Yesterday we visited the Australian National Botanic Garden in Canberra, Australia’s capital city.

Views of Telstra Tower amidst the gums and bottle brush.

The botanic garden is located at the base of Black Mountain. Opened in 1970, the garden contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of native Australian flora. 75,000 individual plants are displayed within eight different thematically different sub gardens.

No idea of this plant’s name, but it was as tall as two people!

As I mentioned earlier the garden is divided into eight areas. A main 1.8km trail wanders through each. There are also various side paths to explore. The eight areas of the garden include:

  • Daisy Garden
  • Eucalypt Lawn
  • Paperbark treehouse and garden
  • Proteaceae displays
  • Rainforest Gully
  • Red Center Garden
  • Rock Garden
  • Sydney Region Gully

Australian flora

Waratah, State flower of New South Wales.


Flowers and trees were not all we saw in the garden. There were also CRITTERS!!! What sort of critters might you expect to see in an Australian garden? Well, let me show you.

First we saw an adorable family of ducks.

The garden was also filled with awesome lizards!

But, WTF is this?!!!

Snake warning?!!!

Before I go on, let me share a little back story. The first time I came to Australia was 1999. I lived here for five years starting in 2002 and have visited every couple of years since moving back to the states. Americans like to think Australia is crawling with deadly creatures. Deadly spiders, sharks, jellyfish, crocodiles and snakes can all be found here. However, in all of my time in Australia I HAD NEVER SEEN any of these creatures... until yesterday!!!! 😳


We were walking through the Red Center garden when we spotted snake warning signs. It was a warm sunny day. Perfect for snakes to be soaking up some rays. I kept my eyes on the sand and pavement as we walked deeper into the garden. To be honest, all this looking at the ground was distracting me from enjoying the plants.

As we walked my husband says, “They won’t be on the footpath. If you see one it would probably be on the rocks.” I wouldn’t say he is some snake expert, but his words lulled me a little as we weren’t currently near rocks.

We proceeded deeper into the garden (which was basically a cement path through red sand and scattered desert flowers). Near the back of the garden there were steps. These took us up to a raised metal bridge. From there we would have an elevated view of the garden on one side and behind us was a ROCK wall.

We went up the steps...

I gazed out at the garden behind us...


I took a mediocre selfie....


Then hubs says, “Oh shit 💩 snake!”


The Eastern Brown Snake

We both stopped in our tracks not really knowing what to do. (PS - This happened to us once with a dingo too, but I will save that for another day.) The snake was motionless, though it’s head was definitely facing our direction. We stood still debating our next steps, and of course took photos like true idiot tourists. Hubs says we can just walk past it. For some reason back tracking our steps out of the garden was never mentioned. So, after a couple minutes we edged past the snake along the raised path. And WE SURVIVED!!! 😂🤣🤣

But get this:

The (the eastern brown snake) is the most venomous snake in the world. Just 1/14,000 of an ounce of the venom will kill an adult. Talk about scary. But there is some good news: they prefer not to bite. And only half of bites have venom, so you have a 50/50 chance of not dying a slow and painful death if bitten. What’s odd is that this snake seems to have a temperament all its own. If you happen to catch an eastern brown snake on a bad day, they will repeatedly strike and may even chase after you. Even the small, young members of this species have enough venom to kill. While this may seem crazy, if you come across this snake, stay very still. The eastern brown snake will only react to movement, so a person that is very still will have the best chance of survival. But if you do happen to get bitten by one of these snakes, the venom contains:

  • Neurotoxins
  • Blood coagulants

What does this mean? The snake’s venom will cause your blood to clot and will also impact your nervous system, causing you to lose function and movement of your limbs. Source

Well, it’s not every day you face death in a botanic garden. 🤔

After our encounter with the snake, I tried to find some sort of employee to report the situation. However, there was no one to be found. So we headed through the the tropical rainforest gully before hitting up the gift shop and heading home. Happy to have survived our visit to the garden. 😃

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