20 of the best picnic spots around Victoria

Eastern Beach in Geelong

RACV Staff

Posted October 13, 2021


Get the picnic basket and rug ready with our guide to the best picnic spots in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Picnics are the new black.

After what feels like endless months in lockdown, whiling away the afternoon over cheese platters in the park has become this year's bucket-list spring soiree.

Fortunately, Victoria has an abundance of national parks, beaches, pristine reserves and gardens where you can enjoy a relaxed, COVID-safe picnic.

From lush forests and suburban lakeside gems to hidden jungles and scenic urban parks, there's something for everyone is the green state, no matter what your LGA. So, grab the picnic blanket and sunscreen and head to one of the 10 best picnic spots around Melbourne or 10 best picnic spots in regional Victoria. 

*Ensure you are following your local government guidelines when it comes to travel and recreational activity. For the most up-to-date advice, please check the Coronavirus Victoria website. *


10 best picnic spots in Melbourne
 

Mount Dandenong Observatory, Mount Dandenong

Head up to the Dandenong Ranges and you’ll have your pick of a range of beautiful picnic spots right at the top of Mount Dandenong, SkyHigh. The English-style garden with a canopy of mature blackwoods and a maze will allow you to enjoy your picnic while looking over the Dandenong Ranges National Park and mesmerising city skyline.

Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne 

Perfect for families with young children who like to play, Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne's inner east is one of the city's most beloved and historical landmarks. Consisting of fun activities for children including a playground, model Tudor village, Ola Cohn's Fairies Tree, Captain Cook's cottage, cafes and a conservatory, not to mention the myriad of water features and fountains, there is entertainment galore at this inner-city oasis. 

Grants Picnic Ground, Kallista

For something a little more secluded, head to Grants Picnic Ground, where you can meander along one of the myriad walking tracks that start from the picnic ground. Mind your snacks, however - you can expect to see a kaleidoscope of colour as the native cockatoos, rosellas and parrots fly in to say hello!

One Tree Hill, Ferny Creek

(No, not the show, please note the characters are nowhere to be found). If you prefer the idea of an active date activity, throw on your activewear, grab a backpack and head for the hills. At the top of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (or 1000 steps, as it’s known by locals) is a lovely picnic ground equipped with picnic tables and shelters, barbecues, toilets and even a grassy area perfect for picnic blankets.

If you don’t feel like tackling the challenging hike, there are plenty of amenities at the base of the walk (as well as a bustling cafe for takeaway), if you feel like taking in the serenity without the exertion.

Fairfield Park Boathouse, Melbourne

For a truly old-school date, head down to the iconic Fairfield Boathouse set on the Yarra River, just shy of Northcote. For roughly $40, choose from a gentleman’s rowing skiff, kayak or canoe and spend an hour or so on the river, flanked by towering gums and serenaded by native birds. Take your picnic basket out onto the water (BYO or you can purchase), or choose a spot near the riverbank to replenish your energy.

Lace parasol not required, but actively encouraged.

Lysterfield Park, Lysterfield 

What’s not to love about an afternoon of canoeing and canoodling by the lake? (BYO blanket and canoe). The sprawling Lysterfield Park has everything you could need for a romantic picnic or fun-filled family day. The popular weekend spot has two lakeside picnic areas (each with picnic tables, toilets and free barbecue facilities), as well as lots of walking and jogging tracks and ample parking.

Picnic cheeseboard and fruit

Stock up on local produce for an afternoon of fun and flavour at one of the best picnic spots around Victoria. 


 

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

An oldie but a goodie, with the added convenience of a central location. Wioth over 8500 species of plants to feast your sense on, wander through The Royal Botanic Gardens’ lush 38-hectare surroundings before settling into a peaceful spot away from the crowds with your desired picnic goods.

Ringwood Lake Park, Ringwood

Set over 8.5 hectares of prime Ringwood real estate, you’ll find that Ringwood Park Lake is one of the suburb’s best-kept secrets. The rambling park, playground, bushland reserve and recreation area offers something for couples, families and friends alike, with picnic tables, free electric barbecues and toilets nearby. And if that doesn’t convince you, the playground features a network of play trails – which include rope courses, balance platforms, cubbies, and even sand and water areas that weave through the trees to keep little bodies happy and occupied.

Albert Park Lake, MIddle Park

The inner-cty park is a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. Whilst it may be known for bigger events like the Grand Prix or fun runs, Albert Park Lake is also home to a range of rivers, lakes and resoirvoirs, with nine picnic areas including dog-friendly zones, car parks, playgrounds, and barbequeues to enjoy while looking over the nature and Melbourne's magnificent city skyline. 

Hedgeley Dene Gardens, Malvern East

Hidden away in Malvern East, you’ll find Melbourne’s ultimate secret garden. Hedgeley Dene Gardens is a lush oasis in the middle of suburbia. With wooden bridges that cross over ornamental lakes, expansive green lawns, pretty parklands and even a waterfall, this secluded, tree-studded eden is the ultimate family picnic spot.

Aerial view of picnic

If you're not much of a chef, you can always buy some snackd from local suppliers to enjoy on your outdoor picnic. 


 

10 best picnic spots in regional Victoria
 

Thompson's Beach, Cobram

More of a sandy riverbank, Thompson's Beach is one of the most accessible sandy stretches along the Murray River. With facilities including barbecues and boat hire, sit and spot the koalas as you enjoy the sound of the river flowing, have a BBQ or engage in some fun sport on the sand.

Hanging Rock Reserve, Macedon Ranges

A sacred Indigenous spot and setting of Joan Lindsay’s classic Australian novel Picnic at Hanging Rock, this spot in the heart of the Macedon Ranges makes a beautiful place for a picnic. There’s plenty of lawn for a BYO bocce game, as well as free barbecues and tables.

Take a wander up the Rock and keep your eyes open for koalas and roos, rosellas and cockatoos - as well as each other. We don't need a sequel.  

Eastern Beach, Geelong

With towering palm trees, water views and a beautiful boardwalk dotted with more than 100 painted bollards, Geelong’s Eastern Beach makes for one heck of a picnic spot. Bring your picnic rug and pick a spot on the sun-soaked grassy knoll to watch the sunset or enjoy posing for photos next to the area's famous Baywalk Bollards.

The Esplanade, Torquay

Over the glorious summer months, holidaymakers throng the Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road, where RACV's award-winning Torquay Resort is just a stone's throw from the sun, sand and scenery of Torquay's famed Esplanade.

Here, you can soak up the action on The Esplanade, Torquay’s Front Beach, while enjoy some food and drink for your picnic from local vendors. 

Seawinds Gardens, Arthurs Seat

For a picnic with a view, head to Seawinds Gardens in Arthurs Seat. Just a short walk from the Arthurs Seat Summit and William Ricketts sculpture collection, this 34-hectare reserve offers spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington Peninsula. There are walking tracks and exotic gardens aplenty, as well as ample picnic facilities including tables, barbecues and toilets. 

Ballarat Botanical Gardens, Ballarat 

The stunning Ballarat Botanical Gardens, only 10 minute's from the region's CBD, is home to over 40 acres of lush flora and fauna, with four distinct zones including the Robert Clark Conservatory, Conservatory Displays, Prime Ministers Avenue and the Statues collection. Make sure not to miss the show-stopping floral clock on display before plonking yourself in a deckchair amongst the magnificent garden views. 

Wombat Hill Daylesford

The spectacular views from Wombat Hill in Daylesford.


 

Wombat Hill, Daylesford

Nestled in the peaceful town of Daylesford sits Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens. The scenic spot is located on the summit of an extinct volcano and offers panoramic views of the town and surrounds.

Pack your picnic basket and settle in to watch the sunset, or make the most of the views with a drive around the perimeter of the garden while you build up your appetite. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on their leash. 

Lake Weeroona, Bendigo

Set on over 18 hectares of open parland, Lake Weerona area in Bendigo has been a popular picnic choice amongst locals and travellrs alike for over 150 years. Colloquially referred to as the 'jewel in Bendigo's crown', bring your picnic basket and enjoy the picturesque boardwalk stroll, cafe, playground and local wildlife, find a spot on the green and watch the rowers and ducks glide on by in the spring sun. 

Cape Woolamai State Faunal Reserve, Phillip Island

Located on Phillip Island's rugged south-east side is the Cape Woolamai State Faunal Reserve, which boasts 308 hectares of pristine coastal scenery. Known for being the Islan'd highest point and popular amongst beach goers and surfers alike, enjoy a picnic as you watch the waves crash into Cape Woolamai Surf Beach. If you're lucky, you might even spot a herd of dolphins as they migrate past the island.

Shack Bay, Inverloch

Lugging 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 while taking in the spectacular ocean views in your own pocket sized paradise picnic. 

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