In 1844, Charles La Trobe – the colony’s first Lieutenant Governor – reserved 500 acres of Melbourne land where they could ‘conveniently take recreation after their daily labor.’ Thanks to this foresight, Melbourne is now home to many large and beautiful gardens; it’s why Victoria is called the ‘garden state.’ Here are the best ones worth visiting; they are all close to the city centre.
The oldest park in Melbourne, Flagstaff Gardens is commonly visited by residents, local workers and tourists.
Named after the flagstaff that once stood on its hills, it would signal ships sailing into port.
Flagstaff Gardens is now home to an underground train station, tennis courts, bowling lawns, and barbeques.
The World Heritage Listed Carlton Gardens are stunning, and only a couple of minutes from the city centre.
These gardens are home to the Royal Exhibition Building, constructed in 1880 to host the World Fair. The fair was visited by over one million people, and was the first to be held in the southern hemisphere.
In the Carlton Gardens you'll also find the Melbourne Museum, IMAX Theatre, tennis courts and the very insta-worthy Hochgurtel Fountain.
Just east of the city centre are the Fitzroy Gardens, one of the major Victorian-era gardens in the country.
Home to many points of interest, including an ornamental lake, conservatory, cafe and Cook's Cottage. The latter is the house where James Cook parents lived, brought to Australia from England in the 1930's.
The most impressive garden in Melbourne is the Royal Botanic Gardens. Stretching over 36 hectares (89 acres), it is home to 50,000 individual plants that represent 8,500 different species.
The place is massive! We recommend you allow several hours to explore it all. Inside you'll be able to enjoy displays of plants from all around the world.
You'll also find Ornamental Lake, with a bank that is perfect for picnics.
Kings Domain is just south of the city centre and features some of Melbourne's most iconic landmarks. Extending from St Kilda Road to the Yarra River, it's home to The Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Government House and the Shrine of Remembrance.
As you explore the parklands, look out for the memorial to Weary Dunlop - a doctor who served in WWII - the cottage of Governor La Trobe and also the popular Tan running circuit.
Kings Domain also extends to the Royal Botanic Gardens, so it's easy to visit them both.
More expert tips by our tour guides: