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Flora and the Baron

Things to do, Walks and tours
A painting of Baron Ferdinand von Mueller with a flower in the background.
Photograph: Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria

Time Out says

This audio tour at Melbourne's Royal Botanical Gardens will take you on a historical journey narrated by its first director

When Melburnians seek a local escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Royal Botanical Gardens is often one of the first destinations to come to mind. But it’s likely most of us don’t know much about its history and its first director who made many significant contributions to the gardens: Baron Ferdinand von Mueller. 

If it’s within your 5km radius and you’re looking for a new and educational outdoor activity, make your way to the Gardens for a free audio tour narrated by Mueller (voiced by an actor, of course) who has time-travelled into the present-day to visit his former haunt.

Mueller, who served a 20-year tenure as the garden’s first director starting in 1857, will speak to you about his joys and fill you in on the drama and frustration of his replacement by William Guilfoyle. He’ll also confront and come to terms with some of his own actions, including his contribution to colonisation, and his introduction of blackberries which became one of Australia’s most pesky invasive plant species.

The tour lasts around 50 minutes and takes you on a 1.2km walk around the gardens, so it's a great way to get some exercise and fresh air on your own or with a friend while also learning about one of Melbourne's most popular attractions. You can access the audio tour via your smartphone and headphones, and the audio can be found here

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