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Published May 27th 2019
What Victor Hugo said
'A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in', said Victor Hugo and I tear up. Yep, poetry does that to me. But gardens make me smile. And it doesn't matter in the least that my backyard looks like that's where the aliens practice their crop circles before they get it right. There are lovely gardens, meticulously maintained, loved, and proudly exhibited, for your viewing pleasure right here in Melbourne. And one of these is the Government House garden.
You'd be forgiven for thinking anything related to government business would mean stuffed-shirts, dull, boring speeches, traffic fines, and such. Nothing pretty there. But it's the oddest thing, governments worldwide have a thing for lovely gardens. Not just that, they also don't mind you walking around and enjoying the splendid views and fresh air. And what's more, you get to do it for free.
So, if you enjoy strolling along a garden path taking in history and listening to exciting anecdotes, you really should consider taking a Government House garden tour. It's not just for green-thumbed aficionados and eager tourists, it's also for those who would like to take a step back in time, or would like to take it easy for a while, or even take a break now and then from desks and monitors. It's also a reminder, winter doesn't mean you can't enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise in the bargain.
What is this garden tour?
The tour is led by the garden and grounds curator. It takes you through well-manicured lawns, magnificent garden beds, majestic trees, and splendid blooms. Every tree comes with connections in high places as most of them have been planted by royalty. The Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden is a highlight of the tour.
The garden tours are on every third Thursday of the month, which means there is one coming up on the 20th of June 2019. It takes about an hour and may involve covering some uneven surfaces, small hills, and a few steps to climb up and down. What that means is you should have some level of physical fitness in order to keep up with the enthusiasts. A group is usually about 30 people.
What you need to do.
You are advised to wear comfortable shoes and casual wear. You will have to go through a security checkpoint and will have to produce some form of ID such as drivers license, passport, etc. You need to be at the Government House Gatehouse 15 minutes before it is due to start. The tour itself is from 11am to12pm.
How to make a booking.
You need to book yourself into the tour by 12 noon the day before, which would be the third Wednesday of the month. You can pick your dates and make a booking here. Tours can be cancelled if bad weather plays spoilsport. It wouldn't be much fun to take this tour on a cold, rainy day. So check out the weather reports before you book yourself in.