Make the most of the warmer months by basking in one of the city’s best open spaces, all within a leisurely stroll of the city.
Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens is an emerald oasis of English elms, flowerbeds and water features. Pick up a map from the Visitor Centre, then seek out the gardens’ main attraction – Cooks’ Cottage. Marvel at Ola Cohn’s intricately carved ‘Fairies Tree’ – a 200-year-old tree stump etched with fairies, pixies, kangaroos, emus and possums – and take in the Conservatory’s vibrant floral display.
Finally, unwind at the nearby GG Restaurant & Bar and take advantage of their two-course express lunch for $30, or $35 including a glass of wine or local beer, Mondays to Saturdays.
Saunter through the tranquil Treasury Gardens, and stop in at the 19th-century Old Treasury Building Museum. The current free exhibition A Nation Divided: The Great War and Conscription reveals the story behind of hugely turbulent era in Australian social and political history.
Visit the bustling Arts Centre Sunday Market for locally made arts and crafts, and pick up some freshly made delicacies before picnicking at Alexandra Gardens on the banks of the Yarra River. Watch rowers, cyclists and skateboarders go by as you kick back and enjoy.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens is among the world’s best, and the perfect place to relax with a book, which you can pick up at nearby Mary Martin Bookshop. Enjoy afternoon tea with sumptuous homemade scones at The Terrace, and stay ’til dark to view the starry southern skies at the Melbourne Observatory.
Grab a kite or radio-controlled boat from Hearns Hobbies and head to the open spaces of Docklands, where the kids can explore the interactive playground at Docklands Park. The fun continues at Ron Barassi Senior Park with ‘big kid’ slides, tyre swings, a rope bridge and sand play equipment. Then, on to Monument Park where there’s a sculpture art installation inspired by iconic Melbourne statues.
Birrarung Marr is home to the Birrarung Wilam installation, which celebrates the diversity of Victoria’s Indigenous culture, and Deborah Halpern’s two-headed ‘Angel’ sculpture. Let the kids play at creative art studio ArtPlay, then refuel at one of the nearby eateries and bars, such as Arbory, Riverland or Pilgrim Bar. Look out for the floating bars Arbory Afloat and Supafish bringing new on-water fun to the Yarra River near Southbank.
Queen Victoria Gardens
It’s a pleasant stroll through the Queen Victoria Gardens to see the huge floral clock, consisting of more than 7000 flower plants. For more eye-popping displays, cross the road to see the NGV’s summer blockbuster featuring over 100 artists and designers from 32 countries across all four levels of NGV International in the NGV Triennial.
Don’t let summer pass you by without enjoying all the city has to offer with its parks, gardens, al fresco dining and summer activities. See what else is happening in the city this summer.
There is so much to love about the Carlton Gardens. Next time you attend a trade show or exhibition at the Royal Exhibition Building (the world’s only surviving Great Hall), pay a visit to the Melbourne Museum, the garden’s tennis courts and the children’s playground. And you can’t miss the Victorian-era Hochgurtel Fountain and circular French Fountain – good Instagram fodder.