You don’t need to head to the hills for a perfect picnic in Melbourne

The warm weather is here, and the picnic blanket is practically unfurling itself. Victoria doesn’t want for idyllic lunch locations, but you don’t have to pack the camper to have yourself a memorable outdoor meal. Perfect over a lazy weekend afternoon or a tight 30-minute lunch break, the green spaces and riverside settings of Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD) are better suited to picnicking than you might’ve thought; here’s where to go for a moment of urban calm, and where to stock up on snacks on the way. 


Flagstaff Gardens

Located at the northwest point of the CBD, Flagstaff Gardens has been used in many ways over the last 180 years, including as an elevated vantage point from which to signal to ships in Williamstown. These days, however, it’s one of Melbourne’s best picnic spots, replete with barbecues, tables, and a whole lot of shaded grass.

Get your snacks from: Queen Victoria Market, naturally. Hit the Dairy Produce Hall for cheeses, charcuterie, and all of the baked goods, before stocking up on fresh fruit en route to the gardens.

Queen St, Melbourne,

Enterprize Park

If your idea of a perfect picnic is incomplete without a river view, make for Enterprize Park: a city park on the bank of the Yarra River that runs along the southwest border of the CBD. Aside from being a lovely place to while away the sunshine hours, it’s also the site of the Scar Project, a First Nations-led installation that nods to the tradition of tree scarring. More barbecues, tables and benches – even a helicopter, should you need to make good your escape.

Get your snacks from: Fill up with delicious porchetta-stuffed panini at nearby Saluministi on Flinders Lane. Complete your picnic with a range of treats from biscotti to handmade cannoli or bombollini. 

388 Flinders Lane, Melbourne,

Treasury Gardens

Arguably the most picturesque spot of the lot, Treasury Gardens is located just over Spring Street on the city’s southeastern fringe. Home to Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s World’s Longest Lunch and World’s Longest Brunch, there aren’t many better places to appreciate a sunny Melbourne day than under one of the heritage-listed Garden’s enormous Moreton Bay fig trees.

Get your snacks from: Found just across the road, Spring Street Grocer is one of Melbourne’s best edits of rug-topping treats. The cheese is particularly good here and lives in its own dedicated cheese cellar, and you’d be remiss to leave without a scoop or two of the excellent gelati. 

Basement/157 Spring St, Melbourne,


Birrarung Marr

Opened in 2002, Birrarung Marr hugs the north side of the Yarra River, at the southeast corner of the CBD. Its pristine grass-covered slope is the perfect place to take in the beauty of the river, and it’s also home to the Birrarung Wilam Aboriginal art installation, which acknowledges the five groups that comprise the Kulin nation in a series of metal shields. 

Get your snacks from: Birrarung Marr and Treasury Gardens are close enough to one another that you might conceivably head back to Spring Street Grocer. But you’re also close to Russell Street viennoiserie powerhouse, Lune, and you can’t do much better than a tricked-out croissant with a water view.

Shop 16/161 Collins St, Melbourne,

RMIT A’Beckett Urban Square

A 2,800 square metre pop-up park replete with basketball courts, table tennis, barbecues, WiFi and plenty of room to sit and relax? Sounds like a recipe for an excellent urban picnic. What was once a lacklustre car park is now squarely in the public domain, and it’s quickly become a favourite meeting place for students and city dwellers alike. 

Get your snacks from: Once again, you’re right by Queen Victoria Market, but you’re also by some of Melbourne’s favourite cheap eats. Drop by modern Indonesian restaurant Kata Kita for colourful nasi campur, Jojo Little Kitchen for Malaysian pan mee noodles, or regional Chinese sensation Biang Biang for cold noodles and a roujiamo – Shaanxi’s ancient pulled pork sandwich.   

A’Beckett St and Stewart St, Melbourne 


The Arts Centre precinct

The home of some of Australia’s best-loved galleries and concert halls is also the home of some of the city’s best picnic spots. You have two options here: shake the rug out over the undulating grass beside the Arts Centre, or sneak through NGV International and out the back for a moment of calm in a quiet urban enclave. 

Get your snacks from: Seek out the Gallery Kitchen, located on the ground floor of the NGV International. This hardworking café has a whole section of grab-and-go menu items that make for the perfect nosh in the afternoon sun. Great coffee, too.   

100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne


This content has been provided by the team at Food and Drink Victoria, supporting the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.