Best rose gardens to see in Melbourne and Victoria

Red rose

Blanche Clark

Posted October 13, 2023

Roses show their true colours throughout the warmer months, with spring being one of the best times to visit these stunning rose gardens across Melbourne and Victoria.

Few things are more beautiful than an abundance of blooming roses in shades of pink, red, yellow, and apricot. In spring, rose gardens across Melbourne and Victoria come to life with stunning displays of this much-loved flower.

Cultivated for thousands of years, you don’t need to be a gardener to appreciate these symbols of love and joy; in fact, you can avoid dealing with their prickles and just enjoy the blooms.

Melbourne and Victoria boast a number of spectacular rose gardens, including the Victorian State Rose Garden and the Mornington Botanical Rose Gardens, and there are wonderful smaller beds to be discovered within public gardens such as St Kilda Botanical Gardens and Benalla Botanical Gardens.

Many are among the best free botanic gardens and beautiful parks to visit in Melbourne, and the State Rose and Garden Show in November is one of the annual flower and garden show events in Melbourne and Victoria.

If growing roses appeals, you’ll also find a few tips here, or see our guide on how to plant and grow perfect roses

Gardener pruning rose bushes

Grounds Manager Tim Pierce looks after the roses at Healesville Country Club & Resort. Photo: Matt Harvey

Tips for growing roses

Nestled within the sprawling landscape of RACV Healesville Country Club & Resort lies a rose garden that blooms from mid-October to the end of November. Grounds Manager Tim Pierce says the roses require an annual prune and regular attention during the growing season.

"We give them some fertilizer at the start of each season, a bit of spray to prevent insects, and we deadhead them to encourage more blooms," he says.

When it comes to water, roses are surprisingly hardy and drought tolerant. "Roses thrive in free-draining soil and need plenty of sunlight," Pierce says. "They don't like competition, so you need to give them a dedicated space and avoid planting anything nearby that competes with them or blocks the sun.”

A one-hour walk around Healesville Country Club & Resort allows guests staying at the resort to take in the rose garden, along with the beautiful landscape and Michael Clayton-designed 18-hole golf course.

If you need more inspiration for your garden or want to see different varieties, head to the rose gardens listed below.


Roses in St Kilda Botanical Gardens Melbourne

St Kilda Botanic Gardens is great place to see roses in spring. Photo: Lisa Luscombe

Best rose gardens to see in Melbourne

Flemington Racecourse

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is as famed for its roses as its horses. Flemington’s gardeners spend months preparing and planning for the spring event, with the aim of making sure 16,000 plants are in full bloom for Cup week. Sunny weather helps, as does fertiliser. Each race day is associated with a different coloured rose:  cornflower for Derby Day, yellow for Cup Day, pink for Oaks Day and red for Stakes Day. Flemington Heritage Centre offers guided tours of these beautiful gardens, with a minimum booking of five people.

St Kilda Botanical Gardens

The St Kilda Botanical Gardens opened in 1861 and are recognised by Heritage Victoria as one of Victoria’s earliest botanical gardens. The Alister Clark Rose Garden, in honour of Australia’s pioneering rosarian, was added to the display of native and exotic plants in the 1950s. About 80 rose bushes define this area of the gardens, but only a few of Clark’s varieties remain. For those interested in the history of Australian-bred roses, there is a dedicated Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla (see below).

Queen Victoria Gardens

Roses are often named after monarchs and famous people, includin the pink Reine Victoria after Queen Victoria. The former monarch is also honoured in Melbourne with a rose garden surrounding the Queen Victoria Memorial in the Domain Parklands. Research shows that roses were first brought to Australia around the mid-1800s, and the first rose nursery was set up in Hawthorn in the early 1860s. While the floral clock and mass planting of daffodils beneath the trees are sure to catch your eye, don’t forget to look out for the rose garden as you meander through Domain Parklands or when you have a picnic on the lawns. 

Victoria State Rose Garden, Werribee

A relatively young garden, with the first roses planted in October 1981, the Victoria State Rose Garden has become our most spectacular, with more than 5000 bushes. The roses peak in November and March, but there are always blooms to see between October and July. This is another fabulous location for a picnic, and the annual State Rose & Garden Show is held in November.

The roses in the Benalla Botanic Gardens

The Benalla Botanical Gardens is notable for its modern varieties. Photo: Benalla Rural City Council

Best rose gardens to see in Victoria

Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden, Bulla

Bulla resident Alister Clark was a noted Australian rose breeder, with about 128 roses released in his name between 1912 and 1949. The local community built the memorial garden in his honour, and it opened in 1997. Situated between two historic bluestone buildings, the garden is maintained by the Bulla Garden Club and dedicated community volunteers. It's a 10-minute drive Tullamarine Airport, and open every day during sunlight hours.

Australian Inland Botanic Gardens, Mildura

Amid this remarkable semi-arid botanic garden, you’ll find a rose garden consisting of more than 1500 roses, ranging in height and colour, and many of them scented. It’s one of the many treasures you can discover on a self-guided tour, or as part of a one-hour Tractor Train Tour run by volunteers. The gardens also boast a desert pea display, rare and threatened species from the region and a 2500-year-old Mallee Tree, known as the WOW tree.

Benalla Botanical Gardens, Benalla

Dating back to 1886, the Benalla Botanical Gardens is regarded as a national treasure. The original layout remains intact and, along with the unusual combination of ornamental gardens, the gardens are famed for having one of the most picturesque sports ovals in the country. The Rose Garden, first established in 1959, has become an icon, with a notable collection of modern varieties, including Australian roses seldom found in public gardens.

Mornington Botanical Rose Gardens

Visit the Mornington Rose Gardens in spring and summer to see the blooms at their best. These tranquil gardens are a retreat from the beach, and you can combine them with a visit to the Mornington Peninsular Regional Gallery. Bordered by native Australian trees and shrubs, there are more than 4000 roses spread across 86 beds. The gardens are maintained by volunteers, with support from the local council. The Mornington Rose Garden is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset and admission is free.