The Palmetum is a 17 hectare botanic garden displaying one of the largest and most diverse public collections of palms in the world. A 1998 Bicentennial Project, this internationally recognised attraction was supported and planned by the Townsville community and organised through the Townsville City Council Parks Services.
The extensive palm collection displayed in a variety of habitats is the main feature of the gardens; Pandanaceae and cacti and succulents are also well represented. Tumbetin Lodge at the main entrance is an example of local heritage architecture and contains a café and visitor facilities. The Ross River Bikeway runs between the gardens and the river.
Botanic collections have been developed in three separate gardens which together form Townsville Botanic Gardens. In addition to the Palmetum are Anderson Gardens in Mundingburra and Queens Gardens in North Ward.
Townsville, North Queensland. Entrance is off University Road, on the south side of Ross River in the suburb of Annandale. Car park is shared with the Good Shepherd Hospice.
Map of Palmetum Gardens
The Palmetum covers 17 hectares. It has a range of habitats to suit flora originating from the dry topics through to the wet tropical lowlands. In addition to the recreated habitat types, there are expansive lawns and water features frequented by numerous bird species. A ‘Birds of the Palmetum’ brochure is available in the foyer of Tumbetin Lodge.
The palm collection contains over 360 species in 130 genera; several rare and threatened in their natural habitat. The palm family Arecaceae comprises about 2400 species in 190 genera. Approximately 60 species of palms are native to Australia; most are represented. The palm collection is among the top ten public collections in the world.
Significant collections of Pandanaceae and cacti and succulents are also displayed in the gardens.
Townsville Palmetum, situated on 25 hectares of land bequeathed to the Townsville City Council, is an attractive botanic garden featuring the palm family, Arecaceae.
Large mango trees that shade the rainforest walk are remnants of the areas earlier use as a mango orchard and dairy farm; tamarinds and rain trees have since invaded to provide a dense canopy for the understorey palms.
The Palmetum was officially opened in September 1988 as a Bicentennial project, with first plantings undertaken in 1982. Today the collection contains over 360 species; several rare and threatened and includes most Australian palms. The garden's design utilises the areas existing habitats and landforms to create distinct climatic habitats to suit plants from the dry tropics through to wet tropical lowlands.
Continual developments to the Palmetum allow visitors to return year after year and still be delighted with the seasonal changes that continue to occur.
Townsville's Japanese sister city Tokuyama funded the initial development of the Licuala Walk and Tokuyama Garden, completed in 1996. The Blackhawk Memorial, completed in 1997, is dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in a training exercise accident at High Range Training Area.
Tumbetin Lodge was built in 1934 in Railway Estate for the Roman Catholic Church. Constructed predominately of Australian silky oak, it was until 1975, used as the St Francis Xavier School. In 1993 it was relocated to its current site. Facilities include public conveniences, information and the Palmetum café.
A tropical rainforest contains more palm species than any other environment. Around 2000 species are confined to this habitat and the largest palm genera are predominantly rainforest plants. Many of the palms planted are either understorey or climbers; approximately half of the collection is contained in this habitat.
An extensive path network including boardwalks, shelters and ornate bridges lead the visitor through this unique environment.
Cacti and Succulent Garden
Located in the Xerophytic habitat is a dramatic display of arid land plants from the Americas, Africa and Madagascar. Surrounded by local granite boulders and rock the plants are grouped in association with drought-tolerant palms and trees.
Palms of Interest
||Caribbean Royal Palm|
||Palmyra Palm, Toddy Palm|
||Coco-de-Mer, Double Coconut|
||Australian Fan Palm|
||Seychelles Stilt Palm|
||American Oil Palm|
Caravan Parking Area
Tumbetin Lodge - Cafe, public toilet and telephone