Top 10 Best Picnic Spots in Melbourne

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While Melbourne may be famed for its quirky inner city cafes and trendy bars and eateries, the city is also home to more than its fair share of delightful picnic spots, making home-prepared feasts or takeaway goodies not such a bad option. Pack a picnic rug and make the most of some of Melbourne’s idyllic picnic destinations.

Royal Botanical Gardens, South Yarra

Set over 38 hectares, this beautiful inner city space is home to more than 10,000 different plant species and over 50,000 individual plants, making it a perfect spot for flora enthusiasts. The garden’s bold 19th century layout offers plenty of shady places to spread out a picnic rug and enjoy a day outdoors. Stop by the Ornamental Lake for a meal with water views or settle into one of the Royal Botanic Garden’s manicured lawn areas.

Carlton Gardens, Carlton

Filled with tree lined avenues, formal flowerbeds and late 19th century gardens, Carlton Gardens offers the perfect place to picnic on the northeastern edge of Melbourne’s CBD. The gardens feature a children’s playground and elaborate fountains, while also being the site of the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Museum and the IMAX Cinema. Settle in for a bite to eat before exploring all the gardens have to offer, or make a day of it and check out some of Melbourne’s other top attractions which are close by.

Carlton Gardens, Melbourne
Carlton Gardens, Carlton. Image Credit: Alexandre Lovrov.

St Kilda Botanical Gardens, St Kilda

Home to an impressive rose garden and lush expanses of lawn, the St Kilda Botanical Gardens offers the perfect setting for a picnic with the whole family. Dogs are welcome in the gardens on a leash, meaning you can bring your furry friends along to enjoy the outing too, while kids are sure to be kept happy with a playground and giant chess board offering endless hours of fun.

Catani Gardens, St Kilda

Close to both the city and the water, St Kilda’s Catani Gardens offers the perfect place to sit back, unwind and enjoy a meal complete with a refreshing sea breeze. Set up your picnic blanket beneath the garden’s shady trees, cook up a storm on public barbeque facilities or take time out with a stroll through 6 hectares of landscaped gardens.

Catani Gardens, Melbourne
Catani Gardens, St Kilda. Image Credit: Tom Reynolds.

Edinburgh Gardens, North Fitzroy

Situated just outside the Melbourne CBD, North Fitzroy’s Edinburgh Gardens offers plenty of opportunities to work up an appetite before settling in for a meal surrounded by open areas of lawn, shady trees and elegant garden beds. Follow one of the garden’s popular bike paths, play a game of tennis or let the kids run wild on the playground.

Coburg Lake Reserve, Coburg North

Found only 10 minutes drive from the heart of Melbourne, Coburg Lake Reserve is a great spot to kick back, unwind and destress with a weekend picnic. Offering free barbeque facilities, multiple playgrounds and even a permanent outdoor twister game, the reserve’s facilities offer plenty to see and do.

Rippon Lea House and Garden, Elsternwick

A late 19th century suburban estate, Rippon Lea House and Garden serves up a taste of history amongst its beautiful Victorian era gardens. Enjoy a picnic on manicured lawns, wander through the heritage orchard or transport yourself  into the past with a round of croquet with friends.

Ripponlea House and Gardens, Melbourne
Rippon Lea House and Garden, Elsternwick. Image Credit: michealdgbailey.

Fairfield Park Boathouse, Fairfield

Boasting a tea room filled with delectable goodies, Fairfield Park Boathouse also offers plenty of great waterside spots to set up a picnic and watch on as others paddle along the Yarra River. After you’ve finished your meal, hire a hand-built rowing skiff and spend time navigating the waters of the Yarra River at your own pace.

Docklands Park, Harbour Esplanade

Only moments from the Yarra River and the centre of the city, Docklands Park offers large grassy spaces, exciting playgrounds and many great examples of public art that act as the perfect backdrop to a delightful outdoor dining experience. Meet family and friends for a barbeque at the park or unwind beneath the boughs of a beautiful native tree.

docklands park melbourne
Docklands Park, Melbourne. Source: Docklands is Beautiful.

Albert Park, Albert Park

Just 3 kilometres from the city, set between Port Melbourne and St Kilda, Albert Park boasts a wide variety of facilities, from scenic walking tracks to public barbeques and a large man made lake. Set up a picnic rug on the park’s green lawns, watch on as sailboats glide over the lake, and gaze across the city skyline standing tall in the distance.

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