A fantasy trail through gardens within gardens.

Foxglove Spire gardens at Tilba Tilba enchanting garden open all year round

When one thinks of the south coast it is of pristine beaches, beautiful secluded coves and huge spotted gum forests almost spilling into the crystal clear turquoise ocean. However, while you are waiting for the water temperature to rise just a tad, spring is the time to turn your attention to some hidden wonders of nature along the Eurobodalla coast and take your senses on an adventure!

Nature has really portrayed her creativity in our little corner of the world, with a little help from some equally talented humans. Having the Great Dividing Range come so close to the coastline has created a unique merger of lush rainforest and towering spotted gum forests. From the hilltops you’re presented with panoramic views of natural forest greenery sweeping down to meet the aquamarine blue of the ocean rolling in. This is the big sweep of nature’s hand across the landscape.

Step down below, under their luxuriantly protective canopies and you’ll find beautiful natural gardens of native flora that are alive with colour, perfume and the chattering music of a very busy wildlife of bush creatures and song birds. Walking through them, along the many bush trails and ancient Aboriginal hunting trails, rewards you with a rich sensory experience.

Amongst these immense natural creations you’ll find many smaller but equally beautiful ones made with human hands.

Foxglove Spires garden nestles beneath Gulaga (Mt Dromedary) at Tilba Tilba. The garden has been lovingly built from scratch by Peter and Sue Southam and is now 25 years old.  Sue says the black soil and position suited English plants much better than Australian natives and everything she put in just took off.  Now in spring you can walk beneath rose-covered arbours dripping with fragrant flowers, along secluded forest paths underplanted with hellebores and daphnes and through grassy ‘rooms’ bordered with camellias and azaleas. The pear-covered driveway leads to a wonder of shaded ponds, lush plantings of perennials and cool corners to sit and contemplate the beauty.  Sue says the perfume of the pittosporums heralds spring in this family garden which welcomes public visitors every day of the year. 

Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens is unique as it is the only botanic gardens in the world which grows only those plants native to its own region.  Manager John Knight prefers to think of it as a botanic park rather than gardens, hoping to change peoples’ expectations and help them appreciate the gardens for what they are – ‘your gardens in the bush’ with all the wonder that that has to offer.  Spring is heralded by the wattles with their different and heady perfumes; each one clambering for attention with their own story to tell.  And of course, the birds are everywhere, nesting and raring their young. However, each season has its glory and there is something flowering all year round. The different sections give you a wonderful idea of the horticultural diversity of this part of the south coast and you will be inspired by the beauty that has been created here.  There is a great café for lunch after your walk through the ‘park’ and a well-stocked nursery to satisfy your green thumb. 

Ken Taber is a well recognised artist and he has established a sub-tropical water paradise on five acres just south of Mogo.  Ken says this garden ‘grew like Topsy’ after he planted the first grove of palm trees beside the house, and now there is a series of ponds meandering through a grassy parkland studded with all sorts of palms and tropical trees.  This totally unexpected garden is home to a large collection of water birds and features a lotus pond, waterfall and paths that wind through secluded glades and open parklands. Spring in the garden is an explosion of new growth and cool greenness which soothes and calms the soul.  Ken’s studio looks out over the gardens and his art reflects the closeness of this wonderful natural setting. Although it’s not open to the public Ken is happy for garden clubs and groups to arrange with him to visit the garden and gallery.

These gardens demonstrate the amazing ecological diversity of this extraordinary part of our country and as you head back to the beach you can be assured that your senses have had a great trip!



Please click on the links below for information and stories about gardens in Eurobodalla.

  • Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens - Batemans Bay. The site abounds with a wide variety of flora and fauna including many of the 2000 species of plants, trees and shrubs of the region.
  • Foxglove Spire Gardens - Tilba Tilba Highlights of the garden include a crabapple walkway, two 100-year-old Norfolk Pines next to the original cottage and a citrus walk of oranges and lemons.
  • Ken Taber Art Studio & Open Garden - Mogo. Set in a low lying area the garden features ten dams and ponds with six islands, many bridges and jetties. Tthe main feature is the many palms, ferns and water plants that go to make this garden such a haven for a wide range of birds and native fauna.

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