Whether you're after something family friendly, some couple's time, or alone time, take a walk on the mild side and consider visiting Springvale Botanical Cemetery when you’re stuck for ideas of things to do this weekend.
In the rapid fire-world we operate in, the discovery of tranquil gardens in an unexpected place can be calming balm to an over-stressed soul. Springvale Botanical Cemetery is one such hidden treasure waiting to be discovered by families and couples alike for a day trip with a difference. Over four times the size of the Royal Botanic Gardens, the cemetery has more than 400 acres to explore, so is well worth a day trip at least. Free guided walking tours and bus tours are available or you may wish to grab a map and take things at your own pace.
If it’s flowers you’re after, we’re famous for our world class rose gardens, boasting over 28,000 rose bushes, consisting of 255 varieties of bush, standard, weepers and pillar roses. Our popular rose pruning demonstrations occur annually in May and June and are free for all budding rose enthusiasts.
If more statuesque botanicals are your thing there are over 80,000 native and European trees peppered across a variety of highly landscaped gardens, including formal and informal, traditional English and European, native, bush land and annual garden bed displays.
Many species of native wildlife feel at home on the grounds with multiple wetland species of birds living and breeding here, in addition to owls and other birds of prey. There have been sightings of reptiles, echidnas and possums too, with many kookaburras making Springvale their home, their raucous calls create a quintessentially Australian symphony throughout the day.
For those who appreciate their art there are many examples of traditional and historically significant memorial sculptures within the grounds commemorating the lives of pioneers and notables from the area. More modern art installations form a sculpture trail that includes a Corten steel ‘HONOUR’ sculpture and dandelion seed pods in the Luculia Gardens, a 'Giant Pine Cone' (corner of 6th Avenue and 2nd Road), a 'Giant Pear' provides a homage to orchards that existed in the area (corner of Gardenia Avenue and Verbena Road), and brightly-coloured balloon sculptures nestle within the Children’s Area.
Pockets of the cemetery are dedicated to Melbourne’s multicultural roots including the Song He Yuan Asian cemetery with the impressive Di Zhang Wang temple, and the mausolea complex, including the newly constructed Saint Padre Pio mausolea that offer peaceful and beautifully appointed, Italian-styled courtyard sanctuaries within which to pause and reflect.
The Garden of No Distant Place is not to be missed for European charm all year round, and particularly for an explosion of colour in Autumn and Spring. Of particular significance is the Springvale War Cemetery and Garden of Remembrance dedicated to courageous Australian servicemen and servicewomen, and worthy of some quiet reflection time.
It’s a lot to take in on a single visit, but we’ve got Café Vita et flores, on-site, to keep you hydrated and fuelled throughout. Well, we wouldn’t consider ourselves true Melburnians without a gourmet coffee and food offering! There’s a playground and Community Garden for the kids to discover, and Sunday jazz sessions monthly.
When your feet have cooled down from taking in the gardens at Springvale, there are plenty more pockets of harmony to discover when walking on the mild side - visit one of SMCT’s other seven cemeteries (each has its own personality and charm). If you still need convincing, then read 'From tombstones to TripAdvisor reviews' for reasons why cemeteries are rapidly becoming tourist destinations.
Springvale Botanical Cemetery is located at 600 Princes Highway, Springvale, Victoria. Grounds are open daily between 8.00am to 6.00pm (normal hours) and 8.00am to 8.00pm (daylight savings).
Café Vita et flores at Springvale Botanical Cemetery is open daily from 8.30am to 5.00pm (Monday to Friday), and 9.00am to 5.00pm (weekends).