Summer is a busy time on the Mornington Peninsula, but there are still plenty of quiet picnic spots in Melbourne’s southern backyard.
Just ask Nic Cooper, founder at Wild Adventures Melbourne. Nic has explored every secluded corner of the peninsula to find the best picnic spots, and creates self-guided itineraries with bike rides, paddle boarding and bush walks. He even organises the food, partnering with indigenous-owned Cooee Cafe to offer picnic hampers with native flavours.
“There are so many beautiful picnic spots on the peninsula… it’s hard to pick just five,” Nic says. “But here five of my favourites.”
1. Minister’s Lookout, Arthurs Seat
For a picnic spot with a panoramic view, the highest point of the Mornington Peninsula is always a great option. Arthurs Seat (or Wonga as it is known to the Boon Wurrung people) is full of nature trails, wildlife and picnic spots with views. Just below Seawinds Gardens, on the Two Bays Walking Track, you will find several viewpoints to lay out a rug. If it’s a warm day, Minister’s Lookout is a nice quiet option with lots of shade which looks out towards the southern end of the Peninsula. If you are feeling active, you can hike up from Port Phillip Bay. The hike from McCrae to Minister’s Lookout takes 45-60 minutes.
2. Red Hill Rail Trail
The Red Hill Rail Trail is an awesome route to bike or hike and have a picnic all year round. Winding through forests, past vineyards, olive groves and lavender fields, there are a lot of choices for potential picnic spots, as well as wineries along the way for a cheeky tasting if you wish. We recommend making a day of it on a bike, taking off from Red Hill South, past Merricks General Store all the way to the stunning Balnarring Beach on Western Port Bay. This ride is 15kms.
3. Bushrangers Bay
The hike to Bushrangers Bay is one of the Mornington Peninsula’s most iconic walks (6km return). Start from the car park on Boneo Road and begin your walk through bushland. You’ll spot plenty of wildlife along the way before the view opens up to the wild and secluded Bushrangers Bay. Set up your picnic on the beach or time your walk for low tide to explore the magnificent rock pools. But even at low tide, the beach can be dangerous so be really careful.
4. Millionaire’s Walk
Looking for a chilled walk with views and a gorgeous beach picnic location? Millionaire’s Walk runs between Sorrento and Portsea, and is less than 1km but well worth checking out. Sometimes feels like it’s going through the back gardens of the area’s famous cliff top mansions (which is when you realise this should now be called Billionaires Walk). At the end of the trail, head down to Point King Beach for some of the most beautiful waters around for a swim and ample beach space to lay out a picnic.
5. McCrae Beach
There is a reason all of our eco adventures on the Mornington Peninsula start from McCrae Beach. This blink and you miss it village is full of charm and located right in the heart of the peninsula, so an ideal spot to launch an adventure. McCrae’s pristine white sandy beach is perfect for a picnic. It’s also one of the best spots for stand up paddle-boarding, with crystal clear waters and the backdrop of Arthurs Seat (Wonga), colourful bathing boxes and the vintage 19th Century McCrae Lighthouse.
For more information about Nic’s curated adventure tours and picnics, check out Wild Adventures Melbourne.