The best picnic spots near Melbourne to visit this summer

Friday 15 December, 2023

As the sun-kissed days of summer arrive, Melburnians are set to enjoy plenty of picnics in the park with their friends and family.

But with so many beautiful picnic spots to choose from, the choice of where to go can be overwhelming. Thankfully, a new online survey has identified the top 25 picnic places in Australia, and a handful of them are located within easy reach of the city. 

So without further ado, here are six of the best picnic spots near Melbourne.


1. Maroondah Reservoir Park, Healesville

The dam wall and manicured gardens of Maroondah Reservoir Park.

The dam wall and manicured gardens of Maroondah Reservoir Park make it a great place for a picnic.

There are plenty of rotundas and picnic tables at Maroondah Reservoir Park.

There are plenty of beautiful rotundas and picnic tables at Maroondah Reservoir Park.

In the survey, Maroondah Reservoir Park in Healesville was ranked as the most popular picnic spot in Victoria, and the second most popular spot in the country. With its serene gardens and impressive 41-metre-tall dam wall and spillway, it’s easy to see why.

Offering picturesque formal gardens, wooded hills, and a calm reservoir lake, hosting a picnic here is a breeze with an abundance of rotundas, barbecues and picnic tables spread across the reserve to choose from.

Well-maintained walking trails and the charming spillway further contribute to the park's appeal, making Maroondah Reservoir Park a delightful destination for a relaxing picnic in nature. Walk to the bottom of the dam wall to observe the grandeur of the wall from below and then climb the Rose Steps (or walk the circular track to avoid the stairs) and walk across the top of the dam wall to view the expansive reservoir and parkland. Seeing the full force of water cascading down the spillway is an impressive sight.


2. Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Yan Yean

Yan Yean Reservoir is a great spot for a picnic.

Picnicking and birdwatching are popular activities at Yan Yean Reservoir Park.

The shady shoreline of Yan Yean Reservoir.

With serene scenes like this, all that's missing is a picnic blanket.

Hot on the heels of Maroondah Reservoir Park, Yan Yean Reservoir Park in Melbourne’s outer-northern suburbs was the third best picnic spot in Australia according to the survey

Yan Yean Reservoir Park stands out as an exceptional picnic spot, combining natural tranquillity with well-designed recreational facilities. Yan Yean Reservoir Park also boasts some impressive history, with the reservoir being Victoria’s oldest water supply, completed in 1857. The nearby bluestone Valve House and Caretaker’s Cottage were also built around that time. 

The park's picturesque setting around the Yan Yean Reservoir provides a serene backdrop for outdoor gatherings, offering expansive lawns and shaded areas where picnickers can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere while taking in panoramic views of the reservoir and its surrounding landscapes. 

The park's thoughtful amenities, including picnic tables, barbecues, and play areas, ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages, making Yan Yean Reservoir Park a versatile and welcoming destination for picnics.


3. Braeside Park, Braeside

The wetlands at Braeside Park are a great spot for birdwatching.

Enjoy a walk around the wetlands at Braeside Park.

Braeside Park is a great spot for a family picnic.

Braeside Park is a great place for a family picnic.

Braeside Park offers a network of scenic walking and cycling trails, allowing picnickers to explore the diverse landscapes and wildlife-rich habitats, making it an all-encompassing destination for nature enthusiasts and families alike.

The park's vast green expanses, complemented by lush woodlands and serene lakes, create an inviting setting for picnics and outdoor gatherings. Well-equipped picnic areas with tables and barbecue facilities enhance the visitor experience, providing convenience and comfort.

Braeside Park is also a popular bird watching spot, with several bird hides placed around the edge of the park’s wetlands, letting visitors get close to a variety of birdlife. 

Braeside Park came in at number 11 on the list of Australia’s best picnic spots.


4. Cardinia Reservoir Park, Emerald

Looking out across the water at Cardinia Reservoir Park.

The view across the water at Cardinia Reservoir Park.

Two kangaroos stand in the grass at Woowookarung Regional Park.

Kangaroos are a common sight in Cardinia Reservoir Park.

Nestled on the shoreline of the picturesque Cardinia Reservoir, the park offers expansive grassy areas, ideal for picnics, relaxation, and family gatherings. 

The shimmering waters of the reservoir create a beautiful backdrop, enhancing the overall ambiance. The park provides well-maintained walking trails, bird-watching opportunities, and designated fishing areas, ensuring a diverse range of activities for visitors to enjoy during their picnic experience. 

Be sure to check out the Kangaroo Viewing Trail which is home to several mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, but please remember that feeding them is strictly prohibited.

Cardinia Reservoir Park is the 12th best picnic spot in Australia, according to the survey.


5. Lysterfield Park, Lysterfield

A group of people picnicking at Lysterfield Lake.

Lysterfield Park is one of the best places in Melbourne for a picnic.

Two friends walking in Lysterfield Park.

Enjoy a walk around Lysterfield Lake after your picnic.

Lysterfield Park, situated in Melbourne's southeastern suburbs, offers an abundance of picturesque picnic settings either along the shores of Lysterfield Lake or further into the bushland park.

The park offers numerous activities beyond picnicking, with visitors able to sail, kayak or canoe in the lake, while walkers will love the network of gravel bush tracks. It is also home to one of Australia's best mountain biking trail networks, including the State Mountain Bike Course, easy green trails and action packed black diamond trails for experienced riders.

It’s no wonder Lysterfield Park was judged to be the 13th best picnic spot in the country


6. Seawinds Gardens, Arthurs Seat State Park

The sculptures at Seawinds Garden are very popular.

William Ricketts sculptures are spread throughout Seawinds Gardens.

The views from Arthurs Seat State Park are astounding.

The views from Arthurs Seat State Park are astounding.

Nestled on the Mornington Peninsula, Seawinds Garden in Arthurs Seat State Park is a captivating destination that offers a perfect setting for a delightful picnic experience. This scenic spot is renowned for its lush greenery, diverse plant life, and breathtaking views over Port Phillip Bay.

The gardens, which were number 19 of the top 25 picnic places in Australia, cover a vast area, providing ample space for visitors to spread out and enjoy a leisurely picnic.

The gardens showcase a wide variety of native Australian plants, as well as several sculptures by famed sculptor William Ricketts, creating a visually stunning landscape that adds a touch vibrancy and colour for those picnicking al fresco.


In order to create the list of the top 25 picnic spots in Australia, food blogger Food Box Mate sorted through over 12,000 reviews of picnic spots people had left online. Of the top 25 places identified, the above six are managed by Parks Victoria. Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick, Emerald Lake Park in Emeraldand the Coburg Lake Reserve in Coburg North also featured in the list of Australia’s 25 favourite picnic spots.

While this list includes just some of the best picnic spots near Melbourne, there are thousands more beautiful picnic spots spread across Victoria in parks and reserves all over the state.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a rug, pack your basket, and head off for a sunny summertime picnic this weekend.


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