Special: Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
The Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne are one of the highlights in Melbourne. The gardens left such an impression on me that I decided to write a special about them as I find the Botanical Gardens to be an attraction themselves. Best of all, you can even visit for free!
The Botanical Gardens are located on the South Bank of Yarra River, close to the city center. Downtown Melbourne is actually walkable from the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne. There’s also a second divison of the garden, approximately 45 minutes out of Melbourne, which I won’t talk about in this special. The entrance to the main gardens is free and possible at several points along Alexandra Avenue, Andersoon Street and Birdwood Avenue. You may also go running or cycling in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
What to see in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne?
First of all, the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne are massive. There are 38 hectares, making it one of the biggest city parks in the whole world. Interestingly, the garden mixes regional with exotic elements and thus isn’t a typical Botanical Garden.
There is a rich variety of different plants, trees and animals in the garden. Many of the trees and plants are more than 100 years old and stem from the times of the garden’s first public opening in 1846. Nowadays, the Royal Botanical Gardens are seperated in several areas to get a better idea of which plants are native and which exotic.
The Ornamental Lake and its islands
One of the areas I enjoyed the most in the Royal Botanical Gardens is the Ornamental Lake. It is basically dominating the whole Northern part of the gardens and is more or less a totally natural area without any special greenery or plants.
It is an amazing place to just hang out and enjoy nature. There are also a couple of islands in the lake, which you can reach by boat or, partly, through bridges. In addition, there is some infastructure including pavillions with toilets, food vendors etc.
The special area of the gardens
As I’ve already explained, the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne come with several different areas showcasing the vegetation in different parts of the world. These are including the Australian Forest Walk, the Herb Garden, the Arid Garden, the Southern China Collection, the New Zealand Collection and many more.
Personally, I enjoyed Guilfoyle’s Volcano the most, which is a collection of cactus and other plants of the desert. In addition, you are enjoying a great view of the city and the park from the top of the “volcano”.
The Observatorium and the Shrine of Remembrance
The Observatorium and the Shrine of Remembrance (not officially part of the gardens), both located in the West of the gardens, are well worth a visit, too.
I’ve spoken about these places more extensively in my Melbourne city guide, which I’d recommend checking out if you are interested.
Overall impression of the Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne are an amazing place to hang out when visiting Melbourne. Not only are the gardens incredibly big, but there are also dozens of fascinating areas. If you just want to relax, I’d recommend sticking to the lake with its islands. If you want to learn more about the vegetation, you may, you should check out the different areas. It’s well worth your time!
Have you been to the Royal Botanical Gardens and how did you like?