiny leaves offering prominent veins and lovely fruits in summer for the birds.

    The 11 towers, spanning about 40 metres each between them, has three support cables for stability and used about 400 cubic metres of concrete for the footings so be assured they are sturdy indeed!

    It is not just the natural beauty that stuck me about thi place but the way the builders made sure this man-made structure has little impact on the environment. Very little of the forest below has been cleared and excessive noise and litter are discouraged so as not to disturb its inhabitants!

    The tallest tower, aptly called "Knights Towers" is 45 metres high and is negotiated via a narrow spiral staircase and is truly the highest point of this Treetop Walk which offers fantastic views of the Illawarra escarpment, especially the tranquil beaches from afar !Based on my own experience,t those with a fear of heights should stick to the less "scary" towers standing 10 to 26 metres above the forest floor.

    Our boys had a ball climbing the steps here but it must be noted, extreme caution should be exerted as the steep climb can be difficult for those with young kids and /or babies. I notice a few strollers (still with the babies on them!) left near the entrance to the tower, with their mothers of course!

    The Visitor's Centre here also has a souvenir shop, cafe and toilets. Most attractions anywhere in Australia are fully equipped with centres like this to give information about the site and other helpful tips.

    For those who are not so mobile (the paths to the treetop walk are rough, winding and can be steep at some points), there is a shuttle service every half an hour (the ride is like a golf buggy carrying a few passengers only).

    (I have posted this in the off the beaten path section as it is a relatively new attraction in NSW, Australia and is set to be a popular tourist must see destination!)

    This place is around 10 minutes from Robertson, at the southern highlands of New South Wales, about an hour and half's drive from Sydney.

    This is both an educational, family-friendly and environmentally healthy trip anyone can do!

    Walk among the treetops,45 mts fr the forest floor going to the fly walk amidst a lovely forest teh entrance to the treetop walk forest top views from the towers Walking among the treetops,10 to 45 metres high
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    by AusPinay Updated Jul 6, 2008

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    Commune with Australian kangaroos, wombats, platypuses, emus,etc. in a diverse but tranquil bush setting near Australia's capital city, CANBERRA, about three hours from Sydney.

    Our family has enjoyed trips to the capital so many times it is truly hard to count how many. However, we always treasure every trip and this one is not an exception!

    Although we were intent on having fun at the snowfields, we saw this place by accident as we passed through it while hoping to relive our snow days at Corrin Forest, which sadly didn't have snow this year!

    But we were rewarded on the way when we spotted a mob of Aussie kangaroos quietly lazying about in huge areas of grasslands which turned out to be the TIDBINLLA NATURE RESERVE.

    The cool temperature seemed to have a calming effect on the usually jolly "roos" so it was a sight to behold as we saw them in their quiet mood indeed.My boys are well adapted and familiar with bush animals, they knew they had to be quiet and , amazed and cautious not to disturb these animals(dozens of them) so close together in such a spectacular setting!

    Visitors can learn more about these wonderful wildlife and many more like possums, emus (we spotted one too from the distance),etc through the visitor centre or by attending the regular Ranger Talks held every weekend and public holiday.

    Tidbinbilla also plays an important role in captive wildlife management, in particular the breeding programs for the endangered Northern Corroboree Frog and the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby.

    Also at the Visitor's Centre, one will learn that this reserve is part of the Namadgi National Park, which forms part of the Australian Alps (it encompasses NSW and Victorian borders), which is in the vicinity of our intended snow vacation.

    This park offers picnic groundsand bushwalking/hiking.. Electric and wood-fired barbecues are available free of charge and the childen's playground is equipped with traditional stuff that the little ones will enjoy.

    Public art is also a feature of the playground, with a number of pieces provided by local artists including a carved 'hide and seek' pole and 'meeting place', seating and ceramics.

    Prohibited activities include camping, fishing, horse riding, car rallies, off-road 4WD activities and trail bike riding. People are urged to leave their dogs, cats and other pets at home, as they are not permitted in the reserve.

    A truly magical and tranquil place to enjoy, TIdbinbilla Nature Reserve is just 40 minutes from Canberra and is not crowded so go and visit this unique habitat of Aussie flora and fauna! It can be accessed through Tidbinbilla Road through the suburb of Gordon via Point Hut Crossing or via the Cotter Road and follow the signs.

    Incidentally, the capital has been in the news lately for its program on the culling of kangaroos which I personally would rather not support! There is probably a more human way of reducing the number of this icon of Australian wildlife, not killing them! Any ideas are most welcome!

    By the way, the animals, particularly the roos are in an enclosed area and protected by electric fences, so beware! But you can get up close and personal with them around the other parts o f the reserve! Vehicles entering there are charged moderate fees.

    Australian kangaroos in a tranquil bush setting A lone emu lazying about entrance to scenic Tidbinbilla NAture Reserve more native Aussie plants like the what roo poos look like, if you haven't seen them
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    by AusPinay Updated Jul 6, 2008

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    The main goal for our family's July school holiday (which is midwinter in Australia) is to have another chance at snowfun, our place being very far from the snowy mountains.

    After some research, we found the most family-friendly and best suited for our favourite snow sport- tobogganing, is no less than the snowfields at Mt. Selwyn.

    This not so well-known snowy mountain, but still part of Kosciusko National Park, and lies northeast as opposed to the other more popular southern ski resorts like Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte's Pass and Blue Cow.

    It is also a good place to start for beginners (ski) and young children especially who will mainly enjoy a bit of snow play and lots of tobogganing as it has safe runs for the whole family!

    As we focus more on the economical but fun way to holiday with the family, we opted for the friendly slopes here.

    By golly we were not disappointed!

    Once there, our car temperature gauge showed 3 degrees Centigrade and everyone heaved a sigh of relief as we saw families of all ages having fun at the snow there amidst a thick cloud of fog that visibility at the roads were truly low! (We were terribly disappointed the day before that our fave spot, Corrin Forrest, near Canberra, had NO SNOW this year!)

    At last hubby was so happy he could finally use his fog lamps which he surprisingly found came with his less than four month old Suzuki SX4. (I shall have a separate tip re four-wheel snow driving in Australia). You see, he carefully chooses his cars based on fuel efficiency and safety, so he says!

    After driving around 2 and half hours (actually three in total eventually, as we were given the wrong information at out hotel by what my husband call a very bored, inexperienced and very young receptionist), I finally saw my boys' eyes lit up with delight! We got sidetracked the day before visiting the Fly tree Top Walk which was equally exciting!

    We've been to the snowy a few times and I have known all those years that the best way to go to the snowy was through the busy snow town of COOMA, however,
    as I went to get more leaflets, I left hubby to inquire at the hotel desk, who was hoping there was a quicker way to get to the snowfields at Mt. Selwyn.

    Unluckily for us, the route we took as suggested, had road closures and was way out of the snowy mountains path, which deducted precious time from our hectic weekend holiday. But in the end it proved enjoyable still as we gave the boys around three hours of snow play and tobogganing!

    Toboggans can be hired at Mt. Selwyn at AUD$13each for half day . We made sure we were properly clothed this time inn suitable warm snow gear so we didn't need to hire the ski jackets, pants, ski boots, helmets,etc like many people did.

    After all, if you are not much of a skier or snow enthusiast, proper snow gear are best left with the professionals and you don't need to spend a lot of money to indulge in a bit of snowfun!

    There are a few lifts open at the Selwyn snowfields but we just stuck to toboganning, promising ourselves- next time! Tobogganing seems to be the most popular activity at Selwyn, but there is also a snow-tube park and has up to 800 mts ski and snow boarding trail park/run.

    The snow season here is from June to August (winter in OZ) but can run up to September and early October.

    It was extremely overcast and was raining intermittently there, but to my determined boys (aged 9,13 and 40ish -that's my hubby), snow was fun as you get soaked from the cold and wet ice, sitting on the toboggan, winding your way through the powdery and slippery path, falling over and doing it all over again!

    Boys will be boys indeed!

    As Selwyn is not very popular with avid skiers and snow-loving tourists, I have included this is in the "off the beaten path" section. It is also less expensive here compared to the more tourist ski resorts and snowfields at Thredbo and Perisher or their counterparts in Victoria (another Australian state which has snowfields). It is around 7 hours from Sydney as most of the snow fields and resorts are but it is the closest to Canberra (AUSTRALIAN Capital), which was our base in this holiday.

    I have a separate tip on four- wheel snow/mountain driving related to this trip.

    tobogganing at Selwyn snowfields going to the snowfields waiting for my turn let's go tobogganing! snow everywhere!
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  • AusPinay's Profile Photo


    by AusPinay Written Jun 29, 2008

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    I put this in the off the beaten path as most tourists to Australia and SYdney would probably miss this one. But for our family, this is less than an hour's drive from us so this is heaven, without the crowds and from the city centre will be just over an hour from the M 2w or expressway. So hopefully people will find this place as this is truly spectacular- tranquil surrounds with only natural bushlands and fresh air as your company.

    We love walking around here and having family picnics whenever we can. This particular place is at WILBERFORCE, near the Butterfly farm and Indy 300 KARTING and RACING place. Most people go there but as the kids are not yet the right age for racing we go bushwalking here along the river.

    Look at the photos and you will understand why I love this place! There are around 17 small picturesque towns around the Hawksbury so there is no shortage of a place that you can choose to go and explore!

    the majestic Hawksbury with picturesque views bushwalking is fun here our happy family with the river in the bg skipping stones a the river more stone skipping
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    by AusPinay Written May 17, 2008

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    This place is popular among Sydneysiders, as this is less crowded than Manly which is always crowded with tourist especially on weekend. Parking is always a problem at Manly so Dee Why is a good alternative.

    Another attraction here is the public baths which are safe for families with young children. The water is clean and the area is secure and got the usual amenities- picnic facilities, toilets, public showers, etc. They are free!

    Down the road are shops/eateries/reataurants where you can get fresh fish and chips, pies, or Chinese, Thai, Indian, Italian food,etc. in case you did not bring a picnic!

    Dee Why is just near Manly without the crowds Safe Public bath is  nearby
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    by AusPinay Written May 1, 2008

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    From Sydney, take a train ride to the south coast or rent a car and you will be rewarded with the most amazing sights- quaint little coastal towns with endless water views, a lot of them you will find not many people but probably just you and only a few locals. There are lots of places to explore, rock pools, lakes, rivers, mountains, etc. The list goes on so expect to be surprised!

    Some of these spectacular areas are around Kiama, Gerringong, etc.There are not only lovely ocean and beaches, historic towns with diverse collection of flora and fauna in their English gardens, etc.

    Look at the pictures so you can understand I am at a lost for words!

    exploring around the beach/rock pools quaint little historicold  church evergreen mountains and valleys explore the sand dunes and rock pools Safe rock pools  for fishing
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    by AusPinay Updated Apr 30, 2008

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    Jenolan Caves in the BLue Mountains are famous but there are other caves which are equally interesting to explore.

    WELLINGTON CAVES are just one of these amazing caves system! We went spelunking on our way to DUBBO. (I
    shall talk about this soon too!)

    Though our main destination was Dubbo, taking the time to see the caves was well worth it!

    Apart from friendly tour guides, the caves also operates a cafe and a souvenir shop where we had our fill of good old freshly made Aussie meat pies and some drinks. It was packed when we got there but it didn't take long for our orders to get filled.

    According to the visitwellington website, here are some quick facts about the cave:

    The Cathedral Cave

    * Discovered and explored by G Rankin in 1823
    * Opened for public inspection in 1870
    * Illuminated with electricity in 1932
    * Length: 155 mtrs
    * Max height: 22 metres

    LOCATION and Contact Details:

    Wellington Caves and Phosphate Mine
    Caves Road
    Wellington, NSW 2820
    Toll Free: 1800 621 614
    Telephone: 02 - 6845 1733
    Fax: 02 - 6845 1989
    Email: tourism@wellington.nsw.gov.au
    Website: www.visitwellington.com.au

    As always, we didn't get lost as there were ample signs going to the caves in the main highway. We also did our research beforehand so we knew when the all-important turn off was ahead!

    Wellington itself is the second-oldest town west of the Blue Mountains, located 369 km north-west of Sydney and 304 m above sea-level. It is a relatively large centre having a population of about 5700 with a considerable, and increasing, Aboriginal population.

    According to http://www.traveldownunder.com.au/New_South_Wales/Explorer_Country/Wellington_Caves_&_Phosphate_Mine.asp, here are some info re the caves:

    In one cave, now known as the Bone Cave were found fossilised skeletons of many giant animals which roamed the Wellington valley millions of years ago. It is now reserved for the exclusive use of scientists from all parts of the world. Today, two caves are open for public inspection - the Cathedral Cave and the Gaden Cave.

    The Cathedral Cave is a vast area where visitors are confronted by a truly gigantic stalagmite, regarded as one of the largest in the world. This imposing formation rises from the dry earth covered floor to a height of about 15m and measures about 32m around the base. Illuminated by hidden lights, it has a majestic appearance and is popularly known as 'the Madonna'.

    The Gaden Cave is smaller in comparison to the Cathedral Cave, but has unusual and exquisite formations. In the grounds is a large aviary containing many colourful Australian birds

    . Tour times (Non school holiday period) Monday to Sunday

    Cathedral Cave: 10.00am, 12.30pm, 4.00pm Gaden Cave : 9.00am, 1.30pm Phosphate Mine: 11.00am, 2.30pm Tour times are subject to change without notice.

    Facilities include: Toilets, kiosk, undercover picnic area with coin operated barbecue facilities all set in pleasant surroundings, arts, crafts, crystals and gemstones.

    Wellington-Osawano Japanese Gardens are just across the road and are open daily from 9am to 4pm - Free entry.

    Go and explore this town with a wide main road, abundant trees in the park and quiet gardens.


    one of the many limestone formations at the caves with my son (taking a break at the caves) Outside the front entrance to the caves The lovely welcome bush scenes outside the caves
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    by AusPinay Updated Mar 19, 2008

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    Going for a few days of holiday with our family of four is easy peasy if you know where to go. There are countless places to go to which are not necessarily written much about or popular with tourists. But only true locals know about them

    Some of our precious finds one school holiday were around south of Sydney. We were based in Kiama but still explored a lot of panoramic and interesting places like JAMBEROO,SADDLEBACK MOUNTAIN lookout and Minamurra Rainforest.

    The first one JAMBEROO is a quaint little attractive village in the Jamberoo Valley.

    It is surrounded by nature reserves and National Parks which are ideal for bushwalking and birdwatching.

    Jamberoo is tiny but charming village 113 km south of Sydney via the Princes Highway and 7 km west of Kiama.

    It is located in verdant, green dairy pasture, towering escarpments, and rolling hills typical of many rainforests. One such place we explored was the superb MINAMURRA RAINFOREST.

    IN one website promoting the KIAMA region, SADDLEBACK MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT was described like this and we totally agree as we didn't get lost following its directions :

    About 2 km east of Jamberoo, Fountaindale Road branches off to the south. Saddleback Mountain Lookout lies along this route. The turnoff is signposted. Eventually you will reach a T-intersection. A road to Kiama leads to the left and the lookout reserve is to the right. It is open from 8-4 daily. There is one lonely table for picnickers and a concrete slab noting distances and directions to other locales.

    The reserve itself is modest but the mountain, which is the point where the escarpment turns into a series of foothills which run down to the sea, offers one of the most dramatic and interesting views on the whole of the south coast. From Saddleback you can see north to the steelworks of Wollongong, south to Jervis Bay and inland to the edges of Jamberoo and the Kangaroo Valley.

    From there, we proceeded to MINAMURRA RAINFOREST, a surviving remnant of subtropical rainforest (400 hectares) at Minnamurra Falls Reserve, declared in 1903.

    We took the walking track, in its entirety, which was 4.2 km and took us about two hours. Trust me, you have to be totally FIT to negotiate the steep walkways!

    There are two parts to this walk: the Rainforest Loop Walk (1.6 km) and the Falls Walk (an additional 2.6 km). The latter can only be reached via the former and so, in order to see the falls, the entire 4.2 km walk must be undertaken. There are information posts along the way.

    Minnamurra Reserve has two falls, one a 50-metre and one a 25-metre-drop into a narrow rainforest gorge where ferns and vines grow in profusion under the dense canopy.There is a raised wooden pathway along the route, which protects the environment and makes it wheelchair accessible. The gradient is suitable for children and the elderly and there is interpretive signposting along the way.

    Trees include the sandpaper fig, used by Aborigines to sand their wooden tools, the Illawarra fig tree, a giant stinging tree, its leaves covered in fine hairs that are saturated with concentrated acids for self-protection, red cedar, cabbage tree palms, bush cherry and staghorns.

    Platypus and lyrebirds (which we actually spotted there) live in the reserve and, occasionally, an eastern water dragon can be seen basking on the rocks.

    No camping is allowed but there are picnic facilities and the kiosk is open daily. The charge for private vehicles is $9.90 per car. Other rates apply for large-scale educational visits. All monies are reinvested in the site.

    the majestic Minamurra Falls at SADDLEBACK MT. LOOKOUT the view at the lookout entrance to Minamurra Rainforest at the museum at Minamurra
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    by AusPinay Updated Mar 19, 2008

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    "Mount Tomah Botanic Garden lies on a basalt-capped peak in the rugged Blue Mountains. Being 1000 metres above sea level and having rich volcanic soil and a cool climate make the site ideal for one of the world's finest collections of cool-climate plants." This is how their website described it and we totally love it here!

    We've been here several times and there's always something new to see every season we come here! The best times to go are spring and winter, but summer and autumn are equally fab too!

    Not to mention the delicious food at their cafe/restaurant with breathtaking views, that's why we keep coming back. There are also lush picnic grounds or if you prefer, picnic tables with barbecue facilities.

    The collection of native and foreign species of plants, trees and even animals are truly amazing! We spotted lizards while bushwalking there one time. We also came to pick chestnuts here (free), we never knew how prickly the outside of these nuts were!

    Features of the Garden:

    * Conifer and Rhododendron Collections
    * Gondwana Garden
    * Rock Garden
    * Formal Garden
    * Rainforest Walk and Viewing Platform
    * Plant Explorers Walk
    * Spectacular Spring and Autumn Displays


    Visitor Centre/Book Shop Education Centre
    Picnic Areas BBQs
    Restaurant Guided Walks
    Weddings Functions
    Wheelchair access to the Visitor Centre, Formal Garden as well as some paths through the Garden.

    LOCATION:The Garden is 105 km west of Sydney (see map below). There is a charge for admission (we paid $14 for our family of 4) and concessions are available. Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens admitted free. Guided tours available by arrangement. Bookings for groups may be made by telephoning the Garden.

    Mount Tomah Botanic Garden
    Bells Line of Road via Bilpin 2758
    105 km west of Sydney (12 km west of Bilpin)
    In the beautiful Blue Mountains

    Entry Times:

    * 10 am - 4pm March - September
    * 10 am - 5pm October - February
    * Closed Christmas Day


    The inspiring koi pond at one of the many picnic areas Giant rhodendrons With my honey in one of our many walks there a bit of rest for my boys
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