You don’t need to do much in summer to feel like you’ve made the most of a day. Round up some friends, a picnic basket, an esky and head to one of these spots to enjoy the sunshine.

Catani Gardens
Close to the city, the tropical palm-tree paradise of St Kilda’s Catani Gardens really ticks all the boxes for a delightful summer picnic. Start off with a swim in the bay then set up your spread in the gardens just up from the foreshore. When the sun goes down, you can head to one of the many nearby restaurants if you run out of supplies.

Brighton Beach
A Melbourne icon for a very good reason. The bathing boxes provide a colourful setting and you can take in a panoramic view of the city. As a safety precaution – and also because it makes life easier – pack your esky with cans (not glass bottles).

Half Moon Bay
Aptly named after the crescent shape of the coastline, this Black Rock location is a hot spot in summer. Kayakers and sailors frequent this beach and make for lively people watching while you relax on the sand. There’s an old shipwreck in the bay that adds interest to the already stunning sight and a nearby kiosk is great for a snack to accompany a crisp craft beer.

Pound Bend Reserve
Love sun but hate sand? There’s a hidden gem in Warrandyte where you can swim in the Yarra River and then hang out on the grass for an afternoon. There’s a rock pool here with a tunnel opening; so let the water rush over you like a waterfall. After your dip, head down the river where you’ll find spots to set up your picnic. There are barbecue facilities, too.

Edinburgh Gardens
The popular North Fitzroy park is good for all kinds of fun, however you like to have it. It’s not uncommon to see slackropes, frisbees, hula hoops, bocce, Finska, Kubb, Klopp and other activities you may have to Google. Bending our rules slightly, you won’t find a body of water here to cool down in, but Fitzroy Pool is a five-minute walk away.

Yarra Bend Park
It’s incredible to think a bushland oasis as big as this is located just four kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD. One of Melbourne’s best city views can be seen from this park and is accessible by car at the end of Wills Street in Kew. The Studley Park Boathouse is also a winner if you like a river backdrop for your brew. Or perhaps you’d like to be on the riverbank drinking a tinnie while watching the tinnies go by. Whatever floats your boat, really.