An article by exercise physiologist, Jennifer Smallridge

Walking in nature is not just good for your soul - it’s great for your body and mind. Research has shown that time outdoors reduces our physiological stress response, replenishes our cognitive capacity (eg: memory and attention), and of course the act of walking itself is protective for our hearts, muscles and bones. 

People who report feeling more connected to nature also report feeling happier in general, so why not immerse yourself in one of the beautifully curated garden spaces below? 

 

South Australia 

Adelaide Botanic Garden 

Location: North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 

Known for: Where the old meets new! Don’t miss the Victorian glasshouse from 1875 Germany, right near a National Rose Trial Garden, where roses are tested in our climate for their suitability. You can also learn about the power of plants in the Garden of Health.  

 

Northern Territory 

Alice Springs Desert Park 

Location: 871 Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs, NT 

Known for: Rich Aboriginal culture, combined with the hidden stories and secrets of the surrounding desert. Many rare and endangered animals, as well as stunning birds of prey call this 52-hectare park home.  

 

Australian Capital Territory 

Australian National Botanic Gardens 

Location: Clunies Ross Street, Acton, ACT

Known for: The most diverse collection of Australian native plants in one place. The wooden boardwalks nestled in the rainforest valley is an unforgettable way to explore the gardens.  

 

Victoria 

Ballarat Botanical Gardens 

Location: Gillies St N, North Ballarat, VIC

Known for: Being one of the most significant cool-climate gardens in the country, and a striking Victorian Pavilion which houses sculptures under its large dome. From the colourful flower beds up to the mature trees, there is something to take in from all angles. 

 

Tasmania 

Inverawe Native Gardens 

Location: 1565 Channel Hwy, Margate, TAS 

Known for: Being the largest native garden in Tasmania. Inverawe is ideal for bird watching, taking in the sweeping views, or sitting amongst the sculptures.  

 

Western Australia 

Kings Park & Botanic Gardens 

Location: Fraser Ave, Perth, WA 

Known for: Being home to half of Australia’s plant species, including iconic and rare wildflowers. The park features gorgeous views of the city and Swan River, and you can easily lose yourself amongst the treetops as you walk and explore.  

 

Queensland 

Maleny Botanic Gardens 

Location: 233 Maleny Stanley River Rd, Maleny QLD[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]Known for: Spectacular Glasshouse Mountain views, surrounded by tranquil waterfalls and lush rainforests. Don’t miss the aromatic rose section, as well as 4,000 varieties of orchids. 

 

New South Wales: 

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden 

Location: Bells Line of Rd, Mount Tomah NSW, Australia 

Known for: Being the highest botanic garden in Australia, sitting 1,000m above sea level. This collection of native, rare and exotic species is considered to be world class.   

Don’t forget to walk wisely - ensure that your footwear is suitable and appropriate for your body, bring water, snacks and sun protection, and always consult a health professional if you are getting back into exercise after an extended period or have any underlying health conditions which could impact your walk.  

 

 References: 

Berman, M. G., Stier, A. J., & Akcelik, G. N. (2019). Environmental neuroscience. American Psychologist, 74(9), 1039–1052. 

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