The North Coast Regional Botanic Garden is located in Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales mid north coast. It comprises over 20 hectares of gardens and walks, with both cultivated spaces and natural forests and mangroves.
Upon entering the garden, the first attraction you encounter is a miniature botanic garden called the Prime Display Area. From here, there are five kilometres of walks to explore.
The paths around the garden include many boardwalks, which take you past mangroves, natural forest and three different rainforest areas.
As well as those areas reflecting local habitats, there are gardens dedicated to many other areas which have similar climate and rainfall to Coffs Harbour. Australia's eastern states are represented, for example, as are countries within 30 degrees of the equator, including Chinese and Japanese gardens at the very rear of the space, which overlook a lake.
Near this lake is the Sensory Garden, which is truly a sensory experience. It offers beautiful sights and smells courtesy of plants like camellias, roses, wisteria, herbs and gardenias.
Glasshouses are back here too. They contain plants typically grown inside, bromeliads, arid plants such as cactus, and orchids. These are only open during the week though.
Signs make it easy to find your way around the attraction but you can also join one of the free guided walks that take place on the third Sunday of every month. People-movers are available for hire too (a driver is provided by the garden).
If you want to bring your lunch, there are picnic spaces to enjoy it in, or you can get something to eat at the Garden Cafe, which is open Tuesday to Friday, from 10.30am to 2.30pm. Nextdoor to the cafe is the Information Shop, which offers ice-cream, art, souvenirs, plants.
The North Coast Regional Botanic Garden is one of the more relaxing attractions in Coffs Harbour, but there are many other things to do here. The Big Banana is the most widely known attraction, but Dolphin Marine Magic is also popular. At Forest Sky Pier at Sealy Lookout, you can take a look out over much of the environment you just got a taste of, while at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery you can enjoy both history and art at once.
Where: On the corner of Hardacre Street and Coff Street in Coffs Harbour
When: 9.00am to 5.00pm every day
Cost: Free (but donations are welcome)
Phone: (02) 6648 4188 (Information Shop)