MELBOURNE NEWS

Sustainability

Enjoy re-leaf from the daily grind in one of our city’s many parks and gardens. We have 480 hectares of green space to explore, including bushland, wetlands, suburban reserves and heritage gardens with majestic avenues of trees. 

These soothing sanctuaries for rest and relaxation are a world away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. Take time out to relax and recharge in the lush green spaces on your doorstep.

Read on to explore the City of Melbourne’s major parks and gardens or visit neighbourhood parks for details of numerous smaller suburban reserves, street parks and squares in your local area. 

Alexandra Gardens 

Situated beside the Yarra River, Alexandra Gardens features a line of historic rowing boathouses facing the river, and Riverslide Skate Park, the only supervised skate park in Melbourne.  

The gardens’ palms, ornamental shrubs, rockeries and tree-lined avenues and lawns make this a delightful place to go for a walk. Take time out to admire the horticultural features, such as the star-shaped garden bed in the centre of the gardens, designed to represent the Federation of Australia.  

The gardens also provide a setting for a wide variety of major events throughout the year including the fun-filled Moomba Festival, which celebrates its 70th year this March. 

Location: 3 Boathouse Drive, Melbourne 

Moomba performers dance through the trees

Birrarung Marr 

Located on the northern bank of the Yarra River between Federation Square and Melbourne Park, Birrarung Marr features a range of native flora and sculpted terraces.  

In Woi-wurrung and Boon Wurrung culture, ‘Birrarung’ is the traditional name of the Yarra River; and ‘marr’ refers to the mist that sometimes settles over the Birrarung. The name reflects the ‘river of mists’. 

There are extensive pedestrian and bicycle paths throughout the garden. Explore beautiful public art including Birrarung Wilam – a collection of artworks exploring Victoria’s diverse Indigenous culture or take an Indigenous history tour.

Birrarung Wilam

Listen to the Federation Bells, which play three times daily, or marvel at Deborah Halpern’s Angel sculpture, by the river’s edge.  

Children will love the playground and ArtPlay where they can explore and create innovative arts experiences that encourage self-expression and playful exchange.  

Location: Batman Avenue, Melbourne 

A liberty swing at Birrarung Marr, near ArtPlay

Carlton Gardens 

Get your daily exercise amid a World Heritage Site, with a grand backdrop of the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum.  

The Carlton Gardens feature formal flowerbeds, plantings in honour of the Dalai Lama, ornamental lakes, and tree-lined avenues with mature European trees that reflect the changing seasons.  

During your visit, don’t miss a photo opportunity with the impressive Victorian-era Hochgurtel Fountain. Meet your friends for a picnic or game of basketball or tennis at the Carlton Gardens Tennis Courts, while the kids explore the playground.  

A grand domed building with a fountain in front
The Royal Exhibition Building and Hochgurtel Fountain

The gardens feature a magnificent Moreton Bay Fig tree where local Aboriginal people have traditionally met and socialised. Take time to look up and observe this shady canopy and remember the vast history of the land our city is built on. 

Location: 1-111 Carlton Street, Carlton 

Docklands Park 

The landscaped gardens of Docklands Park on Harbour Esplanade are ideal for families, city workers and picnickers with free barbecue facilities, a children’s playground, public art, and relaxing areas to sit. There are also cycling and walking paths and large grassed spaces with native trees and a wetlands area.  

Take a picnic or share a barbecue under the shady trees. Children will love the playground  and rolling down the grassy hills and kicking a ball around on the grass.  

Enjoy the amazing wind-powered kinetic sculpture Blowhole by Duncan Stemler. Wander through Virginia King’s Reed Vessel and dodge the drips while admiring the lizard and frog castings embedded in the walkway. 

Location: 1-91 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands 

People holding binoculars to their faces and looking at tree tops.
Become a birder or a citizen scientist to help boost local biodiversity

Domain Parklands 

The vast Domain Parklands comprises a network of parks, gardens and open space making up nearly 123 hectares in central Melbourne and includes the internationally renowned Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Kings Domain

There are so many ways to enjoy this beautiful space. Keep up your fitness goals with a walk or jog around the Tan Track, Melbourne’s iconic 3.8 km loop around the Botanic Gardens, constructed in the early 1900s. Or have a picnic and take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful trees.  

Person leaning against tree in garden
Did you know you can email your favourite tree using our Urban Forest Visual tool?

The gardens feature many large Australian and European trees, extensive lawns, shrub beds and annual floral displays and ponds. Explore the cool and shady rockery and fern gully created from a former quarry.  

Pay your respects at the Shrine of Remembrance, a war memorial incorporating an education and exhibition centre.  

Learn about the many monuments, statues and memorials scattered throughout the parklands.  

Attend a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl or take a tour of the gardens at Government House (official residence of the Governor of Victoria) and La Trobe’s cottage

Location: St Kilda Road, Melbourne 

Fawkner Park 

Fawkner Park in South Yarra is largely unchanged from its original design of 1875 with formal pathways, avenues and lawns winding through its 41 acres.  

The park features Art Deco sporting pavilions, sports fields, and paths lined with Moreton Bay figs, elms, poplars and oaks. 

A person walking their dog through Fawkner Park in autumn.
A leafy pathway at Fawkner Park

Fawkner Park extends from Toorak Road in the north to Commercial Road in the south. This area was a camping ground for local Aboriginal groups, and it continues to be an important place for First Nations people.   

This park has a big sporting history – in 1862 almost every popular sporting activity was held here. Summer weekend cricket matches have an English ‘village green’ atmosphere, with spectators making use of the free on-site barbecues and picnic areas.  

There are three different children’s playgrounds – the one in the centre of the park is designed for toddlers and features a sandpit, musical steps and a sensory garden. 

Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the park and admire the flowers along the western shrub bed. Get active by joining one of the many sporting clubs or watching weekend sporting matches. Play tennis at the Fawkner Park Tennis Centre and afterwards enjoy a coffee in the adjacent cafe.  

Meet friends for a barbecue or picnic beneath one of the large shady trees. Your doggo will absolutely love a run in the designated off-leash areas.  

Location: 24-88 Commercial Road, South Yarra  

Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece with local kids in Fawkner Park

Fitzroy Gardens 

Take a leisurely stroll through one of Melbourne’s most historic and beautiful gardens. Located in East Melbourne, Fitzroy Gardens is bounded by Lansdowne, Wellington, and Clarendon and Albert streets. 

The layout follows a classic Victorian- era design, featuring pathways lined with magnificent elm trees, known to be some of the finest in Victoria. There are a variety of flowers, floral designs and ornamental shrubs and trees, which together with extensive lawns creates a diverse and layered landscape.    

A park ranger teaches families about nature
Watch out for our park rangers with their nature trailer in parks near you

The watercourse that runs through the centre of the gardens is a tributary of the Yarra River, Birrarung. The Scarred Tree in the south-east section of the gardens is associated with the use of the area by Aboriginal peoples and it is recognised on the Aboriginal Heritage Register. The tree was a red gum, one of several remnant red gum found in the gardens. 

The gardens contain several buildings and structures which are of architectural significance, including the Band Pavilion. Significant twentieth century buildings include the Spanish mission-style Conservatory

Location: Wellington Parade, East Melbourne 

Elm trees in Fitzroy Gardens

Flagstaff Gardens 

Located north of La Trobe Street, Flagstaff Gardens are situated on one of two hills to the immediate north of the Yarra River, Birrarung. The site formed topography important to Aboriginal peoples. 

Along with the lush, green lawns, the gardens feature eucalypts, Moreton Bay figs and avenues of elm trees. Stroll around the gardens, walk to the highest point beneath the huge shady trees and enjoy the floral shrub beds. The shrub bed in the centre of the gardens has a scented theme. 

The playground features a five-way swing and a rope climbing dome that will keep the kids busy for hours. You can also play tennis, volleyball or netball on the multi-use courts or attend an event at the lawn bowls club

Location: 309-311 William Street, West Melbourne 

People riding bikes and holding hockey sticks on an outdoor sporting court.
Bike polo at Flagstaff Gardens

JJ Holland Park 

Fun-filled JJ Holland Park is located on Kensington Road and covers more than 10 hectares.  

The park offers a range of facilities including sports grounds, a BMX track, a skate park and picnic areas. 

The skate park is known as one of Melbourne’s best for those that enjoy half pipes. It also has several sizer ramps and a street section with several features to entertain street skaters. 

The skate park at JJ Holland Park in Kensington

JJ Holland Park is a great place to take the kids. It has a large children’s playground that offers fun and challenges for all ages, as well as the The Venny and its adventure playground which has provided supervised play for over 35 years.  

Walk the perimeter walking track for a great work-out and bring your furry friend to enjoy a run in the designated off-leash areas.  

Location: Altona Street, Kensington 

The playground at JJ Holland Park in Kensington

Royal Botanic Gardens 

In Kings Doman, you’ll discover the glorious Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Built in 1846, the gardens span over 38 hectares and are home to 50,000 individual plants representing 8,500 different species from around the world including exotic, rare and endangered plants. 

The Arid Garden features more than 3,000 cacti and succulents, with activities embedded in the footpaths that reveal fascinating facts about these plants and their importance in a warming climate.  

If you’re in the mood for quiet contemplation, head to the fern gully to explore three lush meditative spaces. Here you’ll find a sheltered grotto, a Japanese-inspired moss garden, a ‘mother-stone’ fountain and the ‘bird’s nest’, where you can breathe in the green surroundings in a suspended swing chair.   

With Guilfoyle’s Volcano, the Melbourne Observatory, the Tropical Glasshouse and numerous lakes, islands, and sculptures dotted around the site, this is the perfect place to re-connect with nature and unwind.  

Location: Kings Domain, Alexandra Avenue, Melbourne 

A leafy spot at the Royal Botanic Gardens
A peaceful spot at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Princes Park 

If you’re a sports-lover or Carlton footy fan, Princes Park is the place for you.  

An aerial view of Princes Park and surrounding green spaces and urbanisation.
An aerial view of Princes Park

Stretching for 1.5 km along Royal Parade in Carlton North, it features several sports and recreation grounds and is the headquarters of the Carlton Football Club. The park hosts sporting clubs including lawn bowls, cricket and soccer, and tennis facilities, and two 1938 Art Deco sporting pavilions.  

Take a walk or jog around the perimeter jogging track, visiting the four outdoor exercise stations along the way. Meet friends for a barbecue or a picnic by the lake, then take a relaxing stroll to admire the lush avenues of elms and Moreton Bay fig trees.  

There are also playgrounds for the kids to explore and off-leash areas for doggos to go for a run.  

Location: 200-590 Royal Parade, Carlton North 

Queen Victoria Gardens 

The serene and peaceful Queen Victoria Gardens are located on a triangle of land just across St Kilda Road from the Arts Centre Melbourne.  

The gardens were created in honour of Queen Victoria. Stand beside the memorial statue and survey the ornamental lakes, palm trees, sweeping lawns and rose gardens, with the Arts Centre spire in the background. 

The gardens’ most famous feature is the Floral Clock, donated in 1966 to the City of Melbourne by a group of Swiss watchmakers. More than 7,000 low-growing floral plants are used to create wonderfully colourful displays, which are changed twice a year. 

Our parks are home to all sorts of flora and fauna

Venture further into the gardens and you’ll find ornamental ponds where you can watch the playful ducks and see a monument to King Edward VII, the Janet Lady Clarke rotunda, and numerous flower beds and sculptures.  

Some child-focused sculptures include The Genie on the lawn near the lake and the delightful Water Children at the top of the waterfall that flows into the pond closest to St Kilda Road.  

In spring, marvel at the mass plantings of golden daffodils beneath the trees and in autumn gaze at the fiery colours of the falling leaves.  

Location: St Kilda Road, Melbourne 

Royal Park 

Lush and spacious, Royal Park is the largest open space in the City of Melbourne, covering 188 hectares. It is protected under the Victorian Heritage Register and its vast treed native vegetation landscape is an oasis on the edge of the city.  

Royal Park parkland and Melbourne city skyline
An aerial view of Royal Park

When you’re in Royal Park, it’s hard to believe you are still in a busy, bustling city. Stretches of open grass alternate with areas of lightly timbered eucalypt forest, sports grounds, wetlands and gardens. There are walking and cycling paths and even a golf course. 

Birds call and chat to each other while the city sounds of traffic fall away. At Trin Warren Tam-boore wetlands, bird watching is popular and there is a self-guided nature walk. See if you can spot an ibis or kookaburra in this beautiful space. 

Two people walking along a dirt track in a bushy park
Park rangers on patrol in Royal Park

When you walk, run or cycle along the many footpaths and Capital City Trail, keep an eye out for wildlife, especially near water features. You might be lucky and spot a possum, rosellas, wrens, robins and birds of prey or one of the matchstick grasshoppers we’ve re-introduced to Royal Park to help increase biodiversity.  

A local superb fairy wren in Royal Park, photographed by Stuart Riley

There’s an award-winning nature playground for the kids which includes a sandpit and water play area, logs, rocks and ropes to climb over, swings and a grassy hill, perfect for rolling. Children will love exploring the climbing forest and cooling off under the fountains on hot, humid days. 

Enjoy a meal outdoors at the many picnic and barbecue facilities and explore the Australian native garden. Bring your pooch and watch them have the time of their life at the designated dog off-leash areas.  

Keep fit by taking part in a range of sporting activities on the many sports grounds including the Royal Park Golf Course and Melbourne Sports Centre on Brens Drive.  

Location: Flemington Road, Parkville 

Athletes in the new new Brens Pavilion at Royal Park

Treasury Gardens 

One of Victoria’s oldest public gardens, Treasury Gardens is heritage-listed and features avenues of mature trees along the crossing paths that form a ‘cathedral’ or ‘tunnel’ effect.  

A prominent landscape feature is the vibrant, contrasting evergreen foliage of conifers, palms, and Moreton Bay figs against a background of deciduous elms, oaks, and poplars. 

A sunny day in the Treasury Gardens

Other features include a Robert Burns memorial; an ornamental lake with a monument to President John F Kennedy; a memorial statue of Sir William Clarke; and the Victorian Emergency Services Memorial, which honours fallen members of all of Victoria’s emergency services organisations. 

Take your lunch and relax on the lawns. Stroll beneath shady Moreton Bay fig trees and towering elm trees and admire the colourful garden beds. Watch the playful antics of the ducks on the lake and marvel at the evocative landscaping. 

Location: 2-18 Spring Street, East Melbourne  

For more information, visit Parks and Gardens

An adult riding a bike with a child on the back. Both are wearing helmets and riding along a path in a park.
A leafy cycle path in Royal Park

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