What to see at Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 01/16/2024

Reading time: 3 mins

The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne has been around for over 170 years, showcasing some of the most impressive plants from around the world.

Melbourne’s own Royal Botanic Gardens has an extensive collection of over 8500 plants from Australia and around the world! Melbourne Gardens is about 38 hectares that stretches along the Yarra River where you can spend a couple of hours admiring the gardens. Or if you’re short on time, you can can follow a quick 30-minute loop.

Explore the different individual gardens

There are over 20 garden collections for you to explore at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. With so many unique collections, here are just a handful to get an idea of what you can see for yourself.

• Fern Gully

Experience the Victorian-era pteridomania as you walk through the lush Fern Gully. Follow the boardwalk or the path through Fern Gully and see the stream, a range of ferns and other unusual and threatened Australian non ferns. The best time to walk through Fern Gully is between spring and summer!

• Australian Forest Walk

The Australian Forest Walk is one of the biggest garden collections in Melbourne Gardens. This garden is over half a kilometre with a collection of Australian dry rainforest plants and trees, including threatened species.

All year round is a great time to visit the Australian Forest Walk to see the impressive selection of native trees and plants.

• Guilfoyle’s volcano

Guilfoyle’s volcano can be found at the highest point of the Botanical Gardens where you can view from above the different garden collections. The best time to visit this part of the Melbourne Gardens is during summer as all the plants and trees brighten up and come to life around this time of year.

• Eucalypt lawn

Eucalypt lawn showcases the different types of Australian eucalypt trees. Follow the path through the lawn or bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic by the important eucalypt trees.

Places to eat

Looking for a place to eat during your time at the Botanical Gardens? Luckily there are two cafes at the Gardens for you to pick from.

The Terrace offers all day breakfast and delicious lunches where you can grab a coffee or another drink. The cafe sits by the Ornamental Lake and is open every day except Christmas Day.

For a French-Vietnamese inspired cafe, Jardin Tan is open Thursday to Sunday and closed on January 1-2 and Boxing Day. The cafe is by the Visitor Centre and offers delicious brunch and lunch meals.

See more with a walking tour

Walking tours allow you to see more of the Botanical Gardens that you may have missed! There are a range of different tours including Aboriginal Heritage Walk and Secret Life of Birds. The tours are a great way to get more information about the Melbourne Gardens. Depending on the tour, you will learn about the First Nations peoples or learn about the best spots to find colourful birds.

Sip on a takeaway coffee from one of the cafes and see for yourself Melbourne Gardens, a treasured part of the city.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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