What better way to spend a day than in Melbourne’s beautiful parks and gardens? To help you get started, here are eight locations for your next great meander.
Shrine of Remembrance Reserve
Take a moment of quiet reflection at the Shrine of Remembrance Reserve, within the stunning Kings Domain Parklands. As well as the Shrine itself, the wider reserve includes the memorial trees, the Eternal Flame and the Legacy Garden of Appreciation. The Weary Dunlop Memorial and the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens, within Kings Domain, are also worth exploring. The entrance to the shrine, with beautiful views of the city skyline and surrounding parklands, is a favourite photo spot.
Queen Victoria Gardens
Discover the huge floral clock, made up of more than 7,000 flowering plants at Queen Victoria Gardens. For more eye-popping displays, take a stroll through the gardens at the National Gallery of Victoria across the road. It’s also a good place to stop for a bite to eat.
Stock up on picnic supplies before heading down to Alexandra Gardens on the banks of the Yarra River. Or check out the tricks performed by local skaters for an afternoon at Riverslide Skatepark.
Royal Botanic Gardens
You could spend weeks in the Royal Botanic Gardens and still discover something new every day. This beautiful space offers many winding paths, with huge stretches of lawn and a local pack of swans. Read a book or just lie on the lush grass for a lazy hour or two.
In April 2019, they opened three new hidden gardens – a moss garden, a human sized ‘bird’s nest’ and the super secret ‘Grotto’ featuring stunning water features and wrought iron artworks. If water is more your scene, take a punt on the lake and refuel at the nearby Terrace.
The diverse cultures of Victoria’s Indigenous peoples are celebrated through a series of artworks at Birrarung Marr. A winding pathway represents the eel (a traditional food source) and five shields represent the five groups of the Kulin Nation. Further down the river, you’ll discover Deborah Halpern’s two-headed ‘Angel’ watching your every move. Down at Federation Wharf, pop into Riverland or Pilgrim Bar for a tasty treat and a beverage.
Designed for the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880, the Royal Exhibition Building and surrounding Carlton Gardens are World Heritage listed. While there, pay a visit to the Melbourne Museum, the tennis courts and the children’s playground. And you can’t miss the Victorian-era Hochgurtel Fountain and circular French Fountain – good Instagram fodder. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s just a five minute walk to Chinatown for dumplings.
Tranquil Treasury Gardens is a relaxing spot for people-watching, including politicians popping in and out of the grand State Parliament close by. There are more curious creatures at night, when the resident possums are out and about! After a garden stroll, wander into local history at the Old Treasury Building.
Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens is an oasis of English elms, flowerbeds and water features. With towering autumn trees, vintage cottages and an enormous amount of green, open space, it’s a favourite with visitors and locals alike. Pick up a map from the Visitor Centre, or explore 18th century cottage life at Cooks’ Cottage.
More places to visit
Docklands Park – Help the kids burn off all their extra energy at Docklands Park. The interactive playground is sure to be a hit and the giant moving sculpture, BlowHole, is strangely mesmerising. The fun reaches new heights at Ron Barassi Senior Park. There’s ‘big kid’ slides, tyre swings, rope bridges and sand-play equipment.
Flagstaff Gardens – Bordering the north west of the CBD, the Flagstaff Gardens have been reserved as parklands since 1862, and today the stretches of lawn are the lunch spot of choice for local office workers. Along with those popular lawns, the gardens feature eucalypts and Moreton Bay figs, avenues of elm trees, a bowling lawn, rose beds, tennis courts, sculptures and electric barbecues.
See more parks and gardens in Melbourne.