Plant Collections

The Gondwana Garden

Visitors arriving at the Gondwana Garden at Cranbourne Gardens, located to the north of the Eucalypt Walk and south of the Ian Potter Lakeside Precinct, will discover a lush, abundantly planted place representing the connections between Australia’s ancient Gondwanan rainforests and the evolutionary history of the earth and its biodiversity. The range of plant species has been carefully compiled with input from expert Gardens' botanists to provide visitors with experiences reminiscent of forests in those long-distant times.

The Gondwana Garden’s design includes a striking series of natural hexagonal basalt columns that reflect similar natural igneous rock formations in the Australian landscape, and provide a reference to the role of volcanic activity in the earth-forming of the ancient super-continent of Gondwana.

The Gondwana Shelter includes glass interpretive panels that outline how Earth has evolved over millions of years. 

Best Viewed

  • Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn

Key Plants

Antarctic Beech (Nothofagus moorei) This species naturally occurs in the cool temperate rainforests of northern NSW and Southern Qld. Nothofagus species naturally occur in Australia, South America, New Zealand. 

Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) The Wollemi Pine is a ‘Dinosaur tree’ or ‘living fossil’, which was discovered in 1994 in the Wollemi National Park, NSW. In cultivation they prefer a protected or cooler spot in the garden and appreciated regular watering during dry spells. 

Curator Notes

Growing rainforest plants can be a bit of a challenge in Melbourne Gardens – The plants in this garden come from 2 main types of rainforests – Cool temperate rainforest where conditions are typically a fair bit cooler and moister than Melbourne, or warm temperate rainforest where conditions are warmer and more humid than much of Melbourne. Our approach has been to select species that are not too finicky about requiring the exact conditions that they would receive in their natural habitats. By selecting more hardy species suited to the current conditions we will, over time, create a different microclimate and introduce a broader range of species when the conditions are more favourable to their growth.