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Tim Neville Arboretum

Home > Melbourne > Art | Family | Outdoor | Parks | Picnic Spots
by Happy Mom (subscribe)
I am a world traveller & a mom of two, (8 & 6). I love to meet people, and am fascinated that there are 7 billion stories out there to be explored. I think Melbourne is the most happening city to live in with all the fun activities around town.
Published October 1st 2013
A sight to be seen
Public spaces such as parks, playgrounds, gardens, etc. have been part of urban planning since ancient times. These public spaces fulfil their aim of providing communities a safe area to come together and engage in different levels of bonding with each other, enjoy free time through play, walk, bike-riding, pet-walking, etc. and take in the fresh air.

The Tim Neville Arboretum is a beautifully landscaped botanical garden


Everyone has their favourite park, where they like to hold picnics or show it off to their special overseas guests, etc. I have a brand new favourite garden that we recently discovered as a result of driving past and consequently, spending a whole afternoon there, called the Tim Neville Arboretum .

Plenty of green, lush, shade-giving trees
The flowers add the colour to the green backdrop


The Arboretum is a gem in every sense of the word. It is built on land that is quite large, where only the playground is about 1000 square meter in size. The land was acquired by the Knox City Council back in 1975 and was originally an apple orchard. Since then, it has undergone several transformations, the recent one being completed in February 2013, with the unveiling of a state-of-the-art playground. All these transformations, which are still ongoing, give it that rustic look, with a little bit of the old mixed with a little bit of the new.

Tim Neville Arboretum, named after the former CEO of City of Knox


Before I unveil the beauties of the arboretum, allow me to elaborate what an arboretum is. An arboretum is a botanical garden where trees and other plants are cultivated for educational purposes. A side-effect is that it offers breath-taking sights for visitors, especially if it is done as tastefully as it has been in the Tim Neville Arboretum. Named after the late CEO of the City of Knox, it was Mr. Timothy John Neville's vision to open up spaces to the community.

Beautiful pergola, amphi-theater, BBQs, lakes and much more


The Arboretum caters to people of all ages. There are lush green spaces, surrounded by swaying large trees that provide shade and serenity. Two lakes are home to the families of ducks and other birds living there. The fountains in one of the lakes add to the beauty and charm. The beautiful winding boardwalk over the lake is designed creatively with a few spots to take photos and enjoy the views without blocking the flow of the traffic. There is a large amphitheatre that can accommodate about 200 people, which is nestled within a tiny hill that children love running up to and rolling down on its sides. Nearby, there is a large enough pergola which provides sanctuary in case of inclement weather. There are a few BBQs with picnic benches at the Francis Crescent entrance.

Spend some time walking on the Art Path and appreciate each tile


The community has been involved in the development of this arboretum and it is obvious throughout the arboretum. Artwork done by school children has been cleverly incorporated into the fibre of the park itself. There is a small pathway called the Art Path, built with red tiles, and each tile is a piece of art.

Door to the Secret Garden?
Wall Art, Carved Door and Hiding place under a tree


There is a random wall located between the two lakes, and if you decide to walk through the door, there are circular tiles that create a gorgeous mural. The door is another stunning feature of the wall, carved intricately, creating the feeling that you are walking into a secret garden. There are a couple of trees with their canopies draping downwards, making a hideaway for children within it.

The Knox War Memorial


On the Dorset Road entrance to the Arboretum, there is a War Memorial dedicated to the lost soldiers. The Knox War Memorial includes an obelisk tower, and mural art depicting scenes of heroism during war, set against the backdrop of huge palm trees.

The playground has many features to keep children engaged for hours


Last but not least, the playground is the jewel in the crown. Fully enclosed, children can play in a safe environment under the supervision of their parents/guardians. The most popular feature is the double flying fox, for which children line up, and if the adults get a chance, they have a go as well. There are swings and slides, towers to climb, balancing platforms to run on, a bike track that runs through the playground, a stone maze, a climbing ropes tower, lots of seating area for supervisors, and so many more features that it really is a mini-paradise for small explorers.

The Sandbox and surrounding area has a medieval theme


The sandbox is small, but very user-friendly. There are benches to sit on while you play with sand. A half-crocodile buried in the sand waits to be discovered. The theme is medieval era, with towers, guillotines and bridges to climb.

Art is apparent everywhere you look
Can you spot the lovely family of ducks?


Walking around the arboretum is like walking through a garden which has been nurtured with love and care. The usage of art is visible throughout the park. The drinking water feature is decorated with art, and the restrooms are adorned as well.

Plenty of open space to spread a picnic or sit on one of the many fancy benches


With plenty of walking and sitting areas, a visit to Tim Neville Arboretum is a must. Plan a day, pack a picnic and enjoy the views. Don't forget your camera as there are plenty of photo opportunities. I hope you will make this one of your favourite destinations as well.
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Why? To take in the beauty, charm, tranquility and all other good things
When: Any time of the year
Phone: (03) 9298 8000
Where: 98-106 Dorset Rd, Ferntree Gully VIC 3156
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I love the way you done your photos, it looks great.
by Lorraine A (score: 3|1597) 2024 days ago
I love all the art, and how the community got involved. It makes it a more special place for those who helped out.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12328) 2028 days ago
This is a wonderful community space that does the City of Knox proud. I recall many years ago it was a wasteland, used only by local motorcyclists.
First came the guys with theodolites and pegs & then the earthmovers moved in. I remember when many of those lovely trees were just saplings. Are there still fish in the lakes? Meanwhile, the garden has not been allowed to become stale or dated and has grown & developed with thoughtful guidance over time.
Ahh yes, back then they said it was a waste of money, a folly that wouldn't last.
by alesl (score: 2|147) 2026 days ago
Are dogs allowed?
by Haley (score: 0|8) 2025 days ago
Wow, thank you for such a great article and amazing photos. I would never have known about this place, or appreciate all the wonderful elements that came together to make it such a special community space. I am looking forward to bringing my family there, since we don't even live that far away.
by Jojo.a.gogo (score: 2|200) 2020 days ago
Absolutely Bryony, it was a very special park for all these reasons and more. Tim Neville Arboretum is a sight to behold because writing about just doesn't do justice to it! :)
by Happy Mom (score: 2|548) 2026 days ago
Can you fish here?
by Jas22 (score: 0|4) 1972 days ago
Yes, loads of Carp
by hayle (score: 0|2) 1940 days ago
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