Alexandra Avenue

Get in early and secure a spot along the Yarra River. Starting at Birrarung Marr and going down Alexandra Avenue, these leafy riverside barbeque hangouts are complete with seating and offer a lovely view of the city skyline. Further out, between Morell Bridge and Swan Street, are some quieter, family friendly places.

Edinburgh Gardens

Edinburgh Gardens is a favourite for good reason. On weekends and public holidays the lively locals (and visitors from neighbouring suburbs) descend on this leafy park for the barbeque spots, all-weather ping pong table, basketball court and to visit the nearby tennis courts and bowls club. There are just three barbeques here so arrive early and be prepared to share, or have a back-up picnic handy. And following the council crackdown after New Year’s Eve, make sure to take note of the recently announced alcohol-free zones – which cover roughly half of the park.
More information here.

Coburg Lake Reserve

Just off Murray Road in Coburg North, the Coburg Lake Reserve is a popular, spacious park big enough for friendly games of frisbee and for your four-legged friends to roam around. Grand old willow trees provide shade by the lake and there are plenty of barbeque spots and tables to go around, but bring your picnic blanket to be on the safe side. The Merri Creek bike trail runs straight through the park, so bring the bike and follow the trail for a scenic after-lunch ride.
More information here.

Banksia Park

Located near Heide Museum of Modern Art, Banksia Park has several wood-fired barbeques with the wood provided. Sure, it’s more work for the designated cook, but your Australia Day barbeque is going to be that much tastier. There are also sheltered picnic areas and a playground for the little ones. Dogs need to be on a leash in most parts of the park. After your barbeque, take a stroll over to Heide’s Sculpture Park & Plaza or go in to see Future Primitive, an exhibition showcasing contemporary artworks exploring the concept of primitivism by Australian and New Zealand artists.
More information here.

Cardinia Reservoir Park

If you’re keen on going for a drive out of town, Cardinia Reservoir Park in Narre Warren East is a great daytrip destination. Pack up your supplies and use the public barbeque spots around the park; the Kangaroo Flat and the Crystal Brook picnic areas are both kitted out with picnic tables and barbeques. Bring a sturdy pair of walking shoes or a bike for a wander to the Kangaroo Viewing Trail – surely a fitting activity for Australia Day. Groups of wild kangaroos often come out in the morning or late afternoon, so explore the area starting from the Spillway Carpark to catch a glimpse.
More information here.

Studley Park Boathouse

The Studley Park Boathouse is the perfect little inner-city getaway. The Studley Park picnic area is a nice quiet spot for a barbeque with plenty of shade provided by surrounding trees and some sheltered areas. Work off your lunch with a paddle around the Yarra River. Visitors can rent a canoe or kayak from the historic Boathouse or bring your own boat, the canoe-launching ramp is open for public use.
More information here.