Fresh parkland sprinkled with shrubs, swings and slides has sprung up in Melbourne, adding roots to the garden state's green reputation.
Sick kids and their families are expected to benefit most from the Royal Park extension, which is next door to the Royal Children's Hospital on Flemington Road.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today declared the park open for business, and it is already proving a hit with the kids.
“This will be a space of joy, wonderment and learning,” he said.
It is the final chapter in the Royal Children's Hospital's billion dollar redevelopment, which began in 2005.
With the ideas of more than 150 children incorporated into its design, it is no wonder Melbourne's newest park is already getting a thumbs up from children.
“We went to over 150 children and young people to ask them what makes a park work,” said Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.
The new parkland, which cost more than $5 million dollars to create, boasts more than 1100 trees, 17,500 plants, shrubs and grassland.
A two-storey coral reef aquarium and a meerkat enclosure are also part of the attraction.
Minister for Health Jill Hennessey said: “It is so important to be able to provide patients with a break from the hospital environment, especially for sick children recovering at Royal Children’s.”
Mr Andrews said the overall vision was to create ‘a hospital in the park and a park in the hospital’.
Royal Park is the biggest in Melbourne, sitting just five kilometres from both Fitzroy Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Victoria's vast inner-city parcels of nature, coupled with rolling green valleys in regional areas, earned the state a green reputation.
Numberplates emblazoned with the "garden state" slogan started circulating in the late 1970s.