The Royal Botanic Gardens have become world-famous for their spectacular vistas across sweeping lawns and lakes.
Every visitor will enjoy a walk around the Ornamental Lake with its teeming native bird-life, however there is much more to see at Melbourne’s most popular garden attraction.
The mild climate of this city, combined with a long history of plant collection from around the world, has allowed an immense range of plants from across Australia and the world to be brought together at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Plants are displayed in major groupings, or "collections". The Botanic Gardens’ major plant collections include...
Cacti & Succulents
Nature has created some bizarre and extraordinary plants, and none more so than those which grow in the desert regions of the world. We have recreated this arid landscape, displaying an extraordinary assortment of cacti, aloes, agaves and bromeliads, in a setting which could be straight out of your favourite "Western".
A special treat during the winter months, the Gardens display over 300 varieties of the delicate Camellia. A particular favourite for Japanese visitors, the Gardens’ wide collection is one of Australia’s finest.
Australia’s most famous plant export is the gum tree, and the Gardens’ wide collection of eucalypts allows visitors to fully appreciate the beauty and variety of our native trees. A range of native wildflowers from across Australia can also be viewed in season around the Australian Eucalypt Lawn.
Enter the mysterious world of the Fern Gully, visitors can follow the stream through the Gully’s magnificent displays of lush tree ferns, and experience the habitat of a deep, sub-tropical rainforest.
Created in the 1980’s, this visually arresting Garden features plants chosen for their grey and white foliage. Most are hardy species which survive well in dry conditions. The Grey Garden surrounds the delightful Temple of the Winds, built in honour of Charles La Trobe, and provides a sweeping view across the Yarra River to the city.
The fragrant delights of the Herb Garden, which displays a wide variety of these culinary plants in a traditional Elizabethan setting, are a favourite for many visitors
The great trees of the Royal Botanic Gardens are spectacular throughout the year, but Autumn is a particularly special time when the elms, oaks, and many other deciduous trees explode into a mass of vibrant yellow, red and orange.
A garden of contrasting colour, texture and form. In this garden, large drifts of perennials are interspersed with sculptural, ornamental plants. Notice how the variation in colour, texture and form of the flowers and foliage create contrast within the garden.
Lovers of the world’s most popular flower - the Rose - are delighted by the Gardens’ collections of "Species" and "Hybrid Tea" Roses. A multitude of varieties allow visitors to fully experience the magnificent colours, shapes and fragrances of these perennial favourites.
Water Conservation Garden
Become a water-wise Gardener! The Water Conservation Garden teaches ways to conserve this precious resource while creating a pleasing display of flowering and foliage plants which can thrive with minimum watering.
Australian Rainforest Walk
Explore Rainforest plants from Tasmania to Queensland in the Gardens’ new Australian Rainforest Walk. This Walk features informative signage telling the story of our rainforest habitats, and highlighting the importance of conserving these precious areas.
Southern Chinese Collection
Planted in 1985, the intention was not to emulate the style and atmosphere of a traditional Chinese garden, but rather to display a range of both common and rare plants from China. It was intended to be more a botanical collection rather than an ornamental feature. The RBG Melbourne has grown plant species from China for more than 150 years. The plants chosen for this collection in 1985 were sourced through index seminums from Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai Botanic gardens.
Not only is it a few minutes from the city, but entry is free. The gardens open at 7.30am every day of the year and close when the sun goes down.
If you are coming from outside the city, take a train to Flinders Street Station. From Flinders Street, you can get on the following trams: 3, 5, 8, 16, 64, 67. Get off the tram at the Domain Road Interchange. Walk towards the Shrine of Remembrance and you will see the Observatory Buildings. The Observatory buildings are part of the Gardens. The Visitor Centre is located here and can be a good starting point. The Number 8 Tram can drop you close to Gate D.
You can ride the free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Shuttle begins at the Melbourne Museum and runs every 15 minutes between 10-4pm daily. You can hop on and hop off at any of the 15 stops including the Royal Botanic Gardens.
2, 3 and 4 hour parking is available in the streets surrounding the Gardens. Voucher machines operate in Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra which is 15 minutes walk from the city centre. Disable Parking is available along Birdwood Avenue, near D Gate and F Gate, and along Alexandra Avenue near A Gate.
Autumn is a lovely time to visit the Botanic Gardens where you can see the seasons changing as trees shed their leaves. There are more than 50,000 individual types of plants around which you can see by walking through the different collections, including the beautiful Rose gardens or the cool Fern Gully. A walk around the Ornamental Lake is also great for exercising and bird watching.
Note: The correct name for the gardens is BOTANIC not botanicAL.