If you love urban parks and gardens, then you are in for a treat when it comes to what is available in Melbourne. There is a lot of wonderful outdoor spaces to choose from in Melbourne, depending on how the mood moves you or how energetic you’re feeling.
You can find a quiet break from the humdrum of the city in spaces full of colourful flower displays, expansive lawns and parkland, leafy gardens, treasured heritage architecture, water features, ancient old trees both native and introduced, or quiet little nooks of peacefulness in the heart of the city.
An immediate feature of the Melbourne inner-city streetscape that visitors notice is the abundance of European trees lining the boundaries and within the parklands such as the Treasury Gardens.
But there is also many native trees around, some of extra special note. Such an example is the ancient Scarred Tree in Fitzroy Gardens, which is an relic of the original people of the Melbourne area, the Wurundjeri people.
If you want to see a relatively modern piece of colonial history in a lovely parkland setting, you should check out Cook’s Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens. This cottage was relocated from Captain James Cook’s Yorkshire village birthplace.
Why not take a stroll along the Yarra river through the riverside park Birrarung Marr (birrarung meaning ‘river of mists’ and marr meaning ‘side’)? You can check out the indigenous rock carvings as you stroll through.
Or you could take a break from all that hectic Melbourne shopping by taking a break in the lovely Flagstaff Gardens area which is at the highest elevation in the city. The gardens where previously the site of the shipping signalling station that signalled the arrival of ships in the harbour, and even earlier, was the site of Melbourne Cemetery in 1853.
Royal Botanic Gardens
If you venture south of the Yarra River, you will find the magnificent Royal Botanic Gardens, which is home to more than 12,000 different plant species.
You can have a picnic near the Ornamental Lake, take a stroll theough the Australian Rainforest Walk, or get lost in all there is to see in the Old Melbourne Observatory and National Herbarium.
Also south of the river and close to the Botanical Gardens you will find the location of Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance. Kings Domain has lovely parkland and expansive well manicured lawns.
Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Also in the parklands south of the Yarra is the home of the new year’s eve Christmas carols and many other shows throughout the year is the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, an outdoor entertainment amphitheater.
If you love flowers, close to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, you can wander through the beautifully maintained annuals and roses at the Queen Victoria Gardens, and while you’re at it check out the gigantic floral clock, made up of more than 7,000 flowers, on St Kilda Road.
Immediately on the south bank of the river, pretty much opposite Birrarung Marr on the north bank, you’ll find Alexandra Gardens. Take a relaxing stroll through the lawns while watching the keen rowers practicing their craft and little river ferries going by.