Thursday, April 10, 2014

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia: Fitzroy Gardens, Captain Cook's Cottage, etc.

St. Paul's cathedral Lanes and alleyways: Melbourne art culture - Tram rides - Queen Victoria Market Eureka sky deck / The Edge - MELBOURNE MEMORY # 6 CAPTAIN COOK'S COTTAGE - Flinder's street station - Yarra River - MCG - Federation Square - Cuisine - Extras.

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My entry to one of the oldest gardens of Melbourne -The Fitzroy’s Gardens couldn't have been lovelier – after a steady whiplash of chilly showers and intimidating grey skies in the morning, the afternoon sun finally gave a glance, peeping out from behind a skyscraper.

Entry point of the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Entrance to the Fitzroy gardens: A sanctuary of peace.

The hustle bustle of a city as chaotic as Melbourne soon faded away as I briskly crossed the briefly sun tanned skyscraper, to step out of the city traffic and into the wide open spaces of the Fitzroy gardens: long meandering avenues lined with files and files of beautiful majestic pines, deodars and English elms on either sides.

Meandering avenues of the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
The lush green carpet of the Fitzroy Gardens

Set in classic Victorian-era design and covering an area of 64 acres since 1860, the Fitzroy gardens along with the other gardens like Royal Botanical gardens occupy a healthy part of the Melbourne city and reflects its thoughtful belief in cultivating a culture of green in a place as concrete as itself. Hidden beneath and beyond these veils of quiet foliage, however, are significant attractions of the city, cherished by the people and the tourists alike, thus ensuring something for everyone stepping on its land.

Pathways of the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Meandering pathways, all for you to discover.

Green as it was; my first glimpse of the garden was inviting, and the enveloping quietude only helped the impression. As I started walking along the perfectly manicured corridors, a sense of déjà vu gripped me and left me smiling silently, reminding me of Hibiya Park in Japan: a carpet of green, a floral paradise, away from the maddening crowd... I felt familiar to the gardens, I felt like I had known them after all.

Dense tree canopy in the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Dense shaded canopies: The only window to the outside world.

With a gloomy weather in full bloom, the dense umbrella of the trees weaved a dense shadow obliterating the place in a mystical aura, also blocking out all the noise and chaos that Melbourne is famed for.

. . . . .

Let’s take a walk down here, and see what’s in store.
(A Photo  Essay on the Fitzroy Gardens):

Captain Cooks Cottage:

First attraction in sight was Captain Cooks' Cottage, a pretty small house believed to have been owned by Captain James Cook's parents and subsequently brought by a wealthy Australian businessman from it's original location Yorkshire to it's current location Melbourne to commemorate Victoria's centenary in 1934. 

Captain cooks cottage, Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne Australia
Captain cooks cottage, Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Captain Cook's Cottage: A major attraction of Melbourne.

Take a peek from the outside, you can see a life size statue of Captain Cook standing in the garden, and a cardboard face-cut placard for souvenir photo takeaways. Inside, three small rooms and a gift/souvenir shop, promises to take you through to a tour on his voyage of life and death.

Statue at the Captain cooks cottage, Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Captain Cook: The 'discoverer' of the east coast of Australia.

Postbox near the Captain cooks cottage, Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
A postbox near the cottage entrance.

Though I love history, one of the reasons I had put this place in my Melbourne itinerary, but with the help of suggestions given by Melburnian blogger friends and from my own first hand idea, I dropped the idea of taking a complete tour and instead just appreciated the cottage from the outside.

After discovering the cottage, take a turn where you may like, and if you were to follow in my trail, 

Streets of the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia

Step on this wooden bridge to crossover flowery beds and other rock outcroppings making themselves known...

Bridge at the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia

... And stride along a stream housing a boy resting on a turtle.

A boy on a turtle at the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Boy on the turtle

Conservatory: Then take a few moments out to admire the statue of Diana and the hounds and step into this Spanish Mission-style Conservatory, dating from 1930 and housing changing exhibitions of magnificent floral displays.

Diana and the hounds at the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
The figurine of Diana and the Hounds at the entrance to the conservatory.

Conservatory at the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Backside-view of the conservatory.

Fitzroy Gardens conservatory, Melbourne Australia
Pink Floral display at the Fitzroy Gardens conservatory, Melbourne Australia
White Floral display at the Fitzroy Gardens conservatory, Melbourne Australia
Floral delight inside the conservatory.

Follow your heart or take the help of signboards or better still interact with the locals, help them guide you towards the most beautiful and eye catching key points in the gardens. In any case, trust the paths that you take, there are gifts with each step that you take, once unwrapped, revel in their charisma.

Bunch of flowers at the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Green carpet of the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia

And if you feel you have walked enough, have a seat, and let the arms of the canopy of trees embrace you in a deep calm slumber. Here, try listening to the sounds of the outdoors, and spend some quiet moments with yourself… 

Bench and tree at the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Would you like to have a seat?

Here, try expanding your sights and broadening your vistas, maybe there are new friends to be made?

. . . . .

Having walked for a good thirty to forty five minutes on my clock, I stood there near the noisy fountain, savoring the marvel of being completely alone in it. The tree cover was now silhouetted by a sheath of concrete buildings and glass windows in the backdrop. I was searching for the exit.

View of the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Somewhere near the exit area

Suddenly, a group of birds singing somewhere distracted my vision and this little family of ducks caught my eye, perhaps they were hungry and were searching for food (?). They made beautiful sounds, preening and chattering among themselves, following the eldest in the group in a pattern as disciplined and rhythmic that could easily put my school assembly obedience to shame.

Little family of chicks at the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia
Say hello!

I left the garden through the nearest exit, now in the company of gigantic skyscrapers towering upon me, looking for a tram to the main city; with memories of the small lake busy with the army of ducklings marching their way towards the garden, still making noises under the canopy of the pine trees.

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Tips and tricks for travellers:

- Captain Cook's cottage is a pretty small house which looks quite beautiful from the outside; if you are travelling on a budget (like me) and not really intent on exploring the history, consider giving the interiors a miss and spending that much more time in the garden instead, it's a nature sanctuary.

- If you love nature, and flowers, then the conservatory is something not to be missed. What's more, it's free!

Besides the cottage and the conservatory, also look out for: several fountains and sculptures, a band pavilion and rotunda, a miniature Tudor Village and the Fairies Tree carved by Ola Cohn. These are some of the other things I missed due to paucity of time.

- The gardens are a short distance from the MCG cricket grounds; try clubbing the two together in your itinerary.

Getting there:

Fitzroy gardens is very close to the city center, the CBD. To get there, you can either catch a city circle tram and get down at the nearest stop St. Vincent Plaza. Or if you have no qualms walking, you could walk all the way down the Yarra river course from the Federation square and reach the gardens via the MCG cricket grounds.

Location, Contact, opening and closing hours and entry fee:

Address: East Melbourne VIC 3002, Australia.

Entry fee for Cook's cottage is $ 5; rest of the gardens is Free.

Phone: +61 3 9658 9658

Visiting Hours: Mon to Sun; 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM; closed on Christmas day.

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Previous stories from Melbourne:

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  1. The gardens look so serene, and well maintained... indeed an inspiration to do better job with our public gardens. All the pics are good, but I really loved the duck family... :)

  2. Read with pleasure. Thank you for sharing. We expect more. Keep on writing. Best of luck. Me, sunilkunnoth, another blogger from Kerala.

  3. Finished reading, but still experiencing the peace and the greenery...:)

  4. Such lovely recollections for bagful of Melbourne memories:)

  5. I'd spend more time outside too! Beautiful gardens.

  6. It is like a secret garden, very beautiful! I haven't been there myself, wish I could see more of Melbourne.

  7. Hi,Arti.
    You have provided many collections of Melbourne. They are all beautifully taken and I see you had good weather there. I like those the greenery garden, and the red postbox is my favorite!!! So cute!

    Have a good weekend, my friend!

  8. Oh my goodness, all of those trees. how relaxing. And as for that seat under the trees? How I'd love to sit there with a good book or merely sit people watching.

  9. Hi Arti, you always manage to find some peace and seclusion, even in the bustle of the city. Thank you for the walk amid the flowers and greenery. I've never visited Australia, but I see its beauty through your eyes.

  10. Hi Arti,

    Wonderful to come and visit you and thanks for sharing all these things to do in Melbourne.
    Our daughter is going over there to live and work in May, so this will be very useful.
    Happy weekend

  11. This is truly a pleasant suprise. Im dropping by to visit your lovely blog & im greeted with a post that will be so useful for me. My next trip IS to Melbourne!!! :) Gave me great tips for my trip! Thanks... Looking forward to read more posts of yours! Wishing for many more beautiful Yatra for you :)

  12. Dear Arti, wow, such an amazing post with so many great pictures! I wonder, if i willever get to Melbourne ... the gardens look wonderful to me! Have a very happy weekend, sweet friend! xx

  13. The last post was from me - was locked in under different acccount ;)

  14. Fantastic post.. Packed with useful info as usual Arti..!

  15. The garden is really beautiful. It made me calm. :D

  16. The gardens do look so beautiful and serene and yes, Arti, I'd take a seat and just breathe it all in. I love to see gardens in the midst of skyscrapers and concrete -- a lovely balance. Captain Cook's place looks quite interesting -- I'd forgotten about his connection to Australia -- but it doesn't sound like many people could fit in it at once.

  17. The Conservatory & Captian Cook's cottage looks wow! You have described everything so nicely Arti with great pics too :)

  18. Wonderful photographs and description Arti....a virtual journey.... :-)

  19. Wow. I would love to live in a cottage like Captain Cook's :-)

  20. I have been to Melbourne, but I missed out on this due garden to my shopaholic sis. :(

  21. This is getting me seriously envious. Had big dream of visiting Melbourne after graduating distance education from University there. Could not visit till date, but your post is going to be helpful if and when I plan. Melbourne is beautiful...

  22. Lovely shots! It looks a lot like England.

  23. Beauty and bountiful Nature at its best..
    Nice pics and thanks for sharing
    A virtual journey never to forget...!!! <3

  24. Great. Only question is when will I make it to Melbourne

  25. Beautiful garden with interesting structures.

  26. Looks like Melbourne, Tokyo, and other large cities of civilized countries have an spacious oasis surrounded skyscrapers where both locals and tourists can spend leisurely time. I enjoyed accompanying you, Arti, for the greenery, flowers, and the cute duck family.


  27. Beautiful garden and a very well maintained one. I love all the pics Arti.

  28. The roads and the greenery surrounding it looks stunning! Captain Cook's cottage looks like a small village house in the backyard. Amazingly beautiful Australia! :)

  29. I love how every city you find the gardens to visit. Brings so much balance especially when travelling. Soon you will be a world wide traveler. Yes I can see that for you.


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