is a girl-about-town and general, adventurous, know-it-all.
Published September 15th 2011
The Ray Bramham Gardens in Preston is one of those surprising, northern suburb locations that makes you feel as if you're much further out of town.
The park is only 7.5 kilometres away from Melbourne's CBD, yet the cleverly designed landscapes and meandering paths guide you into picturesque alcoves and valleys that leave the city behind as only a distant memory.
On your visit you can expect to find the gardens immaculately clean. Not only free of rubbish and graffiti, but well-maintained with mown lawns, all of the fallen leaves raked away and the many trees shaped and pruned.
The pretty vistas and park's large, iron-laced rotunda all seem purposely built to act as the backdrops for wedding photography, so it's not surprising that this is one of the garden's popular activities alongside picnics, dog walking (on-lead only), exercise, and meditation.
In the centre of the gardens is a large pond. It is traversed by wooden bridges and although the pond is currently dry, it is still interesting to look at with a waving crop of tall reeds and soft algae top. A casual stroll around the park will take you 15 -20 minutes but longer if you stop to admire the plantings.
The garden was shaped by Melbourne landscape designer Robert Boyle, who was also responsible for the design of Bundoora Park. In both he has given great examples of how to garden using Australian natives (like dwarf wattle, butterfly orchids and myrtaceae) but has also set on display blossoms, roses, and magnolias for the romantic at heart.
Ray Bramham Gardens is easy to get to by car with access from Peter Street, just off Bell Street. A bicycle track all the way along St George's road from the city leads there as well. Preston train station is 300m away and the 112 West Preston tram will drop you off close by at the No. 34 tram stop on Miller Street tram.
For children's play equipment, you can visit Newman's Reserve, just across the road. McDonald's on the corner of Bell Street and St George's Road is the closest location for food.