Frequently Asked Questions

Where are you located?

We are located on the Illawarra escarpment in Parrish Avenue, Mount Pleasant, just north of Wollongong.

If travelling from Sydney on the M1, take the exit marked ‘New Mt. Pleasant Rd.’ Then turn right & take the overpass. Turn right again and follow New Mt. Pleasant Rd. until the T-intersection with Parrish Ave. Turn left onto Parrish Ave. After 900m. turn right into the gates of the IRRG.

What are your opening hours?

The Gardens are open Tuesday, Weekends and Public Holidays from 10am until 5pm. This includes Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Entry to the Gardens is $5.00 per person. Children are free.

Do I have to pay to visit the gardens?

Yes, $5 per adult (children and Members are free) This payment provides funding for the management, upkeep and development of the Gardens.

We have provided two red boxes in the carpark area for cash payment.

If more convenient, our Direct Deposit details and a QR link, enabling credit card payments, are also clearly visible.

We thank you for your honesty in paying this entrance fee. We receive no ongoing, local Council or Government funding.

When is the best time of year to see rhododendrons and all the other plants at their finest?

Spring, particularly September, is the peak flowering season for rhododendrons. However, our special beds of tropical rhododendrons or ‘vireyas’, flower throughout the year.

Spring also sees our Lower Gardens filled with flowering azaleas, camellias, Prunus, crabapples, jonquils and daffodils.

Summer shows off the jacarandas, crepe myrtles, lotus and waterlilies.

The Autumn leaves of our Acers and many other deciduous trees are spectacular.

From mid-Winter onwards Camellias (japonica & reticulata), Magnolias, and  flowering bulbs appear.

The Upper Garden’s rainforest trails are open all year round. See Red Cedars, towering Ficus, Turpentines, Maiden’s Blush and White Bolly Gums, plus lyrebirds, bowerbirds, yellow breasted robins, kookaburras and much more!

Is there a map of the Gardens?

There is a brochure and QR code available, which show a map and recommendations of things to see and do.

Can I hold a wedding or gathering in the Gardens?

Yes, we welcome weddings and family gatherings. We are happy to reserve an area for such events on the days the Gardens are open. We will also open the Gardens on days they are normally closed, if an appropriate booking is made!

You must book weddings and other celebrations or gatherings in advance, particularly if there are more than twenty guests. This ensures that you will get the area that best suits your needs and that our carpark is able to accommodate all visitors.
Bookings for weddings and other events can be made with our bookings volunteer on 0490 069 360 or email ua.grri@sgnikoob

Can I have my wedding photos or a family photo shoot in the Gardens?

Yes, but you must book the photo shoots. We have many beautiful locations that are perfect for those special memories. For bookings, fees and recommendations contact our bookings volunteer on 0490 069 360  or email ua.grri@sgnikoob

Is there a café?

There are no cafés in the Gardens. You can always bring food and a thermos to enjoy at our beautiful picnic facilities. Otherwise, we recommend Fairy Meadow and/or Balgownie shops for a coffee or snack.

Do you have BBQ facilities?

Yes, we have two BBQ areas. At all times, NPWS fire recommendations must be followed. Please check the signs in the Gardens

Are there rubbish bins in the Gardens?

Please take all rubbish home. We recommend bringing a garbage or plastic bag.

Are there toilets?

There are toilets located adjacent to the lake. At this time no Disabled toilets are available.

Can I drink the water from the taps?

The Gardens are not on Mains water. Our water is sourced from a natural spring, which is not suitable for drinking or washing utensils. Please ensure you bring plenty of water with you, especially on hot days or if hiking.

Are there bike trails in the Gardens?

There are no bike trails in the Gardens.

Can I bring my pets or dogs on a leash?

No. Dogs and other pets are not permitted in the Gardens. We lease the land from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services and are required to abide by National Parks rules and regulations.

Can I erect temporary structures such as tents, marquees, or gazebos on the site?

Temporary structures such as tents, marquees, or gazebos may damage the grass and pegs hammered into the ground may cause damage to underground services and cannot be erected without prior approval.

Can I buy plants at the Gardens?

No, we are not currently able to provide plant sales.

Who owns the Illawarra Rhododendron and Rainforest Gardens (IRRG)?

The IRRG is run as a private, self-funded charity and the Gardens are maintained by a small group of volunteers.

The IRRG was established in 1969, the land being originally leased from Australian Iron and Steel. It is now leased from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services.

The IRRG receives no ongoing funding or support from Wollongong Council or the NSW Government.

Your entry fee and other donations, plus revenue we derive from grants and functions held in the Gardens, are vital for our continued operation.

How can I help in the Gardens?

New volunteers and members are always welcome.

To find out how you could become a volunteer, call on 0493 628 855,

or email  ua.grri@seiriuqne or just come to the Gardens at 9.30am on a Tuesday or a Saturday morning and join us.

What sort of volunteers are you after?

All sorts!

  • Gardening – weeding, mulching, pruning, spraying, fertilising, horticultural advice
  • Rainforest regeneration and protection
  • Maintenance – repairs, building, painting, cleaning
  • Management – committee work, volunteer recruitment and support
  • Fund raising for Not-for-Profit (NFP) charities – obtaining grants, donations, and bequests
  • Marketing and promotion – social media, TV, Radio, advertising
  • Governance and legislation for NFPs – Legal, accounting, etc
  • Planning and development – strategic and operational planning, mapping