Cranbourne Gardens - Cranbourne, Victoria, 3977

Smart Cleaning Solutions CEO Nicholas Pastras is writing a series of articles previewing some of the most interesting places to visit in Melbourne, and in this article he writes about one of Australia’s best native gardens, The Cranbourne Gardens.

Melbourne is often referred to as “the Garden City” and the Cranbourne Gardens, also known as the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, is arguably Melbourne’s most spectacular Australian Native Garden showcasing the beauty of Native Australian Flora. It was established in 1970 and covers 363 hectares featuring explore heathlands, wetlands and woodlands.  Entrance to the gardens is from the Cnr of Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne  and the garden is open daily from  9am - 5pm, every day except Christmas day and it includes and includes over ten kilometres of walking tracks, six kilometres of cycling tracks, a lookout tower, picturesque shelters, barbecues and picnic tables.

Entry to the gardens is free and they are magnificently manicured and managed. First time visitors will enjoy one jaw-dropping, magical surprise after another. The great array of Australian native plants are the stars of the gardens but it's what has been done with the plants and how they are placed and grouped that makes these gardens truly impressive. The thought, dedication & imagination put into garden layouts is truly inspiring, and it is little wonder that the gardens have been  recognised as a site of State significance.

These gardens cater for everyone, disabled facilities, children elderly and able bodied. If you're a fan of native plants this is a must see – and gardeners will enjoy the thought that has gone into planning the gardens, they are thoughtfully laid out right down to the detail of plants being signed with plant names shown. There is also a fantastic array of bird and wildlife on site including wallabies and kangaroos, overseas visitors will delight in the feast of Australiana and it is a must see for tourists looking for free adventures while spending time in Melbourne.

Visitors have the option to purchase a gardener's explorer day pass which allows you to hop on hop off a large golf buggy style vehicle that drives around the grounds and includes very interesting expert commentary from friendly proud staff who are only too eager to answer any questions you may have. This is truly a great day out.

There is a range of innovative visitor programs put on at various times during the year, particularly in school holidays and there are a variety of programs running all year round including outdoor play, nature learning, creativity, performance, theatre and culture, there is always something exciting to do and it is an ideal family day out, particularly in school holidays.

A feature of the Gardens is The Australian Garden, completed in October 2012. This garden celebrates the beauty and diversity of Australian landscapes and flora and features approximately 170,000 plants from 1,700 plant varieties.

Take your time to read the signs as there really are some interesting history facts about the plants around the property. The kids playground is lovely using all natural materials in addition to a man-made 'river' that the kids can splash their feet in. There are also a huge picnic and play area's for ball games, frisbee and other fun family picnic activities. Highly recommended!

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