February 2023: Hunter Region Botanical Gardens

February 2023: Hunter Region Botanical Gardens -

Tell us about the HRBG, why should people visit?

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens is the only Botanic Gardens in the Hunter providing a wonderful outdoor natural space to explore and learn about plants and their ecosystems. The community can engage their senses and learn about sustainability while visiting our 25 theme gardens of both native Australian plants and exotic plants in a natural bushland setting. Located at Heatherbrae on the Pacific Highway with an entry fee of only $5 a person and $10 a family; an affordable day out.

The old Red Ash tree greets you upon arrival to the Gardens. Every season supplies a different array of colour and flowering plants. There are plenty of delightful accessible walks to roam with interpretive signage around the 30 hectares of theme gardens. The Gardens has a calendar of events ranging from science programs like National Science Week as well as community programs like Mother’s Day, Botanic Garden’s Day, Spring Fair and Children’s Discovery Day so come along and share the day. Add to your Gardens adventure with a guided tour (bookings required).

The Gundabooka Garden features artefacts which showcases the local Worimi art. The Gardens offer a variety of different community workshops or Garden’s talks. Get lost in the rainforest, pop into one of our shaded houses to see orchids, ferns or bromeliads or just relax on the Eucalypt Lawn under the shade of the trees. Venture through one of the largest displays of succulent and cactus gardens in Australia.

After your stroll enjoy a Devonshire tea or light meal at the Kookaburra Café. Our gift shop offers an array of educational reading material and souvenirs. A perfect venue for weddings, family gathering, functions, photography and movie making!

There is so much at your Botanic Gardens to see and experience, come along and explore!

Recent Awards:
• Hunter Region Volunteer Organisation of the Year 2022
• Port Stephens Australia Day Award Winners 2019
• Named in Top 10 of Australia’s Regional Botanic Gardens by Australian Geographic
• Port Stephens Examiner Business Award for Best Tourist Attraction 2018

The Hunter Region Botanic Gardens is distinct and unique in that it operates as an independent non-profit organisation, relying on the support of local businesses and fundraising activities. The Gardens offer visitors a peaceful and beautiful experience in a 133 hectare bushland setting, a cafe, giftshop, gallery, nursery sales, guided tours and facilities for weddings conferences and functions.

What do the staff and volunteers do there?

The Hunter Region Botanic Gardens has 200 registered volunteers and 5 part-time staff. The Gardens are managed by a Board of Directors and an Executive Team. All Directors work on a voluntary basis and also have operational roles at the Gardens. Volunteers enjoy the social inclusion the Gardens provide, with much laughter and banter adding to their Gardens experience.

Volunteers and staff work in the following areas:

Gardening, Herbarium & Nursery 123
Administration 15
Community Education 10
Café and Catering Services 21
Engineering and Maintenance 31

Come join our volunteer cohort for social inclusion, fun and to learn new skills.

What events and programs do you have for 2023?

A fun filled annual calendar of events for all include:

• Children’s Discovery Day
• Botanic Gardens Open Day
• Mother’s Day
• Spring Fair/Father’s Day
• Winter Fair
• National Science Week

Popular workshops, tours and exhibitions such as:

• Daily Garden Tours
• Special Native Plant Tours
• Lego Weekend
• Beginner Bonsai for Kids
• Kid’s Succulent Workshop
• Sketch in the Gardens
• Gardens Explorer Tour for Kids
• Cupcake and Cookie Decorating
• Bonsai for Beginners
• Sculpture Exhibition
• Monthly Art Exhibition

Have your Wedding or Function in a natural setting:

• Tranquil natural settings like the Waterfall, Bush Chapel and various sites for your wedding or function.
• The ideal setting for special event photography and movie making
• The perfect location for corporate and family functions

Collaborative events with ADF, Hunter Valley Amateur Beekeepers, Hunter Bird Observers Club, Response 2 sculpture exhibition University Gallery (UON) in August 2023 and Australian Plant Society tours.

Why did you choose to be a member of BPS? Are there any particular aspects that benefit your business the most?

The opportunity to network and collaborate with other businesses has been fabulous. Learning ‘what’s on’ including infrastructure changes to the area has assisted with planning and strategy decision making. The introduction to Port Stephens Women in Business and Destination Port Stephens has created new business opportunities for the Gardens as well the ability to discuss our needs with politicians. Being a member of Business Port Stephens broadens our chance to collaborate within other LGA’s. By participating in several Business Hunter events HRBG has fostered interest and developed new partnerships with a variety of stakeholders. Access to The Business Centre has been invaluable.

Shout out to your favourite local business

It’s lovely to share a great meal at the Rick Stein Restaurant with friends, the Botanic Gardens gladly donates some Davidson Plums from our Rainforest Garden to share the “local” bush tucker.