You can’t tiptoe through the tulips, but you can definitely ramble through the roses at Victoria State Rose Garden. In fact, “garden” feels like it just doesn’t do the attraction justice. “Floral mega attraction” seems more appropriate, given the space is home to more than 5,000 roses (!) and is internationally acclaimed.
The thousands of rose bushes are maintained by a team of 100-plus volunteers dedicated to keeping the flowers at their rosiest for their annual blooming (generally October to May). The astute rose spotter will notice that the gardens are shaped into a five-petal Tudor rose – really, it’s no wonder that the gardens were the first outside of Europe to win the World Federation of Rose Societies Award for Garden Excellence (which we presume is the rose version of the Olympics).
Located adjacent to Werribee Park Mansion, the Victoria State Rose Garden makes for a low-risk, high-reward date idea with entry to the gardens free (though gold coin donations are encouraged to help care for the gardens). There are plenty of spots to hold a romantic picnic, and barbecues are available just outside the gardens for anyone wanting to grill up a few snags.
You don't even have to BYO picnic, with picnic hampers available from the Refectory Parlour and Devonshire tea hampers available from Lancemore Mansion Hotel.
Want to see the gardens at their most vivacious? Head along to the annual State Rose and Garden Show, usually run in November. It’s a free event featuring plant-care demonstrations, kids' activities, workshops, pop-up nurseries and lots and lots of roses.