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The Garden State

Melbourne's gardens are some of the most spectacular in the world. Find out why Victoria is called “The Garden State” with this guide to some of the best garden attractions including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, National Rhododendron Gardens and the Victoria State Rose Garden.

For fanatical green thumbs, the State Library of Victoria and the Australian Garden History Society have preserved a garden history archive, which lets you peruse photographs, diaries and documents from the designers and curators who created the magnificent manicured grounds of Melbourne’s grandest mansions and the vibrant public gardens that come alive with locals enjoying a day at the park.

Royal Botanic Gardens

What better way to spend two hours in Melbourne, than wandering through the fascinating botanical wonderland of The Royal Botanic Gardens? Established in 1846, the spectacular gardens in South Yarra are home to more than 12,000 species of plants, including 300 varieties of the delicate Camellia flower, ancient plants like the Cycads, and the grand oak and elm trees that explode with colour in autumn. A visitors’ centre for the gardens can be found opposite the Shrine of Remembrance. The 90-acres of diverse gardens can be found on Anderson Street, Alexandra and Birdwood avenues, South Yarra.

Fitzroy Gardens

There are fairies at the bottom of this garden. Just ask any child who visited the fairy tree carved by writer Ola Cohn – a magical tree to sit under for storytelling, igniting the imagination of generations of Melbourne children. Also popular is Cook’s Cottage, transported from the Yorkshire village where Australian explorer Captain James Cook was born. The q uaint cottage, decked out in the furnishings of the period, was presented to the Victorian people to celebrate 100 years of settlement. You’ll find the Fitzroy Gardens at Wellington Parade and Albert Street, East Melbourne.

National Rhododendron Gardens

Clothed in colour and perfume, this garden tribute to the beautiful Rhododendron offers a fabulous day out in The Dandenong Ranges. Stroll the 103 acres of colourful blooms yourself, or take a special guided tour of the floral beds, rock gardens and fern gullies, framed by the spectacular Mountain Ash, the world's tallest flowering plant. A picnic spot by the lake lets you enjoy local birdlife that is as vibrant as the flowers; look out for King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas and the Lyrebird amid the stunning scenery of the Australian Alps.

Victoria State Rose Garden

Situated in the historic Werribee Park grounds, with its elaborate 1870s mansion, The Victoria State Rose Garden is a work of art fashioned from the world’s most romantic bloom – the rose. You’ll find intricate displays of 5,500 rose varieties across the Victorian State Rose Garden, with its Tudor Rose theme, and Federation Leaf design, dedicated to Australian roses and the David Austin Bud showcase. In bloom from October to May, the roses are at their brilliant best from November to April.