There’s nothing like a good picnic; finding somewhere peaceful and green to spread out your picnic rug under the warm sun of a fine day, and enjoying a nice packed lunch or perhaps even a sneaky bottle of wine with friends or family. Spring is the best time of the year for picnics in Melbourne. The weather is reasonably fine and the days are warming up, and the flowers in the parks and gardens are beginning to bloom. If you’re a local, a picnic is a great way to escape the busy city life, or if you’re having a short stay in Melbourne on holiday, a picnic is a wonderful way to explore Melbourne’s peaceful parks and gardens, enjoy some people watching and save some money by enjoying a cheap lunch. Here are some of the best picnic spots to check out in Melbourne.
Royal Botanic Gardens
The 36 Hectare Royal Botanic Gardens takes up a huge area on the southern bank of the Yarra River, right in the heart of Melbourne. The gardens make the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours, with beautifully manicured gardens and miles of lovely walking paths. You are sure to find a nice spot on one of the lawns here, or a bench amongst the gardens to enjoy a picnic. The view of the river across to the city and the Melbourne Cricket Ground is spectacular, or you could put down your rug next to Ornamental Lake. If you’re visiting in the evening, you can watch a movie at the Moonlight Cinema, lounging outside amongst the gardens.
Queen Victoria Gardens
Adjoined to the Royal Botanic Gardens is the smaller Queen Victoria Gardens, sitting across the road from the National Gallery of Victoria. This is another nice garden to escape to if you’re in the Federation Square area of the city. There is also a playground here for the kids.
Carlton Gardens is a popular area of lawns and gardens that surround the Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building – two stunning Victorian era buildings to check out. The parklands have many great spots for picnics, with green lawns and shady trees, as well as an impressive fountain. Carlton Gardens is perfect for a stroll and a picnic after visiting the museum.
St Kilda Beach
If it’s a warm sunny day and you’re hanging out for a picnic at the beach, the closest spot to Melbourne is the charming St Kilda Beach, with its line of cafes, bars and the Sunday Esplanade Market. Spread out your picnic rug on the sand or in the foreshore parklands with views of the beach and the water. Enjoy a day of beach fun in the sun, the perfect way to relax and escape the city.
St Kilda Botanical Gardens
Another nice spot for a picnic in St Kilda is at the Botanical Gardens. Enjoy a picnic amongst the trees and gardens or spread out on the green grass by the pond. The kids will love the playground here, as well as the giant chessboard. Also, check out the conservatory where you can take a step into a small piece of tropical rainforest.
Studley Park Boathouse
If you’re looking for a romantic picnic spot with a special someone, a picnic at Studley Park Boathouse is sure to impress. Enjoy beautiful views of the Yarra River and the surrounding natural bushland, and then hire an old-school row boat to paddle around on the river. Studley Park Boathouse is the oldest boathouse in Australia, so you can also experience a piece of Melbourne’s history at the same time.
Further upstream from Studley Park you will find another wonderful place to hire a rowboat and enjoy a relaxing paddle on the Yarra. Fairfield Boathouse is a lovely old restored building and you can enjoy a picnic on the grassed areas outside and watch life go by on the river, or you could enjoy some tea and scones in the tea gardens.
The Abbotsford Convent, located between Collingwood and the Yarra River, is home to several interesting historic buildings which are well worth checking out. Surrounding the buildings are some beautifully kept gardens which are popular for picnics. Sit amongst the flowers or spread out your picnic rug on the green turf. It is a busy spot on the weekends and there is always something happening here. Next to the convent you can visit the Collingwood Children’s Farm and the attached markets.
If you’re wanting to combine a picnic with a day of sport, you will love Edinburgh Gardens. This park in Fitzroy provides large areas of green grass where you will always see people out jogging, kicking around a football or tossing a Frisbee. There are also tennis and basketball courts to use, as well as free table tennis tables and an awesome skate park.
Rippon Lea House & Gardens
Located just to the south of St Kilda in the suburb of Elsternwick, Rippon Lea House is a stunningly restored 19th century mansion that is well worth exploring. Surrounding the mansion is a large area of beautifully manicured gardens – as you would expect at a mansion such as this – perfect for a picnic.
One Tree Hill
Located to the east of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges is full of excellent picnic spots surrounded by forest. A popular picnic spot for Melbourne day trippers is the One Tree Hill Picnic Ground. There is certainly more than one tree here – the area is surrounded by lush bushland and tall trees. Enjoy a picnic amongst the forest and enjoy a walk on the many trails of the area.
If you’re sightseeing around Melbourne, you are sure to visit Fitzroy Gardens as it is home to Cook’s Cottage – one of the best historic sites in the city. Fitzroy Gardens also boasts several other interesting sites, such as the model Tudor village. There are lots of great places for a picnic in the surrounding gardens where you can relax in between the different attractions here.
A nice beach spot close to the city is Altona Beach, to the west of the CBD. This little beach is a nice spot to spread out a beach towel on the sand or sit down under a tree in the adjacent Logan Reserve. This nice little park is a great spot for the kids with a cool playground for them to enjoy while you relax on the grass.
Spring is here and it’s time to get out and enjoy a picnic in one of Melbourne’s amazing public spaces. Whether you want a family day at the beach or are just looking for a nice shady tree to sprawl out under with a book, there is a picnic spot for you in Melbourne.