On Saturday evening I went along with the family to a special members event at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG). The rainforest gully walk has been kitted out with low wattage LED lighting funded by the ‘Friends of the Botanic Gardens’ and Saturday night was the first time they were showing it off. There were deleicious canapes and a glass of wine at the Visitors Centre before we were split into small groups of ten or twelve. Wind-up torches were handed out by our guides and, dressed warmly, we set off.

Being a regular visitor to the Gardens I was loving being in there at night. Familiar paths and trees took on new life as they illuminated only by our torch beams. Our guide Marion took us on a walk through the eucalypts before we entered the rainforest gully .


The place was literally transformed. The mist jets which keep the gully moist and assist in maintaining an ambient temperature above freezing came on periodically and it was like walking through cloud … really thick cloud. Lights have been set into both sides of the boardwalk so you know where the path goes and coloured lights have been placed in the garden beds as well.  I had brought my tripod and camera with me … I decided on a single lens for the night: my Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D … a little jewel of a lens. I wanted something quite fast and wide and my tripod enabled the longer exposures you see here.

The display looked fantastic and hats off to the ‘Friends’ program who both envisaged and funded the lighting program through subscription and donation.

There are plans to make this a regular event called the AfterDARK Firefly Tour begins officially in June. I suggest you get yourself along for a unique experience.

WhenSat 2 June  I  Sat 7 July  I  Sat 4 Aug
Time: 6pm and 7pm Tours
Cost: $19 adults; $14 concession (+booking fee) | Bookings essential 6250 9540 | Online bookings available from 8th May

This post has also been blogged over at The RiotACT

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