Stunning unique gardens, unparalleled valley views and captivating birdlife make Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World a must-see destination that can’t be described adequately in words or represented accurately in simple photographs.
The gardens are unique, and should be high on the “to do” list of any Hinterland visitor, as a truly unmissable attraction that is all-at-once exhilarating and breathtaking, but also relaxing.
To stand on the escarpment, with expansive terraced gardens just below you, and the magnificent Glass House Mountains in the distance, is an experience that just can’t be equalled.
The exquisite Maleny Botanic Gardens is perched on the side of the mountain, overlooking what is one the world’s most fascinating mountain ranges and the surrounding valley. And with that spectacular backdrop, visitors experience around seven hectares (19 acres) of terraced and manicured gardens, countless bright flower beds, waterfalls, rock walls, ponds and bridges, an actual floating fishing trawler, and a variety of plants so diverse that is literally uncountable.
It’s the perfect place to just get away, relax, wander around quietly, and enjoy nature’s wonderful flora offerings.
Along with the gardens, there’s an expansive walk-through aviary that is home to around 400 magnificent birds – including finches, South American Conures, parrots and colourful macaws – who like to curiously inspect the visitors, perching on their arms and the heads, and even play with jewellery if they can get away with it.
Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World is a unique attraction hand-built by owner Frank Shipp, who continues to terrace and beautify more and more land to create what is an ever-growing mountain oasis.
“It’s all about happiness, laughter, that’s what keeps me going,” Frank said.
“People need a little laughter and joy in their lives; it doesn’t have to be stress all the time, and people get a lot of tranquillity here.”
The 44 hectares (110 acres) was once a cattle farm, but Mr Shipp started transforming it into the gardens in 2007. He moved countless large rocks, terraced the slopes and built many pathways, rock walls and waterfalls before first opening to the public in mid-2012. Today, the gardens represent seven hectares, but new areas are continually being prepared for opening to visitors.
It is popular for its views but also its countless varieties of plants.
“The biggest variety of plants in Australia and some of the rarest cycads in the world, I’ve lost count, it’s massive and there’s a lot more still to come,” Frank said.
And on top of that, Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World provides relaxed seating areas at which guests can relax and take in the views while enjoying a traditional Devonshire teas and fresh scones.
Just wandering around the gardens, it’s no surprise to hear people comment about the peacefulness, to hear repeat visitors talk about exploring the new additions and, most of all, to see the smiles of the guests and to hear their laughter.
“That’s what keeps me going,” Frank said. “I feel myself so lucky, so blessed.”
Entry to Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World is adults $31, which includes the gardens and aviary tour, or $16 just for the gardens. Children (3 – 14): $10 (garden and aviary), and free (garden only); Students and Pensioners: $26 (garden and aviary) and $13 (garden only)