Melbourne is a city with many crowns, such as "The most liveable city in the world" and "The sporting capital of the world." And with 1200 acres of leafy gardens and internationally acclaimed parks, Melbourne is often referred to as the "Garden State." Some of the best parks in Melbourne can be found right at the city's edge, making it convenient for a quick lunch break from work or rest after long hours of sightseeing.
Having said that, walking around Melbourne, it's easy to find an open green space to catch your breath and stretch your legs even after shopping. And when you find the perfect spot but don't feel like dragging your shopping bags along, bounce luggage storage in Melbourne has the answer. We can keep your belongings safe while you enjoy your picnic in the park until it's time to venture off again.
Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens are one of Melbourne's largest and most beautiful parks. Located on Birdwood Avenue, just a mile from Melbourne city center, the Royal Botanic Gardens are the perfect escape from the city noise and scorching summer heat, ideal for family picnics, hiking, exploring, punting on the lake, or high tea.
The gardens spread across 38 hectares and are home to over 10,000 species of plants from around the world. Over 2 million people visit the Royal Botanic Gardens each year, eager to find all the hidden gems and discover its unique features. Some of the highlights include Fern Gully, Long Island, and the Sensory Garden. Also, there are a few museums many will appreciate, including the National Herbarium of Victoria, Domain House, and Melbourne Observatory Building.
Within the gardens, you'll find the Observatory Cafe, where you can catch your breath and enjoy the scenery over a nice cup of coffee. The gardens feature picnic and barbecue facilities, so you can also pack lunch and drinks and make it a picnic. The beautiful gardens are free to the public every day of the year. You're likely to spend more than 2 hours here, so be well prepared.
Queen Victoria Gardens
Not far from the Royal Botanic Gardens, across from the Victorian Arts Centre and National Gallery of Victoria, is Queen Victoria Gardens, a lovely park in the name of Queen Victoria. This lovely garden is part of the Domain Parklands, along with the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Extending across 12 acres, these small gardens are home to a memorial statue of Queen Victoria, the Garden's Floral Clock with over 7,000 flowers changed twice a year, water features, and several bronze statues, including an equestrian statue of Edward VII, the Queen's son and successor. The gardens' location on St Kilda Road makes it easy to find a place to eat. and you can take a stroll in the gardens any time of the day, all year round.
In Melbourne, you don't have to venture off the beaten track to connect with your green side, as most of the parks are at the city's doorstep. One such park is Westgate Park, which sits along the eastern banks of the Yarra River in the shadow of the Westgate Bridge. The 100 acres of land is known for its peculiar salt lake that turns pink during hot weather as a result of the high temperatures, high levels of salt, the blooming algae, and the lack of rainfall.
The park is popular among hikers and cyclists, who like to take advantage of the shared paths that connect to many trails, including the most popular 40-mile-long Bay Trail. You'll also find a few other lakes and wetlands in the park, where you can catch a glimpse of the park's plants and animals. Art lovers get to see the Earth Series Sculptures made from natural materials, and there is a playground for the youngest. Plus, the Melbourne International Cart Raceway is within easy reach of Westgate Park if you want to get an adrenaline rush. When you're done exploring, you can utilize the electric barbecue facility and enjoy a lovely picnic in this beautiful park in industrial Melbourne.
Being in the industrial part of the city, you won't find many restaurants nearby, but there are plenty within a short-minute ride.
With an area of 420 acres, Royal Park is the largest urban park in Melbourne and just what you might need to recharge your mental battery. Featuring a diverse landscape of long stretches of grass, eucalyptus trees, flower gardens, and wetlands, this oasis on the edge of the city is worth visiting any time of the year. The park's open space is large enough to fit several sports grounds, including the Royal Park Golf Course and Melbourne Sports Centre on Brens Drive.
There is also a nature-inspired playground with a sandpit, water play area, slides, and swings that kids love to explore. If you feel like walking, jogging, or cycling, there're plenty of walking tracks and trails, including the 18.9-mile loop trail, the Capital City Trail. This gorgeous park also features eye-catching sculptures, a volcanic rocks cairn, an Australian native garden, picnic tables, barbeque facilities, and a lot more. Bird watching is a common activity at the Trin Warren Tam-Boore wetlands, and Melbourne Zoo is within a short walking distance. With so many things to see and do in this amazing park in Melbourne, it's easy to spend a whole day without even realizing it.
And when your stomach starts growling, head down to Parkville Cafe or any of the cafes near Murdoch's Children Research Institute. One of the best things about this park is that it's just 1.55 miles north of Melbourne CBD, and you can enjoy its beauty 24/7, all year round.
When you want to fill your lungs with fresh air, the Fitzroy Gardens provide the perfect escape from the concrete jungle that is Melbourne CBD. Located in East Melbourne, the Fitzroy Gardens are one of the oldest gardens in Melbourne, first laid out in 1859. The gardens extend across 64 acres, making it one of the largest parks in Melbourne Central, and it's loved by locals and visitors alike.
This ample, green open space in the middle of the city looks a lot like a fairytale park with its vintage cottages, towering elm trees, a fairy tree, and a dragon playground. Visitors can do many things at the Fitzroy Gardens, from taking a stroll around the ponds and artificial waterfalls to checking out the amazing collection of sculptures. If you just want to walk or jog, you can use the walk paths and even spot a few rainbow lorikeets and brushtail and ringtail possums. There is a Cafe in the park to refuel your energy and plenty of restaurants within a short walking distance.
The Fitzroy Gardens are always open and free of charge and are one of the best parks in Melbourne to retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The Carlton Gardens are a natural beauty in the heart of Melbourne, located on the northeastern edge of Melbourne CBD, and are free to enjoy all year round. Home to the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum, the Carlton Gardens is a World Heritage Site with lush lawns, picnic spots, floral displays, water features such as the famous Victorian-era Hochgurtel Fountain, ornamental lakes, a giant Moreton Bay figs tree, and tree-lined avenues. The large open space is home to a variety of wildlife, including brushtail possums and many native birds like ibises and lorikeets.
A popular spot for walking, picnicking, and barbeque, the heritage-listed gardens are home to many events, including The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. The park also features a basketball court, a tennis club, and the Carlton Gardens playground. Though there's no cafe within the gardens, there's a cafe and market at the Melbourne Museum. However, being in a central location you're sure to find many spots to grab a bite just outside the gardens.
Located on the south bank of the Yarra River, Alexandra Gardens connects to Kings Domain and Queen Victoria Gardens, attracting a huge audience of locals and tourists throughout the whole year. The gardens are especially crowded during a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the neighboring Kings Domain. Apart from being the perfect escape from the city noise, the 13 acred open spaces are home to diverse flora, bronze statues, a lily pond and a lot of ducks.
But the key feature of Alexandra Gardens is the line of historic rowing boathouses. The Riverslide Skate Park is within the gardens too, so you can either put your wheels on and join them or admire the talented skaters pirouette around. People come to the gardens for various reasons, whether to attend a festival, admire the manicured lawns or the star-shaped garden bed, or have a picnic under the large shades.
When hunger strikes, you can head down to the Riverslide Cafe for coffee and light lunch or cross St Kilda Road to find more restaurants, cafes and bars.
Located in Fitzroy North, the 59 acres gardens appeal to a large number of visitors throughout the year, and rightly so. The gardens are one of Yarra's largest parks and feature many sports grounds, including 2 cricket grounds, tennis courts, lawn bowls, a skate park and a basketball half-court.
Apart from the sports grounds, Edinburgh Gardens provide visitors with plenty of shaded areas with picnic tables and barbecue facilities, two playgrounds, garden beds, rare specimens of trees, and a network of tracks, including the Capital City Trail, perfect for joggers and cyclists. There are public toilets, a dog off-leash area, and nearby coffee and food. You can access the park any time of the day, all year round.
The oldest park in Melbourne dates back to 1862 and can be found in West Melbourne near Queen Victoria Market. The Flagstaff Gardens extend across 18 acres of green space dotted with sculptures, eucalyptus trees and Moreton Bay figs, Elm trees avenues, flowerbeds and stretches of open grassed area. Home to a variety of local wildlife, including possums, the gardens are also a place for picnics, hiking, or a family outing.
Apart from an adventure playground, the gardens feature a bowling club and tennis courts, making it the perfect weekend getaway with friends or family. There are several historical landmarks in Flagstaff Gardens, including The Court Favourite sculpture, the Pioneer Monument, the Separation Memorial, and the Flagstaff Gardens Sundial.
When it's time to put some food in your stomach, you can choose from any of the cafes and restaurants surrounding the gardens. Like most parks in Melbourne, the Flagstaff Gardens are open 24/7, every day of the year.
The best parks in Melbourne to fertilize your soul
There's nothing better than seeing an abundance of parks in a concrete jungle, which is what you'll find in Melbourne. There is a perfect relaxation spot on every corner, each one with unique history and features, and, most importantly, they're free to access all year round.
Melbourne is a city with great opportunities, and there's something to do and see every step of the way. To ensure an unforgettable stay, familiarize yourself with what else the city can offer by reading the following guides: The 12 best hikes in Melbourne and 6 beaches near Melbourne. There's always something new and exciting to add to your itinerary.