The Royal Botanic Gardens are Melbourne's reset button, with 36 hectares to relax in and explore. The gardens are home to more than 8,500 different plant species from around the world, and they are the perfect place to take time out and recharge your batteries.
The gardens can get a bit crowded at times, with almost 2 million visitors yearly. So it's nice to find a space off the beaten path to relax, enjoy, meditate, meet a few friends or just take in a bit of calm. The RBG has just opened three new secret gardens designed for a few people at a time to enjoy a tranquil space.
One is the Moss Garden, a Japanese-style garden with three sculpted stone seats placed around a 'mother stone'. The mother stone is a gently bubbling fountain, and the trickling water adds to the peace and serenity in the space.
The second is the Bird's Nest, a hideaway with a suspended swing seat that can fit two people carefully. The space is inspired by a love of birds and includes an encompassing woven wooden fence. The timber is sourced from around the gardens, and it really makes you feel like you're safely ensconced in your own private nest. The swing, which looks like a chrysalis, is the perfect place for reading a book, canoodling with a loved one or relaxing and meditating.
The most hidden of the new gardens is the Grotto, a secret space off the beaten path that feels like it's in a completely different world. The sheltered rock wall is sheltered by a wrought-iron artwork by Justin Purser, and a water feature provides a burbling soundtrack in the space. The rock wall includes some stars made of century-old china discovered in the gardens.
All three are found within the Fern Gully section of the Royal Botanic Gardens.