Certainly the finest botanic gardens in Australia and arguably among the finest in the world, the Royal Botanic Gardens are a must see. The Yarra river once ran right through the gardens however the lakes are what remains of its curves, cut off when the river was straightened to lessen the annual flood damage. The gardens are home to over 12,000 different species of plants and are a natural sanctuary for native wildlife. Features of the gardens include the Ornamental Lake, the National Herbarium of Victoria, Old Melbourne Observatory, the Australian Rainforest Walk and the Water Conservation Garden. The mild climate of Melbourne, combined with a long history of plant collection from around the world, has allowed an immense range of plants from across Australia and the world to be brought together. Plants are displayed in major groupings, or “collections” including Cacti & Succulents, Californian Collection, Camellia Collection, Species rose, Tropical Display Glasshouse, Viburnum Collection, and New Zealand Collection. The Royal Botanic Gardens also offer plenty of activities: such as workshops, seminar, walks and tours. And if you visit Melbourne during summer, don’t miss the Moonlight Cinema, an outdoor cinema with twilight screenings of classic and cult movies.
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