Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
During a recent weekend away to Melbourne my wife and I took a leisurely stroll from the hotel down to the botanical gardens. We have been there twice before but it’s always a highlight of our stays and since this is going to be our last trip for a while we made the most of it.
The Melbourne Garden is one of two botanical gardens run by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. The other is Cranbourne and is a large site to the south east of the city. We visited this two years ago on our way to Philip Island.
How to find the garden
The gardens are a large area of green sitting below the River Yarra that bisects the main city. We walked from the CBD through the open parks to the west and entered at the Observatory Gate which is located beside the Shrine of Remembrance. A full PDF map of the garden can be found here.
Entrance Fee: FREE!
Opening hours: 07:30 until sunset every day
There is cycle parking at the Observatory Gate as you’re not allowed to cycle around the garden itself. We weren’t aware of this when we first visited and entered through the top gate and spent the morning pushing to very heavy rental bikes around the garden.
- Guilfoyles Volcano
- Children’s Garden
- Lakes and Islands
- Canna Bed Rain Garden
- Tropical Glasshouse
- Eucalyptus Walk
- Rainforest Walk
At the top of the garden is a cone of planting with a raised pond. This is the where the parks water management system begins and rainwater is collected and managed as it passes through the grounds. It’s a lovely elevated spot for viewing the gardens with the city skyscrapers in the background.
Canna Bed Rain Garden
This eye-searing display is planted over a sump that forms the next part of the waterway that eventually leads to the lake. It was nice to see the variety of heights and colours in this genus. Instead of being a utilitarian eye-sore they’ve turned this into a feature to make use of the damp soil. Everyone had their phones out taking pictures and selfies with this backdrop.
Lakes and Islands
A main focus of the garden is the lake where you can take a gondola ride or have something to eat from the cafe overlooking the water.
This is the first time I had seen a lotus in real life. It’s easy to see why they’ve been revered for centuries. Simple yet elegant flowers stand proud of the foliage.
This summer I will be back in the UK I’m looking forward to starting a new allotment project. This potager garden is great inspiration for an orderly and beautiful productive space. My wife even conceded that a vegetable garden can be pretty as she’s not normally too enamoured with them.
This cactus was growing at the volcano on steep well-drained borders in full sun. It’s also known as the Golden Barrel Cactus (but where’s the fun in that?).
Throughout the park there are large flat-leaved Agavae with names and initials scraped in to them. I’m sure someone will find it an interesting urban trend like graffiti but I don’t like it.