20 Feb 2018
The 58 is a route that showcases the best of the both sides of the Yarra River. It’s a line that runs alongside some of Melbourne’s most-loved – and most important – green spaces.
One of Melbourne’s most popular attractions for locals and visitors alike is Melbourne Zoo [Elliott Avenue, Parkville], nestled in the seclusion of Royal Park. Home of lions, elephants, an awesome bird enclosure and the brilliant butterfly house, this summer also sees the zoo opening the new Leopard Ridge, home to three stunning snow leopards.
While the zoo is a family favourite, everyone can enjoy the outdoors and with more than 320 animal species onsite, it’s easy to spend a few hours here. Catch a ranger show or spend some time with the seals, wave at a meerkat or get up close and personal with an orangutan. Learn about Zoos Victoria’s conservation efforts taking place across the world, bring your old mobile phones and drop them into the bins onsite, or contribute to Zoos Victoria’s conservation fund by purchasing a Close-up Encounter experience.
You’ll be arriving at the west side of Queen Victoria Market [Queen Street], where the high-roofed sheds overflow with clothes, souvenirs and trinkets for you and the folks back home. Traipse the aisles and uncover everything from Indigenous art to Bob Marley t-shirts.
Venture into the produce section to select plump strawberries or a sweet, juicy bunch of grapes, before doing a lap of the deli and meat sections where the organised chaos, the noise and the smell have made Queen Vic one of Melbourne’s favourite destinations. For some serious foodie gold, Books for Cooks [129-131 Therry Street] will inspire even the most adventurous cook. Hidden away on the shelves and in locked cabinets are tens of thousands of books about wine, food and cooking.
If you need a caffeine injection to keep you going through the day, be sure to duck into Market Lane Coffee [109-111 Therry Street] before heading back towards Peel Street.
If you’ve made the most of the fresh food on offer at Queen Vic, you should have a smorgasbord of delicacies in your bag. Hop the tram one stop, or simply saunter across the street, to Flagstaff Gardens [309-311 William Street, West Melbourne]. For more than 170 years people have been flocking to this green oasis on the northern edge of the city on their lunch breaks, weekends and holidays. While officially reserved as parklands in 1862, even before then the area offered views of the city and Port Phillip Bay – nowadays there are a few skyscrapers in the way but you still get the idea!
Fire up one of the onsite barbecues or spread out a picnic blanket; if the weather’s fine the Gardens will be filled with people enjoying good food, good company and one of the most relaxing spots in all of inner Melbourne.
After rolling through the city centre, you’ll emerge on the south side of the Yarra River. Although Domain Interchange is undergoing a facelift with one of the new Melbourne Metro Tunnel stations set to open in 2026, it is still the gateway to arguably Melbourne’s most-loved green space, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne [Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra] aka The Tan, as it’s known by locals.
Even older than Flagstaff Gardens, the Botanic Gardens were reserved in 1846, meaning that some of the oldest trees in Melbourne will tower over your head as you stroll through the verdant parkland. Entry is free, and the park is open from 7.30am until sunset every day of the year.
On your way back to the tram stop, visit the city’s austere Shrine of Remembrance [Birdwood Avenue]. Spend some time learning about the stories and the sacrifices of Australia’s servicemen and women throughout history, while paying your respects to those who have lost their lives serving their country.
The exploration of Melbourne’s favourite open spaces continues at Fawkner Park [24-88 Commercial Road, South Yarra], home to meandering paths lined with Moreton Bay figs, elms, poplars and mighty oak trees.
If you want to see what makes South Yarra one of Melbourne’s most revered suburbs, a stroll down Toorak Road will offer all the proof you need. Once you’ve strolled through Fawkner Park, cross Punt Road and choose from one of the taste sensations that line each side of the street. France-Soir [11–13 Toorak Road, South Yarra] is a classy Parisian-style bistro open from midday ‘til midnight every day of the week, or for something a bit more casual, nearby South Press [27 Toorak Road, South Yarra] is a wine house, bar and bottle shop offering share plates and tasting platters from 11am.
Route 58 tram runs along this road, so keep walking until you’re ready to take a break, then climb back aboard and head a little farther east.
Hop off at the corner of Williams Road and walk a few hundred metres north until you arrive at Como House & Garden [corner Williams Road and Lechdale Avenue, South Yarra]. Glimpse back in time to a period of Australian aristocracy that stretched from the Gold Rush to the mid-twentieth century. Take a tour of the beautiful house, which was the destination of some of Melbourne’s most lavish dances, dinners and events.
If the weather’s kind, sprawl out in the expansive – and beautifully-manicured – gardens, and if you’re visiting on a weekend you can book yourself on a tour of the mansion itself, do so in advance online. Tours run at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm Saturdays and Sundays, and the Gardens are open seven days.
If you’re feeling particularly energetic, keep walking north and stroll along the Yarra River for a while, before returning to Toorak Road.
The final stop on this itinerary (although Route 58 runs a few more blocks to the east) is Toorak Village, a quaint strip that’s formed from an eclectic mix of historic buildings and contemporary shopfronts. As the heartland of Melbourne’s most prestigious postcode, the people, the fashion and the cars you’ll see along this stretch of road might make you feel like you’re in an episode of Real Housewives, but it offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of the exclusive Toorak set.
Need some help getting from A to B so you can discover Melbourne?
Just pop your starting point and where you want to go into the PTV Journey Planner, as well as your ideal departure or arrival time.
The Planner will find the easiest way for you to get where you want to go, plus give you easy-to-follow instructions on how to get there.
For more information, visit ptv.vic.gov.au