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Certain experiences happen in our lives that convert an everyday place into something sentimental and wonderful. For us, one of these places happens to be the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens in Brisbane.
Mt Coot-tha is a popular tourist spot in Brisbane, mostly due to the impressive views from the lookout. On a clear day, you can see all of Brisbane and beyond. There is also a restaurant and cafe at the lookout, and we would often visit the cafe for a light lunch with a view.
J.C. Slaughter Falls, further down Mt Coot-tha is one of our favourite picnic spots, despite the morbid name. In fact, this was even the place my family had professional photos done back in the early 90s when posed family portraits were all the rage.
However it is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens that now stand out as somewhere special.
Our Proposal Story
On a normal spring day back in 2009, Simon proposed during a day trip to the gardens. Sounds pretty romantic and it was… but not without drama.
It was a windy day which started with a picnic at J.C. Slaughter Falls and a sneaky kookaburra flying into my head, in a failed attempt to steal my lunch. Felt like a football to the head! And it was enough to encourage us to rush through the rest of lunch and find somewhere a little less windy, and free of clumsy kookaburras.
On our drive down Mt Coot-tha, a motorbike overtook us in the car. He was going a little fast. Enough for us to shake our heads but not enough to be worried.
Until we got around the next bend and saw him fly off his motorbike and into the bushes.
We went to his assistance but he was thankfully fine, so and after keeping him still, calling emergency services and seeing him safely taken away in an ambulance, we finally got to the Mt Coot-tha botanical gardens to finish our picnic.
Now there’s nothing more romantic than a proposal that starts with ‘I can’t stop thinking about the guy on the bike’. Don’t worry, it got better. There were even a couple of heart-melting tears from me.
Plus a shiny ring!
So our engagement story is a little dramatic, but in the end it was still one of those special moments that stays with you forever and makes you want to return to that very spot again and again. So we do. And most recently, only a few weeks ago.
Mt Coot-Tha Lookout
If it’s city views of Brisbane you want, the Mt Coot-tha Lookout has always been a popular spot for this. Up high, overlooking Brisbane and surrounds, yet situated in the natural bushland area just relatively short drive outside of the main city area.
There are also 2 restaurants at the top of the lookout – a casual dining cafe, Kuta Cafe and the more fancy Summit Restaurant, which is popular for weddings and functions due to the views.
It had been years since our last visit to Mt Coot-that Lookout so we kicked off our recent family day out up at the lookout. The worst part about visiting is finding parking, but we got lucky.
We had lunch at Kuta Cafe, which is always popular but fairly quick service. Then made our way to the gardens.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens
We visit the Brisbane Botanical Gardens at Mt Coot-tha maybe once a year, spending some time walking through the gardens after lunch at one of the cafes or a picnic. We usually end our visit with an ice cream. Pretty awesome really!
We last went when Lily was less than a year old, so it was nice to take both our girls to our special place on a fine winter day. Winter in Queensland is never very cold so it was a t-shirt and shorts sort of day out in the sunshine.
Something we have never done before was go into the Planetarium. We had a quick walk through, checking out the space-themed exhibits but didn’t actually go to the show. We were worried Lily may get bored but since found out they have a toddler friendly show that screens sometimes. This would be great fun if travelling with kids to Brisbane.
We also went into the Botanical Gardens greenhouse for the first time. This made for some super cool photos.
And Lily enjoyed trying to spot the fish in the murky water.
We had a nice walk through the gardens, enjoying the fresh air and a day out after not having many outings lately while we adjusted to life with another baby in the family.
Since our last visit there is a new section of the gardens created after a new tunnel was built nearby. This new section is great because it has a modern playground that Lily loved. She mostly just loves slides and spent a good half hour just going up and down the slide.
Afterwards it was the token ice cream treat before making our way back to the car and heading home with two little girls who instantly fell asleep in their car seats.
Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and Lookout are a nice relaxed family-friendly day out in Brisbane if you are looking to spend some time outdoors, without doing anything in particular.
Mt Coot-tha Lookout is a heritage listed lookout in Brisbane, Queensland in Australia. The Lookout has no admission fees and is accessible 24 hours, so even those midnight city views are possible from the lookout. The cafe and restaurant are open daily.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha consist of over 56 hectare of gardens, open daily between 8am and 5pm. Entry is free.
The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is located outside the entrance to the Botanic Gardens, with a 12.5 metre diameter projection dome to experience realistic space themed programs. The planetarium is open Tuesday to Sunday, with free entry to walk through the exhibits, however admission fees apply for shows. Find out more on the Brisbane City Council website.
Prices: Adult $15.40 and children $9.40 AU
Do you have a favourite sentimental place to visit? Perhaps a place of a proposal or meeting someone special?