Victoria is home to some beautiful gardens, both botanic gardens and private gardens. Best of all, many gardens allow dogs to join you when visiting. For a colourful day out with your pup, take your pick from these dog-friendly gardens in Victoria (and some special garden festivals!)
#1 Forest Glade Gardens, Macedon Ranges
One of my favourite dog-friendly gardens in Victoria is Forest Glade Gardens. This private garden is located in Mount Macedon, just a short drive outside of Melbourne, and is open daily to the public.
We visited Forest Glade Gardens during late spring, so the flowers were putting on a brilliant display. It’s also a colourful spot to visit during autumn, when it is open to the public as part of the Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival celebrated every April.
An entry free is charged for the gardens – bring cash so that you can put it in the money slot on quieter midweek days. There’s no entry fee for dogs, but make sure you keep your pup leashed and clean up after them, so that four-legged guests continue to be welcomed.
Allow at least an hour to stroll around the different parts of the garden. One of my favourite sections was the Japanese garden. There’s also some stunning sculptures placed amongst the gardens.
During April, multiple gardens open to the public as part of the Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival. Double check which if any gardens open during the festival allow your dog to join you.
Check out more tips for visiting the Macedon Ranges with a dog
#2 Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden, Dandenong Ranges
Another gorgeous garden not far outside of Melbourne, that I’ve heard plenty of praise for but haven’t had a chance to visit myself yet, is the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden.
This garden is located in Sherbroke, amongst the Dandenong Ranges, and dates back to the early 20th century. Open every day, there is no fee to enter. And of course dogs on a leash are welcome to join you in exploring the gardens.
The Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden is renowned for its extensive water features. Follow the path down to the ornamental lake at the centre of the garden with its cute boathouse. The highlights of the garden change from season to season, with rhododendrons and azaleas during the spring, while the Autumn months see a blaze of colour from the maples and beeches.
While in the area, also visit the George Tindale Memorial Gardens. Located further along the same road, these dog-friendly gardens in the Dandenong Ranges are also open to the public daily with no entry fee, and dogs allowed on a leash.
#3 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne
If you live in Melbourne, there’s no need to go far to visit a beautiful dog-friendly garden in Victoria. The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in the heart of Melbourne welcome leashed dogs to join you on a visit to the gardens (unlike the botanic gardens in Sydney!)
First open to the public in 1846, this historic gardens are home to a diverse collection of plant species. Wander past the ornamental lake across grassy lawns and stands of forests, weave up through the fern gully and visit the Tropical Glasshouse. There’s even a volcano onsite!
For a special treat, take a punt tour on the lake. Tours run between September and May, with advance reservations recommended on weekends. Best of all, well-behaved dogs are welcome to join you for free, with no size limits.
#4 Rosalind Park, Bendigo
The city of Bendigo is home an impressive collection of historic buildings, dating back to when the city boomed during the gold rush years. At the heart of the city is also a fine historical park, Rosalind Park.
Named after one of Shakespeare’s characters, the park dates back to the boom years of the city during the late 19th century. It’s home to many historic gardens and trees – perfect for a stroll with your pup amongst the greenery.
Take a wander around the Queen Victoria Garden, with a statues of its namesake dating to 1903, the Yi Juan Chinese Gardens and the cascade fountain, which dates back to 1880. Every spring, beds of tulip burst out in a brightly colour display, while in the autumn months the deciduous trees turn shades of red, orange and yellow.
The park is also home to yet another one of Bendigo’s historic poppet heads, located on the park’s upper slopes. There’s no prohibition on dogs joining you in ascending to the lookout at the top for a 360 degree view of the city. Just keep your dog on a leash in the park.
Check out more tips for visiting Bendigo with a dog
#5 Garden of the Future, Bendigo
On the northern edge of Bendigo is another fine garden, the Bendigo Botanic Gardens. One of the oldest botanic gardens in regional Victoria, they were established all the way back in 1857.
However, it’s not all about looking to the past at the Bendigo Botanic Gardens. Alongside the Heritage Garden, home to a central billabong, beautifully shady trees and delightful cottage gardens, is the Garden of the Future.
The Garden of the Future opened on the southern side of the original gardens in 2018. These gardens are a stark contrast to the Heritage Garden, with an emphasis on more water-resistant and dramatic plantings, rather than traditional flowers.
While these gardens are young, make sure you bring your own shade, as there’s not many tall trees to provide shade while you stroll around them. Leashed dogs are welcome to join you in both gardens, except for in the bird aviary in the Heritage Gardens, whether for a stroll or a picnic. Water fountains and BBQs are provided.
#6 Tesselaar Tulip Festival, Dandenong Ranges
Victoria is also home to a number of seasonal garden festivals that welcome dogs to join you. Every Spring, head to the Tesselaar Flower Farm in Silvan amongst the Dandenong Ranges for the Tesselaar Tulip Festival.
Held from mid-September to mid-October (the dates for 2024 have already been confirmed as 14th September to 13th October), enjoy a day at the flower farm surrounded by millions of flowering bulbs in every colour. There’s also live entertainment everyday, Dutch food and treats to purchase and other fun attractions.
A ticket applies for the festival and all its attractions, with advance online purchase recommended, particularly if you plan to visit on the weekends. Dogs are welcome to join you for free, as long as they are leashed and you bring your own bags to clean up after them.
#7 Cherry Hill Orchard Blossom Festival, Yarra Valley
During late September and early October, another garden festival takes part in the Yarra Valley, just an hour’s drive from the centre of Melbourne, the Cherry Hill Orchard Blossom Festival.
Unlike the rest of the year when pet dogs are not permitted into their orchards, including during the cherry picking season, dogs on a leash are welcome to join you at the 85-acre cherry orchard on selected days, as part of the “Furry friends at Blossom” program.
Double check the dates when dogs are welcome and the latest rules – plus make sure your dog is well behaved and you clean up after them so this privilege remains! The dates for the 2024 festival have not yet been announced – it’s possible to pre-register online to be notified when tickets go on sale, with an option to select that you’re bringing a dog.
Check out more tips for visiting the Yarra Valley with a dog
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About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.