Established atop a hill in central Melbourne in 1862, Flagstaff Gardens is the city’s oldest park. Covering 18 acres, on a nice day you’ll see plenty of office workers lounging on the lawns during their lunch breaks. And given the park’s location next door to Queen Victoria Market, a picnic made up of goods from the nearby food stalls is a popular option.
Named after a flagstaff that was erected in 1840 to signal ships into Melbourne port, as you wander through the park you’ll see sculptures and memorial statues, flower and rose beds, leafy eucalyptus, paths lined with avenues of elms for shade, and Moreton Fig trees native to eastern Australia. Look out for local wildlife, including possums, too.
And in the northern corner, you’ll see the local bowling lawn and, for sporty types, along the William Street side of Flagstaff Gardens there are tennis courts which also double as volleyball, handball, and netball courts. Just next to the courts, the electric barbecues are especially busy come summertime. And for a fine example of Melbourne’s extravagant buildings built during the boom years of the Victorian Gold Rush, check out the Melbourne Mint building. Built in 1862 in the Renaissance revival style, it’s just across the street from Flagstaff Gardens and is now home to the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.
The closest station to Flagstaff Gardens is Flagstaff railway station, at the southeast corner of the park.