If there’s anywhere you can escape the madness of the city CBD without actually leaving it, the Royal Botanic Gardens is the place. Located on the city’s fringe, this expansive garden is home to a cool 8,500 plant species, zen lakes and lush lawns.
Workshops, tours, walks and talks showcase the intricacies of the gardens – from star-gazing night tours in the Melbourne Observatory to science seminars, which explore the phylogeography of coconut. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk takes you on a journey into the history of the Koolin nation. An Indigenous guide will lead you around the gardens, through a traditional smoking ceremony and show you the uses of plants as both food and medicine. Want to see the Gardens from a new point of view? Book in for a traditional punt cruise around Ornamental Lake, complete with beautiful views of the bays and mini islands. You even get your own paper parasol.
Want to do your own thing? There are plenty of walks and plant collections you can explore at any time. The camellia collection is one of the world’s best with more than 950 different types; Fern Gully recreates a cool forest, which showcases many fern species; and the Tropical Glasshouse is filled with colourful flowers and palms. The Royal Botanic Gardens are also home to the National Herbarium of Victoria, housing more than 1.5 million plant, algae and fungi specimens.
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