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Where to See Butterflies Around Brisbane & Beyond!

Have you been amazed by the influx of butterflies around Brisbane lately? Do you now have little people asking you to see more, or learn more about them? We are here to help you out! Find out where to see butterflies around Brisbane and beyond in our comprehensive list including butterfly houses, butterfly sanctuaries and butterfly museums in Brisbane and further afield.

Butterfly House Bribie Island

Bribie Island Butterfly House
Bribie Island Butterfly House

Bribie Island Butterfly House is a local volunteer project aimed at bringing the community together and to promote the butterfly population on Bribie Island and beyond. First established in 2013 at a residential property at Banksia Beach on the island, it has grown to be a great success and is now entering a second and bigger phase of being a tourist destination.

It has been open since June 2017 and is open only a few days a week from 10am to 4pm. As this is a volunteer-run operation, you can understand why it’s just not possible to extend opening hours much more than that. However, in that short time, over 5000 people have been to visit!

Bribie Island Butterfly House is quickly establishing itself as a premium tourist destination on Bribie Island. It’s bringing the community together and encouraging those outside of it to visit and see the beauty that Bribie Island truly has to offer. Read more about it here.

Email: bribieislandbutterflyhouse@gmail.com

Phone: 0409 491 419 (Ray Archer)

Address: 156 First Ave, Bongaree QLD 4507

Website: Bribie Island Butterfly House

Native Plants for Brisbane Gardens – Mt Coot-tha

butterflies in Brisbane - Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens
Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

In the Australian Plant Communities section at Mt Coot-tha, there is a collection named ‘Native Plants for Brisbane Gardens.’  This area showcases a variety of native plant species and cultivars which flower throughout the year, including bottlebrushes, banksias, grevilleas, and smaller shrubs like paper daises and fan flowers.

As well as spotting some butterflies, bees and birds, it’s also a great place to get some inspiration for your own garden. The area can be accessed by car Monday to Friday (closing at 4pm). On the weekends and public holidays you can still visit on foot. 

Mount Glorious Butterflies

Butterflies around Brisbane

Mount Glorious is a part of the Mount Glorious Biological Centre. The Centre was founded in 1980 by Anthony and Katie Hiller and is situated in the subtropical rainforest of Mount Glorious, an hours drive from Brisbane. They have a butterfly garden and welcome school visits and other by appointment only!

Website: Mount Glorious Butterflies

Email: mountgloriousbutterflies@bigpond.com

Phone: 07 3289 0161

Address: Mount Glorious Biological Centre, 1964 Mt Glorious Rd, Mt Glorious, QLD 4520

South Bank Butterfly House – closed

When South Bank, Brisbane was developed for Expo 88, it included a well visited butterfly house.

After the Expo finished, the Butterfly House was renamed the ‘Butterfly and Insect House’. In April 1998, the Butterfly and Insect House was renamed  ‘South Bank Wildlife Sanctuary’, with the introduction of other wildlife. In the latter half of 2005, the South Bank Wildlife Sanctuary was closed and dismantled and an office and retail store were built on the South Bank Wildlife Sanctuary’s former location. As such, the South Bank butterfly house no longer exists at South Bank, Brisbane.

Gold Coast Butterflies

Where to see Butterflies around Brisbane

Based on the Gold Coast, they focus on education and conservation of their butterfly species. They have created a natural butterfly habitat which provides caterpillars and butterflies to share with the public. You can visit the Butterfly House for a fantastic experience and some great photo opportunities. The Butterfly House is open on Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 3pm. A family pass (2 adults, 3 children) is $25.

Only open on Saturdays and Sundays

Website: Gold Coast Butterflies

Email: goldcoastbutterflies@gmail.com

Phone: 0424 647 102

Address: Carrara Markets at Carrara on the Gold Coast.

Coffs Harbour Butterfly House

The Coffs Harbour Butterfly House offers visitors the opportunity to stroll amongst hundreds of live Australian butterflies in an indoor subtropical rainforest setting. Share the world of butterflies as they fly, court, mate, sip nectar or rest in the light showing off their fascinating colours and patterns. The Butterfly House is open from 10:00am to 3:00pm Tuesday to Sunday and also open on Mondays during NSW school holidays (with the exception of Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day).

Website: Butterfly House

Phone: 02 6653 4766

Address: 5 Strouds Road, Bonville NSW

The Queensland Museum – Butterfly Collection

The Queensland Museum’s Discovery Centre has a large collection of butterflies (and moths) and other insects and bugs on display for the public. Entry to the butterfly exhibits at the museum is free although the Sparklab Sciencentre and some special exhibits attract an entry fee. Open from 9:30am to 4:00pm every day. Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day & Boxing Day. Open ANZAC Day from 1.30 pm.

Website: Queensland Museum

Phone: 07 3840 7555

Address: Corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Bank, South Brisbane

Attracting butterflies to your garden

The key to a really successful butterfly garden is to provide both food (and shelter) for all stages of butterfly life; from the egg, to the caterpillar, to the butterfly and then over again. Caterpillars like food plants, while the beautiful adults love a feed of nectar.

What to plant for the caterpillars:

Shrubs and Trees –  Wattles, Bush Peas, Purple Fan Flower, Ground Covers: Purple Coral Pea, Running Postman, Mistletoes hosted by a number of Australian indigenous trees are also exceptional spots for butterfly egg laying and food sources for many of our native butterflies. Be sure to check for specific food plants for your local butterflies.

What to plant for butterflies:

Flowers and Nectar Traps – Colourful, massed beds draw butterflies in and keep them happily moving through the garden. They particularly like blue, yellow and red, but are attracted to a large range of colours, with bold clusters of flowers more effective than single plants dotted through a garden. An excellent idea is to group the plants together according to colour, creating big colourful clusters that butterflies just can’t resist. And dont use chemicals!

Whether you go to visit a location that hosts live butterflies around Brisbane or you visit the museum or even attract them to your own garden and watch the circle of live from chrysalis to caterpillar to butterfly, these beautiful insects are a joy to young and old alike!

This article was featured in Issue 56 or our printed magazine on 1 March 2023.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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