Style Correspondent Danielle King of Budu
Destination Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne has a brilliant variety of places and spaces to visit with kids, as well as plenty of beautiful lawns for laying out your picnic blanket.
I especially love bringing my son to the dedicated children’s garden where little one’s imaginations are given room to grow
The children’s garden is just near the Visitor Centre. Here there is a fantastic garden where children can play, climb, hide, explore, splash and dig in areas including the Ruin Garden, the Meeting Place (with a water play spray that runs during summer months), a Wetland Area with a pond, Bamboo Forest, The Gorge, and an ancient redgum, which is nearly 10,000 years old, Plant Tunnel, Kitchen Garden and The Rill (a gentle waterway that runs through the Garden).
After playing here, head down to the newly revamped Fern Gully Fern Gully where there is a bubbling creek which cascades through a landscape of ferns, palms and shrubs. Cross the creek on one of the five bridges and meet a kookaburra before you head to the lawns that overlook the ornamental lakes. (If the weather has grown inclement – a constant threat in four-seasons-in-one-day Melbourne! – simply retire to The Terrace). Another alternative picnic spot on the opposite side of the lakes is the aptly named Picnic Point.
Why go: This is a garden with lots of little secret spaces that make a day in nature a magical adventure – and the bonus, if you are a temporary visitor to Australia – is that you can get to meet some native Australian animals in the wild – without leaving the city or paying a zoo entry fee! Kookaburras, echidnas
Who is it best for: Toddlers to primary school ages
Top tip: There is punting, Aboriginal heritage walks as well as seasonal events that run in the park – so be sure to check events and activities available on the day you visit to make the most of your picnic in the park
Facilities: There are toilets, cafes and restaurants as well as accessible pathways throughout the Garden
While you’re in the area: Stop off at the Plant Craft House (pictured) in the Garden – it is filled with unusual ideas for turning your garden into a very creative craft project…