Guilfoyle’s Volcano was built in 1876 and was used to store water for the botanic gardens. After lying idle for 60 years, it was restored as part of a significant landscape development project called Working Wetlands.
This spectacular and historic water reservoir has commanding views of the city, and its striking landscape design showcases low-water use plants. Boardwalks and viewing platforms give visitors the opportunity to explore this long-hidden, but remarkable, feature of Melbourne Gardens.
Guilfoyle’s Volcano is in the south-east corner of the gardens, easily accessible via C Gate (enter via Anderson Street) and D Gate (enter via Birdwood Avenue).
The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden
The Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden is a magical place to discover the world of plants. It’s a place where children can dig, build, imagine, create, hide... come and explore!
Lakes and Islands
Parts of the lake system at Melbourne Gardens are remnants of a natural water system that pre-dates European settlement of Melbourne.
The lake system includes Central Lake, Fern Gully, Nymphaea Lily Lake, Ornamental Lake and the surrounding catchments. Ornamental Lake and Fern Gully are the remnants of a natural water system that pre-dated European settlement of Melbourne, and would have been a food source (particularly Short-finned eels) for local Aboriginal people. Today, the lake system provides habitat for an abundance of aquatic flora and fauna and is also an important part of the heritage landscape.
Canna Bed Rain Garden
The Canna Bed Rain Garden takes polluted stormwater run-off, filters it and uses it to irrigate the Cannas. The filtered water then drains into the gardens’ lake system, improving the water quality of the lakes.
Shelters and Rest Houses
There are eight pavilions and rest houses at Melbourne Gardens. Providing protection and a place to rest, they also provide a place to enjoy the many different views across the gardens. They are all detailed on the map available online or at the Visitor Centre.
The Nareeb Gates were constructed in England and stood at ‘Nareeb’ estate in Toorak for 60 years. They were bequeathed to the National Trust of Australia by the owners and erected at the D Gate entrance in 1966. They were officially declared open on the 15 November 1967.
Our newest entrance gates were installed on the redeveloped Observatory site. Known as O Gate, these grand gates stand near the Visitor Centre on the path to the gardens proper. These magnificent gates combine plant imagery with historical references and were designed and installed in 1999 by a local artist Daryl Cowie.
The Tropical Glasshouse showcases plants from tropical regions around the globe and displays some of the world’s most important and spectacular tropical rainforest plants.
There is a huge range of plants to explore in the Tropical Glasshouse – from botanical giants such as the King Fern (Angiopteris evecta) and Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) to the colourful and diverse orchid and bromeliad families. The Tropical Glasshouse is best viewed in winter to escape the cold and see the orchids flowering, and in summer to see growth at its most prolific.
National Herbarium of Victoria
The National Herbarium of Victoria houses Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria's collection of approximately 1.5 million dried plant, algae and fungi specimens from all around the world. The majority of the collection is Australian, with a particular emphasis on the flora of Victoria. The collection is rich in historical specimens and foreign-collected specimens: about half of the specimens were collected before 1900, and one third were collected overseas.
These specimens provide a permanent record of the occurrence of a plant species at a particular place and time and are an invaluable resource for scientists, land managers and historians. The Herbarium building also houses a library of botanical literature and artwork.
While the building itself is not open to the public, the self-guided Herbarium Discovery Walk at the exterior of the National Herbarium of Victoria highlights the fascinating work of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria's scientists and showcases the Herbarium’s extensive collections.
All day, every day!
Outside the Herbarium, near F Gate on Birdwood Avenue
Bookings not required.
Plant Craft Cottage
The Plant Craft Cottage is run by volunteers working to keep plant crafts alive and to maintain this heritage-listed building situated in the Melbourne Gardens. It is the oldest building in a public garden in Victoria. For details of events at the Plant Craft Cottage please visit the Melbourne Gardens what's on page.
Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm and the third Sunday of each month
Closed on all public holidays.
There are numerous sculptures for children and adults to discover throughout the gardens, including:
- The Magic Pudding sculpture in The Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden
- The Neutrino sculpture at Observatory Gate
- The sun dial in the Herb Garden