Over the weekend, we took advantage of Melbourne’s great summer weather and ventured to the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens. Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens are located just off St Kilda Road and easy to get too by taking the train to Flinders Street Train Station and then a short tram ride to the Domain Interchange. Alternatively, parking is fairly ample nearby, so grabbing a GoGet from near your home is easy as well. For our trip, the sun was shining, but there was plenty of shade under the many trees. Basically, it was just right for a picnic. After the picnic, once the weather had cooled down, we accomplished our plan to explore the surroundings.
We took our own advice from our last Melbourne adventure and got our picnic supplies from the Prahran Market and set up some blankets on the Oak Lawn, just near the National Herbarium. The great thing was that, while it was obviously a popular day out for many, there was still plenty of room for a casual game of Frisbee. However, we wouldn’t recommend the Botanic Gardens for anything more competitive. It’s primarily a picnic spot, so if you want to play cricket, go down the road to Fawkner Park.
Then a wander through the ferns!
Located in the middle of the garden, Fern Gully is a wonderful place for a wander on a hot day; it’s nice and cool in there. The walk through the Gully only takes a few minutes, but there are plenty of benches to sit on if you just want to enjoy some peace and quiet or read a book. Alternatively, if you’re keen to learn about ferns, stop and read one of the many information panels and come back to your picnic with a knowledge of Australian flora.
Enjoy the lake
Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens’ central feature is the large lake which, despite our choice of picnic ground, is probably the most popular picnic spot. And why not? It’s certainly a relaxing place to sit and while away and afternoon with friends and family. There’s not much else to say about the lake though! While our walk covered the majority of the grounds, if you’re after something shorter but just as nice, the walk around the lake shouldn’t take more than about twenty minutes.
And check out the volcano
Throughout our walk through the Botanic Gardens, we saw signs directing us to Guilfoyle’s Volcano. Yes, a volcano! Of course the volcano isn’t active, but it’s still a nice reminder of the land that Melbourne was thousands of years ago. Today, the “volcano” is simply a mound surrounded by a lovely desert garden. But it’s interesting to walk out of the lush, more British style gardens, and into what is referred to as the “Arid Garden.” It’s really reflective of Australia’s varied landscape. The Melbourne Botanic Gardens are big, so we’re sure we missed out on some great spaces. If you have any favourite lawns or hiding places in the Botanic Gardens, we’d love to hear them; if you’re willing to share your secret that is.