The gardens serve as a focal point for socialising and recreation but should also be
considered as a place of science and a botanic reference library; there are 51,000
plants representing 262 families and about 12,000 species. Visited by about
1.5million annually, the gardens are a major tourist attraction in Melbourne.
Disabled persons parking spaces are provided at Gates F, D and A and adjacent to
Observatory Gate. Accessible toilets are located in the Visitors Centre, National
Herbarium (access via ramp from the pathway leading from Gate F), and in the
Botanic Gardens Cafe which overlooks the Ornamental Lake. Access around the
gardens is provided on often wide sweeping bitumen paths but there are some
significant gradients to be encountered in some places.
The Access Map details the main paths, includes smaller paths and highlights main
features. For example, the Separation Tree (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) pre dates
European settlement and was associated with public celebrations of the Bill which
separated the colony of Victoria from New South Wales in 1850. Other key
botanic features such as the Australian Rainforest Walk, Ornamental Lake, Fern
Gully and Herb Garden, which caters for visitors with low vision, are identified on
PARKS & GARDENS
the map and a brief description of the feature is included below.
The RBG is not just home to plants and trees, many animals inhabit the gardens.
While wandering around you will see Cockatoos, Grey Headed Flying Foxes in the
Fern Gully, Black Swans and Pacific Black Ducks skimming across the Ornamental
Lake and if you look closer many eels. During the evening possums and the
occasional fox have the run of the gardens.
The plants in this garden come from arid regions of Africa, the Americas and
Australia. They live in conditions that most plants would not survive: intense
heat, minimal water, and in some cases high levels of salt. Adaptations such as
succulent or hairy leaves enable these plants to survive the harsh conditions.
Australian Rainforest Walk
This collection displays plants from the fragments of rainforest that remain
along the east coast of Australia: from the moss covered forests of Tasmania to
the lush, sub tropical rainforests found in Queensland. Most of the plants
growing here were collected in the wild as seed or cuttings. An audiotour of the
Australian Rainforest Walk is available from the Visitor Centre.