You don’t need to get out of town for a relaxing nature walk, because the city centre’s blessed with beautiful parks. Here are some favourites, plus guided and self-guided walks if you want to head out with a purpose. From blooms to heritage buildings, ferns to fountains, there’s so much to discover.
This quiet, green oasis on the very edge of the CBD beckons city workers outside for a lunchtime stroll. From locals to tourists, everyone loves the avenues of elm trees, streams and ornamental ponds. Fitzroy Gardens‘. Other highlights include spectacular floral displays, Cooks’ Cottage and the model Tudor village.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Established in 1846, these beautiful and diverse gardens is perfect for wandering. There’s plenty to explore, from lush fern gully to ornamental lake and the cacti-covered Guilfoyle’s Volcano. You can also walk with a purpose in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Follow an Indigenous guide on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, which explores the Kulin Nation’s ancestral lands and culture. Or join the daily free guided walk.
Queen Victoria Gardens
The Queen Victoria Gardens are a gorgeous green space opposite Arts Centre Melbourne and NGV International. You might know its most famous feature, the floral clock, but there’s so much more. Including grand statues like Queen Victoria and King Edward VII to John Olsen’s playful leaping bronze frog. Take a seat in the charming rotunda and watch the ducks on the ornamental pool.
Visit a few World Heritage-listed locations with a stroll through the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. Don’t miss the Victorian-era Hochgurtel Fountain and circular French Fountain. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s just a short walk to heaps of Lygon Street foodie spots. Try DOC Deli, University Cafe or La Spaghettata.
Street art walk
If you like your street art sojourns to be a little more organised, check out the Melbourne Street Art Walking Tour map. Leave no laneway mural un-photographed with this two and a half-hour stroll. Snap your way from Hosier Lane to Presgrave place and beyond. No time for the full three-kilometre trek? Break it up into mini adventures next time you’ve got a spare 20 minutes or so.
Docklands Harbourside Art Trail
Sure, you’ve seen the cow-up-a-tree sculpture, but did you know there are dozens of public works dotted around Docklands? Discover them all on the Docklands Harbourside Art Trail with a map from the Melbourne Visitor Hub at Town Hall. Or get the free app (available for iPhone and Android) and hear commentary by several artists, including Sally Smart and RONE. The trail splits into three themed 2.5 km sections: ‘real and unreal’, ‘the dynamic earth’, and ‘you, us and them’.