As the spring season starts, nothing is more refreshing than a walk in Melbourne’s parks and gardens. To help you get started, here are 12 locations for your next meander. Make an exercise date if they're within your travel radius, or bookmark this page and plan your post-lockdown visit.
You could spend weeks in the Royal Botanic Gardens and still find something new every day. Follow pathways to admire the wintertime flora and birdlife. Then stroll along zigzagging trails for a closer look, from Fern Gully to the cacti-lined boardwalks of Guilfoyle’s Volcano.
Stock up on picnic supplies before heading down to Alexandra Gardens on the banks of the Yarra. Be sure to wear your winter woolies, and bring some gourmet sausages along to cook on the riverfront barbecues. While you’re here, check out the local skate scene at Riverslide Skatepark.
Take a moment of quiet reflection at the Shrine of Remembrance Reserve. Also within these Kings Domain parklands are memorial trees and the Eternal Flame. The shrine’s entrance is a great setting for photos, with views of the city skyline and surrounding parkland.
Bordering the CBD’s north-west, Flagstaff Gardens have been public parklands since 1862. Today these stretches of lawns are a favourite lunch spot for city office workers. A short saunter reveals stands of eucalypts and avenues of golden-leaved elms. Not to mention a bowling green and tennis courts.
Fitzroy Gardens is a favourite with sightseers and locals alike. It offers a generous stretch of green in the city centre. There’s an old world feel, with deciduous elms, flowerbeds and heritage water features. Grab a coffee to go from KereKere Green and wander among the whimsically carved Fairies Tree.
Treasury Gardens is a contrast in foliage, as falling oak leaves drift past evergreen conifers. It’s a relaxing place for people watching. That includes politicians popping in and out of Parliament House close by. More curious creatures appear at night, when the resident possums are about.
Want to tick off a few World Heritage–listed sites? Visit the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. Don’t miss the Victorian-era Hochgurtel Fountain and circular French Fountain. Wander past formal flowerbeds changing colour with the seasons, and significant Moreton Bay figs.
The diverse culture of Victoria’s Indigenous peoples is celebrated through a series of artworks at Birrarung Marr. A winding path symbolises the eel, a traditional food source. Five shields represent the five groups of the Kulin Nation. You’ll also see Deborah Halpern’s two-headed ‘Angel’ sculpture.
There’s a lot to love at the gorgeous Queen Victoria Gardens, a short promenade from Princes Bridge. Like the huge Floral Clock, which is made up of more than 7000 flowering plants. You can walk through the gardens to the Yarra and watch kayaks skim across the water.
The interactive playground at Docklands Park is a hit with kids. Visitors of all ages are mesmerised by the giant moving Blowhole sculpture. Beside Docklands Drive, the fun reaches new heights at Ron Barassi Senior Park. There are ‘big kid’ slides, tyre swings, rope bridges and a sandpit.
In the nature playground at Parkville’s Royal Park, kids five and over can go wild. Slides and swings are just the beginning. There’s also a sandpit and water play area. Plus logs, rocks and ropes to climb all over. When the fun becomes too much, chill out with a barbecue beside the picnic tables.
Carlton’s sporty Princes Park contains magnificent Ikon Park, home to the Carlton Football Club. It’s a key venue for the NAB AFL Women’s Competition, too. Want to get active yourself? Take advantage of the public sports field, children’s playground and walking routes.