Spring is now in full swing! With the weather warming up and our parks and gardens bursting with colour, now is a wonderful time to soak up the fresh air and enjoy our new-found freedom.

Whether it be a romantic picnic date for two, a picnic with your mates or an outing for the whole family, Central Geelong boasts 10 diverse and delightful public parks and playgrounds providing numerous locations to roll out your picnic rug and settle in for a few hours.

Customs Park, overlooking Geelong’s stunning Waterfront is now home to newly created ‘picnic circles’ to encourage the community to enjoy Central Geelong’s beautiful outdoor spaces whilst adhering to physical distancing requirements. Spaced two metres apart, individuals and small groups are encouraged to ‘pick a patch’ and enjoy lunch or a social get together with friends or family.

Just next door, Sailors’ Rest has created a selection of delicious take away boxes to enjoy outdoors. Choose from their Cheese Box or Cheese and Wine Box complete with a selection of delicious cheeses and grazing treats including seasonal fruit, crackers and charcuterie. You may even be tempted by their takeaway cocktail option! Visit www.sailorsrestgeelong.com.au for more information and to place an order.

On this note, we’re pretty sure you’ll be pleased to know you are permitted to enjoy an alcoholic drink at your picnic at City of Greater Geelong managed public parks and gardens during daylight hours. Be sure to drink responsibly and consider those around you. For more information on this and the Custom’s Park picnic circles visit www.geelongaustralia.com.au

For a mix of history and stunning contemporary design, plan your picnic at the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Located above Eastern Beach, the Botanic Gardens offer visitors an impressive array of plants set amongst historic English landscaping. To get there you'll have to pass through the spectacular 21st Century Garden. It's a multi-million dollar contemporary garden blending unique native garden beds with dramatic design.

En route to the gardens, pick up some delicious picnic fare from Café Go’s range of ‘GO on the GO’ options. Located on Bellerine Street, they have a huge range of ‘to go’ choices from the ‘baby’ right up to the large sized Antipasto Box, delectable pork and apple sausage rolls or their daily baked scrumptious sour dough and house made hummus. And for a special treat, indulge yourself with one of their ‘Mixed Sweets Boxes’ – the perfect way to top off your picnic party.

For the quintessential Central Geelong picnic experience, Johnstone Park delights with big open spaces, shady trees and lush, undulating lawn. Johnstone Park is huge and provides plenty of room to stretch right out and enjoy the sunshine.

Just up the road on the corner of Fenwick and Ryrie Street is Dal Café and Catering who have introduced a dal-icious range of food to go, sweet treats, condiments and more produced on site. Their savoury tarts serve 4-6 people and are available in 5 mouth-watering flavours and will go perfectly with any picnic spread. Visit www.dal.org.au to view their meals to go menu.

Adjacent to Johnstone Park is Public Café located beside the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre foyer. Trading Monday – Friday from 8:00am – 3:00pm, Public’s talented barista can whip you up a piping hot late to enjoy whilst picnicking. Or if you are ill prepared but still wish to picnic, Public’s full lunch menu is available as a takeaway option. Follow Public Geelong on Instagram for menu options.

Smellies in Moorabool Street are also offering a ‘Mid-Week Wine Pack’ including a bottle of local wine, savoury crackers and Meredith goats cheese providing a simple but tasty picnic snack. Visit www.smellies.com.au to order.

P&G Bakery and Café in Bellerine Street are offering delicious fish tail or spicy prawn baskets for a quick and inexpensive lunch. Pick up lunch and head to Transvaal Square in Yarra Street, just two blocks away for a picnic lunch with a Waterfront view. Transvaal Square’s lush, sloping reserve is a lovely spot to enjoy your lunch and take in the view of glistening Corio Bay. With public toilets on site, Transvaal Square provides a cool and shady picnic spot on the warmer days.

Or, just a little further east is our iconic Eastern Beach Reserve. With its barbeque facilities, picnic tables, public toilets and terraced lawns, Eastern Beach Reserve is a ‘must do’ family outing. The kids will especially love the large and shady playground.

On site at Eastern Beach Reserve is The Beach House. Formerly a bather’s pavilion, the stunning Beach House offers in café dining as well as a takeaway kiosk open from 8:00am – 3:00pm daily. The kiosk is the perfect venue to pick up a coffee, hot chips for the kids or a cold pressed juice or smoothie to accompany your picnic.

With food and locations now covered, you might be feeling keen to perfect your experience by building your ultimate picnic kit! Lincraft in Market Square stocks a gorgeous ‘Willow Picnic Basket’ complete with traditional red gingham liner. Or check out Kaisercraft to view their range of reusable cooler bags to keep your picnic food nice and fresh. Both items are also available online at www.lincraft.com.au and www.kaisercraft.com.au

Bed, Bath and Table in Westfield have a lovely selection of generously sized, UV fade and water-resistant picnic blankets that come with a matching storage bag. Their Panama range will add a little style to your outdoor lounging and picnicking adventures and also make a gorgeous gift! Their hamper picnic baskets are also worth checking out at www.bedbathandtable.com.au

And if you plan to really settle in for the afternoon, perhaps a portable picnic chair might be more your style? Kathmandu in Malop Street can deck you out with a comfy, folding chair that you can take with you on any outing.

So go on! Make the most of Central Geelong’s lush, outdoor spaces and support local businesses who can help you maximise your picnic potential!

Please adhere to ‘Third Step’ restrictions and wear a face covering when you leave home.