Rugged landscapes: Victoria’s best picnic spots

RoyalAuto magazine

Pack the rug, stock the hamper with local delicacies, and sprawl to your heart’s content at these prime picnic spots. 

Story: Krysia Bonkowski.
December 2018

Rolling green hills at West Gippsland Victoria

Rolling green hills at West Gippsland.  SOURCE: Visit Victoria.

Polperro, Red Hill

Go all-out gourmet with minimal effort at Polperro. The acclaimed Mornington Peninsula vineyard lets visitors pre-order luxe picnic provisions to enjoy on the grounds, best washed down with a Mornington-grown pinot noir or pinot gris. Plonk yourself in a deckchair beside the dam or grab one of the rugs provided and get down to the serious business of demolishing your no-fuss feast.

  • In your hamper: Polperro’s kitchen packs baskets with nibbles such as spiced nuts, charcuterie, quiche, cheese, hearty salads and a delectable dessert.

Thompsons Beach, Cobram

According to locals, Thompsons is Australia’s largest inland beach. It’s also one of the most accessible sandy stretches along the Murray River, with facilities including barbecues and boat hire. Sink an umbrella on the sandy banks or shelter under river red gums on the grass, and have one of Victoria’s most unconventional beach days.

  • In your hamper: Just outside Yarrawonga, Rich Glen Olive Estate’s in-house providore offers hampers made up with goodies from the Murray food bowl, available to enjoy in the charming gardens or to go.
picking berries at Sunny Creek Berry Farm, West Gippsland

Sunny Creek Berry Farm, West Gippsland. SOURCE: Visit Victoria.

Man standing at Thompson's Beach Cobram

Thompson's Beach, CobramSOURCE: Visit Victoria.

Sunny Creek Berry Farm, West Gippsland close up of berries

Sunny Creek Berry Farm, West Gippsland. SOURCE: Visit Victoria.

Moonlight Creek, Gippsland

The setting of this verdant picnic ground in Mount Worth State Park is nearly as lovely as its name. A haven of dripping rainforest surrounded by farmland just south of Warragul, the park is an underappreciated stop-off while exploring the rolling Strzelecki Ranges. Work off lunch on the walking trails leading out from Moonlight Creek, which plunge through tree ferns beneath looming mountain ash.

The Esplanade, Torquay

Over the glorious summer months, holidaymakers throng the Great Ocean Road. Join families from all over the world enjoying the sun and scenery on the Torquay Esplanade. From under the Norfolk pines you can soak up the action on Torquay’s Front Beach, where squealing kids dive headlong into the waves and locals cycle and walk their dogs.

  • In your hamper: What’s a trip to the seaside without fish ‘n’ chips? Off The Esplanade, Fisho’s doles out an upscale version of the classic takeaway with locally sourced seafood and hand-cut chips or wholesome salads.
View of Daylesford from the Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens

View of Daylesford from the Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens. SOURCE: Visit Victoria.

Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens, Daylesford

Perched on an extinct volcano with views over Daylesford, Wombat Hill has been adored by picnickers since the 1860s. Lay out your spread on lawns shaded by towering trees, then take a post-meal amble through the lush fernery and along the leafy pathways. It’s worth lingering until evening for one of the Spa Country’s best sunset vantage points. 

  • In your hamper: Stock up at the iconic Cliffy’s Emporium, where the shelves heave with local produce and smallgoods. If you’re feeling lazy, Wombat Hill House cafe inside the botanical gardens offers kitted-out picnic hampers.

Shack Bay, Inverloch

Humping your hamper down the stairs to this Bass Coast beach will be forgiven once you reach the hidden cove. Tucked away along the Bunurong Coastal Drive – dubbed “the other Great Ocean Road” – Shack Bay is an ideal spot to secure a patch of sand without the crowds of its famed counterpart on the opposite coast.

  • In your hamper: Take the coastal drive on your return from pint-sized providores Udder & Hoe in nearby Kilcunda, or raid the farmers’ markets on Inverloch Esplanade on the third Sunday of the month.