The Rockpool Waterway within the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne is a wide strip of concrete pavers over which a shallow stream of water flows. The designated wading and water play
area is a length of about 30 metres, marked by little flags at either end. There is a towering iron wall on the far side which helps to enclose the
water play area.
Above: The small waterfall at the upstream end of the designated water play area
You can leave your prams, towels and other gear high and dry directly beside the stream as you step into the water to
explore the little rivulets. The blocks are arranged at slightly different elevations, so some will be ankle deep in water and others will
be dry, just above the water line.
After spending some time at the waterway, I noticed that it operates at two different flow rates,
changing about every twenty minutes or so. The higher flow rate is still only ankle deep, but tends to cover most of the blocks.
The blocks are regularly scrubbed free of algae, so I found them not to be slippery at all, but still smooth enough to negotiate in bare feet.
Above: The water play area looking downstream to the lake
This water play area provides a neat compromise between adults and children. Kids love jumping from block to block up and down the
stream, and once they have had their fill of playing, adults can load them back into the stroller and explore the rest of these magnificent
gardens. The gardens have matured in recent years and the sections at the rear of the gardens are well and truly complete, so if you have
visited in the past when the gardens were still in development, it is definitely time to pay another visit. If you pack a lunch you can enjoy
it in one of the styled terraces (the lifestyle garden was my favourite) at the northern end of the gardens and day dream about how your backyard
could look, if only you had the time. There is also a little touch and smell garden near these terraces. Away from the Rockpool Waterway,
the heat can be sapping in the gardens, so bring plenty of drinking water and good sun protection.
If you want to make a day of it, there are barbecue facilities and a playground at the Woodland Picnic Area, about a 500 metre walk
south of the visitor centre.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Botanic Drive, Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne, 54 km (approx. 45 min. drive)
south-east of the Melbourne CBD
Getting there: By car, head west from the South Gippsland Hwy into Ballarto Rd about
2 km south of the Cranbourne town centre. Follow the signs along Ballarto Rd until you reach the large car park for the gardens.
General facilities: Public toilets, visitor centre, cafe, walking tracks, bus service available.
Baby change facilities: Located in the visitor centre, the rockpool pavillion and the kiosk
Sun shade: No shade available at the rockpool waterway. Shade available elsewhere throughout
the gardens. Umbrellas available for hire from the visitor centre.
Entrance fee: Not applicable. There is a fee for the bus if you want to be driven around the gardens.
Opening times: 9am to 5pm daily except Christmas Day
Wheelchair access: Paths around the garden are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair accessible toilets at
three locations including a hoist in the visitor centre. Non-motorised wheelchair hire available.
Prohibitions: No dogs or other pets allowed
Managing authority: Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Nearby attractions: The rest of the botanic gardens
Before you head out, make sure to read the water safety information
The marker indicates the location of the entrance to the car park for the botanic gardens.
If you would like to leave a comment about this shallow water play area, please fill in the comment box below.
I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved.