Twelve gardens close to the Melbourne CBD

What better way to spend a day than in Melbourne’s beautiful parks and gardens? To help you get started, here are 12 locations for your next great meander.

Shrine of Remembrance Reserve
Take a moment of quiet reflection at the Shrine of Remembrance Reserve. Also within Kings Domain parklands are memorial trees, statues and the Eternal Flame. The shrine’s entrance offers beautiful views of the city skyline and surrounding greenery, making it a great spot for photos.

A view of an old monument surrounded by parks with the city skyline in the background

Aerial view of the Shrine of Remembrance

Alexandra Gardens
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 at Riverslide Skatepark.

Princes Park

In Carlton you can find the very sporty Princes Park. Stroll in to find the magnificent Ikon Park, home to the Carlton Football Club. It’s also a key venue for the NAB AFL Women’s Competition in February and March. Want to get active yourself? Take advantage of the public sports field, children’s playground and tree lined walking routes.

Queen Victoria Gardens
There’s a lot to love at this gorgeous spot right by Princes Bridge. Discover the huge floral clock, which is made up of more than 7,000 flowering plants. Or take a stroll through the gardens to the National Gallery of Victoria across the road. It’s also a good place to stop for a bite.

A floral display in a park

Queen Victoria Gardens

Flagstaff Gardens
Bordering the north-west of the CBD, Flagstaff Gardens have been parkland since 1862. Today the stretches of lawn are a favourite lunch spot for local office workers. But a little wander reveals much more. There are eucalypts, Moreton Bay figs and avenues of elm trees. Not to mention the bowling lawn, tennis courts, sculptures and electric barbecues.

Birrarung Marr
The diverse culture of Victoria’s Indigenous peoples is 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 along the river, you’ll discover Deborah Halpern’s two-headed ‘Angel’ sculpture.

Royal Botanic Gardens
You could spend weeks in the Royal Botanic Gardens and still find something new every day. Wander winding paths to admire the flora and fauna, take a punt on the lake or wine and dine at The Terrace. After you eat, stroll along meandering paths for a closer look, from the fern gully to the tropical glasshouses and intriguing Guilfoyle’s Volcano.

A green garden in summer

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Treasury Gardens
Tranquil Treasury Gardens is a relaxing spot for people-watching. That includes 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.

Fitzroy Gardens
Offering generous open green space in the city centre, Fitzroy Gardens is a favourite with visitors and locals alike. There’s an old world feel, with English elms, flowerbeds and heritage water features. Plus a surprising piece of 18th century England: Cooks’ Cottage. The gardens also feature added award-winning eco-friendly features like stormwater harvesting.

A green open space with the city skyline in the background

Fitzroy Gardens

Docklands Park
The interactive playground at Docklands Park is a hit with kids, while the giant moving BlowHole sculpture is mesmerising for all. The fun reaches new heights at Ron Barassi Senior Park. There are ‘big kid’ slides, tyre swings, rope bridges and sand-play equipment.

Carlton Gardens
Visit a few World Heritage listed locations with the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. While you’re there, pay a visit to the Melbourne Museum, or enjoy the tennis courts and children’s playground. And 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.

A large white building behind some trees in a green garden

Carlton Gardens

Royal Park Nature Playground

Nearby in Parkville’s Royal Park, there’s a new nature playground where kids can go wild – safely! Slides and swings are just the beginning. There’s also a sandpit and water play area, logs, rocks and ropes to climb all over, and a grassy hill for rolling. When the fun becomes too much, chill out with barbecues, picnic tables and native plants.