Surrounded by peaceful Japanese gardens, picnicking by the lake at Melbourne Zoo is both serene and provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature, even in the colder months. Food can either be brought from home, zoo kiosks and eateries, or sourced from the Queen Victoria Market close by.
Herring Island – South Yarra
Accessible only by a short boat ride across the Yarra River, Herring Island is a tranquil haven for art and nature lovers alike. Roundtrip transport to the island is provided by parks Victoria for a minimal fee ($2 per person, $5 for a family). Rotunda shelters dot the island to provide shelter and fresh produce can be purchased from the nearby Prahran Market.
Como House – South Yarra
Como House offers a glimpse into the privileged life of aristocracy in days gone by. This historic time-capsule is the perfect backdrop for a winter picnic, with large welcoming gardens in one of Melbourne’s most glamorous locations. Picnickers can purchase food at the on-site kiosk and take a look inside the house for a small fee ($15).
Royal Botanical Gardens
Melbourne’s internationally renowned Royal Botanical Gardens offers visitors a chance to discover rare and beautiful plants, sit by the peaceful lakes and take a stroll through one of the city’s most revered green spaces. Members of the public are welcome to bring their own food to the gardens and enjoy a picnic under the rotundas, or purchase a takeaway Vietnamese lunch from the kiosk at Jardin Tan.
Only three kilometres from the heart of Melbourne, Albert Park is one of the city’s most diverse parks popular with locals and tourists alike for a range of activities. Visitors can enjoy a walk around the lake before settling down for a picnic in one of the many green spaces or under a covered rotunda areas. A great option for families, Albert Park is conveniently located near South Melbourne Market where food can be purchased and barbecues are also available for public use.
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Visitors to Heide can marvel at the art and social history surrounding them while they picnic on the museum’s sprawling grounds. Picnic hampers can be purchased from Café Vue on site and shelter can be sought in the gallery in case of inclement weather.
Thousand Steps or Sherbrooke Forest – Dandenong Ranges
Just under an hour from Melbourne, the Thousand Steps and Sherbrooke Forest offer a chance to explore Victoria’s pristine rainforests and relax among the ferns and eucalyptus trees, while keeping an ear out for native superb lyrebirds. Sherbrooke picnic ground sits within the Sherbrooke Forest, the largest section of Dandenong Ranges National Park, while the Thousand Steps welcome visitors at the foot of the mountain for a relatively strenuous walk to the peak. A stop off at Burnham Beeches bakery along the way will arm picnickers with all they need for a sublime luncheon.
Silvan Reservoir or RJ Hamer Arboretum – Dandenong Ranges
Set in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, Silvan Reservoir Park features landscaped picnic areas and open lawns surrounded by an impressive eucalypt forest, perfect for a picnic feast on a clear winter’s day. The RJ Hamer Arboretum just down the road boasts a collection of over 150 different species of exotic trees. The Arboretum is a lovely picnic spot for any season with breathtaking views across the Yarra Valley. Visitors can also head to the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens nearby and picnic near the idyllic boathouse.
Puffing Billy and Emerald Lake – Dandenong Ranges
Emerald Lake Park is a prime picnic destination for locals and visitors alike. Set in the heart of the Dandenong Ranges the park offers a range of activities including walking trails, paddleboats, eating areas and is one of the destination points for the iconic Puffing Billy steam train. The Park is also accessible for people with varying levels of mobility and provides access to a range of family friendly facilities.
Visitors can relax and set down by the river, surrounded by tall gum tress, for a bite to eat at the Healesville Sanctuary. The pristine picnic spot, near the Robert Eadie Pavilion, is perfect for hungry travellers who can either bring food from home, or purchase from the Sanctuary café.
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