Things to Do in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Set in the heart of Melbourne City, the Royal Botanical Gardens offer a green space away from the bustle of city life, where you can breathe in the fresh air and relax among spectacular scenery. Spanning 38 hectares, the landscaped gardens are home to an eclectic and colourful collection of native and exotic vegetation, casting a picturesque scene around every twist and turn. There are more than 50,000 individual species of plant and flower here, giving you plenty to look at.

As well as pretty gardens, neat lawns, and exotic flower beds, the Botanical Gardens are also a hive of activity, with lots of things for visitors to get stuck into, whether you’re looking for a place to entertain younger members of the family, a quiet spot to kick back and relax in, or a cultural experience amidst sprawling scenery.

In a garden as big as this one, you may be wondering what the must-see attractions are. The first to see is Guilfoyle’s Volcano, a historic water reservoir that was initially used to store all the water needed for the garden. It underwent a restoration project after it was no longer used for 60 years and now is a beautiful area surrounded by low water usage plants and boasts amazing views of the city of Melbourne.
The tropical glasshouse at the Royal Botanic Gardens is the perfect way to escape the cold winter air thanks to the constant humid temperature. Here in this area, you will discover tropical plants from around the world in a colourful and exotic display. You’ll see flora that you’ve never seen before, such as the tiger spotted Stanhopea; a heavily fragrant orchard with large flowers.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Things to Do in the Royal Botanical Gardens

  • Have a Picnic

    The gardens are the ideal place to have a picnic, thanks to the smattering of peaceful, shady spots. Pack some sandwiches and drinks, and find a slice of peace and quiet away from the crowds to enjoy a picnic in the warm sunshine.

  • The Aboriginal Heritage Walk

    This popular walk shows you the gardens from the perspective of the original owners. On the walk, you’ll be exposed to the history of the land while a knowledgeable Aboriginal guide shares snippets of information and stories about the heritage of the place. Listen to the stories of the Kulin Nation and how they use traditional plants in both medicinal and everyday life.
    This tour is the perfect way to become one with the stunning native landscape that surrounds you whilst learning about the significance of the Aboriginal culture in Australia. During the tour, you’ll join a traditional smoking ceremony, an ancient custom that is said to have cleansing properties. You’ll also get to stop off for a cuppa along the way to refuel.

  • Wildlife Encounters

    There are tonnes of native species at home in the Botanical Gardens, so keep your eyes peeled for black swans, bellbirds, kookaburras, and cockatoos. The collection of birds here is stunning, but you might also get to catch a glimpse of some local mammals and marsupials, too. These friendly critters are known to make their home amongst the many trees in the garden, so it’s wise to have your camera on the ready!

    Furthermore, the Royal Botanic Gardens always make it their mission to keep conservation at the heart of their organisation, so there are plenty of ways you can give back while you visit the gardens. You can do this by attending one of their environmental workshops or for example, the annual Climate Watch Walk which will have you searching the gardens for impacts of climate change and learning a thing or two about how the organisation manages these changes.

  • Fun for All the Family

    If you’re looking for somewhere to entertain the kids, head straight to the Children’s Garden, which has been made especially for the younger members of the family. As well as fun equipment to try out, there is also a range of fascinating things for small people to explore. This interactive zone allows kids to build, dig and play their way through the different areas in the Children’s Garden that are constantly changing to reflect the seasons of the weather.

  • Cultural Adventures

    In the summer months, the Botanical Gardens are fit to burst with culture, from outdoor cinema screenings in the longer evenings, theatre performances that take place in tucked away lawns, and art exhibitions set against the fabulous scenery.

    You may think that the gardens might not be as happening in the winter months but think again as there is always a range of activities suitable for the whole family throughout the year. In August of this year, the Chocolate and Spice tour will run where you’ll learn about all those wintery spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom on this guided walk. Did we mention the entry fee comes with hot chocolate!

If the hustle and bustle of the city is getting too be a little too much, why not try some internationally acclaimed forest therapy at the Royal Botanic Gardens this winter. This green therapy method has garnered attention worldwide after it began in Japan. When the craze finally hit Melbourne, the Royal Botanic Gardens was found to be the perfect spot to inject some much-needed calmness into your soul. This two-hour walk is said to reduce stress and promote a healthy wellbeing, perfect for those who love nature.

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