The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne (RBG Melbourne) has long been a treasured part of Melbourne’s cultural life. The gardens are a picturesque haven for recreation and an important resource for education, conservation, science and horticulture. These beautiful, well-manicured gardens house an amazingly diverse collection of over 10,000 species of plants from around the world, including rare and threatened species.
Not to be missed is the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, one of the most popular features attracting over 150,000 visitors each year. You are also sure to enjoy the Tropical Hothouse, Plant Craft Cottage and the recently-completed Guilfoyle’s Volcano water reservoir. There is a fantastic visitors center and guided walks, interpretive signs, two cafés and the Gardens’ very own retail outlet – the Gardens Shop. Of course, it’s a great place to purchase souvenirs or just get ideas for things to look for back in the States.
Just take your time and take in all the native flora and fauna as you stroll through. Visit the Cafes that are scattered around the walk It’s like a fairy tale. The pond is usually home to a stately black swan and the meticulously manicured gardens, and ornate gateways add to the total ambiance. Look for the grey garden which is reportedly quite lovely – who knew grey could be so fabulous?
Another “must” while in Melbourne is the Queen Victoria Market. Also known affectionately as ‘Vic Market’ or ‘Queen Vic’, the Queen Victoria Market has been the heart and soul of Melbourne for more than a century. A historic landmark spread over two city blocks, it’s a vibrant and bustling inner-city Market where you can shop for everything from Australian fruit and vegetables, and local and imported gourmet foods, to cosmetics, clothing and the must have souvenirs.
The Market is open five days a week—Tuesday, and Thursday to Sunday and features some very unique stores. On your free day in Melbourne you may want to enjoy all the color and excitement of Queen Victoria Market on a guided tour through the market with an experienced guide. The Market Tour is ideal for anyone with an interest in food, history and shopping. You must be sure to discover Deli Hall, also known as the Dairy Produce Hall, which retains many art deco features including the original marble counters, which were the equivalent of today’s refrigerated cabinets.
The range of produce available includes a huge variety of dips, pates, terrines, cured and preserved meats and one of the most extensive ranges of local and imported cheeses found in Melbourne. For the sweet tooth, a selection of mouth-watering continental cakes, pastries, nougat and chocolates are available.
The Hall is also known as the Market’s second Food Court. A range of take-away foods are available both in the Hall and the adjacent Elizabeth Street shops. Seating is available in Deli Lane at the rear of the Hall. The take-away food, known to us stateside as “fast food”, offers Italian, Turkish, French pastries, sandwiches and the bratwurst sausages for which the Market is famous – it’s a winner! The Food Court has seating for over 400 patrons and is heated for those chilly Melbourne mornings and is also well protected from the rain and wind. The modern fabric and glass canopy provides a stark contrast to the surrounding Victorian buildings.
Another “must” at the Vic Market is the Victoria Street Shops, the two story shops opened in 1887 on Victoria Street. In 1884 and 1890, the single story shops were opened. I think you will fall in love with these quaint specialty shops, each beautifully and lovingly restored and offering a range of boutique items and quirky one-of-a-kind finds. It is THE place to find the perfect remembrance of your trip to Australia for yourself or those back home.
Please review the entire itinerary for this once in a lifetime experience “down-under”. This is a vacation you will remember forever!
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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