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Victoria’s 16 best picnic spots
Looking for a picture-perfect picnic spot for a date night or family outing? These are 16 of the best places to pull up a picnic rug in Victoria.
Valentine’s Day conjures up images of candlelit dinners and pricey gifts. But with Victoria’s abundance of national parks and meticulously maintained gardens, a romantic old-school picnic is hard to beat.
From lush forests to scenic views over the city, we’ve helped narrow down some of the state’s most picturesque spots. Grab your bottle of wine and picnic blanket, stock up the hamper and soak in the serenity at these picnic spots.
Eastern Beach, Geelong.
Picnic perfect: Victoria’s best picnic locations
SkyHigh, Mount Dandenong
Take a scenic drive up the winding roads of the Dandenong Ranges and you’ll have your pick of a range of beautiful picnic spots.
It’s hard to beat the views over Melbourne offered by SkyHigh, right at the top of Mount Dandenong. Set in an English-style garden with a canopy of mature blackwoods, a maze and restaurant, while away a few hours before choosing your spot to look out over the Dandenong Ranges National Park and city skyline.
Sherbrooke Forest, Sherbrooke
SkyHigh can draw crowds, so if you’re looking for something a little quieter head to Sherbrooke Forest. There’s a picturesque walk to the Sherbrooke Falls, dotted with mountain ash gums and the sounds of native birds. Follow up the gentle hike with a stop at the picnic grounds.
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. Or, grab a seed token from Grants on Sherbrooke cafe and enjoy feeding the friendly local wildlife. Expect to see a kaleidoscope of colour as the native cockatoos, rosellas and parrots fly in to say hello.
One Tree Hill, Ferny Creek
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 that’s 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), if you feel like taking in the serenity without the exertion.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
An oldie, but a goodie... with the added convenience of a central location. Wander through The Royal Botanic Gardens’ lush 38-hectare surroundings, exploring each of the unique gardens before settling into a peaceful spot with some fresh bread, cheese and berries. Each area of the garden offers something different, from rare Victorian species to a stunning rose collection, so wherever you park for the picnic you’re in for a treat.
For extra brownie points, you can even go on a romantic boat ride around the RBGs’ ornamental lake, with RACV members saving 10 per cent on Punting on the Lake tours.
Fairfield Park Boathouse, Melbourne
For a truly old-school date, head down to the iconic Fairfield Boathouse set on the Yarra 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, or choose a spot near the riverbank to replenish your energy. Lace parasol not required, but 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.
Ringwood Lake Park, Ringwood
Set over 8.5 hectares of prime Ringwood real estate, you’ll find that Ringwood Park Lake is 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 even changing rooms. 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.
Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen
Grab a coffee and a picnic hamper from the Heide Cafe and bask in the beautiful surroundings of the Heide museum and gallery. Explore the famous Heide II kitchen garden and take in the more than 30 stunning sculptures dotted over the park’s perfectly meanderful Yarra-side location.
Hedgeley Dene Gardens, Malvern East
Hidden away in Malvern East you’ll find Melbourne’s ultimate secret garden. Often overshadowed by neighbouring Central Park, in Malvern, 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 romantic picnic spot.
Chelsea Beach, Chelsea
There’s nothing like a seaside sunset to set a romantic scene. And Chelsea beach, with its white sand, wide foreshore and sparkling Port Phillip Bay blues, is a lovely spot to stretch out on a beach towel. The 1.5-kilometre stretch, sandwiched between Bonbeach and Edithvale, has all your beach needs, sorted. There is a foreshore park, picnic area, a short pier and a row of pretty bathing boxes that add to the seaside charm.
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. If you want to go all-out, treat yourself to some serious pampering at Daylesford Day Spa, where RACV members save up to 20 per cent off treatments.
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. The reserve is often home to live music and markets, but for a peaceful afternoon we suggest choosing from one of the many shady picnic spots and soaking up stunning views of the Rock. 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.
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 climb aboard the foreshore’s giant ferris wheel and take in a spectacular sunset from the sky.
Werribee Park, Werribee
If heritage attractions are more your style, head over the West Gate Bridge for an afternoon at Werribee Park. Just 30 minutes from Melbourne by car, this stunning picnic ground is set within the pristine grounds of Werribee Park estate. Explore the heritage-listed Werribee Mansion or go for a wander through Victoria State Rose Garden, heritage orchard or intricately designed grotto and ornamental lake.
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. For even more breathtaking views, an Arthurs Seat Eagle gondola ride is a must do. The state-of-the-art cable cars take you to the highest point of the peninsula, where you can take in panoramic vistas of the bay, the city and everything in between. RACV members save 10 per cent on tickets.