So we don’t know how any day in Melbourne is going to turn out, but we can certainly turn it on when we want to, and Melbourne Cup Day seems to have been one of the most unpredictable, in terms of weather in recent years. That said, when the sun turns itself on, we’ve got some of the finest parks and places where we can bask and bathe.
If you’re looking to get away from the horse racing this Melbourne Cup Day or any day soon, why not visit one of these great spots for a picnic
Edinburgh Gardens is a magical wonderland of trees, bikes, swings, a skate park and free table tennis (BYO bats and balls). There’s also a rotunda, which is handy if you need a really obvious meeting point – You can’t miss it!
Pack your picnic: Visit your local Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse, or drop by Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses Coburg on your way through and pick up tasty treats ready for a great day out. Our recommendations for a picnic at Edinburgh Gardens are some yummy Lamingtons, a Walnut Twist for all the family to share, and some lovely warm Sausage Rolls.
The old Alphington Swimming Pool
You can plan the perfect picnic, but you can’t plan the weather. But if you are planning a perfect picnic, one place that should be on your list is the old Alphington Swimming Pool site. Pop on your straw hat and unleash your inner Huckleberry Finn when you hire a row boat from the Fairfield Boathouse, and paddle down to the old Alphington Swimming Pool site. There may not be a pool there any more, but when you reach the old site you’ll find a beautiful clearing beneath a sweet grove of oak trees. Beyond that lies the park proper with barbecues and toilets.
Pack your picnic: Visit your local Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse, or drop by Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses Northland on your way through and pick up your tasty treats ready for a great day out. Our recommendations for a picnic include some yummy Chocolate Eclairs and some lovely warm Tiddly Oggies.
Rippon Lea House and Gardens
This is the Grand Ol’ Dame of picnic spots around Melbourne. The enclosed grounds are heritage listed and there’s a huge mansion in the middle as well as stables and a lake with a boathouse. They even rent out croquet sets if you really want to join the Oi Polloi.
Entry to the grounds is $4 for kids and $10 for big kids. A visit to this treasure takes you on a journey back in time and offers a unique glimpse into the lifestyles of the wealthiest Australians of the era so come and spend an afternoon meandering through the mansion, relaxing on the lawns, climb the lookout tower or take a boat ride on the lake
The closest state park to Melbourne, Warrandyte is a haven for picnickers, bushwalkers, canoeists, birdwatchers and those who enjoy peace and solitude. As long as you get in early, Warrandyte, in particular next to the Yarra River is a great place to go for a picnic and day with family and friends, especially if you get in early.
The lightly wooded landscape is dominated by the Yarra River as it winds through the Warrandyte Gorge. The hills around Warrandyte have a distinctive bluish-green hue, typical of the Red Box foliage common in the area.
There’s a good chance of seeing koalas in the trees at Pound Bend Reserve, while kangaroos and other wildlife are not uncommon in sections of the park.
South of Melbourne:
Lysterfield Lake Park: This park is very popular for canoeing, sailing, paddle boating and surf skiing. There are also walking tracks.
Casey Fields, Cranbourne: This park has absolutely everything, barbecues, massive playground for the kids, you can even fish in the dam (they stock it every year)
The West of Melbourne
Werribee Park: A park with 10ha of beautiful formal gardens and open space park land, with the Italianate-style architecture of Werribee Mansion as a back drop.
Footscray Park: Lots of trees for plenty of shade, and also has a stunning view of Flemington racecourse across from the Maribyrnong River.
Logan Reserve, Altona: On the beach, beautiful views of the bay. Picnic beneath big shady Moreton Bay figs. Playground, public toilets, icecreams across the road.
Central Geelong has a great range of major public parks. Check out Johnstone Park in Gheringhap St and its historic rotunda while the War Memorial sits within the park along with striking contemporary public art.
Don’t miss Eastern Beach, with its historic and magnificently restored art deco swimming enclosure; it is a true feature of our stunning city. It is surrounded by gardens, with public BBQ’s, amenities and facilities, playgrounds and a free public pool.
For a mix of history and stunning contemporary design, visit the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Located above Eastern Beach, the Botanic Gardens offer visitors an impressive array of plants set amongst historic English landscaping. To get there you’ll have to pass through the spectacular 21st Century Garden. It’s a multi-million dollar contemporary garden blending unique native garden beds with dramatic design. It’s not to be missed.
Ballarat & Lake Wendouree
Lake Wendouree is commonly referred to as the best picnic spot in the Ballarat region. There is plenty of shaded and unshaded areas close by with your option of shade sails or big old leafy trees. There is also plenty of room to picnic on rugs or use the tables and barbeques provided instead. Toilets and water taps are available too. You will also find an ice-cream van parked at the front of the area which has been decorated to look like an old tram, which is quite delightful if you feel like a little refreshment.
Of course, if you do wish to explore the area further there is a myriad of opportunities and activities to have a go at. Why not watch the swans wander about lakeside or join in on a water activity like rowing or fishing for Rainbow trout. There is a historical old tram that takes you up and down the main street and conveniently a Tram Museum too. Finally, if you still have energy to burn, take to the Steve Moneghetti walking/running/riding track and enjoy the lake in its entirety.
Of course if you do want to find the perfect picnic spot, you will need the perfect picnic fare