Sometimes – after a pandemic lockdown, say – you just want to bathe in nature. A spectacular sunset, where the sky is illuminated in striking red and orange before giving way to delicate pink and mellow blue, is a balm for the soul.

Especially after the past year we’ve had, it’s worth taking a moment to find a spot with friends and raise a glass. So throw your blankets, baskets, torches and water in the car, gather your snacks, Aperol Spritzes and designated driver, and make a break for one of our five favourite sunset-ready lookouts around town.

Rooftop Bar
You don’t need to do a daytrip to enjoy a spectacular sunset in Melbourne. Climb seven floors to the top of Curtin House where you’ll find the Rooftop Bar, a Melbourne institution since 2003. Order an Aperol Spritz and a burger, and watch the surrounding skyscrapers sparkle in the setting sun. During the summer months, stay till after dark to catch an al fresco flick at the Rooftop Cinema, which screens a curated roster of indie and cult films and documentaries.

Royal Park
When you’re surrounded by nature among Royal Park’s many paths, grasslands and marshes, it’s easy to forget the CBD lies less than four kilometres away. Occupying a space that was once a camping ground for local Wurundjeri people, before Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe formally designated the area a park for recreation in the 1840s, the 180-hectare expanse is now inner-city Melbourne’s largest park. Time your visit with dusk and spread out a picnic rug on the grassy hill to take in the glorious view of the CBD skyline as the sun sinks below the horizon.

Birrarung Marr
A former railyard located beside Federation Square on the banks of the Yarra, Birrarung Marr is one the city’s newest parks. Birrarung is the Wurundjeri people’s name for the Yarra, reflecting the long history and close connection the traditional owners have with the stretch of riverside land.

Officially opened in 2002, the eight-hectare Birrarung Marr hosts major festivals and events and features several public artworks, including the Federation Bells and Deborah Halpern’s imposing 10-metre mosaic-covered sculpture, Angel. Spend an afternoon lolling on the grassy slope, watching rowers and vessels glide by on the river.

The Big Drift
Often – and inexplicably – left off the traditional tourist trail, the Big Drift at Wilsons Prom is an otherworldly expanse of rolling sand dunes located two and a half hours south-west of Melbourne’s CBD. Starting at Stockyards Campground, a two-kilometre walk through scrub and forest leads you to a strange and shifting sandscape. Expect spectacular views of the Vereker range in the east and the sea to the west. The view is even better at the end of the day, when the setting sun transforms the golden dunes to a beautiful rose gold.

Boroka Lookout
The Grampians National Park, located three hours west of Melbourne, is famous for its rich Aboriginal history, abundant wildlife, cascading waterfalls and world-class hiking trails. Its peaks provide spectacular views of the surrounding wilderness. Boroka Lookout, an easily accessible vantage point located 15 kilometres from Halls Gap, is glorious at sunset, affording a panoramic view of Mount William, the Wonderland Range and Lake Bellfield below.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Aperol. With 100,000 Aperol Spritzes up for grabs this summer to help celebrate being together again, find out how to claim yours.