The Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne are around 50 minutes drive from Melbourne Australia. The gardens are home to a bush-land area and the Australian Garden which celebrates Australian plants and landscapes.
The Cranbourne gardens include the Australian Garden and a bush-land area with walking tracks, lookouts, wetlands and picnic areas. Detailed maps are available on the Royal Botanic Gardens website.
The Australian Garden is a wonderful collection of zones that blend into each other. There is the Rockpool Waterway which encourages people to wade through the cool shallow waters, children’s playground, dry river bed, seaside garden and much more. This is all centred around the Red Sand Garden and you can easily do the walk around with children.
The gardens also encourage people to plant water-wise Australian plants that help with reducing water consumption. Each time I visit the gardens I come home wanting to revamp my gardens (especially the flowering plants that attract lots of bees).
The website has detailed information on accessibility.
Tips for visiting the garden
Go early or later in the day if the weather is forecast to be hot as the garden is quite exposed (Open 9.00am – 5.00pm). Be sun-smart and watch out for snakes.
If you are visiting towards the evening keep an eye out for Southern Brown Bandicoots – they are so cute!
The wading area is lovely and cool on a warm day so let the children (and adults) explore and play! Also as the gardens are free you can easily pop back to the car if you need a towel or change of clothes after playing in the water.
There is a cafe at the main entrance which has lovely views over the garden, and a Kiosk at the Northern end if you want to purchase food and drink. Or pack a picnic lunch and enjoy one of the picnic areas.
Completely free but you can leave a donation if you want. Obviously the Gift Shop and food venues are at your own cost. There is no charge for parking either.
Easiest way to get to the Australian Garden is to self-drive. There is ample parking at the Gardens which is free of charge.
Public transport will get you to the Cranbourne Train Station and then you will need a Taxi to the Gardens (est $20 one way). Bus 795 from Cranbourne Station runs near the Gardens and is 30-40min walk from the stop on South Gippsland Hwy/Ballarto Road.
The website has more information on getting to the gardens.