Blue Lotus Water Garden, Yarra Valley
Along my travels I have visited my fair share of famous botanical gardens, such as the stunningly beautiful Keukenhof in the Netherlands, but until my recent visit to the Blue Lotus Water Garden I had never actually seen a garden solely dedicated to waterlily and lotus flowers.
BLUE LOTUS WATER GARDEN
The Blue Lotus Water Garden was established in 2004 by Geoff and Yvonne Cochrane and officially opened in 2006.
Located in the picturesque Yarra Valley region of Victoria, the Blue Lotus Water Garden is Australia’s largest water garden, a fun fact I didn’t know.
The Blue Lotus Water Garden are only open to the public from the end of December to early April. From December to February the garden is open from 10am to 5pm. From March to April it’s open from 11am to 4pm. The entry fee is $17 for adults, $14 for pensioners and kids aged 0-15 are free. You can visit their website to confirm details.
Visitors should allow at least 1 to 2 hours to walk around the garden.
The Blue Lotus Water Garden comprises of 50,000 square meters (14 acres) of tropical style water gardens featuring two lakes and dozens of ponds, 15 ornate bridges, three large sculpture fountains and 2km of pathways lined with Banana palms and other ornamental plants.
The lagoons, lakes and ponds contain tens of thousands of waterlily and lotus plants, all producing magnificent flowers.
Large greenhouse displays feature a range of rare and spectacular plants that you won’t see anywhere else in Australia, such as the Giant Amazon Lily and Crocodile Plant.
GIANT AMAZON LILY
As detailed in the Blue Lotus Water Garden’s information brochure ‘the Giants Lily’s natural home is the Amazon basin in South America. Each year the plant is grown from seed in September and by January the lily pads may reach over 1.7m in diameter. The underside of the pads are covered in sharp spines making it very prickly to handle. Its huge flowers only last two days and have a pineapple fragrance. The flower blooms as dusk as a female (white) the first day, then changes sex the following night to a male (pink). The flower dies the following day and forms a seed pod’.
Apparently these Giant Amazon Lilies can grow wide enough and strong enough to hold the weight of a small child. Can’t help wonder if anyone has actually tried this!
As detailed in the Blue Lotus Water Garden’s information brochure ‘the Crocodile Plant is another giant waterlily species found mostly in tropical parts of Asia including northern Australia. It is named the Crocodile Plant because its lily pads look like crocodile skin covered in sharp prickles. The pads can grow over 1 meter in size and its seeds are widely eaten in Asia. It also produces a spectacular small purple flow’.
Beautiful gardens have the ability to astonish nature-lovers and entice photographers with their vibrant colours, peaceful tranquility and extreme beauty, and the Blue Lotus Water Garden is no exception.
The Blue Lotus Water Garden is paradise for anyone with a camera. There are plenty of viewing rotundas around the garden that provide a great place to take the perfect shot. Word of warning; don’t get too close to the flowers or you might fall in the pond!
CAFÉ AND PICNIC AREAS
As you enter the garden there is a snack bar selling refreshments such as lotus chips, slushies and ice-creams. There is also an outdoor café where you can order something a bit more substantial. At the end of our walk we ordered coffee and toasted sandwiches. We also shared a vanilla slice, which was absolutely YUM!
Next to the café there is a shaded picnic area with tables, umbrellas and a BBQ that is perfect for couples or budget travellers who want to bring their own lunch, relax and enjoy the surroundings.
To the rear of the Blue Lotus Lagoon there is a flower ‘Fairy Garden’, a dedicated family area with seven picnic huts and a park BBQ.
The Blue Lotus Water Garden’s facilities are very good. Drinking fountains and rest rooms can be found throughout the garden.
At the entrance you’ll find complimentary umbrellas that you can use during your visit to the garden. Perfect for protecting you from Melbourne’s fickle weather.
If you or a loved one needs a little help getting around the garden there are a few wheelchairs available for public use. I recommend that you call the garden ahead of your visit to ensure a wheelchair is available.
I once visited the Blue Lotus Water Garden with a relative who required a wheelchair. Distracted by the beauty around me I somehow managed to wheel the chair into a patch of wet grass and got it well and truly bogged. Luckily, one of the gardeners could see we were in a jam and came to our rescue. That was on a dry sunny day so don’t bother if it’s been raining.
Access to the retail nursery is free so if you’re a local and a green thumb you might want to stop in for a bit of garden shopping. I can’t claim to have a green thumb, mainly because I live in an apartment and all my plants are made from silk, but Rod’s Garden Shop looked pretty good to me!
Green thumb or not, the beauty of Blue Lotus Water Garden is undeniable and I don’t think anybody visiting the gardens could argue with that!
As per details provided by Blue Lotus Water Garden’s website.
The Blue Lotus Water Garden is located at 2628 Warburton Highway, Yarra Junction, Victoria. If you are coming from Melbourne take the Eastern Freeway out of the City heading east. Then take the Ringwood Bypass just out of the Melba Tunnel. Turn left onto Maroondah Hwy and keep going for 20 minutes until you meet the intersection of Warburton Hwy just past the town of Lilydale. Turn onto Warburton Hwy and travel east for 25 minutes until you reach Yarra Junction. Travel a further 1km past Yarra Junction town-ship and you will find the garden’s entrance on the right hand side just past the Little Yarra River Bridge.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
To reach the garden from Melbourne via public transport catch the train from Flinders Street Station to Lilydale. Then catch the Martyrs Bus Service from Lilydale Station to Yarra Junction. (If you ask nicely, the bus driver may drop you off outside the entrance to the garden.) The nearest bus stop to the garden is at the intersection of Warburton Hwy and Riversdale Rd, Yarra Junction (also known as Upper Yarra Secondary College bus stop) about 300m east of the garden’s entrance.
Timetable should be confirmed with public transport Victoria.
While you are in the area, you might also be interested in visiting some other great places in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, such as:
- Alowyn Gardens
- Coldstream Brewery
- De Bortoli Estate
- Domaine Chandon
- Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary
- La La Falls and Ada Tree,
- Maroondah Reservoir Park
- Mount Buang
- Puffing Billy
- Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice-creamery
Now, it’s over to you! What botanical gardens have you visited or would like to recommend.