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Lightscape Melbourne: Walk Inside A Spectacular Light Show At The Botanic Gardens in 2024

Returning in 2024 after two sell-out seasons in 2022 and 2023, take a winter walk like no other at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne from June to August 2024 as the Botanic Gardens are lit up once more for Lightscape

This immersive experience comes to Melbourne from the famous botanic gardens light show developed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London.

The info and images are from the 2023 event but you can expect this to be one of the must-do events this winter in Melbourne in 2024.

Lightscape Melbourne Fri 14 Jun 2024 – Sun 04 Aug 2024

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Lightscape Melbourne

Lightscape is an immersive, after-dark botanical garden light show experience with illuminated creations lighting a journey through the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.

If you visited in 2022 and 2023, don’t worry. In 2024 there is an all-new trail with some old favourites returning. You can expect it to be just as dazzling as previous years!

Nearly half a million lights light up a dazzling 1.8km trail through the Botanic Gardens to a gorgeous soundtrack. There are two entrances, one at Birdwood Avenue/Observatory Gate and one at Alexandra Avenue. Both entrances offer the same displays, except that the Alexandra Avenue entrance skips the projections on the Herbarium. 

Walk beneath tree canopies drenched in colour, through mesmerising ribbons of light and into a dynamic, glowing tunnel. Lady AB exclaimed that it was so beautiful it made her heart burst!

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Watch as vibrant colours rise from the undergrowth to light up trees like fizzing fireworks in a sea of light, take time to linger at waterside reflections and pause at the scented fire garden filled with laser light fireflies for a moment of calm

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The experience takes approximately 90 minutes though you can move through as fast or as slow as you wish. We spent about 75 minutes walking and pausing to take photos. There are lots of photogenic locations so bring your camera! 

There’s a designated route so find the small pockets of quiet where you can. 

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Thankfully 2024’s new route does not involve going uphill as much! It’s a much more pram and wheelchair-friendly route.

As this is an outdoor event that happens whatever the weather, make sure you wear appropriate clothing for the weather and for walking.

I recommend a cosy coat, scarves and Merry People gumboots for the whole family. Umbrellas are allowed but are a bit of a nuisance for yourself and other people – wear a raincoat instead!

Eating & Drinking at Lightscape

Before you start your walk to see the Botanic Gardens lights, treat yourself to a range of tasty food on offer from food trucks located in the entrance courtyard at the Observatory Gate.

Take your pick from pizza, pies and gourmet burgers to tacos, nachos and Vietnamese street food. 

However, if you’re visiting with young kids who are used to eating at 5 pm, then I recommend eating before you go or even packing a thermos of hot food or snacks to enjoy during Lightscape. The food trucks are busy and can easily take 30 minutes to complete your order. I speak from experience – no parent wants to be waiting in line for a food truck with hungry kids!

Jardin Tan, located at the Observatory Gate (Pink Trail) entry, offers pre- and post-Trail seated dining packages with an Asian-inspired three-course set menu designed to be enjoyed in a 60-minute sitting. It’s priced at $59 for adults and $30 for children under 12 years, although the food and setting may not be as well suited to little kids as the Welcome Hub food trucks.

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For something a little more fortifying the Lightscape bar serves hot drinks including mulled wine and hot cocktails. There are also drinking fountains en route, but I still recommend taking a water bottle. 

Along the 18.km route there are also stops for drinks and snacks, with a major stop about mid-way through at the Terrace. There you’ll find a Food Hall with dumplings, brioche pastries and toasted marshmallows.

We take our own giant marshmallows and telescopic marshmallow toasting forks and take advantage of the open fire pits for roasting our marshmallows!

lightscape Melbourne tickets

To avoid disappointment pre-book your Lightscape tickets through Ticketek. Note in 2024 there are two types of tickets:

  • General Admission tickets permit entry to a selected time slot on a chosen date. Off-peak tickets are available on Wednesdays and peak tickets are available from Thursday to Sunday.
  • Anytime Pass tickets permit entry at any time (between the first and last entry) on a chosen date. There are no child or family discounts on Anytime Pass tickets.’

Peak Admission Tickets (Thursday to Sunday)

General Admission – Adult $40
General Admission – Child (4-12 years) $32
General Admission – Family* (2 Adults & 2 Children) $144
Anytime Pass** $60

Off-Peak Admission Tickets (Wednesdays only)

General Admission – Adult $36
General Admission – Child (4-12 years) $28
General Admission – Family* (2 Adults & 2 Children) $128
Anytime Pass** $55

*Family ticket price conditions

A family ticket admits two adults and two children. Children must be aged 12 years and under to be eligible for the family ticket. Children aged 3 years and under are free of charge.

Lightscape Discount Tickets – Relaxed Sessions

There are two Lightscape relaxed sessions in July. Tickets are only $16 for the relaxed sessions.

These relaxed sessions will have considerably reduced capacity with participants able to exit the trail at any time to be guided to a designated quiet area should they need it. The exhibition does include lights and sounds but does not include strobe lighting or loud and surprising noises.

Relaxed sessions will take place on:are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday 3 July at 5.15pm
  • Wednesday 24 July at 5.30pm

Can Companion Card Holders enter Lightscape?

Yes, holders of a government-issued companion card can access a free ticket for their companion. Proof of eligibility will be required upon entry.

You can book these Companion Card tickets by calling Ticketek’s Accessible Line on 1300 665 915.

Lightscape Melbourne Group Bookings

Groups of 20+ are eligible for a discount of 10% on Lightscape tickets. If you wish to buy more than 20 tickets for a group, please contact Ticketek by calling 1300 364 001.

Lightscape Gift Vouchers

You can purchase Lightscape Gift Vouchers to give as presents to friends and family.

The vouchers can only be used to purchase Lightscape Tickets (via website or at Ticketek Agencies). Vouchers cannot be used for dining packages or onsite food and beverages.

Vouchers do not guarantee entry to Lightscape and must be used to purchase tickets in advance. That means we recommend redeeming your voucher early as time slots will sell out.

Please ensure you redeem the full value of your gift voucher – no refunds are issued.

Lightscape Melbourne FAQS

What are the dates and hours of Lightscape Melbourne?

Tickets for Lightscape Melbourne are every 15 minutes from 5.15pm, 5:30pm or 5.45pm onwards depending on the sunset times of the event date. Last entry onto the trail is 10 minutes after the final advertised timeslot.

Each event day, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne closes at 3pm and opens to Lightscape audiences from 5.15pm, 5:30pm or 5.45pm onwards depending on the chosen event date.

Where is the entrance to Lightscape Melbourne?

The entrance to Lightscape is via Observatory Gate of Melbourne Gardens near the Visitor Centre, Birdwood Avenue, opposite the Shrine of Remembrance.

A box office will be available at the entrance if you need to pick up tickets at the event, or if you have any queries on the day.

There will be no second entrance to Lightscape in 2024.

Lightscape Trail Map
Royal Botanic Gardens: Lightscape Melbourne Trail Map

Can I buy tickets to Lightscape Melbourne at the door? Where do I pick up tickets?

We strongly recommend booking in advance online. Each timed entry has a limited capacity, and we expect this event to sell out again in 2024. Tickets will only be available at the door when not sold out.

The box office is located at the Observatory Gate (Pink Trail) only. If you need to pick up or purchase a ticket in person or have any ticketing queries, please enter via the Observatory Gate entrance.

Bridge Gate (Blue Trail) is for pre-purchased ticket holders only.

Can I change the date of my Lightscape Melbourne ticket booking?

Unfortunately, no. So it is important to make sure that you choose the right date and time slot when you buy tickets, as Ticketek will not offer exchanges or refunds after tickets have been purchased.

If I miss my timeslot can I enter Lightscape later?

Yes. They will be able to accommodate you in the next available timeslot on the same night.

What happens if it’s raining? Is Lightscape cancelled in bad weather?

Lightscape goes ahead in rain or wind, so check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.

If the weather becomes dangerous and a risk to safety, and Lightscape is cancelled, you will be notified via email and SMS of any cancellation and the re-booking process which will include the ability to book on another day or a refund if this is not possible.

If I am visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne during the day, do I have to leave the gardens and then re-enter for Lightscape in the evening?

Yes. On Lightscape event days, the Gardens close at 3pm and reopen for Lightscape ticketholders at 5.15pm, 5:30pm or 5.45pm depending on the chosen event date.

Where is the best place for parking when visiting Lightscape?

Limited street parking is available on Birdwood Avenue for entry via the main Observatory Gate (Pink Trail) and on Anderson Street and Alexandra Avenue for entry via Bridge Gate (Blue Trail).

If you’re not planning to arrive by around 5pm (or even earlier), we recommend you take public transport or ride-share, as parking will be at a premium on the event nights.

Where is the nearest public transport?

If you are entering through Observatory Gate (Pink Trail) the nearest public transport is:

  • Tram: The Shrine of Remembrance stop on St Kilda Road

If you are entering through Bridge Gate (Blue Trail), the nearest public transport is:

  • Tram: Route 70 (Richmond Station stop on Swan Street)
  • Train: Richmond Station

Can I bring food and drinks into Lightscape?

Officially you can bring food and drinks purchased at the Observatory Gate Welcome Hub into Lightscape. However, I see plenty of people bringing in small snacks from home (or giant marshmallows in our case). Just don’t bring in eskies or picnics!

Can I bring a chair into Lightscape?

The experience is designed to be walked through, so no chairs are allowed.

Are the pathways pram or wheelchair accessible?

The route is designed so that it is mostly on hard-surfaced pathways so you’re not walking on grass. Note there are some paths that are a bit steeper.

You can’t explore other parts of the gardens while Lightscape is on – you have to stay on the designed Lightscape trail.

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne has a limited number of manual wheelchairs that can be loaned, free of charge. Book wheelchairs here. Wheelchairs can be collected from the Observatory Gate (Pink Trail) entrance only.

Are pets allowed into Lightscape?

No pets are allowed, except for service animals.

Is there a cloakroom at the Botanic Gardens Melbourne or Lightscape?

No cloaking facilities are supplied, so travel light. I take a backpack with some water, snacks and extra weather gear.


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About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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