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The Best Parks in Melbourne for a Relaxing Stroll

Whether you enjoy a relaxing stroll along the beach or an active day outdoors, Melbourne has everything adventure-seekers and nature lovers could want. When it comes to parks Melbourne locals and visitors are spoilt for choice. It’s not known as the ‘Garden State’ for nothing! This city also has some of the most gorgeous parks and gardens! No matter where you are, or in what part of Melbourne you’re staying, there is guaranteed to be a park nearby. 

If you are visiting, looking for somewhere to take the kids for some fresh air and fun, or are looking to get out and move, then check out this comprehensive list of Melbourne parks that have plenty of fun facilities for the whole family to enjoy. These spots are perfect for spending some quality family time, enjoying a beautiful picnic, or if you’re feeling motivated  you might even like to go for a run. 

So without further delay, here is my ultimate list of the Best Parks in Melbourne and surrounds.

McClelland Gallery Sculpture Garden

Best Parks Melbourne – CBD

1. Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne

Best known for being the most beautiful gardens in the city, the Fitzroy Gardens is one of Melbourne’s most visited tourist attractions in the city to this day. Laid out in 1859, the gardens are a classic Victorian era design, featuring pathways lined with magnificent elm trees and a huge variety of flowers and ornamental shrubs and trees, which together with extensive lawns creates a diverse and layered landscape. Within the gardens you can also find Captain Cook’s Cottage – one of the most historic buildings in Australia as well as the stunning Conservatory with changing seasonal floral displays.

Fitzroy Gardens, Wellington Pde, East Melbourne

Fitzroy Gardens
SONY DSC

2. Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

Birrarung Marr is a park that extends along the north side of the Yarra River and is the location of many local festivals. The name is derived from two different Aboriginal languages but when put together means ‘beside the river’. 

The park also features impressive sculptures such as the Federation Bells, inverted bells that are electronically controlled to play original Australian compositions. They play three times daily. There is also a children’s playground and walking and cycling tracks.

Birrarung Marr, Batman Ave, Melbourne

Birrarung Marr

3. Flagstaff Gardens, West Melbourne

Established in 1862 and listed as one of Australia’s heritage sites, The Flagstaff Gardens are one of Melbourne’s oldest parks and can be found just across from the largest and most famous market in Melbourne, Queen Victoria Market. CBD office workers and visitors alike enjoy the popular lawns, the seasonally changing flower bed displays, the beautiful trees including eucalypts, Moreton Bay figs, avenues of elm trees, shrub beds and its high vantage point. Facilities also include tennis courts, a playground, a public toilet, barbecues and a bowling green

Flagstaff Gardens, William St, West Melbourne 

Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne

4. Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne

You can find Alexandra Gardens beside the Yarra River in Melbourne CBD. It is best known for the line of historic rowing boathouses facing the river and the Riverslide Skate Park (the only supervised skate park in Melbourne). It is the perfect place for a walk and a wander to enjoy the huge palms, ornamental shrubs, rockeries and tree-lined avenues and lawns.

Alexandra Gardens, Boathouse Dr, Melbourne

Riverslide Skate Park Alexandra Gardens

5. Docklands Park, Docklands

Created in 2005 as part of a rejuvenation project at the Docklands, Docklands Park on Harbour Esplanade is the perfect place for families to picnic and enjoy other recreational activities. The park includes public artworks, large grassed spaces, and cycling/walking paths, as well as barbecues and a children’s playground.

Docklands Park, 1-91 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands

Docklands Park

6. Domain Parklands, Melbourne

The Domain Parklands is a large network of parks, gardens, and open spaces totaling nearly 123 hectares in central Melbourne. The parklands are bordered by the Yarra River (Birrarung), Anderson Street, Domain Road and St Kilda Road, and includes the following parklands:

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Melbourne Gardens
  • Shrine of Remembrance Reserve
  • Sidney Myer Music Bowl
  • Government House
  • Alexandra Gardens and Alexandra Park
  • Queen Victoria Gardens
  • Kings Domain and Kings Domain South. 

 Domain Parklands, Alexandra Ave, Melbourne

Domain Parklands

7. Kings Domain, Melbourne

Kings Domain occupies the space from Linlithgow Avenue south to Domain Road, and includes The Shrine of Remembrance Reserve, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and the area south of the Royal Botanic Gardens as part of their boundaries. The park contains many large Australian and European trees, shrub beds, annual floral displays and ponds; as well as memorials. The site is culturally significant to the people of the Eastern Kulin nation.

Kings Domain, Alexandra Ave, Melbourne

8. Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne

The Queen Victoria Gardens are located in the Domain Parklands and were designed to honour Queen Victoria. The park is situated on a triangle of land just across St Kilda Road from the Arts Centre Melbourne. It is a peaceful space and provides a great place to relax.

Her impressive memorial, which is positioned at the highest point in the gardens, was opened to the public in 1907 and is made from marble and granite.

Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

mpavilion

9. Treasury Gardens, East Melbourne

Treasury Gardens is a heritage-listed site and is one of the state's oldest public gardens. The park is just a short walk from Victoria's Parliament House and forms an integral component of the Spring Street government precinct. Enjoy the avenues of trees, the lake and expansive lawns.

Treasury Gardens, Spring St, East Melbourne

Treasury Gardens

Best Parks Melbourne – North

10. Carlton Gardens, Carlton

Established in 1880, Carlton Gardens form part of Melbourne's inner-urban open space network and contains the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Museum, natural and landscaped features, avenues of trees, ornamental lakes, fountains, a tennis club, basketball court, picnic areas and children’s playground.

Carlton Gardens, 1-111 Carlton St, Carlton

11. Princes Park, Carlton North

Stretching for 1.5 km along Royal Parade in Carlton North, Princes Park was founded in 1873 and forms part of one of the most important gateways into central Melbourne. There are a variety of sporting facilities (including most famously the headquarters of the Carlton Football Club), sporting pavilions, ovals, lawn bowls, playgrounds, picnic facilities, barbecues and toilets. There are magnificent avenues of elms and Moreton Bay fig trees. It is also a very popular spot for locals to walk and jog as it has a dedicated track right around the outside. 

Princes Park, 240-564 Royal Parade, Carlton North

princes gardens prahran

12. Royal Park, Parkville

Royal Park is the biggest open space in Melbourne, taking up 170 hectares. The beautiful park is situated on the Victorian Heritage Register as a protected area, and its huge landscape of native trees makes it an oasis in the city. It’s the perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic lunch and is also home to a variety of native wildlife, making it a great spot for birdwatching. Home to the Melbourne Zoo, it also houses a eucalypt forest, sports grounds, wetlands and gardens.

Royal Park, Flemington Rd, Parkville

Royal Park Playground

13. Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy North

The Edinburgh Gardens is a 140-year-old parkland that is just a short stroll away from North Fitzroy’s main shopping strip. The park is an ideal place for those who want to relax or laze about. Here you’ll find fenced playgrounds, public toilets, beautiful lawns for picnics, barbecues, picnic tables, a table tennis table, drinking fountains, tennis courts, a basketball half court, lawn bowls, a skate facility, a gorgeous rotunda, pavilions and two football/cricket ovals.

Edinburgh Gardens, Alfred Cres, Fitzroy North

Best Parks Melbourne – North West

14. JJ Holland Park, Kensington

JJ Holland Park can be found on Kensington Road in Kensington and provides a variety of amenities such as sports grounds, a skate park, a BMX track, barbecues, a large children’s playground, picnic areas, a sports pavilion and The Venny adventure playground which is a supervised playground established 35 years ago by the community.

JJ Holland Park, Childers St, Kensington

JJ Holland Park

15. Queens Park, Moonee Ponds

Spend some time in nature and take a stroll around the beautiful Queens Park, a spacious public park that is also a favourite destination for picnics and other outdoor activities. 

The location has two playgrounds, a lovely cafe for those who want some drinks and food, a beautiful lake complete with ducks and swans and a nearby shopping centre for your shopping needs.

Queens Park, Mt Alexander Rd & Kellaway Ave, Moonee Ponds

Queens Park Moonee Ponds (1)

Best Parks Melbourne – North East

16. Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield

Located just outside the heart of Melbourne, Yarra Bend Park is a gorgeous and large park that is filled with natural bushland plus other attractions such as playing fields, golf courses, open woodlands and river escarpment.

The best way of exploring and seeing the park is either by going on a walk, cycling or by boat. Boats are available for hire in the river.

The spot also shows off some of the most awesome city skyline views, and features other facilities such as the BBQs, playgrounds, picnic areas and spots to grab some food and drinks.

Yarra Bend Park, Yarra Bend Rd, Fairfield

Yarra Bend Park

17. Collingwood Children's Farm, Abbotsford

The Collingwood Children's Farm has plenty of green space to unwind, and is a well loved spot for kids as there are tons of frolicking farm animals that they can help feed. 

The farm also hosts a monthly farmers market and has an open-air cafe that can be visited without having to enter the farm.

Collingwood Children’s Farm, 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford

18. Currawong Bush Park, Doncaster East

Wilderness-like experiences are hard to come by in the city, but Currawong Bush Park provides a great opportunity for just that and more. Bring the kids over to explore and learn about the world around them, see the sculptures dotted around the trails and enjoy the natural play space formed and put together by the city’s landscapers, sculptors and artists.

If you’re lucky you might even get the chance to spot some native birds, wombats, koalas and more!

Currawong Bush Park, 277 Reynolds Road, Doncaster East

Currawong Bush Park

19. Ruffey Lake Park, Templestowe

Ruffey Lake Park is a 68-hectare park located in the suburbs of Doncaster and Templestowe. It features a combination of waterways, wetlands, bushland, open space and three picnic areas that all include convenient facilities for a stress-free visit. These include playgrounds, car parks, toilets, shaded areas, electric barbecues and large picnic shelters.

In addition, Ruffey Lake Park also offers three play spaces, an adventurous playground at the Victoria Street entrance, another at the Boulevarde and finally, a playground at the Church Road North entrances.
Ruffey Lake Park, 99 Victoria Street, Templestowe

Ruffey Lake Park

Best Parks Melbourne – East

20. Hays Paddock, Kew

Lauded for its inclusive playground, Hays Paddock was developed with help from two local mothers, Danielle Blanden and Jenny Graham, in 2003, making it one of Melbourne's original accessible parks. This project, which was inspired by their disabled and able-bodied children, was designed so that the City of Boroondara had a more accessible playground that everyone could enjoy.

The facilities include wide wooden ramps, braille and sign language instructions, soft flooring, swings, slides and see-saws, a large rope-climbing frame and an interactive sandpit. To ensure the safety of all visitors, the entire playground area is fenced off. 

Hays Paddock, Leason St, Kew East

Hays Paddock Kew Sandpit

Best Parks Melbourne – South

21. Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park

Gasworks Arts Park is an arts and culture hub, with two free red-brick galleries, a theatre and ultra dog-friendly parkland. The park offers a pre-booked guided tour that allows you to meet local working artists. The location also hosts farmers markets and open studios on the third Saturday of each month. 

Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham St, Albert Park

22. Albert Park Lake, Albert Park

Albert Park Lake features a 5km track around the perimeter and is a great place for a jog, cycle or walk. The location also hosts the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix every March. Close by you’ll also be able to find the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre (MSAC), with an Olympic-size pool and wave machine. You can also hire a boat or sail and row on the lake if you join one of the lakeside clubs. Or set up your picnic in one of the nine picturesque picnic areas.

Albert Park Lake, Lakeside Drive, Albert Park

Albert Park Lake

23. St Kilda Botanical Gardens, St Kilda

The St Kilda Botanical Gardens are a beautiful oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of St Kilda. With wide gravel paths and plenty of shady spots, it's the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll or relax on the lawn. The park also features local indigenous plants and wildlife, a subtropical-rainforest conservatory, a rose garden and an ornamental pond home to a family of ducks.

St Kilda Botanical Gardens, 11 Herbert St, St Kilda

St Kilda Botanical Gardens

Best Parks Melbourne – South East

24. Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

One of Australia’s most iconic gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the largest gardens in the country covering a massive 38 hectares along Melbourne’s Yarra River. The location is home to thousands of different exotic and native Australian plants, the Moonlight Cinema, the Shrine of Remembrance and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Around the outside of the Botanic Gardens is the famous ‘Tan’ track, a very popular walking and running track amongst locals and visitors alike.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Ave, South Yarra

Outdoor Escapades Forest School Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne 6
Outdoor Escapades Forest School Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne 6

25. Fawkner Park, South Yarra

Situated between Toorak Road and Commercial Road in South Yarra, Fawkner Park still retains its original design from 1875 and features formal pathways, avenues and lawns. The park also includes Art Deco sports pavilions and fields, as well as paths lined with Moreton Bay figs, elms, poplars and oaks. You can choose between three different children’s playgrounds or have a hit of tennis at the tennis club.

Fawkner Park, 24-88 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

Fawkner Park

26. Herring Island, South Yarra

You’ll need a boat to visit this beauty! Herring Island is a small artificial island located in Melbourne's Yarra River at South Yarra, approximately 3 kilometres from the city centre. It is the only island in the Yarra River and was formed in 1928 by cutting a channel through an old basalt quarry. Herring Island is a sanctuary for local native trees, grasses and indigenous animals. The park boasts an impressive collection of environmental sculptures, including work by Brit Andy Goldsworthy, Julie Collins and more. The location also has a designated picnic and BBQ area. During summer months, Parks Victoria provides a ferry from Como Landing (Alexandra Ave., South Yarra) to the island on weekends. Melbourne River Cruises can also get you there.

Herring Island, Yarra River, South Yarra

Herring Island

27. Rippon Lea Estate, Elsternwick

The National Heritage Listed Rippon Lea Estate is an authentic Victorian mansion amidst 14 acres of breathtaking gardens, with sweeping heritage grounds, a scenic lake and waterfall, a fruit orchard and a large fernery.

Rippon Lea Estate, 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick

Gruffalo Trail 4

28. Jells Park, Wheelers Hill

Jells Park is a hidden gem situated in the Dandenong Creek Valley in Wheelers Hill, and is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The site covers over nine kilometres of paths and trails and 127 hectares of wide open spaces giving plenty of area for picnics and everyone’s enjoyment. Don’t forget to take the kids to the playgrounds while you're there.

Jells Park, Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill

Jells Park

29. McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Langwarrin

About a 30 minute drive from the CBD, The McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park is an innovative outdoor art space set on four acres of land and is one of the largest sculpture parks in the country. The park features over 100 sculptures of Australian wildlife and Australia’s bush landscape. 

McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, 390 McClelland Dr, Langwarrin VIC, Australia

McClelland Gallery Sculpture Garden

Best Parks Melbourne – West

30. Yarraville Gardens Precinct, Yarraville

The Yarraville Gardens Precinct is a beautiful place to relax, take in the natural surroundings, enjoy the pristine flowering garden beds and relax with a book or just take in the fresh air. The park also features public barbecue facilities, picnic tables, public toilets, cricket nets, a formal garden, a playground, a walking path and sports pavilion.

Yarraville Gardens Precinct, 139-147 Hyde Street, Yarraville

yarraville gardens precinct open space

31. Jawbone Flora And Fauna Reserve, Williamstown

The Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve is a great place to enjoy a variety of recreational activities as it is home to wetlands, open grasslands, a saltmarsh and a mangrove conservation area.

Bird watchers will also enjoy this spot as the experience is enhanced by using the provided bird hides. An excellent way to enjoy The Bay Trail and boardwalk is venturing by foot or bicycle. Panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay, Point Cook, the You Yangs, Altona and the Bellarine Peninsula can be seen (on clear days) from the reserve.

Jawbone Nature Conservation Reserve, 29 Sandpiper Pl, Williamstown

JAWBONE FLORA AND FAUNA RESERVE

32. Werribee Park, Werribee South

Werribee Park and Mansion is a beautiful, formal Italianate mansion set in stunning gardens in the outer western suburb of Werribee. With audio headphones, you can experience the sounds of the 1870s, when the mansion was built. Today, the mansion is home to a luxe hotel, spa, and occasional festivals. You can picnic in the formal garden, enjoy thousands of roses in the Victoria State Rose Garden and wander down to the heritage orchard and see the work the community and Parks Victoria have put in to preserve and restore the fruit orchard originally planted by the Chirnside family in the late 1800s.

Werribee Park Mansion, Gate 2, K Road, Werribee South

The Lost Lands

33. Wyndham Park, Werribee

Wyndham Park is situated along the Werribee River and near some of the best coffee shops in the area. Within the park, you'll find rolling green lawns, riverside bike and walking tracks amongst the Red Gums, barbecues, outdoor exercise equipment and two huge playgrounds to enjoy.

You can get to Wyndham Park from Wedge Street Piazza by crossing the river on the treetop footbridge.

Wyndham Park, Watton Street, Werribee

Wyndham Park Werribee large slide tower
Wyndham Park Werribee large slide tower

34. Hannah Watts Park, Melton

The Hannah Watts Park is a great place to have fun with in-ground trampolines, a tower with a giant slide and climbing elements, a flying fox, swings (including a parent and child swing, a nest swing, and an all abilities swing with back and neck support) and a whirly go-round.

In addition, the park also boasts natural play features like a dry creek bed for tactile and imaginative play; a course of stepping stones, log steppers and balance logs, accessible play panels at the base of the large tower, including a shop front and musical play, sensory play and natural hideout areas.

The park also includes wheelchair access.

Hannah Watts Park, 183 High Street, Melton

Hannah Watts Park

35. Melton Botanic Garden, Melton

Love plants that can tolerate dry conditions? Check out the Melton Botanic Garden where there is a wide variety of drought tolerant native plants to explore as well as a minibeasts trail, an amphitheatre, a nursery, a trail around the lake and barbecues. 

The garden's Dryland Eucalyptus Arboretum is an outstanding feature, holding a nationally registered collection of more than 100 different species of eucalyptus trees. On top of this there are Indigenous plantings, including creek and lake rehabilitation, Indigenous Grassland and the Koori Student Garden.

Melton Botanic Garden, 40 Lakewood Boulevard, Melton

Melton Botanic Garden

36. Presidents Park, Wyndham Vale

If you're looking for a great place to take your dog for a walk, Presidents Park is the perfect spot. Located along the Werribee River, the park’s facilities include a skate park, barbeque pavilions and a playground which has equipment for both younger and older children, including climbing walls, swings and cubby houses. If you need some time out you can enjoy a contemplative 2km walk around the park or you can follow the path along Werribee River and enjoy the soundtrack of native birds or relax on one of the seats by the lake.

Presidents Park, 370 McGrath Road, Wyndham Vale

presidents park

37. West Footscray Park

Footscray Park is a beautiful open space that provides stunning views of the city skyline, the Flemington Racecourse and the Maribyrnong River Trail. It's perfect for a leisurely stroll or picnicking with friends and family.

The location also has an off-lead area on the western side of Thomson Water Garden, a sports club, a memorial garden for soldiers who served in World War I and World War II as well as a memorial to the poet Henry Lawson.

Footscray Park, Ballarat Road, Footscray,

Quarry Park Footscray

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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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