I'm a Melbourne girl, born and bred, and new resident of Geelong. Fantabulous adventures await as I explore my gorgeous new city and the stunning Surf Coast. But don’t worry—I’ll be crossing the bridge regularly to get my Melbourne fix.
Published November 24th 2015
The park that is truly all things Melbourne
Fawkner Park isn't in the northern suburb of Fawkner. It's actually in South Yarra, and is one of Melbourne's premier inner city parks. Taking up a great big slab of land bordered by Commercial Road, Toorak Road and Pasley Street, it was named after John Pascoe Fawkner, one of the co-founders of Melbourne. And what a beautiful slab of land it is. (Oh, and by the way, the suburb of Fawkner was also named for our co-founder…just in case you were wondering).
Sitting a little further south than Melbourne's renowned Botanical Gardens, and without the riverside frontage of Birrarung Marr or the Alexandra Gardens, it's a little less known to many than some of Melbourne's other stunning open spaces and gardens. But it's just a short tram ride from the city centre down the magnificent tree-lined St Kilda Road, giving you a chance to see some more of marvelous Melbourne as you click-clack along.
Fawkner Park is a little further away from the city centre, but it's still very easy to get to and is quite beautiful.
With paths zigzagging across the park it's easy to get one from side to the other, and many local residents use it as a way to get their daily dose of green as they make their way to and from the city, either by foot or by pedal. If you're there for a visit, take the number 8 tram from just near Federation Square, then hop off after it curls around onto Toorak Road, with Fawkner Park on your right. Meander your way through the park, right down to Commercial Road, and then hop back on a tram to take you back up the city centre. Easy as pie.
Take a wander through the park on the tree-lined paths.
With acres and acres of open green space, Fawkner Park is the home of many a weekend game of cricket. Organised leagues, with players resplendent in their whites, play alongside the less, ah, 'official' matches where the outfits aren't quite as white, and the equipment a little more rudimentary. It was even host to the recent Corporate Games, where cricket teams (among other sports) from companies all over Melbourne battled it out (or perhaps I should say 'batted' it out?) in the glorious weekend sunshine. (And for the cricket lovers who want to know who won? IT services company DWS took out the Cricket 8's Championship Award, with the NAB a close second, and United Petroleum third).
The park is full of cricketers in their whites on the weekends...
And it's not just cricket that has this park abuzz on the weekends. The Melbourne Softball Association are based at Fawkner Park, and with recreational 'slow pitch' (modified softball) mixed gender leagues, Batter Up games for kids and Metro League competitions, there's something for everyone who has an interest in softball.
The Melbourne Softball Association also call Fawkner Park their home.
It's a great sport to watch too—and kicking back on the grass in the beautiful surrounds of Fawkner Park is a relaxing way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon. And if you need something else to tempt you, the Melbourne Softball Association operate a kiosk and barbecue from their Fawkner Park clubrooms on the weekends—nothing like some cheap snacks and snags, served up by members and volunteers, to make you feel part of this relaxed and friendly club atmosphere.
A great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon...watching the softball under a shady tree!
There's plenty to keep the kids occupied throughout Fawkner Park, with a fantastic playground on the eastern side of the park, near the Pasley Street entrances. The playground is lovely, surrounded by shady trees and gardens, with equipment for big kids and little kids, and picnic tables and barbecues if you feel like grilling up some sausages while the children run themselves silly. And for the sports-mad kids, there's glorious green grass aplenty to set up a game of soccer or some kick-to-kick, and there's even a basketball court just off to the side if your kids (or you) want to shoot some hoops.
Fawkner Park keeps the little ones busy with its lovely shaded playground set amongst lush gardens.
But you don't have to play cricket or basketball or softball to enjoy Fawkner Park (although you should at least have a little play on the playground—doesn't matter how old you are, you can still have a turn on the swings). Just spend some time wandering along the tree-canopied paths, check out the art deco brick pavilions, and listen to the sounds of park life as they softly surround you—the birds tweeting, the children playing, the distant clanging of the trams as they tootle along, and the cheers of "Howzat!" from one of the cricket matches. And oh but of course, there is the ever-amazing Melbourne city skyline, clearly visible above the trees at the edge of the park.
Stroll along though this beautiful park taking in the sights and sounds.
Fawkner Park runs all the way down to The Alfred, Melbourne's oldest hospital operating on its original site (it was founded in 1871). It is a world leader in the provision of health care, including trauma care and cardiovascular medicine, and Fawkner Park provides a beautiful, calming respite for those who may be visiting friends or family in the hospital, or indeed for those patients that are perhaps able to grab a little bit of precious fresh air every now and then. Trees, grass, plants and a little Vitamin D can do wonders for the soul, and Fawkner Park is literally right across the road from The Alfred's main entrance.
The park is right across from The Alfred, so visitors and patients can have a little respite from hospital walls.
Much of Fawkner Park is the same as it was decades ago, and whilst there have been some modern additions (I don't think there were too many bright coloured jungle gyms or twisty plastic slides way back when), and the city skyline has changed somewhat (no Eureka Tower in 1862) it remains a beautiful public park for all Melburnians and visitors to enjoy. And given it is named after one of the co-founders of our gorgeous city, you can't get much more 'Melbourne' than that.