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Melbourne’s Best Picnic Spots

By Ellen Seah
14th Oct 2015

Picnics may be a breeze outside of Melbourne, but when you’re in a city that has regular 30-degree days with a high chance of storm and thunder, it’s a whole different ball game.

Spring is probably your safest bet, without Melbourne’s signature baking heat and arctic rain. Make the most of spring’s sunny start this year by dusting off those picnic rugs and gathering your finger food. Here are the best Melbourne picnics spots for spring!

#1: Galloping Around At Stables Of Como

A stone’s throw away from Melbourne’s CBD, the Stables of Como is ideal for a spontaneous picnic away. One of South Yarra’s best brunch spots, you’ll find adorably classic sweet treats and rustic brunch options here.

If your cooking inability makes you prone to kitchen banishment, Stables of Como offers a set picnic basket for under $50 per person. Including fresh salads, baguettes, old-fashioned sweets, drinks and picnic rugs, all you have to do is bring your lovely self! Kids baskets are also available with a ham and cheese sandwich, lolly bag and juice.

The gardens around Como Historic House are open everyday and free for the public to use. More of the BYO picnic type? Pick up supplies at Prahran Market’s Maker and Monger. With some of Melbourne’s best cheese on offer, all of your purchases might not make it to the park. For sweets Adriano Zumbo’s famous Patissier will have you covered for a perfect springtime feast. 

Stables of Como and Como Historic House | Corner of William Road and Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra

Maker and Monger | Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra

Adriano Zumbo Patissier | 14 Claremont Street, South Yarra

#2: Appreciate All The Trees At One Tree Hill  

Despite the name, the One Tree Hill park ground abounds with some of Dandenong’s best scenery. Located a short walk away from the top of the Kokoda Memorial Track, take the opportunity to get your muscles pumping before your epic finger food feast.

The picnic site is relatively simple with picnic benches and a communal barbie. But with an abundance of native wildlife and beautiful views of one of Victoria’s best national parks, you can go cray overloading your Insta with the outdoors.    

If you’re low on motivation around step 553, promise yourself a reward at Sassafras’ Café de Beaumarchais. A short drive from the Kokoda Track, this café boasts some of the best buttery desserts in town. Because a post-exercise treat is the only reason for exercise. Check out our day in the Dandenongs too!

One Tree Hill | Top of 1000 steps, Burwood Highway and Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Upper Ferntree Gully

Café de Beaumarchais | Corner Mount Dandenong Tourist Road and Woodlands Avenue, Sassafras

#3: Romance Away At Fairfield Boathouse

With an oval, pavilion and lush sections of soft spring grass, this is cupid’s favourite place to play in Melbourne. The Fairfield Boathouse boasts 19th century, British-style boats for hire, so don your best hat and have your Notebook/Pride and Prejudice pickup lines at ready.

If you’re not a big H2O fan, the boathouse is the perfect sunny spot to enjoy Devonshire scones, teacakes and cool summer drinks. Originally built in the 1900s and immaculately restored, this one of Melbourne’s best picnic spots. A range of red, white and bubbles are also available for the truly romantic.

For more substantial dosh, there’s no lack of choices. An institution of Fairfield, CH James offers a solid all day breakfast and gorgeous spring lunch options. If you’re looking for somewhere truly local, Northcote’s Red Door Corner Store is nestled between resident houses and makes some bangin’ brunch.

Fairfield Boathouse | Fairfield Park Drive, Fairfield

CH James | 86 Station Street, Fairfield

Red Door Corner Store | 70 Mitchell Street, Northcote

#4: Check Out The Pop-Ups At Abbotsford Convent

With acres upon acres of flower blooming, grassy turf, the Abbotsford Convent is one of Melbourne’s most popular picnic spots. Melburnians are always keen for picnics (they involve food after all) so it can be busy in good weather. Snuggle in among the picnic rugs and enjoy one of Abbotsford’s favourite spots.

The Abbotsford Convent hosts 11 historic buildings and a range of pop-up activities every weekend. Check out the website to plan your day.

Bordered by the Yarra River and the Collingwood Children’s Farm, there’s certainly no lack of options here for the cooking inept. You can find fresh, healthy brunch options with locally sourced ingredients and kid-friendly meals at the Collingwood Farm Café. If it’s sweets ‘n treats you’re craving, try Aunty Peg’s glorious cruffins. A hybrid of the best two things in life (croissants and muffins), you can’t go wrong with a couple of these babies in the best Melbourne weather.

Abbotsford Convent | 1-16 Heliers Street, Abbotsford

Collingwood Farm Café | 18 Heliers Street, Abbotsford

Aunty Peg's | 200 Wellington Street, Collingwood

#5: Cycle, Run Or Chill At The Royal Botanic Gardens

There’s no two spots quite the same in the 36 acre Royal Botanic Gardens. On the outskirts of Melbourne’s CBD, find your favourite shady spot to laze your weekend away. If you’re more the active type, try some outdoor yoga or jog around the tan. Red wine and cheese is highly recommended.

Picnic basket looking a little scarce? Top it up with treats by Green Cup on Chapel Street. Serving some of Melbourne’s best green smoothies, this is the perfect healthy partner for a light picnic. If you’re craving ice cream after a long tan on the tan, try Frozen by A Thousand Blessings. Biodynamic organic milk and stevia yoghurt makes it a perfect post-run froyo without piles of sugar!

Royal Botanic Gardens | Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra

Green Cup | 593 Chapel Street, South Yarra

Frozen by A Thousand Blessings | 670 Chapel Street, South Yarra

#6: Cram In All The Activities At Hanging Rock

There’s a plethora of activities at Hanging Rock, from racecourses to ovals and tennis courts to fishing, you won’t be stretched for fun at Macedon. Entry fees apply per car, but considering the attractions and activities on offer, we’d say they’re more than reasonable.

By all means, bring a picnic basket for the day. But if you need extra supplies Macedon is certainly a handy place to be. One of Melbourne’s best food and wine regions, Macedon features some of Victoria’s freshest produce. Snoop around wineries for the perfect bottle of bubbles to get you through the day. Better stock up, while you’re here.

Hanging Rock | Macedon Ranges

#7: Release Your Childish Side At The McKenzie Reserve Adventure Playground

Highlights include a family-sized, eight-person seesaw, climbing net and rock climbing walls. There’s also a miniature skate park for big kids on wheels. An award winning playground, Yarra Glen’s McKenzie Reserve Adventure Playground is perfect for the whole fam or some supremely mature adults.

Picnic tables are available for those looking for shade, or set up the old-fashioned way on the best spot of grass. There’s plenty of adventures to keep little kids (and adult-sized ones) entertained, so if you’re feeling pekish on the drive home stop by the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie or the Yarra Valley Dairy for some of Melbourne’s best chocolate and cheese.

McKenzie Reserve Adventure Playground | Corner of Anzac Avenue and Bell Street, Yarra Glen

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie | 35 Old Healesville Road, Yarra Glen

Yarra Valley Dairy | 70-80 McMeikans Road, Yering

#8: Sports Enthusiast? Get To Edinburgh Gardens 

The former home of the Fitzroy football club, the Edinburgh Gardens has a range of sports facilities available for public use. Basketball courts, tennis courts, table tennis tables and sports fields will keep the active Melburnian happy well into dusk.

Visit from the 29 of October until the 1 of November and you’ll be greeted with the Edinburgh Gardens’ annual Village Festival! From live entertainment to pop-up shops, this is one of Melbourne’s best quirky outdoor festivals.

Edinburgh Gardens | St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

#9: Go Frills-Free At Elsternwick Park

Nestled in the posh bay side suburb of Brighton, Elsternwick Park is a refreshingly frill-free, serene park. Perfect for a romantic couple scouting out a quiet spot for cheese and wine, Elsternwick Park’s expansive, grassy ground means you’re sure to have your personal perimeter of space.

Pick up brunch at one of Brighton’s favourite takeaway restaurants. A godsend for the allergic and intolerant in Melbourne’s southeast, Fox in the Box specialises in low FODMAP food. An empty picnic basket shant worry at Brighton’s favourite deli, The Pantry. Breads, cheese, salads, cakes and takeaway meals are all good to go from one of Melbourne’s best local cafes. A hop away from Elsternwick, why bother cooking when there are cafes like this?

Elsternwick Park | St Kilda Street, Brighton

Fox in the Box | 169 Martin Street, Brighton

The Pantry | 1 Church Street, Brighton

#10: Fitzroy Garden — So Close You Could Go In Your Lunch Break

Undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s best looking parks, the garden is split into artistic asymmetrical sections – perfect for picnics! You won’t believe you’re in the heart of the CBD, with billowing trees and flower-streaked pavements.

Don’t believe me? The Fitzroy Gardens boasts stuff from fairy tales. From a tiny model Tudor village to fountains, statues and a not-so-metaphorical FAIRY TREE, this has got to be the cutest picnic spot in Melbourne. Australia’s foodie capital (Melbourne, if you didn’t get that) is at your fingertips, so we doubt you’ll have trouble on the food front.

Fitzroy Gardens | Corner of Claredon Street and Albert Street

#11: An Eco-Friendly Pop-Up At The NGV? Epic!

Open only until February 2016, the MPavilion is set to host some of Melbourne hottest (literally) spring and summer events this year. Perfect for setting up a sly picnic away from the busier streets of Melbourne, the MPavilion features a canopy-like structure which moves with the wind. To repeat, it moves. with. the. wind.

If that’s not enough to make you think this is the coolest, most convenient picnic spot ever, the kiosk at MPavilion will be churning out lattes from 10am every day. Best snap up a spot early.

MPavilion | Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne

Want to learn how to have the perfect picnic? Check out our essential guide, How To Throw The Perfect Picnic...Italian Style.

Image credit: Stables of Como via Facebook

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