Parks and Gardens

Strolls, Slides and Picnic rugs

Whether you are looking for the perfect family picnic spot or a leafy walking trail for a sunny day stroll, here’s a list of some of Boroondara’s favourite parks and gardens. (For further information on parks and gardens of Boroondara click here)

  • Maranoa Gardens, Balwyn

    Yarrbat Ave, Balwyn. When John Watson purchased a whopping 3.5 acres of land in 1901, he had a vision to create a botanical masterpiece made entirely of native trees and shrubbery from the homeland (and New Zealand). Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal today, Watson was a green thumb rebel for his time where European trends were the only influence; it wasn’t until years later that Watson received the praise he deserved. The space has since acted as a University of Australian vegetation for students, botanists and green enthusiasts alike. Designed around an impressive circuit path, Maranoa Gardens leads visitors through a storybook of plants, each collection covering a chapter of a particular geology, land form, soil and climate – from cottage garden to rainforest, temperate woodland, indigenous display and beyond.

    Where: Yarrbat Ave, Balwyn.

    Best for: STROLL

    Explore: Spend a day learning about the history of Australian native flora and fauna
  • Hays Paddock, Kew

    Leason St, Kew East Arguably one of Melbourne’s best playgrounds, the all-ability site at Hay’s Paddock features a spider’s web trampoline, hammock, flying fox, a shaded sandpit, extra-wide see saw as well as the obligatory playground classics such as swings and slides. Officially opened in October 1998, having been developed by local residents Danielle Blanden and Jenny Grahem who are both mothers of children with a disability, this was the first community playground in Australia designed for children of all abilities… because every child deserves to have their own fun.

    Where: Leason St, Kew East

    Best for: SLIDE

    Explore: Fully enclosed play park for all children Kew Billabong, with boardwalk.
  • Canterbury Gardens, Canterbury

    Canterbury Road, Canterbury There’s no park in Melbourne that describes the term ‘gardenesque’ quite like Canterbury Gardens. Over the years, it’s been many things – a thoroughfare for West Creek in 1850 and a quaint farmstead soon after. Today the garden’s filled will rolling lawns, specimen trees and psychedelic displays of perennial borders and annual beds. In fact, there are even a few established trees remaining that have been doing their thing since the 1800s. In 1903, the land was fenced and named Canterbury Reserve. And in 1909 a rotunda was built for locals to flock together. Today the gardens still act as a venue for dense gatherings. Festive carols are held yearly, just in time for Santa, and the hums of jazz waft through the green as part of the Summer Music Series.

    Where: Canterbury Road, Canterbury

    Best for: PICNIC RUG

    Explore: Jazz in the park during summer The grand rotunda The magic of carols in the park.
  • Surrey Gardens, Surrey Hills

    Between Union and Norfolk Rds, Surrey Hills Few gardens can boast being one of the first grounds in Australia to feature a World War I memorial, and that’s what makes Surrey Gardens unique. Originally designed by William Guilfoyle, (Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens), and featuring a stone cross and war memorial shrine (also known as a cenotaph), Surrey Gardens has more history over 1.4 hectares than any other park in the Boroondara area. Opened in 1917, Surrey Gardens had a thorough revamp in 2007, and today it features a rare Art Nouveau artwork, carved by one of Melbourne’s pioneering wood carvers – Mr JK Blogg, as well as two cannons, affectionately known as ‘Brook’s Babies’ that commemorate the end of the Boer War. These belong to Arthur ‘Empire’ Brooks and can be seen peering over the garden from the highest point.

    Where: Between Union and Norfolk Rds, Surrey Hills

    Best for: STROLL

    Explore: Mr JK Blogg’s Art Nouveau artwork ‘Brook’s Babies’ at the park’s highest point WWI cenotaph.
  • Beckett Park, Balwyn

    Yarrbat Ave, Balwyn Children of the area and elsewhere delight in this wonderland of ramps, swings, slides, monkey bars, and in-ground trampoline and a large sandpit with mechanical scoops. Hours will while away here, as the adults among us can find shaded tables from which to look on at all the fun happening. Unless of course we’re too busy losing ourselves in the wooden maze or up the stone tower.

    Where: Yarrbat Ave, Balwyn

    Best for: SLIDE

    Explore: The stone tower Large wooden maze.
  • Yarra Bend Park, Kew

    Boathouse Rd, Kew Much more than a neighbourhood park, Yarra Bend Park is a 260 hectare expanse of parkland that hugs the river and plays home to the historic Studley Park Boathouse. From one location you can enjoy a restaurant meal, relax in a café, take in sweeping views of the Yarra River and surrounding bushland, set yourself up in the picnic area or even hire a boat and go paddling, just as Mole and Ratty would do in The Wind in the Willows. The largest area of natural bushland in inner Melbourne is a real hero of Kew and attracts visitors from all corners. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of space for everyone... find your own patch of grass or riverside embankment and forget where you are.

    Where: Boathouse Rd, Kew

    Best for: PICNIC RUG

    Explore: Rowboats, canoes and kayaks for hire Impressive views across the river and to the city Picnic and barbeque facilities.