There’s no better place to take in stunning autumn colours than here in Melbourne. Whether you’re a visitor to Victoria or a Melbourne local, I’ll let you in on the best places to visit in autumn when Melbourne will spoil you with explosions of colour.
Autumn in Melbourne is my favourite season and a magical time if you like to take photos of nature’s gorgeous colours!
Many parks and gardens in Melbourne and surrounding areas are planted with European deciduous trees (the best autumn leaves being from Elm, Ash and Maple trees) that display stunning orange, yellow and red autumn colours.
When is autumn in Melbourne? The season starts in March and ends in May, though the autumn colours may start and end earlier or later in the season depending on the weather.
From Melbourne CBD to nearby areas – here’s our roundup of the 21 best places to see the changing leaves during a Melbourne autumn. Grab a picnic hamper and go explore!
Table of contents
Where to See the Best Autumn Leaves Melbourne
1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Royal Botanic Gardens is one of Melbourne’s top tourist attractions and during a Melbourne Autumn, the vibrant shades of yellow and orange paint a beautiful picture across this favourite landmark.
Kids can play among the leaves on the Oak Lawn (the best spot for Autumn photos) and explore nature-based sensory experiences at the delightful Ian Potter Children’s Garden.
You can currently experience the free exhibition Seeing the Invisible, with Augmented Reality artworks dotted throughout the gardens.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne
2. Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne
Fitzroy Gardens is an elegant park right on the city’s edge and in Autumn it’s a must-visit destination.
As well as skipping down avenues of tall elm trees dropping their colourful leaves, the kids will have a great time at the KereKere Green cafe, conservatory, Cooks' Cottage, model Tudor village, fairy tree and dinosaur-themed playground.
It’s the perfect location for a family picnic. Here are some other great Melbourne parks for a picnic.
Fitzroy Gardens, Wellington Parade, East Melbourne
3. Carlton Gardens, Carlton
The red, orange and purple colours of Carlton Gardens are probably one of the most instantly recognisable images of Melbourne in Autumn.
Head down the Grand Allee avenue of European trees, with the Victorian-era Hochgurtel Fountain and Royal Exhibition Building in the background, for the perfect Instagram shot.
There are also mature trees dropping their leaves amongst the flowerbeds and ornamental lakes.
Carlton Gardens, Nicholson Street, Carlton
4. The University of Melbourne, Parkville
While not a traditional park or garden, the Parkville campus of the University of Melbourne drops a gorgeous array of colour in its roads and courtyards, particularly along Masson Road which runs off Swanston Street.
The University of Melbourne, Grattan Street, Parkville
5. Fawkner Park, South Yarra
This popular park in South Yarra is just a short tram ride south of the Melbourne CBD.
The pathways, avenues and lawns were first designed in 1875 and now the plantings of established Moreton Bay Figs, elms, poplars and oaks turn golden in Autumn.
While you’re there you can visit the three different children’s playgrounds – the one in the centre of the park was designed especially for toddlers. You can also let your dog enjoy a run off-leash in the designated off-leash areas.
Or play tennis at the Fawkner Park Tennis Centre and afterwards enjoy a coffee in the adjacent cafe or any of the cafes in South Yarra just across the street on Toorak Road.
Fawkner Park, Commercial Rd, South Yarra
6. Ardrie Park, Malvern
Ardrie Park is nestled in the leafy, tree-lined suburb of Malvern East. The elm trees are now over 100 years old and every year they drop colourful leaves, making it a popular location for family photoshoots or for simply making leaf piles to jump in!
The park also features a shaded playground that's great for toddlers, a barbecue area and a dog park.
Ardie Park, Ardrie Rd, Malvern East
7. Jells Park, Wheelers Hill
Jells Park in Wheelers Hill offers visitors a tranquil escape from their busy lives. In autumn deciduous trees start to lose their green tinge and take on a rainbow of colours.
Families love coming here because the 127-hectare park has picnic areas, two playgrounds, nine kilometres of bike trails and Jells Lake that flows from the Dandenong Creek.
Jells Park, Waverley Rd, Wheelers Hill
8. Williamstown Botanic Gardens, Williamstown
Williamstown Botanic Gardens were opened in 1860 and are one of Victoria’s first public gardens. The gardens feature shrubberies, a pinetum, marble statuary, an intricate path system, an ornamental lake, a palm walk and rare and significant trees.
In autumn, most of the park explodes into a breathtaking tapestry of red and amber leaves. If you want to take some amazing photos of Autumn leaves, make sure you bring your camera with you!
Williamstown Botanic Gardens, Esplanade, Williamstown
Best Autumn Leaves Dandenong Ranges
9. Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, Olinda
The Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden (formerly the National Rhododendron Garden) is Victoria's premier cool-climate garden.
With breathtaking views over the Yarra Valley, the garden has a year-round appeal but it becomes especially beautiful in autumn thanks to the explosion of red, orange and gold foliage by the European trees and the rustic-coloured hydrangeas.
The gardens are important for their collection of a staggering 15,000 rhododendrons, 12,000 azaleas, 3,000 camellias and 250,000 daffodils.
Entry is free so you can bring a picnic basket and set up on one of the lawns within the gardens for a scenic day out. If you’re keen to explore more, ride the ‘Garden Explorer' – a fee-for-service people mover which provides a 25-minute guided tour of the garden.
Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, 24 Georgian Road, Olinda
10. Alfred Nicholas Gardens, Sherbrooke
When you visit Alfred Nicholas Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges in Autumn, you will find spectacular mountain ash trees bursting with golden foliage, as well as the iconic ornamental lake surrounded by golden gingko leaves over the water.
The gardens are also home to a colourful blend of native and exotic trees, including ginkgoes, maples, and liquid ambers.
Alfred Nicholas Gardens, 1A Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke
11. George Tindale Memorial Gardens, Sherbrooke
The George Tindale Memorial Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges are lovely throughout the year, but during autumn the place feels especially magical when the many varieties of rhododendrons, camellias and hydrangeas bloom.
George Tindale Memorial Gardens, 33 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke
12. RJ Hamer Arboretum, Olinda
Originally a pine plantation, the 101-hectare Arboretum was established in the 1970s and provides views of the Yarra Valley and the Great Dividing Range.
You will find over 150 species of native and exotic trees. Thanks to large plantings of northern hemisphere forest species, in Autumn the garden offers an impressive display of autumn colour.
RJ Hamer Arboretum, 10 Chalet Rd, Olinda
13. Cloudehill Nursery and Garden, Olinda
At Cloudehill Nursery and Garden the combination of weeping maples, beeches and ornamental grasses turns the whole site into a painterly autumnal foliage masterpiece. Wander down the Gallery Walk, just east of the entrance, or through the Cool Borders further south for the best views.
While you're there, head into the Seasons Restaurant for a bite and you can buy plants and gardening equipment at the Diggers Garden Shop.
Entry to the Gardens is $10 for adults and children are free.
Cloudehill Nursery and Garden, 89 Olinda-Monbulk Rd, Olinda
Best Autumn Leaves Yarra Valley
14. Maroondah Reservoir Park, Maroondah
Maroondah Reservoir Park is about 50km from Melbourne, near Healesville and is a great spot for those seeking some peace in nature.
In autumn, the park changes to a multi-coloured autumn leaf spectacle and the Rose Stairway is a stunning location for that Instagram shot.
There are also playgrounds and expansive lawns for a picnic, making it a perfect location for an autumn day out with the kids.
Maroondah Reservoir Park, Maroondah Highway, Healesville
Autumn Leaves Mornington Peninsula
15. Arthurs Seat State Park, Arthurs Seat
Arthurs Seat State Park is one of the most beautiful locations in the Mornington Peninsula during autumn. From the highest point on the Mornington Peninsula, you can see over Port Phillip Bay while admiring 84 acres of land covered in autumn leaves.
There are many winding paths that lead off the main road, so explore! One of the most popular areas is Seawinds Gardens, with a playground, picnic tables, electric barbecues, toilets and the William Ricketts sculpture collection dotted amongst the deciduous trees.
Arthurs Seat State Park, Arthurs Seat Rd, Red Hill
16. Coolart Wetlands and Homestead, Somers
Coolart Wetlands and Homestead is a heritage estate located in Somers on the Mornington Peninsula.
The 87 acres are managed by Parks Victoria, with wetlands, bird hides, woodlands and pasture surrounding a historic Homestead.
If you visit in autumn then the leaves of the estate turn a vibrant golden hue, perfect for your autumn picnic.
Coolart Wetlands and Homestead, Lord Somers Rd, Somers
Autumn Leaves Macedon Ranges
17. Honour Avenue, Macedon
The Avenue of Honour is a spectacular avenue of Pin Oak trees that honours the 154 men and women of Macedon and Mount Macedon who fought in World War I.
Every year, the area attracts a lot of visitors in the peak autumn season, so there are temporary traffic management measures in place during this time. My advice is to avoid weekends and go early in the morning, before 9am when the road is closed over autumn.
Honour Avenue, Honour Avenue, Macedon
18. Gardens of Tieve Tara, Mt Macedon
The Gardens of Tieve Tara is home to Mount Macedon’s most famous gardens.
The pin oaks, aspens and copper beech trees all transform in autumn and the ground becomes a carpet of colourful leaves.
There are 7.5 acres of lawns, lakes and trees to explore, plus on our last visit, there were some children’s toys and a play area to enjoy too.
Gardens of Tieve Tara, 751 Mount Macedon Rd, Mount Macedon
19. Forest Glade Gardens, Mount Macedon
Forest Glade Gardens is another private Mount Macedon garden that’s open to the public.
The garden has four distinct themes and the large English section is where you’ll find the best autumn colours due to the various deciduous trees.
The other themes include a Japanese garden with a bonsai house, a woodland area and a fern gully.
Adult entry is $10. Children 16 and under, and disabled visitors and their carers admitted free.
Forest Glade Gardens, 816 Mount Macedon Rd, Mount Macedon
20. Kyneton Botanic Gardens, Kyneton
The Kyneton Botanic Gardens were established in 1858 and the many European trees explode with colour in autumn.
It’s a popular location for families thanks to Kyneton Community Park, which offers a unique nature-based play and water park experience for people of all ages and abilities.
Kyneton Botanic Gardens, Mollison Street, Kyneton
21. Malmsbury Botanic Gardens, Malmsbury
The Malmsbury Botanic Gardens is one of Victoria’s earliest regional botanic gardens and is famous for its soft palette of autumn colours and views of the Malmsbury Viaduct, one of Australia’s finest early bridges.
Malmsbury Botanic Gardens, Ellesmere Place, Malmsbury