How long is the walk through the Gold Coast Regional Gardens?
This is a peaceful location for a walk; there are over 4km of pathways, starting from the shaded tranquil lagoons to open sweeping wide spaces that extend right down to the Nerang River.
Along the pathway next to the river is a small patch of native hibiscus or cotton trees. I read a while back that in the early days before settlement that the Nerang River was lined with these shady trees and the water would be yellow with the fallen blossoms floating on its surface.
I walked the pathways so that I could gauge the distance, but be warned the walk around the perimeter of the gardens along their sweeping lawns is definitely an early morning one in the warmer months.
This open area down to the river is a dog exercise area, a huge area for those that want their dogs to run like the wind. There are no dogs permitted in the garden areas and pathways.
This map is the route I walked, I didn’t go on every pathway, nonetheless it’s a good walk and you can finish it with a tea or coffee sitting on the veranda of the information hub.
Check the times for the cafe’s opening hours…
The information hub provides gardening lovers with plenty of books and information about Australian native plants you can also volunteer and be part of history.
The Gold Coast Regional Gardens are in their infancy and best described in the ‘embryonic stage’, like a chick picking at the egg surface and revealing some of the outside light.
Why say this?
When you arrive the first impression is how new and modern everything is, from the boardwalks and bridges criss crossing the lagoon to the sculptures facing the water.
If you look at other Botanic Gardens they have a head start, Sydney Botanic Gardens for instance was officially established in 1816 which is around 200 years ago. And the oldest known Botanic Garden according to Wikipedia was established in 1544 it was the first university botanical garden in Europe.
What will we find at these gardens?
You will not find in this botanic garden a green house with 100 year old orchids or exotic plants established 200 years ago, not even 300 year old trees cascading over densely shaded pathways. There isn’t a green house covered in vines in some long forgotten corner.
There isn’t even an elderly gardener with an old weather beaten hat pushing a wheel barrel full of garden loam, full of stories about the garden when he worked as youth.
However there is a corridor of beautiful large trees along one of the pathways facing Royal Pines Golf Course, which is an inviting location for a Sunday afternoon picnic.
A little history but not the complete story
Nonetheless there is some rich history associated with this site, a sugar cane plantation was once established here and extended down to the river along with a Sugar Mill.
Robert Muir the manger of the Sugar Mill has been accredited with planted some trees which are around 150 years old that still exist today.
A bee keeper and his wife, John and Essie Rosser, were the next occupants and they donated a section of their land to the Gold Coast City Council on the 14th June 1969 for the people of the Gold Coast.
The account by Kate Heffernan on the ABC speaks of Essie Rosser love of gardening, her love of gardening is reaching out now and grabbing the hand of the future garden and is drawing the old hidden garden back to life.
Who would have thought that a garden established in the 1920’s and donated land, would have such an impact that it set in motion a chain of events that inspired hundreds of interested parties some paid and volunteers to spend their time to establish these gardens. Quite remarkable indeed!
The plaque – Rosser Park
This area of parkland was donated to the city on 14th June 1996 by local pioneers John & Essie Rosser. Their wish was to preserve the area as a sanctuary for native flora & fauna for the enjoyment of future generations of Gold Coast residents.
The original house has been heritage listed, remnants of this secret garden along with a hundred year old Frangipani tree still exist today and are being slowly brought back to life and hopefully will be revealed to the public sometime in the near future.
All this information I received by listen to the interview on the ABC listen to the interview with Kate Heffernan (Horticulture Consultant and member of Friends of the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens) Kate researched and compiled a report on the garden for council, resulting in its heritage listing.
This story reminds me of a long forgotten garden I visited in Cook Town a couple of years back, these stories are played out all over Australia.
Unfortunately much of our history has been destroyed in the name of progress, little pieces of a patch work quilt slowly torn off bit by bit, section by section.
What is so unique about this garden is that it is so young, with decades of growth ahead; we are at its inception. The story surrounding this garden is one of love and appreciation of this beautiful location it is a gift to the Gold Coast people.
Any given day you will find volunteers tirelessly putting in hours of work to advance its beauty and many of these volunteers will never see it reach it full potential that will be for their children and grandchildren to see.
Be part of history
We have the benefit of seeing its inception we are part of its history and our children will see it bloom, so with that thought in mind how lovely would it be to take some photos of your little ones in the gardens for keep sake and when they have their children they can revisit and see the growth.
The story and the people associated with this area, is one of love for the Gold Coast’s open green spaces and that of the Gold Coast people.