Have you Been to These Top Secret Gardens in Melbourne?
Being such a diverse area both culturally and botanically, Melbourne can boast an extraordinary number of gardens, all appealing in different ways.
But the fun part is stumbling across a hidden treasure, far from the madding crowd, and filled with birdsong, plants, shrubs, flowers, towering trees and lush grasses.
If you want to take a peek at the lesser-known garden gems, try one of these on your next adventure:
Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden
Hidden in the King's Domain right near the entrance of the Royal Botanic Gardens is an utterly beautiful paean to women settlers and their contributions to Victoria, with a garden full of grottoes, statues, and waterways galore.
It's not huge, but it's peaceful and shady, a great spot to find a few minutes to chill in the middle of the city. There aren't any seats, but plenty of grass for a blanket, or simply take a calming stroll around the grounds and imagine what life must have been like for these ladies new to Australia all those years ago.
Who knows, you may even spy a wedding - the intimate setting and the riotously coloured flowerbeds make it a popular spot for lovebirds.
Image Credit: Johntorcasio
After spending 60 years lying around providing water for the 'real' Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, Guilfoyle's Volcano was revegetated with low water-use plants in unbelievable colours (some of the succulents turn red when they need watering), making it a spectacle all of its own.
The park is easy to get to, but futher away in the Botanic Gardens than the crowds usually head, which means it's not overrun with people and on the right day can be a very tranquil space. The view of the city from the wooden boardwork is second-to-none.
The "volcano" itself, a bluestone reservoir, is surrounded by carefully chosen plants in differing heights, designed to look like lava spilling out of an erupting volcano. It's the kind of garden you don't see every day, and well worth the trek to the south-eastern corner of the Gardens.
George Tindale Memorial Gardens
If you're a magnolia, camellia, fucshia or rhododendron fan, you will find yourself in paradise at the George Tindale Memorial Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges.
No matter what season you decide to explore this beautiful patch of land, you will be rewarded with a generous selection of botany not usually cultivated elsewhere.
The Gardens are quite small, and criss-crossed with pram-friendly pathways (although some can be a bit steep) encouraging you to explore the rare and exotic plants underneath the incredible Mountain Ash trees.
Crabourne Botanic Gardens
Head south-east and you'll find yourself in Cranbourne, home of the incredible Cranbourne Botanic Gardens.
There is so much to see here, from the umissable Australian Gardens filled with native flora and fauna, to the Garden Centre when Garden Ambassadors are on hand to help answer your questions and troubleshoot your own home garden - you can even jump on the 23-seater open-air Garden Explorer and take in the view that way.
Stop and have a picnic in the Woodland Picnic Area, or coffee and a snack at Boon Wurrung Cafe on site, where they use Australian native ingredients in their goodies.
Canterbury Gardens are about as quaint and pretty as you can get. Incredible old trees, brightly-coloured flower borders, a bridge through weeping cherry trees, a rotunda with a view - it's a place that's stays true to its 1900 roots. Perfect for a genteel picnic or game of frisbee.