Warning: VERY important list.
Now that sitting in an open-air field in Melbourne won’t give you pneumonia, it’s time to make use of its flora-rich spaces for some good old fashioned picnicking. Because when the weather isn’t putting on a tuneful medley of reasons to stay indoors (think Melbourne’s greatest hit single: ‘It Was 38 Degrees 5 Minutes Ago, Why Is It Hailing Now?’), the only thing to do is pull up a patch of grass, smear some Mersey Valley cheese on a piece of Baker’s Delight herbed focaccia and sip from a plastic cup of Oyster Bay Chardonnay.
So, here are the best parks to eat cheese and drink wine at this summer.
Town Hall Reserve
If you’re more of a secret garden person than a ‘so packed people are literally laying picnic rugs on other people’ kinda person then the Town Hall Reserve is the place for you. This little patch of turf is just outside the South Melbourne Town Hall and it has just enough room for you, several wheels of cheese, an esky of wine and half a dozen of your closest friends and cheese platter accompaniments.
If you’re an Offspring (the TV show) fan, you’re going to love settling into one of the Proudman’s favourite filming locations. It makes frequent appearances on national telly for one reason and one reason only—it’s a bloody good park. Edinburgh Gardens has a tonne of open space for little kiddies and adult kiddies to roam, as well as an abundance of prime picnic-blanket-laying lush grass. There’s also picnic tables, playgrounds and barbecue facilities if you like your camembert crumbed and fried.
The Carlton Gardens are an absolute classic and you’ve no doubt sunken a few tinnies under its sprinklers in the past. This tidy little stretch of greenery is home to the Melbourne Museum AND the Royal Exhibition Centre, plus it has tennis courts! There are heaps of beautiful trees to park under as well as a stunning pond and infinite beautiful garden beds. Each picnic comes with a bonus life-affirming epiphany in this little park haven.
Heide Museum Of Modern Art, Sculpture Park
You probably haven’t heard of the Heide Museum which is the exact reason it needs to be near the top of your outdoor wine and cheese tasting list. This gorgey park isn’t only the perfect spot for a picnic but it’s also home to an art museum—bonza! You can trot around the grounds admiring some spectacular sculptures by Australian artists in between kilos of Brie and litres of savvy b.
This big ol’ park is so yuge you could picnic there every day and lay your rug down in a brand new spot each time. Fawkner Park is filled with activewear and #fitspo galore gals and boys, this park may make you feel a little guilty for shovelling all those cheesy carbs, but the shade-bearing oaks make for the best picnic spots. There are barbecue facilities available as well as complimentary games of cricket and tennis to watch if you park yourself in the right location.
Women’s Peace Garden
Need an excuse to head west? Look no further than the adorable hidden Women’s Peace Garden in Kensington. This little beauty is framed in olive trees and colourful garden beds, not to mention it is literally set out in a peace sign. You can’t see it from the road, which means people on the road can’t see you because this little hot spot is completely secluded.
If you head even further west you’ll hit Werribee Park, home to the glorious Werribee Mansion. This guy is often referred to as an ‘Australian pastoral empire’ and you can see why when you park yourself on a sweet patch within its ten outrageously beautiful hectares. This is truthfully perhaps the most spectacular park on the list, and as it’s only a thirty-minute drive from the city, it would be insane not to put it at the top of your cheese-nibbling wine-tasting summer list.
Need to know where to buy the best cheese in Melbourne? This list will help you out.
Image credit: Carlton Gardens | Visit Melbourne