The kids and I (mostly I) decided we needed an outing today. Not having seen a lot of the city we now call home leaves us with plenty to do during these lazy days of summer. Although I know how captivating iPads, the X-box and reading books are to my little people, I also believe in fresh air, new experiences and physical activity to nourish us humans.
We agreed on visiting Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens for an easy stroll. We loved the Botanic Gardens in Sydney so had high hopes for our local gardens in South Yarra. An easy 20 minute drive from home and free 2-4 hour parking – two wins from the start! With no real plan at all except for a meander with the dog, we were off. There are numerous paths throughout the park to visit the various gardens, however, we opted for the more general ring path that encircled all of the park.
Immediately we were side tracked into the Fern Forest which was such a delight. Thick vines, varying shades of green fern and massive trees offered us a cooler temperature and shade for a short walk which felt a world away from the city.
We then stumbled upon Ornamental Lake and punting boats. Wow! Our first glimpse was a boat in the distance with passengers sporting parasols. It was out of a Monet painting with all the lily and lotus in bloom. Completely distracted from our walk at this point we rolled up to the boat stand to sign up for our own private boat ride. Not only can your favourite pup join you onboard but they can travel for free! The cost for a family of up to 5 people is $75 for a thirty minute ride. I had some buyer’s remorse with the price but tried to let that go as it’s summer holidays and we really haven’t done a whole lot of anything.
Our punter, Wesley, a New Zealander and fountain of information, made our thirty minutes pleasant and chock full of information. We had our own private botanic garden guide to share stories of the lake, the flora and fauna. It was so relaxing and wonderful. Our dog, Jack, wanted to swim with the ducks so had to be kept on a short and taut lead but I think he handled himself quite well for a first time boater. The experience exceeded all of our expectations and I can’t recommend it enough if ever you find yourself at the RBG in Melbs.