In 1968 the search for a suitable site revealed a quiet valley, 229 to 274 metres above sea level at Mt. Pleasant under the north eastern summit of Mt. Keira. This land was owned by Australian Iron and Steel and then General Manager Mr A.A Parrish backed the scheme and a (peppercorn) lease over six hectares (14 acres) was granted to a Society set up to develop and manage the gardens.
The Illawarra Rhododendron Gardens are located at Mt Pleasant under the north eastern summit of Mt Keira and cover an area of 13 hectares. Its the perfect place for a picnic lunch or even a wedding.
The garden contains thousands of azaleas and hundreds of rhododendrons in company with many rare companion plants including camellias. A section of rich rainforest is featured in the top section with walking trails.