Picnic Sundays at Government House
The grounds of Government House are regularly opened for members of the public to have picnics on the manicured lawns.
The last Picnic Sunday of the year was held on Sunday 6 November. Stay tuned for the announcement of our 2023 dates in the coming weeks.
• Picnic Sundays will return in 2023 and are held regularly throughout the year.
• Entry is free via Gate B at 168 Fernberg Road, Paddington.
• Visitors are required to bring everything they need for a picnic, including hats, sunscreen, water bottles, picnic blankets and food. Refillable water fountain onsite.
• Access to the Estate will be to designated areas only.
• Street parking only (available on and near Fernberg Road).
• Picnic days are wheelchair and pram accessible, and staff can assist with drop-offs.
• No Alcohol or pets permitted (with the exception of assistance dogs).
• While there is no access to the House itself during Picnic Sundays, the House is regularly open on other occasions for free guided tours.
Entry to the Estate and Gardens is dependent on compliance with current Government House Protocol and Queensland Government health guidelines.
History of the formal gardens
Formal gardens have been part of the estate from the time of Fernberg’s construction in 1865.
Botanist, John Bailey, and horticulturist, Ernest Bick, worked closely together to create the first Government House gardens and lawns in 1910 when the estate became the official residence of Queensland’s Governors.
Their successors have respected the original plan and the integrity of the site after carefully considering the potential impact on the overall character of the site and its heritage value.
Beds of brightly flowering annuals have maintained the cottage garden tradition, and impeccable lawns have been an important feature of Government House since 1910, enabling Governors to host garden receptions and ceremonies.
Rose rockeries, featuring almost 100 plants, have been preserved since the early twentieth century when rose trees, imported from France for Old Government House, were transplanted to Fernberg.
Roses also line the remnant carriage drive which once encircled the House. Among the tropical species which have thrived on the site are significant feature trees, including the magnificent cedar (Cedrela odorata) which has shaded the lawns at the front of the House for well over a century.