Royal Park is the largest open space in the City of Melbourne and has State significance in the Victorian Heritage Register under the Heritage Act 1995. The park’s development is currently guided by a Master Plan (1997) to protect and enhance its significant ecological, heritage, recreational and cultural values.
Royal Park supports a number of significant facilities, including sport fields, tennis clubs and golf club; a regional nature play space; the Royal Children’s Hospital; Urban Camp; State Netball and Hockey Centre; and the Melbourne Zoo.
It provides ecological services including habitat protection and enhancement, reducing the urban heat island effect, carbon sequestration, and water capture and retention. It is also a place where people go to relax and enjoy informal and active recreation activities.
Car parking and traffic movement within and through Royal Park has been a challenge to manage over the years. Roads, tram and train lines divide the park, which result in poor pedestrian and cycle access through and to the park in some locations. There are also missing links in the cycling and pedestrian network that compromises access to and through the park. Improvements to public transport access and, location of stops and frequencies, initiatives will encourage greater use and public education is required to encourage greater use.
The Open Space Strategy (2012) notes that while the population is not forecast to increase substantially in Parkville, the forecast population growth in the north and west areas of the municipality are likely to result in increased visitors to Royal Park. There is also increasing population across the broader metropolitan area and higher tourism anticipated to increase use of the park and its facilities.