Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens is located on Sherbrooke Road in the Dandenong Ranges and are part of the Burnham Beeches Estate. This garden is known for its delightful waterfalls, its iconic lake and boathouse. These are probably my favorite gardens in the Dandenong ranges.
I had a stressful few days, so having taken a day off for other reasons and finding that I had a few spare hours left over, I decided to duck in and check out the autumn colours at Alfred Nicholas Gardens. From the moment, I stepped through the iron gates, breathed in the fresh crisp mountain air, the stress literally melted away. There’s just something about going for a brisk walk in cool air surrounded by beauty that helps everyone relax.
You can spend hours if not the entire day in these gardens, wondering from the pools at the top of the gardens (follow the directions for “Upper Pools”), wondering through the pathways full of trees, flowers, bulbs, native plants, through the abortorium, to the rotunda where many weddings have taken place, to the bottom of the gardens where the magnificent and photogenic ornamental lake and boathouse are present. Check out a map of the gardens.
It is a little late in the season to still see autumn colours, but as everyone knows Melbourne weather is highly unpredictable, so my trip out to the Dandenongs could have gone either way. My goal was to see the boathouse and lake which lies at the end of a meandering downhill walk. At the end of the downhill walk, the view is amazing, the lake and boathouse are surrounded by golden ginkgos displaying their glorious autumn colours. The lake has a little island in the middle, which can be reached via multiple bridges, however they are out of service. They have been out of service every time I have come by, which is a pity, we can only hope that they will open up soon. There were a few other people who came by the lake while I was there, mostly other hobbyist photographers, and a few tourists, for the most part I had the lake to myself to enjoy the ambiance and serenity and to take as many photos as I pleased.
Now for a little history on Alfred Nicholas and his inspiring gardens. Alfred Nicholas and his brother George developed the Aspro painkiller formula and were the first to officially patent the formula. If you want to learn more about Alfred Nicholas, check out the Visit Dandenong Page. Alfred Nicholas purchased the land that these gardens now stand on in 1929, he continued to buy the surrounding land, extending the property to 13 acres. He traveled across Victoria and around the world in search of the perfect plants to create his dream garden. After he passed away in 1937, the estate has been used in many ways, including a hotel, a children’s hospital and a research facility. Eventually the estate was purchased in 2010, and the gardens are now owned by parks Victoria.
This is the perfect time of the year to visit these gardens, without the crowds that are normally present in the Dandenong Ranges. The map above tells you what you can see in each season, for an avid walker, photographer or outdoorsy person, these gardens are the perfect place to while away a few lazy hours. Spend the time to get in touch with nature and get some quality me time or to spend with family and friends. There is really no excuse not to come visit these gardens if you live in Melbourne, and if you are a tourist heading out to Melbourne for a weekend, then definitely put this on your itinerary.