When it comes to a summer family fun day, picnics are where it’s at. Good food, fun and games all wrapped up with a side of sunshine thrown in.
Melbourne is a city with so many hidden gems, narrowing down our top 10 favourite picnic spots makes us want to lay in the shade and let the kids run wild!
Some involve buckets and spades, others bathers and fountains, forts, basketball, super slides, BBQs and more. Something for the very young to the young at heart.
1. Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden – South Yarra
There’s a reason why this garden has won numerous awards and is a favourite with tourists. It is truly magical.
Kids can get their hands dirty in the kitchen garden, build cubby houses in The Ruin Garden, scale new heights in the Tree Tower, splash and play in the waterspouts at The Meeting Place.
Not to mention the plant tunnels are the perfect place for a game of hide and seek. And once you’ve finished exploring, pick your spot under one of the Tan’s hundreds of ancient trees for lunch.
The Children’s Garden welcomes families and young adventurers from Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-7.30pm. https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/melbourne-gardens/discover-melbourne-gardens/
2. Maritime Cove – Port Melbournep
Join other adventurers for all the water play and sand filled adventure you could ever desire. Right next to Sandridge Beach, this playground reuses old maritime equipment and features steel buoy to climb and sit on.
Complete with fort and tube slide for bigger kids and a dedicated sand play and musical area for tiny tots. Just swap your picnic blanket for beach towels, grab your bathers and sun hat, and embrace summer fun.
And there’s great fish and chips close by. Find it at 200 The Blvd, Port Melbourne
3. Hays Paddock – Kew East
This all-abilities playground is a family favourite.
With walking and cycling tracks and gorgeous wetlands nearby, this fully enclosed adventure oasis is the ideal spot. Just sit back, relax and let the kids explore. Plenty of shade and BBQ spots.
And you can bring the whole family, with an off-leash dog space. Leason St, Kew East
4. Tim Neville Arboretum – Ferntree Gully
A great day out for littlies, this fully enclosed playground has it all.
Fairy tale theme playground is ready to capture their imagination, complete with castle, dragons, a drawbridge, and moat. And for those a little more adventurous, check out the flying fox and slides.
And bring your buckets and spades and dive into the giant sandpit. Part of an 11-acre recreation reserve, pop down to the pond and say hi to the ducks or cycle around the reserve. 98 Dorset Rd, Ferntree Gully
5. Community Bank Adventure Playground and Splash Park – Wallan
If you’re into slides and waterplay this playground and picnic spot is for you.
Built around a 5-story tower with various slides, this adventure zone has something for everyone. Including a super cool – pun intended - water splash park, with a water play table and pumps, troughs and water channels, a three-ring water tunnel with squirting water jets, a tipping bucket, areas with water jets and a "creek" bed area with water jets.
Sandpit and cubby house and a family sized seesaw seal the deal. So, grab your bathers and get going for a day of family fun. Northern Hwy & Queen St, Wallan
6. Gooligulch Playground, Wonga Park
Does your grandma live in Gooligulch? If you know what I’m referring to, then like me you are a fan of Graeme Base.
A story of an adventurous grandma who rides kangaroos and is BFFs with wombats and emus. This playground brings the story to life in an interactive natural setting, complete with slides and old school tyre swings.
Let your imagination and toddlers run wild. And spread out your picnic rug. You might even be inspired to have a billy tea! Discover this special place at 5 Old Yarra Rd, Wonga Park
7. Booran Reservoir Playspace, Glen Huntly
If you’re looking for more a truly immersive space that is more play than picnic, this is a must visit.
The kids won’t know which way to explore first. Climbing robe dome, giant birds’ nest swing, sandpit and integrated water course, flying foxes, trampolines, basketball half court, cricket stumps and a separate water splash area. Grassy areas perfect for a picnic rug as well as BBQs and tables.
And after lunch, how about a game of tic tac toe. Corn Glenhuntly Rd and Booran Rd, Glen Huntly
8. Ruffey Lake Park, Doncaster East
Play and picnic to your heart’s content at this suburban gem. A super adventure playground with curved tunnel slide, giant slide (think downhill skiing), swings galore, a sandpit and magical musical bridge and smaller slides.
Don’t miss the giant gecko on top of the hill and the flying foxes for the fearless. Come early to secure your spot in the carpark and at one of the various picnic tables and BBQ areas. 99 Victoria St, Doncaster East
9. Ray Bastin Reserve, Narre Warren
One small step for man, one giant step for mankind – if space is your jam, this playground is for you.
Complete with central launch pad, tunnels, slides, a sensory trail, BMX track – look out for dads reliving their youth) and a skate park. Picnic tables and BBQs abound or secure your spot under one of the canopy trees. 2-14 Norfolk Dr, Narre Warren
10. Presidents Park, Wyndham Vale
Classic summer fun meets adventure at this family favourite. Waves slides, tunnels, ladders, music making activities, monkey bars, ride on bull and over 12 different swing varieties.
And what park would be complete without a giant cubby house.
Right near open spaces, a large lake, skate park and sports fields. You can even take your fur babies along. BBQs, tables and fab picnic spots a plenty. 370 McGrath Rd, Wyndham Vale