Holiday fun with our precious bandicoots

Get ready to experience the Big Bandicoot Backyard!

Four days of free Big Bandicoot Backyard fun are coming to Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne.

These school holidays herald the return of the Big Bandicoot Backyard to the gardens.

From 10am to 2pm, between Wednesday 14 and Saturday 17 April, families are invited to pack a picnic and spend the day immersing themselves in all things bandicoot.

Visitors can enjoy bandicoot inspired self-guided activities, for solo or group explorers, or book into the free Bandicoot Knowledge Tour at 11am and Bandicoot Nature Journaling at 1pm (bookings are required for these experiences).

From participatory and contemplative activities to the chance to become a nature detective, there’s something for everyone!

A highlight of the event will be meeting the ‘Big’ Southern Brown Bandicoot – created with natural materials from the Gardens by artists Darryl Cordell, Vanessa Ellis and Trina Gaskell – and learning about these special creatures.

Included on the first day will be the launch of Bindi and Buddy, a new book by author and illustrator Jo Watson.

Inspired by the Gardens and its resident population of southern brown bandicoots, Jo strives to raise awareness of endangered Australian marsupials by writing books that portray children as problem solvers and change-makers.

She will perform a reading of Bindi and Buddy at the launch at 10am on 14 April and will sign copies for purchase.

Cranbourne Gardens is a 365-hectare haven for the southern brown bandicoot, providing an excellent habitat of native Australian plants, however the fast growth of housing and roads, the loss of habitat, and the introduction of foxes and cats has led to major population decline across the region.

“If we do not take action now and protect this threatened species, there is a real chance that we may lose them forever,” says southern brown bandicoot outreach officer at Cranbourne Gardens, Charlotte Fletcher.

Cranbourne Gardens encourages nearby residents to help protect this precious species by planting habitat plants, driving cautiously, not using rat bait and keeping cats inside.

“Southern brown bandicoots are adaptable little fighters and can happily coexist with us in the suburbs,” says Ms Fletcher.

“With your help, we can improve their chances of surviving and thriving in the Cranbourne area.”

Tickets go on sale at 11am on Tuesday 6 April. For more information visit:

Big Bandicoot Backyard Dates:

Wednesday 14 April, Thursday 15 April, Friday 16 April and Saturday 17 April

Time: 10am – 2pm, drop in anytime. All ages, free, but bookings required for walks and workshops.

Location: Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, Ian Potter Lakeside Precinct. Corner Ballarto Rd and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne

Phone: 5990 2200

– 10 am Wednesday 14 April Bindi and Buddy Book Launch and signing with author Jo Watson. *You can purchase a copy of Bindi & Buddy any time in the Gardens Shop at Melbourne and Cranbourne

– 11am daily, Wed 14 – Sat April 17 Bandicoot Knowledge Trail. What is a southern brown bandicoot? Where do they live? Why do they need protecting? Find out all about this marvellous marsupial and why it’s important to our environment on a walk through the Australian Garden.

– 1pm daily, Wed 14 – Sat April 17 Bandicoot Nature Journaling. Release your inner creative as artist Claire Mosley leads you through a nature journaling workshop, drawing inspiration from the Southern Brown Bandicoot, the plants it likes to hide amongst and the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world.

– 11am Saturday 17 April Habitat Gardening Workshop with Rodger Elliot and City of Casey Gardens for Wildlife.