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Spring Awakening: Explore Shoalhaven’s Gardens & Native Flora

Holiday Haven
12 Sep 2023

Ahhh the sweet smell of spring – a season that sees the Shoalhaven blossoming and bursting into life. From the coast to the hills, a kaleidoscope of colours and scents beckon nature enthusiasts with a vibrant bounty – blanketing the land in everything from wildflowers to formal rose gardens and native bushland, accompanied by a symphony of birdsong. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, allow us to provide a blooming brilliant guide to the natural wonders ready to explore during spring!

Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden
Image: Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden

A great place for a picnic, BBQ or scenic stroll, the two-and-a-half acre Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden quite literally grew out of council reserve as a community project powered by local volunteers. It’s open every day of the week during daylight hours, with free admission – although donations are welcome. You’ll find a large range of Australian native plants on display, including rare bush tucker plants. Well signposted – a great destination worth exploring, with Seven Mile Beach National Park and the river nearby!

Merribee gardens
Image: merribeegardens

Set on seven acres of land at Numbaa on the south side of the Shoalhaven River, these stunning private grounds offer Open Days on the last Sunday of each month ($15 admission for adults), as well as being a popular wedding venue. The professionally-designed formal ‘botanical rooms’ include The Secret Garden, The Bay Room, The Italian Garden, The Apothecary Garden and Elizabethan Knot Garden plus a sublimely fragrant Rose Garden and Lavender Paddock – all framed beautifully by hedging, topiaries, beehives and joined by picturesque buildings include the old farm shed and silo. The highlight however may be The Dordogne Garden – inspired by its French namesake. 


Image: Booderee Botanic Gardens (

Located within Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay (there is an entry fee to the Park per vehicle), these gardens showcase an impressive array of Australian flora and fauna. Lawn areas are perfect for picnics or BBQs while walking trails (including the sealed 1.3km Forest Walk) will help you learn about the properties and benefits of native bush tucker as well as the indigenous Koori people’s cultural connection with the land. Booderee Botanic Gardens includes a number of themed areas, including the Rock Lawn, Rainforest Gully, and Casuarina Trail with views of Lake McKenzie.

Round the Bay Walking Track
Image: Round the Bay Walking Track 

Easily accessible for walking, strollers or bikes, the foreshore starting at Huskisson is a pleasant landscaped stretch of nature that allows you to start at White Sands Park (great spot for picnics, BBQs and children’s play area) and follow a section of the Round the Bay walking track along the coast to Vicentia. The views of the water are amazing, the beaches sublime and the flora will change with the seasons.

Located on Warden Street in the southwest of the town, this native reserve is filled with walking trails and brilliant examples of wildflowers throughout the growing season. Easy to get to, it includes information panels on what is growing in which season and the colours and species to look out for. Allow around an hour to complete the 3.4km loop trail. A great, family-friendly way to immerse yourself in nature without needing to travel into the middle of nowhere.

Three Views Walking Track
Image: Three Views Walking Track (Visit Shoalhaven )

Located in Kangaroo Valley, this longer walking track (around 9.5km return) is suitable for the family and takes in stunning views across Morton National Park. In late winter and spring, the wildflowers burst into life, with yellow flowers carpeting the sandstone slopes. You’ll also find plenty of other native fauna and flora – including Scribbly Gum, Stringybark, Banksias, Grevilleas, Native Iris, Leek Orchid and Sun Orchid (to name just a few!) as well as wombats, wallabies and plenty of birdlife. A full but rewarding day out!

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