The Garden Guide

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

The garden was established in 1846. There is an Australian Rainforest Walk, California Garden, Grey Garden and Herb Garden.
Photograph © Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Photograph © Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Photograph ©
Photograph ©


The Royal Botanic Gardens was established in 1846, after Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe selected the site on the southern bank of the Yarra River. At the time of its foundation, the Gardens’ site was an uninspiring mixture of rocky outcrops and swampy marshland, but it was not long before the foundations were being laid for one of the great gardens of the world.

In 1857, the Gardens’ first full time Director, Ferdinand von Mueller was appointed. Mueller was to become one of the most acclaimed botanists of the 19th century, and was ultimately awarded Knighthoods by over 20 countries. Mueller established the Gardens’ scientific centre, The National Herbarium of Victoria, and amassed an extraordinary range of plants from every corner of the world.

In 1873 Mueller was succeeded by William Guilfoyle, who set about creating the Gardens’ world-famous "picturesque" landscape style. Guilfoyle sculpted sweeping lawns, meandering paths and glittering lakes, creating a series of vistas offering a surprise around every corner. Guilfoyle was aided in his work by Melbourne’s mild climate, which allows an exotic mix of tropical and temperate plants to be grown, as well as the outstanding collection of plants already established by Mueller.

Today, the Gardens are home to more than 51,000 individual plants, representing over 12,000 different species, and have become a natural sanctuary for native wild life including black swans, bell birds, cockatoos and kookaburras fill the air with their distinctive song.

The Gardens are owned by the people of Victoria and managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Board.

Plants of note

Highlight collections in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne:
Oak Lawn, Perennial Border, Camellia Collection, Water Conservation Garden, Long Island, Fern Gully, Grey Garden, Australian Rainforest Border, Ian Potter Foundation Childrens Garden

Private Bag 2000, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia, 3141

Open November to March: 7.30am - 8.30 pm April: 7.30am - 6.00 pm May to August: 7.30am - 5.30 pm September & October: 7.30am - 6.00 pm Please Note: Tropical Display – Glasshouse is open daily: 10am - 4pm. The Visitor Centre is located at the Observatory Precinct at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and is open seven days a week. OPEN: Weekdays 9am - 5pm, Weekends 9.30am - 5.00pm Phone: (03) 9252 2429 Email:

Entry to the Gardens is free of charge. A wide variety of paid tours are also available.

Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne website

Nearby gardens