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Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Photograph: Visit Victoria

Seven stunning picnic spots in Victoria

Lay down your picnic rug at these beautiful spots around Melbourne and Victoria

By Time Out in association with Visit Victoria
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Melburnians are nothing if not weather-confident people. We’ll weather a slight spray of rain or simply rug up when the wind turns a little galeforce. That’s why we’re all absolute pros at picnicking. Nothing can be come between a Melburnian and a cute weekend picnic, so it makes sense that even if the weather’s getting a little chilly, we’re still keen to throw down a rug, gather the pillows and enjoy charcuterie, sandwiches and drinks. 

Throughout autumn we’re bringing you guides to our state’s best corners alongside Visit Victoria’s 'Stay close, go further' call to action. We want everyone to rediscover the natural beauty, one-of-a-kind stays and covetable experiences Melbourne and Victoria have to offer. To help you with that, we’ve pulled together a few must-visit picnic spots across the state, which you can stop at the next time you’re out – whether you make it your main destination or tack it on to a road trip you’ve already got planned.

And a tip from an environment-loving Melburnian to another: remember to take your rubbish home with you if you can! Keep these spaces (and the cute critters that inhabit them) special for the next generation of nature lovers. 

Sheoak Picnic Ground, Great Otway National Park
Photograph: Christian Pearson

Sheoak Picnic Ground, Great Otway National Park

It’s probably best known as the starting point to exploring many of Victoria’s best waterfalls, but Sheoak Picnic Ground, found in the Otways, is a destination in itself. This clearing has everything a good picnic area needs: toilets, a picnic shelter and even gas barbecues. Once you’re fuelled up, it’d be a shame not to take one of the trails that lead to six (yes, six!) different waterfalls in the region including Henderson Falls, Kalimna Falls and Sheoak Falls.

Ballarat Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Visit Victoria

Ballarat Botanic Gardens

Located just across the road from the beautiful Lake Wendouree, the Ballarat Botanic Gardens are 70 hectares of picturesque gardens. Settle down next to a mature tree, a striking marble statue or maybe out near one of the colourful bedding displays. Just make sure you pop into the Robert Clark Conservatory when you’re done picnicking. This conservatory has stunning seasonal displays – this year, depending on when you go, you’ll be able to see either the tuberous begonia display or blooming chrysanthemums.

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Herring Island, Melbourne
Photograph: Parks Victoria

Herring Island, Melbourne

You might have spied it while driving down Alexander Avenue, but have you ever wondered what that small island in the middle of the Yarra River is? Herring Island is a 3.2-hectare artificial island formed back in 1928. You get there by taking a punt ferry, which operates on weekends, or your own boat. Once on land, head toward the western end of the island where there are a number of large-scale sculptures to check out. Then you can choose between two picnic areas, with toilets and drinking fountain facilities.

You Yangs Regional Park
Photograph: Visit Victoria

You Yangs Regional Park

This dog-friendly regional park is popular with the day hikes crowd, mostly because of the excellent Flinders Peak summit walk. But if you’re just keen to enjoy the view, you can settle down at the picnic tables near Turntable Drive car park. Pull out all your accoutrements and enjoy a meal while looking out over the surrounding regions – on a clear day you can even see Melbourne’s CBD skyline.

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The Horn Picnic Spot, Mount Buffalo National Park
Photograph: David Kirkland

The Horn Picnic Spot, Mount Buffalo National Park

Surely one of the most spectacular picnic spots in the state, the Horn is a perfect stopover for visitors passing through or staying near Victoria’s High Country. It honestly feels like you’re on top of the world at the Horn (you practically are – it’s 1,723 metres above sea level and the highest point in the national park) with wide panoramic views over Hotham, Feathertop and Buller in the distance. If you can swing it, plan your visit close to sunset as the views are truly magical.

Mason Falls Picnic Area, Kinglake National Park
Photograph: Parks Victoria

Mason Falls Picnic Area, Kinglake National Park

Kinglake National Park is one of the closest national parks to Melbourne’s CBD, sitting at the slopes of the Great Dividing Range. The area is popular for mountain bikers and campers, but also picnickers seeking out dramatic views over the Yarra Valley, the You Yangs and even the Melbourne skyline. Mason Falls is a highlight of the park, as is the adjacent picnic area, which is surrounded by beautiful fern forest.

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Arthur’s Seat, Mornington Peninsula
Photograph: Visit Victoria

Arthur’s Seat, Mornington Peninsula

Arthur’s Seat is the highest point on the Mornington Peninsula and unsurprisingly has some pretty neat views. Once you head up the windy road toward the summit there are numerous picnic tables to choose from – most under the shade of gum trees, others in green grassy fields. If you’re brave, you can try eating your picnic lunch atop the Arthurs Seat Eagle chairlift, where you’ll get the absolute best view over Port Phillip Bay.

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