Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published September 11th 2015
Melbourne, Garden City
10 More Top Gardens in Greater Melbourne So spoilt for choice are garden loving Melburnians that to list only the 10 Top Gardens in Greater Melbourne would be a travesty. So here are another 10, each a wonder in their own right. No matter the season - spring, summer, autumn or winter - each of these gardens and botanic parks are worth a visit. The plants are just the beginning, make it a day out, have a BBQ or picnic, explore the surrounding area, sit by a lake or stroll beneath the trees.
Sculpture in the gardens (Image from Austplant Nursery and Gardens Facebook Page)
Although Austplant Nursery and Gardens is a commercial business it has over 600 species of native plants spread over 3 hectares of display gardens set on terraces overlooking a valley. Paths and steps wind between ground covers, shrubs and trees. Many of the native plants flower all year round making this an attractive garden to visit at any time.
Austplant Nursery Garden (Image from Mornington Peninsula Facebook Page)
An abundance of birdlife, king parrots, crimson rosellas, sulphur tailed black and yellow cockatoos, and wrens, are attracted by the native plants. Nesting boxes installed at Austplant house crimson rosellas. If you hope to replicate this at home the plants and the nesting boxes can be purchased at the nursery. Sculptures on consignment form local sculptors enhance the garden design and are also for sale.
An echidna in the gardens (Image from Austplant Nursery and Gardens)
Austplant Nursery and Gardens are at 249 Purves Road, Arthurs Seat. They are open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sundays and public holidays. As well as the display gardens there is a retail nursery and a garden design service. They can be contacted on (03) 5989 6120, via their website or on their Facebook Page.
Banksia Honey Pots (Image from Austplant Nursery and Gardens Facebook Page)
2. George Pentland Botanic Gardens Frankston Nestled in the heart of Frankston, the George Pentland Botanic Gardens are a great place for a quiet morning or afternoon out or a lunchtime respite from the working day. Walking tracks connect the gardens and leisure areas. Wander through grassed open spaces, shady areas and even a fern gully.
The gardens focus on plants from South Eastern Australia and the Mornington Peninsula. Plant collections include groundcovers, wildflowers, grasses, climbers, shrubs, trees, ferns and palms. Ducks swim on an ornamental lake and sculptures modelled on the Aboriginal Dreamtime are scattered throughout.
Leisure areas at the George Pentland Botanic Gardens (Image from www.anbg.gov.au)
The George Pentland Botanic Gardens are at the Corner of Williams and Foot Streets, Frankston. The gardens have picnic and BBQ facilities and a children's playground. There are public toilets. They are open 7am to 9pm November to March and 7am to 6pm April to October. For more details ring 1300 322 322 or check the council website.
Dandenong and Yarra Ranges
3. George Tindale Memorial Gardens - Sherbrooke
This 2.4 hectare garden was designed and created by Ruth and George Tindale in the 1960's and opened to the public in the 1980's. George Tindale was an agricultural scientist and horticulturist and that combined with Ruth's keen love of plants were the foundation for this beautiful legacy.
Autumn Colour at the George Tindale Memorial Gardens (Image from Friends of the George Tindale Memorial gardens Facebook Page)
Amongst the plants showcased beneath a canopy of mature mountain ash, some of which are rare, you will find magnolias, rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, fuchsias, hydrangeas and bulbs. The hydrangea collection is nationally registered. The garden was designed to have plants in flower all year round and is a delight to visit at any time.
George Tindale memorial Gardens in November (Image from Friends of the George Tindale Memorial Gardens Facebook Page)
The George Tindale Memorial Garden is at 33 Sherbrooke Road, Sherbrooke. It is open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day. There is parking on Sherbrooke Road near the main entrance and public toilets near the house. Walking paths link the garden and lawn areas. For more details ring Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit their website. Friends of George Tindale Memorial Gardens can be contacted via their website.
The East Lawn Gazebo at George Tindale Memorial Gardens (Image from Friends of the George Tindale Memorial Gardens Facebook Page)
These 11 hectare, terraced gardens, the walls of which are made from local stone, are a mix of exotic plantings and native species. Conifers, 28 varieties of maples, and 13 varieties of birch grow in harmony with blackwoods and mountain ash. These gardens are a visual feast in autumn. Viburnums, rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias are but a few of the shrubs and perennials. At the base of the garden a natural fern gully remains.
Will you be one of the lucky ones to spot a lyrebird (Image by CSIRO ScienceImage 10356 Superb Lyrebird (CC BY 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons)
Walking tracks link the gardens and lawns. Take a rest and soak in the beauty of the gardens on open air seats or from within the gazebos.
Pirianda Gardens are at Hacketts Road, Olinda (off Olinda-Monbulk Rd). Car and bus parking is available on site as are public toilets. They are open from 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day. For more details ring Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit their website.
A grand Victorian landscape design features English oaks, white poplar, plane trees, elms, conifers, and cedars. The gardens are a splendid sight when dressed in their autumn colours. The Grand Allee of plane trees leads to Royal Exhibition Building, a great vantage point for photographers. Garden beds are planted with shrubs and flowering annuals. Of particular pride is the collection of Moreton Bay fig trees.
The Grand Allee leading ot the Royal Exhibition Building at Carlton Gardens (Image by ben britten (CC BY 2.0), via Wikimedia Commons)
Tree lined walking paths move past elaborate fountains and statues. Ducks, and in spring their ducklings, frequent the two ornamental lakes. The gardens are also home to brushtail possums, tawny frogmouths, kookaburras, and bats.
There are ample lawn areas to sit and soak up the sun or have a picnic and there is a children's playground for the young ones. The gardens are a short distance from Lygon Street, Melbourne's Little Italy and the birth place of the city's cafe culture.
Carlton Gardens in Autumn (Image by By Xiquinho Silva (flickr.com photos xiquinho 8022933722 ) (CC BY 2.0), via Wikimedia Commons)
The Carlton Gardens are at 1-111 Carlton Street, Carlton. The gardens are free to enter at any time and are wheelchair accessible. For more details contact Melbourne Parks on 9658 9658 or via their website.
6. Fitzroy Gardens Fitzroy
In a history spanning 150 years, these 26 hectare, heritage listed gardens have delighted locals and travellers alike. It is estimated that more than two million people visit the gardens each year. Flower beds provide carpets of colour in season but the Fitzroy Gardens are known more for their mature trees, magnificent fountains and statues and of course the iconic Cooks' Cottage and Model Tudor Village.
Elaborate fountains featured in the gardens include The River God Fountain at the northern end which was originally built in 1862 and renovated and rebuilt in 1996, The Dolphin Fountain on the stone path, Grey Street Fountain, and Conservatory Fountain with the statue of Dianna and the Hounds.
A Corinthian design, square bandstand created and erected in 1864 still stands as does The Temple of the Winds Rotunda built in 1863. At the Hotham Street entrance are two sandstone sculptures, prize winners in a 1935 competition.
Temple of the Winds Rotunda at Fitzroy Gardens (Image from m.visitvictoria.com)
Sprawling lawns are dissected by wide paths. Mature trees rise high above and gardens sport ferns and shrubs. The gardens, surrounded by the bustling city are a welcome respite to the hubub. Cross Lansdowne Street to the Treasury Gardens for an added bonus.
Captain Cook's Cottage (Image by Cnwb at en.wikipedia Public domain, from Wikimedia Commons)
Fitzroy Gardens are bordered by Clarendon Street, Albert Street, Lansdowne Street, and Wellington Parade, East Melbourne. There are no BBQ or picnic facilities but the Pavilion Café is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8.30am to 5pm The Visitor Information Centre, on Wellington Parade is open from 9am to 5pm, every day except Christmas Day and can be contacted on (03) 9419 5766 or via their website. For more details or the garden's features and a map visit the garden's website.
7. Rippon Lea Estate Elsternwick
When Rippon Lea Estate was built in the late 1860's its gardens were a modern marvel. Underground engineering works designed to make the house and gardens water self-sufficient include water collection, irrigation and drainage systems. A windmill pumped water to where it was needed.
Rippon Lea Boat House (Image by Citizen D - Own work - (CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons)
These sprawling grounds, 11 hectares in all, include ornamental gardens separated by hedges, a children's garden, lakes, water lily ponds, bridges, waterfalls, open grass areas, large trees, and walking paths. A glasshouse, boathouse and fernery complete the traditional design. Lawns and gazebos are welcome spots to take a rest and take in the wonderful surrounds.
The mansion and gardens are a popular spot for weddings and functions. Special events are frequently hosted at the mansion and in the grounds. Check the website for what's on now.
Rippon Lea Fernery (Image by Citizen D- Own work - (CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
Ripponlea House and Gardens is at 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick. The gardens are open from 10am to 4pm daily. Entry to this garden is not free; check the website for current prices and activities. They can be contacted on (03) 9523 6095 or via their website.
8. Melton Botanic Garden Melton
This relatively young botanic garden which showcases plants that tolerate dry climate and low water conditions was first conceived in 2003 and continues its staged development today. Progress has been significant. In place are the Flowering Eucalypts, Acacia Walk, the Sensory Garden, and the Indigenous People's Garden. Gardens currently in development, are the Western Australian, South Australian and South African Beds.
Burdett's Mallee in the Eucalyptus Arboretum (Image from Melton Botanic Garden Facebook Page)
There are good walking paths throughout and along Ryans Creek to the lake. Bird watchers will not be disappointed with sightings made to date of great cormorants, swans, ducks, purple swamphens, dusky moorhens, coots, white-faced herons, darters, eastern rosella, red wattlebird and more.
Sensory Garden (Image from Melton Botanic Garden Facebook Page)
The creek, lake and established trees made this 25 hectare tract of land an ideal choice and although barely more than ten years old the gardens have 250 year old River Red Gums as well as other mature eucalypts.
The Melton Botanic Garden is in Lakewood Boulevarde, Melton. There is a public carpark, public toilets, BBQ's and seating. For more information contact (03) 9743 3819, or check the Friends of Melton Botanic Garden website or their Facebook Page.
9. Footscray Park and Gardens - Footscray
One of the largest and best preserved Edwardian parks in Australia, this 15 hectare park affords views of the Maribyrnong River,Flemington Racecourse and the City of Melbourne. Designed in 1911 the park is on the Victorian Heritage Register.
The arbour. (Image from Footscray Park and Gardens Facebook Page)
Walk beneath mature trees and palms, stroll along formal paths and cross sloping lawns. Pause by the granite Alfred Green Memorial Fountain supported by two sculpted platypus. Pass through a wisteria covered arbour to the Thompson Water Garden. Watch ducks and fish in the ornamental ponds. Enjoy seasonal floral displays. Visit the Memorial Garden with its ceremonial terrace.
The arbour. (Image from Footscray Park and Gardens Facebook Page)
Exercise your dog in the off lead area. Watch your children running about the open playing fields. Take a brisk walk and work out on the exercise equipment. Cook up a BBQ and sit the family around one of the picnic tables.
Flower beds (Image from Footscray Park and Gardens Facebook Page)
The Footscray Park and Gardens are in Ballarat Road, Footscray and are always open. For more information contact Maribyrnong Council on (03) 9688 0200, check their website or check out the Facebook Page.
South Eastern Suburbs
10.Wilson Botanic Park - Berwick
A quarry until the 1970's, Wilson Botanic Park has been transformed into a public treasure. Stretching across an astounding 39 hectares and accessed by an oak lined driveway the gardens showcase Australian natives, North American species, a sensory garden, Australian wattles, pines, roses, water lilies and grasslands.
Anniversary Lake at Wilson Botanic Park. (Image from City of Casey Facebook Page)
Walking paths and trails meander through gardens, across grasslands and around lakes. Visitors can choose a sedate stroll or a brisk workout. Seating is plentiful. The outer loop and lakes trail is the longest at 3km. For the more adventurous the trail to the Hoo Hoo Lookout Tower is a steep 1km walk with steps.
Bring the children for a family day out. There is a BBQ area with undercover picnic tables and a playground. Some of the fossils removed from the original quarry are displayed in the visitor centre and are sure to capture the children's imagination. There are two fossil seams in Wilson Botanic Park.
For birdwatchers there is a bird hide on the edge of Basalt Lake, the smaller of the two lakes. There is an abundance of wildlife throughout the park. Cormorants, black cockatoos, ducks, and turtles are frequently spotted.
The lookouts afford panoramic views across the lakes, to the city skyline and to the mountain ranges. Don't forget your camera. At times the park hosts open air cinema nights or theatrical performances and it is popular for weddings.
Wilson Botanic Park (Image from City of Casey Facebook Page)
Wilson Botanic Park is at 668 Princes Highway, Berwick. The park is open daily from 7am to 6pm or from 7am to 9pm during daylight savings, every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday. The visitor centre is open from 10am to 4pm. There is off road parking and public toilets. Plan your visit, the BBQ areas are in high demand on weekends and holidays. Admission is free except when special functions are on. For more details ring the City of Casey on (03) 9707 5818 or check their website.