It’s that time of year where a three-piece feed from Kayfa just won’t cut it, mainly because it’s all you’ve been eating since you forgot how to cook over Christmas, but also because #newyearnewme, but thankfully we’ve rustled up some killer secret picnic spots in Melbourne that’ll make meal times that much more exciting (and that much less greasy).
Here’s a list of Melbourne’s best secret picnic spots:
This cosy little park is the perfect place to pull up some grass and enjoy an inner city picnic if you’re just in the market for a work break getaway. Sitting on the bank of the Yarra in the heart of the city, you’ll get the best of both worlds with a cracking view of the beautiful river and a metropolitan soundtrack of city sounds. If you’re not the kind to pack a lunch, fear not, Crown’s Fish & Chippery By The Atlantic are just downstream—and they deliver!
Town Hall Reserve
If small, secret and in front of a stunning piece of architecture is how you describe your perfect garden, then this lil’ slither of grass outside the South Melbourne Town Hall is your go-to secret patch. There’s a single park bench and numerous beds of stunning flowers, and room enough for a picnic blanket or two. So check the weather, check your cheese supplies and head on down while it’s still warm.
Set on the edge of the Royal Botanical Gardens (very not secret) is 150-year-old volcano that is about to become your new favourite picnic spot. This historic water reservoir has ripper city views, a stunning flora display and even boardwalks to stroll along after one too many wheels of triple cream Brie (oops). You can access this secret sport from gates C and D at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Coburg Lake Reserve
This one is a must visit because–drumroll please–it has barbecue facilities! Your secret picnic just went up about six notches in deliciousness, and all in the delightful surrounds of a stunning heritage setting. Another bonus is that there’s a public bocce court, plus you’re allowed to bring your dog—winner!
We admit this one isn’t too secretive, but it’s just so darn pretty that we thought we’d include it anyway. 24 hectares in size, this ain’t just your little local park, this is a picnic haven. The park has heaps of open lawn areas perfect for throwing down a picnic blanket, as well as playgrounds, sheltered areas, picnic tables and even a table tennis table. There’s also barbecue facilities if you enjoy some sauce with your freshly baked sourdough (and let’s be real, who doesn’t).
This secret picnic zone is just a hop, skip and a jump from Edinburgh Gardens. Clifton Hill’s Darling Gardens is spread across 7.2 hectares and features a historic rotunda, a playground area and a *picnic* area. There’s also a designated off-leash area for the dawgs amongst us who are feeling tied down and in need of a run. The park has an abundance of open space to throw down a picnic rug, as well as sheltered areas for the fair-skinned and sun-conscious Melbourne folk.
This secret picnic spot is full of rolling lawns, beautiful trees and flower beds poppin’ with colour. Only a short walk from Chatham Station, there’s no better (or more accessible) place for a quick picnic getaway. It’s also a popular wedding location if you wanted to do that this weekend as well.
The Maranoa Gardens are one of Australia’s oldest native gardens, but also every plant enthusiast's botanic oasis. The park is decked out in various zones, including a rainforest, temperate woodland, cottage garden, dry sclerophyll forest (YASS), and an arid zone, and will be the educational picnic location of your dreams.
Heide Museum Of Modern Art, Sculpture Park
This secret picnic spot comes with a bonus modern art museum—winner! As a result, the park itself features some killer sculptures by Australian artists, including their most famous piece, the Rings of Saturn, which is one of Melbourne’s most recognisable public sculptures (howbow dah??). The park offers a series of outdoor spaces for picnickers to enjoy and reflect in.
This bad boy sits behind the Como House & Gardens, so if you can’t afford to cough up the big dollas for a pre-made picnic from The Stables of Como, you can pack your own and pull up a beautiful patch of grass at Como Park in front. Here you’ll be able to take in the stunning views of the Yarra (and thank Gawd you aren’t one of the 600 people rowing down it) as well as enjoy the sight of numerous happy dogs frolicking in the sun.
This one is less secret and more really-big-but-definitely-has-some-secret-corners. Fawkner Park is a hot spot for active wear-dripping fitspos and their Labraschnoodles, but it also has endless shade-bearing oak trees, which make for the perfect picnic spot. You can even catch the odd cricket match from either of the two art deco pavilions, or perhaps play some tennis at the nearby courts (ooh la la). There are also barbecue facilities because this park literally has it all.
Rippon Lea Estate
Bare with me guys; we’re about to get a little bit fancy. The Rippon Lea Estate gardens are some next-level sh*t. There’s four separate lawns, a lake, a boat house, a waterfall, a tennis court, an orchard, a pool, a fernery, and also a yuge mansion. If you’re after the picnic of a lifetime, and no less than four different lawn options to throw down your picnic blanket, then this bad boy is for you.
Organ Pipes National Park
This picnic spot can also double as a bush walk, which obviously means double up on the Camembert ‘coz you can just burn it right off afterwards with a three-kilometre hike. The organ pipe aspect of the park is actually a set of basalt columns formed by the cooling and cracking of molten lava (I sh*t you not), and will make for a killer new Facebook cover photo, if not an excellent setting for a picnic.
Now, THIS is a secret picnic spot. Located in the inner-western suburb of Kensington, which is pretty much a secret in itself, this cute little garden is the PERFECT place for a weekend picnic. The garden is literally set out in the shape of a peace sign, decked out in beautiful flora, and its existence, up until now, was only know by about thirty people (now thirty-thousand, sorry Kensington)!
Maribyrnong River Reserve
Park your car on the road and then pull up a patch of grass by the river where the only thing that’ll get between you and your hummus is the odd cyclist and maybe a rogue fisherman. This area is a hidden gem, known only to those who pass it on their daily commute but is home to some lush grassland and equally superb city views, and somehow an elaborate Chinese temple as well, if that kind of thing floats your boat.
If you're going to picnic properly, you're going to need a weapons grade cheese board. Luckily we've put together this handy article which shows you how to make the ultimate cheese board.
Image credit: The Urban List