Hidden treasures on Melbourne’s doorstep

Stay close to home and enjoy these hidden gems in Melbourne this Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

Some of our favourite places to visit may be experiencing queues or crowds this long weekend, as our focus remains on following COVIDSafe settings.

There are plenty of alternative locations where you can take in the fresh air and experience the best of everything Melbourne has to offer.

The first thing, though, is to stay COVIDSafe.

Stay within the 25km radius

Ensure that your chosen destination falls within the 25km range Melbournians are allowed to travel this long weekend, and follow these tips:

  • Maintain physical distancing by staying 1.5 metres apart from others.
  • Wear a fitted face mask indoors and outdoors according to current COVIDSafe requirements.
  • Carry sanitiser.
  • Plan ahead, and have a Plan B if your intended location is too crowded.
  • Keep left on all walking trails to maintain physical distancing, and never leave marked tracks to ensure you stay safe.
  • Observe density limits at venues, use QR codes and maintain 1.5m between you and others.
  • Take any rubbish home with you.

Stay up to date at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

There are many ways that you can enjoy the outdoors across metropolitan Melbourne. Here are a few you may not have thought about.

If the road ahead is flooded, FORGET IT

Remember, with recent inclement weather, stay safe on the road. Even 15cm of water is enough to cause a car to float, and floodwaters can hide damage to road surfaces.

Royal Botanic gardens, Cranbourne

Cranbourne gardens red sand field

The verdant expanse of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is one of Melbourne’s greatest attractions.

But you can beat the crowds and still get in touch with nature at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, a stunning 363-hectare haven for native birds and animals that are dedicated to Australian plant species.

It features exhibition gardens demonstrating the diversity of native plants, a water-saving garden, a future garden with alternatives to traditional gardening, and a kids’ backyard with plant materials recycled into a play area.

There’s a eucalyptus walk, an arid garden, the red sand garden and a rockpool waterway and escarpment wall inspired by geographic features in central Australia.

Entry: Free

Open: 9am to 5pm daily, closed Christmas Day

Where: Corner Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive (off South Gippsland Hwy), Cranbourne.

Organ Pipes National Park

The Organ Pipes National Park is a haven in the valley of Jacksons Creek. The park protects incredible volcanic features including the spectacular Organ Pipes, a series of basalt columns formed more than a million years ago that looks just like the organ pipes you’d find in a grand old church.

Entry: Free

Open: Daily

Where: Just off the Calder Fwy at Keilor North.

Brimbank Park

Children playing in brimbank park on the children's play ground

Just down the road back to Melbourne, you’ll find Brimbank Park, on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, which includes wildlife-rich loop trails and the all-access Brimbank Park Playspace, a wheelchair accessible adventure playground with a focus on both the Aboriginal and early European history of the area.

Entry: Free

Open: Daily

Where: Brimbank Road, Keilor East (off Keilor Park Drive)

Yarra Valley Parklands

Family sitting in the Yarra valley parklands having a picinic

Wide-open spaces, shady river red gums and a great network of walking and cycling trails along the Yarra greet visitors to Westerfolds Park, which is part of the Yarra Valley Parklands.

Entry: Free

Open: Daily

Where: Off Fitzsimons Lane, Templestowe

Plenty Gorge Parklands

The Plenty Gorge Parklands offers a range of recreational activities including hiking, bird watching, spotting kangaroos and echidnas among the local wildlife, picnic areas and stunning views of Middle Gorge.

Entry: Free

Open: Daily

Where: About 20km north of Melbourne via Plenty Road.

Check your options

  • Plan ahead
  • Ensure you have a Plan B if your chosen site is too crowded
  • Consult the Parks Victoria and Forest Fire Management Victoria website for other options so that you can safely explore our state’s public land estate this long weekend.