The garden of camellias

Would you like to see a world class camellia display, in a remarkable garden that makes you wish you were a child again? If so, you should head to Caringbah South, with a picnic lunch and any available children, where the E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens were established almost 50 years ago.


Tucked away in a secluded valley overlooking the beautiful Yowie Bay, this is one of the 40 International Camellia Gardens of Excellence in the world, recognised by the International Camellia Society.


Here you will see over 400 camellia cultivars and species, planted in impressive style amongst other interesting and rare plants, forming a collection of unique value to Australian horticulture.


You won’t doubt this garden’s international significance, because it is so interesting and wonderfully laid out, clinging to the steep sides of the valley on either side of a strongly flowing creek. You will be delighted to come across smaller streams which appear out of nowhere as you walk around a bend in the path, cascading down the steep banks to the valley floor.


The camellias flower from June until August. Camellia sasanqua specimens flower first, starting in autumn and lasting until early winter.


Next to flower are all the Camellia japonicas, beginning in late autumn and persisting right through winter.


Finally, in mid-winter, Camellia reticulata blooms, and continues until mid spring.


Throughout the garden there are zig-zagging pathways, with ferny glades and bright flower beds all around, above and below, following the steep sides of the valley.

There are hidden lawns, bridges, little waterfalls and cascades, ponds to feed the ducks, quiet secluded places to sit and contemplate, exciting places for children to hide and play and have adventures.


It’s not all just about camellias. In the summer there are roses and in the spring there are bright beds of annuals and azaleas.

Overarching everything there are tall trees, filtering the light and highlighting the dark glossy green leaves of the camellias.

Entry to the garden is free, and it’s open every day except Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Oh, I miss these. We grew all three, Camellia japonica, sasanqua and reticulata, back when we grew rhododendrons and azaleas.

  2. My Dream Garden says:

    You don’t grow them any more? Why is that?

  3. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Another one to put on my list of gardens to visit. Do you grow camellais?

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      Hi Jane, I have several camellias, put in by the previous owners of my house, which are surviving but not thriving. I’ve always loved camellias so can’t bring myself to remove them. I heard an interesting talk at the last Kandos Garden Fair, on “alternatives to camellias”, ie, more suitable for our climate. Unfortunately I lost my notes, but I remember Indian hawthorn was one, maybe escallonia also. I do see good specimens around Mudgee- maybe you have some! J

      1. janesmudgeegarden says:

        I don’t have any camellias. I had one, but it finally stopped trying and I decided I wouldn’t have another. I don’t think Indian hawthorn or escallonias, while nice plants, are worthy substitutes.I’ll have to admire camellias from a distance!

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