The contemporary native garden, set within the natural bushland reserve at Cranbourne is a division of the Royal Botanical Gardens of Victoria. The suburb of Cranbourne is located about 45 km south-east of Melbourne CBD. Cranbourne Gardens is located on the ancestral lands of the Boon Wurrung people.
The 363 hectare Cranbourne garden offers visitors a chance to explore wetlands, woodlands and heathlands synonymous with Australian landscape. The garden was created in the 1970’s to promote the use and enjoyment of Australian Native plants. The Garden is also recognised as an important site for flora and fauna conservation. The facilities in the Garden include, 6km of Cycling tracks, 10km of walking tracks, BBQ and picnic tables and a lookout tower.
The Australian Gardens, the central attraction of the Cranbourne Gardens, usually described as a work of an artist for its landscaping excellence. The Australian Garden was first opened to public in 2006 with the goal of inspiring the community to use and enjoy Australian flora in their home gardens.
The Australian Garden features more than 170,000 individual plants representing 1700 different plant varieties. Immediately after entering the Australian Gardens, the Red Sand Garden with its deep reddish colour, will strike any visitor’s attention. The information board, just in front of it reads as follows,
“The water in the Australian landscape is an ancient history. The Ancient cycle from boom to bust, as illustrated by “droughts and flooding rains” in My Country, Dorothea Mac Kellar’s iconic 1908 hymn to Australia. Follow the physical journey of water through the Australian Garden landscape design and discover how the water and its cycle through the land, help us to understand the character of Australian landscape and its plants. This design journey begins in the “Red Sand Garden” the desert heart of Australia and concludes at the northern display gardens, where the water has finally arrived at the Urban eastern seaboards of Australia. Sudden rains pelt down and bring a spectacular flush of colour wild flowers that remind us of the life giving quality of life.
The line of plantings in the red sand garden represents the direction that some early European explorers took as they pushed up from the South to the unexplored North in search of the great inland sea. The Ephemeral Lake sculpture draws inspiration from water arriving or leaving a desert landscape, branching, braiding, drying into salt pans or swelling into temporary inland sees teeming with life. “
This above explanation, summarises what is ahead. This is a garden entirely devoted to Australian plants and what makes it different from other Gardens in Australia is the accompanying landscape which one has to travel across the length and breadth of Australia, if they wish to experience. The team that designed the garden include Taylor-Cullity-Lethlean, Landscape architects and Urban design specialists and horticulturalist and designer Paul Thompson.
The Escarpment Wall designed by Greg Clark, inspired by red sandstone escarpments stand as a wall near the water flow. Besides that, the diversity garden, represents the flora and fauna of Australia’s 85 bio regions. This is followed by water saving garden, Home Garden, River walk and the Weird Gardens. North of the river walk is Howson Hill, with plantations of Mallee Eucalyptus.
The area where the river meets the sea, signals that the journey of water has reached the coast. The Melaleuca spits is inspired by estuarine environments, those places that have one foot in fresh water and the other foot in salty sea creating brackish waterway. This landscape is reminiscent of Tidal river at Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria.
The Ian Potter lakeside precinct recreates a beautiful lakeside with focus on entertainment. Display Gardens that lays east to it consists of Promenade Plaza, the Backyard Garden, the Lifestyle Garden, the Greening Cities Garden, the Diversity Garden and the Home Garden.
Gardens on the Western side such as the Eucalyptus walk and the Gondwana Garden have been inspired by natural world and contain plants new to cultivation in Australia.
No other garden in Australia shares the design peculiarities of Australian Garden in Cranbourne. Any visitor here will be able to find at least some element that may interest them due to the diversity the garden offers.
Address: Cnr Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive (off South Gippsland Fwy), Cranbourne, 3977.
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm, every day (Closed Christmas Day). Entry to Cranbourne Gardens is free.
Please leave your dog and other pets at home to protect our local wildlife.
At the entrance of Australian garden is the visitor centre from where you can hire wheel chairs and mobility scooters. You can book a tour at the garden explorer which will take you around the garden for a ride with commentary.
The Woodland picnic area suitable for BBQ and picnic. It has children’s play area and toilet facilities.
Self-Guided walks in the Garden
Woodland walk – 400m long one way. Suitable for all ages
Wild life walk – 4.4Km Loop. Takes slightly more than an hour and requires good fitness level.
Possum Gully Walk – 3.5k loop. Takes an hour. Moderate fitness level.
Wylies Creek Loop – 5.4 Km and takes nearly 1.5 hours. Good fitness level required
From Stringybark Picnic Area
Manna Walk – 1Km loop takes nearly 20 minutes and suitable for all age groups and abilities
Wetland Walk – 2.5 Km loop, takes around 45 minutes and requires moderate fitness levels.
For Cranbourne Garden Discussion forum . Click the link https://tomelbourne.com.au/forums/topic/cranbourne-gardens/