About Friends of Botanic Gardens Cairns

Friends of the Cairns Botanic Gardens

The Friends of the Botanic Gardens Cairns was established in 1989 to :

  • stimulate interest and awareness in the Cairns Botanic Gardens
  • raise funds, generate ideas and initiate projects to enhance the Gardens
  • promote and support horticultural and botanical science
  • help conserve and grow the only Wet Tropics Botanic Garden in Australia

Members are engaged in a range of activities to support the Gardens, renowned for having the best tropical plant exhibitions in Australia.  This includes propagating plants for sale to the general public, organising events, maintaining a small library, raising funds for enhancements, conducting guided walks and bird walks on a weekly basis, organising guest speakers and meetings and volunteering in the Friends' House shop which provides information, advice, maps and souvenirs. 

What's happening?

The 22nd annual Jazz Under the Stars on Saturday 4 September was a great success although we had to turn away people to ensure it was not too crowded.  The rain held off and the audience enjoyed music from: Captain Jazz & Bandicoots; Silver Fox New Orleans Jazz Band; Fingerprint; Wilma Reading; Julie Hibberd, Bernard, Naoki; Mike Price Band and Victoria & Secrets. Put this event in your diary for the first Saturday in September 2022.


Monthly talk September 8 The Australian Tropical Herbarium

What is a herbarium, and what does it do?  Find out in a talk by curator and collection manager Frank Zich. Frank, who previously worked in botanic gardens in Indonesia and Australia, explains how the Herbarium’s team works on projects and preserved plant specimens to learn about the plant biodiversity and vegetation of Australia and nearby regions. 
Behind the Gardens Visitor Centre at 6pm with a sausage sizzle: $5 for FOBG members; $10 for visitors. 


Flecker Garden

The Flecker Garden is a key botanic space in the Cairns Botanic Gardens precinct. It contains the Conservatory which was constructed with a large donation from the Friends. Friends also regularly purchase orchids and other plants to ensure that the Conservatory always looks spectacular.

The plants in the dry area garden, constructed in 2020, were all purchased from Friends' funds.

Friends' members share their passion for the Flecker Garden by conducting free weekly tours, guiding visitors along paths and winding their way through leafy undergrowth. They highlight the broad range of plants,  trees and palms, exquisite orchids, bromeliads and ferns . . .  and the bizarre beauty of insect-eating pitcher plants.

Location and opening hours

The Gardens are on Collins Ave, Edge Hill and can be accessed by public transport from the city (Sunbus) or by car (ample street parking available), by bicycle or on foot. Entry is free and the Gardens are open from 7.30am to 5.30pm every day of the year.

Friends' House - staffed by volunteers - is in the Flecker Garden and is open from Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 3.30pm, providing advice and information to visitors.  


Friends House and Shop

The Friends operate from Friends' House, a heritage-listed building in the Flecker Garden, behind the cafe. Friends' members are rostered on from 9:30am to 3:30pm to provide advice and information to visitors.  They also operate a small shop selling locally made souvenirs. 

Friends' House is the meeting place for guided walks and also for the weekly trolley plant sales.

If Friends' House is closed, the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre - the glass building located between the Flecker Garden and the Tanks Arts Centre - also provides information. 

Guided walks in the Gardens

Bill conducting a guided walk

Free walks: Due to COVID19, participants must maintain social distancing.

Friends' volunteers conduct free guided walks, Monday to Friday, most weeks of the year. These walks commence at 10:00 am from Friends’ House, near the Gardens Café, and are designed to meet the needs of casual visitors to the Gardens.

The walks last for about 60 to 90 minutes and showcase a number of different areas of the Gardens including the Conservatory, the Aboriginal Plant Use section and any plants that are putting on a particularly good display at the time.

A guided bird tour is conducted weekly on Tuesdays at 8.30am. 

Paid walks: Friends also conduct private, specialised walks for larger groups - for example bus tours - who wish to have walks tailored to their own particular needs.

These walks are designed in consultation with the tour leaders in order to best meet the requirements of the group. Factors considered include the start time, desired time frame of the walk and any special needs or interests of group members. Sufficient guides are provided to maintain a ratio of one guide to six or seven visitors. A charge of $5 per head applies, with a minimum cost of $80.

Please email: info@botanicfriendscairns.org.au to organise a paid walk.

Plant Sales

Volunteers propagate plants which are on sale to the public:

  • Weekly trolley sales are held on Wednesdays from 9am to 11am.
  • Three bigger plant sales are held every year: on the Sunday before Easter; at Carnival on Collins - Fathers' Day - each September; and the Christmas sale on the first Sunday in December.
  • Thanks to everyone who made the Carnival on Collins sale a success. Next big sale will be the Christmas one on Sunday 5 December 2021 starting at 8am.

Friends of Botanic Gardens Cairns Reviews


Robert Green

I visited the gardens in December 2011, so i am a bit late reviewing the gardens but have been many times. The gardens then were recovering from cyclone damage but it was still a great place to visit. Being December you do need to have mosquito repellent with you but it is the tropics that's to be expected (i found the brand OFF works fine). The red and blue arrow walking tracks are great for exercising, but i found it very annoying that the people, whether it was locals or tourists were leaving their empty drink bottles behind, come on people, its not hard to remember to take them with you when you leave, really disappointing people can be so disrespectful of the environment we need to be protecting. I did find however that the café was a little over priced, no worse than mt cootha lookout in Brisbane. Gardens are kept well maintained and are a great asset to cairns, there for everyone to enjoy. Having a bus stop out the front is a bonus making it easy to visit the gardens, two thumbs up sun bus cairns. Will be back next year.


Main Hernández

Beautiful place to visit!!! You can even have a picnic here and walk as much as you want. It is for free!!!


Friends of Botanic Gardens Cairns

Location and opening hours Cairns Botanic Gardens can be found on Collins Ave, Edge Hill and can be accessed by public transport from the city (Sunbus) or by car (ample street parking available), by bicycle or on foot. Entry is free and the Gardens are open from 7.30am to 5.30pm every day of the year. The Visitor Centre is open from 8:30am to 4.00pm week days and 8:30am to 1:00pm weekends. It is closed from midday Christmas Eve, all day Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and until midday Anzac Day.

Direct Contact Info

Hours: Friends House: 9.30am to 3.30pm weekdays

Collins Avenue
Edge Hill
Queensland 4870

Enquiry Form

Download Files

Calendar of annual activities conducted by the Friends
Catching up with Friends
Membership Application/Renewal Friends of the Botanic Gardens Cairns Inc.
Since the establishment of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens in 1989, several hundred thousand dollars has been raised to enhance the Cairns Botanic Gardens through projects, purchases and donations.