As spring in Melbourne gets into full swing, Melburnians get more and more excited to remove the warm layers and stretch their legs in one of the city’s parks and gardens. We are fortunate to have a variety of green spaces to escape to when the city noise gets too much.
From Victorian-style gardens to tranquil natural spaces, these are our favourite gardens in Melbourne to have a picnic, sit back and relax, and fill your lungs with fresh air.
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Whether you’re in need of some forest therapy, want to learn about exotic vegetation, or perhaps you want to take a stroll and discover the city’s nature parks and gardens, you can find it all in the beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens in downtown Melbourne.
The lovely inner-city oasis stretches over an area of 38 hectares. It has been a part of Melbournians’s everyday life since 1846. Nearly 2 million people visit the charming gardens each year, and rightly so!
There are so many things you can do at the Royal Botanic Gardens, from enjoying elegant high tea at Jardins Tan and punting on the Ornamental Lake to wandering through the cacti garden or relaxing by the Yarra River. Your kids can even get their hands dirty at the Children’s Garden.
The Royal Botanic Gardens is host to many events, including art classes, workshops, festivals and weddings, making it one of the best green spaces in the city for fun, education and relaxation.
Queens Park Moonee Ponds
If you’re looking to escape the city noise this spring, head down to Queens Park in Moonee Ponds and recharge your batteries in no time.
More than just a park, Queens Park has played a significant role in Australia’s history. During the gold rush in Victoria circa 1851, the parks were the meeting grounds for many travelers due to the fresh water from the lagoon. But what most Australians remember most about Queens Parks is the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition, which camped here on their first night to cross Australia, the 20th of August, 1860.
Besides memorials of historic significance, the park features a rose garden, a lake, a swimming club, kids playgrounds and the Moonee Ponds Bowling Club. You’ll spot locals and tourists taking a stroll, having a picnic, and simply enjoying the picturesque landscape of this tranquil oasis.
Williamstown Botanical Gardens
Located by the seaside, near Williamstown Beach and Hatt Reserve, this vast green space is an ideal retreat from the noisy Melbourne CBD.
As one of Victoria’s oldest public gardens, Williamstown Botanical Gardens are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and the National Register, making its significance to the state of Victoria very clear.
Have a picnic under the centennial trees, take a walk through the historic garden’s intricate pathway, or chill by the Edwardian ornamental lake. You’ll find many people hosting all kinds of events here, from birthdays and picnic celebrations to romantic dates and Sunday family gatherings.
Whatever you end up doing, you’re sure to leave this park relaxed and recharged.
You’d have to travel 35 km from downtown Melbourne to get to this park, but it’s a trip well worth it. Nearby attractions include the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre and the Werribee Open Range Zoo, making it easy to visit all at one go.
Home to lush green gardens, large trees, an ornamental lake with a grotto in the background, intricate pathways, and perfectly manicured lawns, Werribee Park is the perfect getaway from the city hustle and bustle.
Explore the heritage-listed Werribee Mansion built by a wealthy Australian pastoral dynasty, or have a picnic in the beautiful gardens. While there, take a moment to explore over 5,000 roses at the Victoria State Rose Garden, where scents linger in the air the entire day. You can also check out the fruit orchard, which was originally planted by the owners in the late 1880s.
When the sun is out, and you need a quick respite from the hectic city streets, these heritage-listed gardens are just the place.
Located in Bulleen, 15km from Melbourne CBD, Heide combines nature and art into 6.5 acres of land. What was once a gathering place for the Wurundjeri people turned into a sanctuary for artists during the 1940s.
Check out the Kitchen Gardens near Heide Cottage and Heide’s modern building, explore the lawns, admire the rose garden and the orchard, or enjoy the healing garden with sensory plantings. More than just a nature park, Heide consists of an art museum home to more than 3,600 works of art and a sculpture park containing over 30 artworks by artists such as Anish Kapoor, Neil Taylor, and Inge King.
Burnley Gardens is a tranquil sanctuary just 5km from downtown Melbourne. Though they’re managed by the University of Melbourne, the gardens are open to the public 24 hours, seven days a week.
The purpose of the gardens is for research and teaching, so you’d find most of the plants have their botanical name written on them. Serene and vast, Burnley Gardens cover an area of 9 hectares on which you’ll discover about 1000 different species of plants, including a number of heritage trees dating back to the 1850s.
Bring your furry friends to play, have a barbeque in the shaded picnic areas, or sign up for a self-guided walk and find out all about the garden’s history, its rare plants, and old trees. If you’re interested in doing more than that, you can join Friends of Burnley Gardens and participate in a number of talks, workshops, tours, plant sales, and excursions.
Como House & Garden
Como House & Garden gives you a glimpse into the glamorous life of the wealthy Armitage family who lived there for more than a century.
Known as the most glamorous estate in Melbourne, the Como house has been preserved and remains exactly how it was when the Armytages lived there. Take a guided tour of the mansion to see the family heirloom still ornating some of the elegant rooms.
Step outside and into the gorgeous Como Gardens, home to a wide range of rare plants, trees and shrubs, further divided into The Gardens, The Rainforest and Como Wetlands.
There’s a plethora of things to see and do here. Explore the lush lawns and perfectly manicured gardens, sit by the Ornamental Lake, do some birdwatching, learn about old vehicles at the on-site vintage car museum, or take a ride on the mini locomotive at the miniature railway.
The Como House & Garden is the perfect way to spend time with friends and family and get away from the crowds.
Rippon Lea Estate
Immerse yourself in the serenity of this charming estate and gardens featuring a lake, a waterfall, a boat house, a fascinating 19th-century mansion, lush lawns and vast greenery.
These gardens have the largest fernery in the Southern Hemisphere and an orchard with hundreds of varieties of pears and apples. You’ll also find a tennis court, a swimming pool, an archery ground and a Lookout tower.
Stretching over an area of 14 acres, the Rippon Lea Gardens offers enough things to see and do that’ll keep you busy for hours. From handmade art markets and Ferrari Car Club displays to high tea and cocktail events. Located just 20 minutes from Melbourne Central Business District, the estate is easy to get to, and you can plan to spend an entire day here.
If you’re looking to spend a day full of adventures, fun, and excitement, head to Carlton Gardens, north of Melbourne CBD.
Stretching across 64 acres, the gardens are home to the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum, Imax Cinema and a number of attractions and events.
This World Heritage Site, the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens are a must-see, whether you want to show off your sports skills at the tennis and basketball court or want the kids to blow off some steam at the award-winning children’s playground.
A popular picnic and barbeque area, the gardens feature ornamental lakes, majestic fountains and avenues, mature European trees and colorful flower beds, and they’re home to a variety of wildlife, including kookaburras and brush-tailed possums. Grab your friends or family and spend a beautiful spring day at the Carlton Gardens, enjoying the flowers in bloom.
One of the oldest public gardens in Victoria covers an area of 14 acres and can be found near Victoria’s Parliament House. Home to an ornamental pond and majestic avenues made of mature trees, including elms, oaks and Moreton Bay Figs, the Treasury Gardens are beautifully landscaped and attract tons of visitors, both locals and tourists alike.
The gardens feature a number of memorials, too, including a monument to President John F Kennedy, the Robert Burns memorial, and a memorial statue of Sir William Clarke.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at the most tranquil gardens in the city
Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to read a book, a place to wander and observe the birds, or learn about the heritage-listed gardens and oldest trees in Australia, Melbourne’s stunning gardens have it all.
When you’re done exploring the lakes, mansions, gardens, and estates, kick back and relax at The Sebel Melbourne Moonee Ponds. Join us in the restaurant and bar for a well-deserved lunch while reminiscing about your favorite meditation spot in the city.