If you love nature and urban parks and gardens, then you are in for an experience when it comes to what is available in Melbourne Australia. Victoria is the garden state after all, so there is a lot of things to explore if you go on a search. There is a lot of wonderful outdoor spaces to choose from, depending on how the mood moves you or how energetic you’re feeling.
So in the beautiful city of Melbourne, 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. In other words, nature galore.
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 which borders spring street and parliament house.
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 a relic of the original people of the Melbourne area, the Wurundjeri people.
If you’re in Melbourne and 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 past federation square then 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 and see the original location of speakers corner.
Or you could take a break from all that hectic Melbourne shopping by taking a break in the lovely Flagstaff Gardens park area which is at the highest elevation in the city. It is just a stone’s throw from Queen Victoria Market. The gardens where previously the site of the shipping signaling station that signalled the arrival of ships in the harbour, and even earlier, was the site of Melbourne Cemetery in 1853.
Heading north, just a little past North Melbourne, you’ll find Royal Park – a very large park of almost 450 acres with a plethora of paths for walking and bikes, various sports fields and tennis courts. Get off at stop 22 on the 58 tram if you want to check it out.
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. A nature lovers paradise.
You can have a picnic near the Ornamental Lake, take a stroll through 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 and landscaping.
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 by 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.
Albert Park Lake
Just 3km from the centre of Melbourne, you will find Albert Park Lake. Unless the Australia Grand Prix is on (the very opposite of nature), why not ride your bike, walk or run around the lake path with someone special you love, the kids, your dog or all of the above. Located just a few stone throws from Middle Park Beach on the shore of Port Phillip Bay, you will find a trail that circles the lake while providing panoramic views back towards Melbourne’s increasingly impressive downtown CBD.
Options A Little Further Afield Of Melbourne
If you’ve got the time to travel a little further afield than Melbourne itself, you have a whole new range of choices and categories to get a lovely parks and garden fix. You could visit the sculpture park at the Australian McClelland Gallery in Frankston which is an easy 30-minute drive south as a direct route or a bit longer if you follow the bay around – with some lovely views of the water on the way. If you’re down Franston way anyway, get yourself a big dose of nature and a wide range of parks and gardens fix in the Mornington Peninsula – so much to choose from there. Another great option is to head to hills in the Dandenong Ranges where you will catch wildlife and bushland galore. Down Werribee way, a great visit is the heritage orchard.
Bottom line is, if it is nature you want, even in the big city, then you’ll be at home in Melbourne Australia.