Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Feature Gardens

A cool, fertile and peaceful environment! With mild summer temperatures (January average max. 24°C), Mount Tomah is an ideal place to display plants from the cooler regions of the world. The top 100 metres of Mount Tomah consists of a layer of basalt, a volcanic rock which weathers to form a rich acid clay loam that is more fertile than most Australian soils. Basalt has many fine vertical cracks, called columnar jointing, which form when the rock cools. These joints trap rainwater, forming a natural underground reservoir which provides a water supply for the Garden. Hexagonal basalt blocks that resulted from this cracking are used in walls around the Garden.

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is one of the few botanic gardens where plants have been grouped according to their geographical origin. This allows the visitor to see both the similarities and differences between the plants of each region, and thus to learn something of the evolution of the floras of the different continents.

Natural Vegetation
Remaining stands include warm temperate rainforest dominated by coachwood, sassafras (Doryphora) and Hedycarya in the western gully and eastern boundary. The other main type of natural vegetation represented is tall open forest (wet sclerophyll) dominated by Eucalyptus fastigata, brown barrel. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden offers a unique Blue Mountains’ opportunity to easily access rainforest growing on this fertile ridge.

Darug Aboriginal storyboards
This interpretive display informs visitors about the Darug cultural landscape and celebrates the past, present and future Darug associations with Mount Tomah and other Aboriginal places in the region. The display comprises a number of signs located at significant places in the Garden. The signs are complemented by a booklet by Suzanne Kenney that tells the Darug Aboriginal story.

Bog Garden
The Bog Garden showcases a special type of wetland habitat - the hanging swamp. Hanging swamps form on hillsides and cliff edges in depressions with poor drainage. Water seeping through the ground is caught in layers of sandstone and shale, creating damp conditions suitable for ferns and mosses, which in turn trap sediment and leaves to create a rich wetland ecosystem.

The Jungle
Take an enchanting, gently graded walk through pristine Blue Mountains rainforest with towering coachwood and sassafras trees overhead and lush, green ferns below. The Jungle Lodge offers self-contained accommodation and sleeps up to 10 guests in comfort. The Jungle is a 33-hectare block of temperate rainforest adjacent to Mount Tomah Botanic Garden, with an accessible path named in honour of Lady (Nancy) Fairfax AO, OBE.

Lady (Nancy) Fairfax Walk: click on map to enlarge 

Plant Explorers Walk

Heath & Heather Garden 

Feature gardens

1. North American Woodland
2. Heath and Heather garden
3. Eurasian Woodland
4. Southern Hemisphere Woodland
5. Conifer Species
6. Brunet Meadow
7. Residence Garden
8. Rock Garden
9. Conifer Cultivars
10. Proteaceae
11. Formal Garden
12. Wollemi Pines
13. Gondwana Forest Walk
14. Rhododendron Species
15. Plant Explorers Walk
16. Forest Walk
17. Boardwalk & Viewing Platform


Other features on map

A. Northern Pavilion
B. De Ferranti Shelter
C. Brunet Pavilion
D. Restaurant, Administration & Education Centre
E. Cockatoos Sculpture
F. Equatorial Sundial
G. Lyrebirds Sculpture
H. Stonewalls
I. Nursery & Depot Area
J. Residence
K.  Caley cafe

Click here for information on buildings & art.

TOMAH-JUNGLE-MAP   Click on map to enlarge


1. North American Woodland
Features a range of evergreen and deciduous trees from North America, selected for their geographic, ecological and horticultural representation. This display provides an excellent opportunity for education and interpretation, with a spectacular display of colour in autumn.



2. Heath & Heather Garden
Heaths or heathland plants are typically small branching shrubs with tiny rigid leaves from the plant family Ericaceae (which now includes what was known as Epacridaceae). Heathers are plants in the three genera Calluna, Daboecia and Erica, of which Scottish heather is perhaps the most well known. Many heaths and heathers become familiar garden plants.



3. Eurasian Woodland
Features a range of evergreen and deciduous trees from Eurasia, selected for their geographic, ecological and horticultural representation. This display provides an excellent opportunity for education and interpretation, with a spectacular display of colour in autumn. 



4. Southern Hemisphere Woodland
Mount Tomah provides ideal plant growth conditions with a cool, moist and humid environment. This section of the garden displays a diverse collection of species that represent both Gondwanan and other species from the Southern Hemisphere. Plants from Australia, South American countries such as Chile and Peru, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Africa display their distinctive features.



5. Conifer species
This group of plants flourishes at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. The Brunets planted many unusual conifer species in their private garden and we are adding to this collection to create a comprehensive display with representatives of most genera. A separate area displays conifer cultivars, selected for such horticulturally-desirable features as plant shape, growth form and foliage colour.



6. Brunet Meadow
This grassy glade with its mature trees and shrubs was planted by the Brunets as part of their private garden. A pavilion dedicated to the memory of the Brunets is nearby. Further down the slope is a collection of conifers started by the Brunets.

Some original plants of the Brunet's still exist, including a range of traditional temperate horticultural plants and some of unusual interest such as the Chilean rosaceous tree Quillaja saponaria, the Chinese/Japanese conifer Thujopsis dolabrata and the California redwood, Sequoia sempervirens.



7. Residence Garden
Developed as an example of modern domestic-scale landscaping, this area features a sweeping lawn with handsome specimen trees. The lawn is framed by informal mixed borders with a selection of familiar garden plants and more unusual plants from temperate regions around the world. The backdrop to the Garden is a superb panorama of the rugged landscapes of the northern Blue Mountains.

The lawn terrace is close to the Visitor Centre. The manicured lawn is a perfect combination of rye and fescue grass. Bring a picnic rug and relax beneath the shade of the large alder tree. Overlook the flowers of the rock garden and the stunning Blue Mountains vista.



8. Rock Garden
This Garden has been designed to provide a variety of habitats for plants from rocky communities around the world. The main construction material is local basalt, with a section built of limestone for calcium-tolerant plants. The Garden also includes a series of cascades and ponds. Plants in the Rock Garden are mainly arranged in geographical groups. Special plantings include alpine moraine and scree slope species, a sphagnum bog, limestone-adapted plants and water plants.



9. Conifer cultivars
A separate display from the conifer species, these are conifers selected for such horticulturally-desirable features as plant shape, growth form and foliage colour.



10. Proteaceae
This family of plants includes waratahs, banksias, grevilleas and proteas. Its distribution reflects an origin on the ancient southern supercontinent of Gondwana, at least 100 million years ago and it is represented on all the the continental landmasses of the Southern Hemisphere, with some extensions into the Northern Hemisphere and the Pacific Islands.



11. Formal Garden
Inspired by traditional European garden styles, this Garden is laid out in three terraces. The Herb Garden is reminiscent of early monastery and university gardens, with plants arranged in simple geometric beds. The Rose Garden displays a small collection of modern and heritage roses. The Lawn Terrace recalls formal 17th-century gardens, with manicured lawns and clipped hedges. In contrast, the colourful Pergola Terrace is based on 19th-century English herbaceous borders. The Formal Garden is accessible throughout by wheelchair.

You will find the Rosarium within the Formal Garden - cross the road from the Visitor Centre, go up the stairs past the sundial, then go across to the far side of the Formal Garden heading slightly to your right.
If you want to know more about roses, you will find books on roses for sale in the Visitor Centre.



12. Wollemi Pines
This ancient tree is one of the world's rarest plants with only three stands of adult trees growing in New South Wales' Blue Mountains. See the grove of Wollemi pines growing in the lush rainforest along the Gondwana walk. Click here for more information on the Wollemi pine



13. Gondwana Forest Walk
There is a wealth of evidence that South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, and even India, were joined together about 200 million years ago in the ancient ‘supercontinent’ of Gondwana. Evidence includes the occurrence of similar geological features, similar fossils and some similar modern-day plants and animals, on these landmasses. Many plant groups that now dominate southern hemisphere floras, such as the families Proteaceae and Myrtaceae, had their origins in Gondwana. However, the different sections of these widespread groups have evolved in isolation since Gondwana began to break up (about 120 million years ago). Many modern members of these Gondwanan families are displayed in the plantings at Mount Tomah.



14. Rhododendron species
This group of plants includes representatives of all the main sub-groups of this extremely large and varied genus. The collection of species is complemented by a wide variety of rhododendron hybrids, some planted by the Brunets, which flower spectacularly in the spring.



15. Plant Explorers Walk
Many of our best known garden plants originate from eastern Asia and were originally collected on expeditions by European plant hunters who explored some of the most remote and rugged regions. On this walk you can discover something about the plant explorers’ travels, the plants they collected, and their fascinating stories.



16. Forest Walk
Lush, cool and green! Discover the natural vegetation of the mountain as you follow a mulched trail though the ferns and other plants of the rainforest. Relax beneath the canopy of large tree ferns. See the ancient basalt rock formation and filtered views towards Sydney.



17. Boardwalk & viewing platform
Designed and constructed by the staff of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. The boardwalk, made mainly of tallowwood, an Australian hardwood, provides easy access for all visitors. It passes beneath rhododendrons and towering brown barrel trees (Eucalyptus fastigata) into the rainforest. Here, views towards the coast of Sydney may be seen.