Wendy Hargreaves: 5 of the best picnic spots
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Looking for ways to extend that summer holiday feeling? Round up some friends, fill an esky with goodies and head to one of Melbourne’s finest picnic spots for some sunshiny goodness.
YARRA BEND PARK
4km north-east of Melbourne’s CBD, between Kew and Fairfield
With 223 hectares of native bushland and a 12km stretch of the Yarra River, this is Melbourne’s ultimate bush picnic destination. Just a few kilometres away from the CBD, Yarra Bend Park is also home to the Studley Park Boathouse if you get a post-picnic hankering for scones with jam and cream.
Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy North
Sir David Attenborough would have a ball commentating on the social habits of hipsters in the north-side’s coolest park. There are also every breed of dog imaginable, thanks to a cracking off-lead area in the heart of the gardens, a magical place criss-crossed by bike paths, a skate park, playgrounds and beautiful old rotunda. The North Fitzroy Bowls Club is a great place to retreat for barefoot bowls and a cold pot of beer, and Piedimonte’s is right across the road for food/booze supplies.
ST KILDA BOTANIC GARDENS
Herbert St, St Kilda
An oasis of green for 150 years, St Kilda’s gorgeous botanic gardens has everything you need for a perfect picnic (including plenty of shelters if Melbourne turns on her four-seasons-in-a-day weather). There’s also plenty of picnic fodder nearby, such as cheesy heaven Milk the Cow and the cafe with all the picnic nous Fitzrovia, who create very posh five-course grazing lunches ($150 for two, including the rental of a wicker hamper with cutlery, crockery, napkins and glassware… just return the lot the next day).
Spring Street, East Melbourne
Jammed between Spring Street, Parliament and the delightful Fitzroy Gardens, Treasury Gardens is the ultimate picnic lunch getaway for city workers with beautiful big trees and wide expanses of shady lawn. Pop in to the Spring Street Grocer for all the yummy cheese/charcuterie/sweets/bread (and check out their cheese cellar while you’re there).
1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford
The lovely old convent building is home to artists, designers, teachers and community radio broadcasters, but it’s also a stunning place to have a picnic, with the Convent Bakery on hand for picnic treats. Lentil as Anything is also in the complex, selling delicious vegetarian food for the socially-consicous price you think it deserves. I can’t go past the Kappa Japanese Soul Food Cafe for a lunch.
Wendy writes online at five of the best.