It’s picnic season! The frosts of winter have melted, leaving the daffodils to bloom and the trees to blossom, beckoning us outdoors to reacquaint ourselves with the sun. I’ve received extra incentive to get out and about this year as I’ve been loaned a new Ford Kuga Titanium as part of the Kidspot Voices of 2014 competition (I’m a finalist in the Food and Wellbeing category!). I get the car for six weeks, and I’ll be featuring it in three blog posts over the coming weeks.
The challenge has inspired me to get out of the house and celebrate Central Victoria, starting with picnics. Friends often ask me for my Kyneton tips, and I think a road trip that involves a picnic of local produce, a walk in nature and possibly a swim in a natural watering hole is the perfect thing. Kyneton is a bit over an hour from Melbourne, and makes an excellent day trip. So here’s The Simple Provisions Guide to Kyneton Picnics, complete with where to stock up on picnic provisions, and three of my favourite picnic spots.
I’ve collaborated with local artist Lucy King to come up with this lovely map for you to print out for your day trip, and her gorgeous illustrations will also feature in the other challenge posts in the coming weeks, further celebrating local talent.
I have a picnic box in the shed. It’s a box of rugs, baskets, utensils, cups, plates, games, hats and all the things that make picnics fun. Having all the bits in one place means it’s easy to pack for a spur of the moment picnic, which are the best kind. My fancy loan car made it even easier as it has keyless entry (so handy with the babe in arms, I need this feature in my life permanently) and a magic tailgate that opens with a wave of my foot under the bumper bar. Seriously.
Here’s a list of all the places in Kyneton to shop for your picnic provisions, so you can fill those baskets in the boot with gorgeous local produce.
- Monsieur Pierre, 143 Mollison St, Kyneton: Freshly baked baguettes are the drawcard of Monsieur Pierre. They’re the perfect thing to base a picnic around. Baked daily, you can pick up a warm baguette in the morning and while you’re at it grab a few sweet treats like lamingtons, chocolates and macarons.
- Localita, 34 Piper St, Kyneton: A gorgeous cafe, but in picnic terms, this is the spot to pick up a bag of Inner Biscuit biscuits. They’re made locally and come in a range of flavours.
- Duck Duck Goose Cafe and Larder, 17-21 Piper St, Kyneton: Visit Duck Duck Goose to pick up a coffee for the road and fill a shopping basket with local produce and gourmet delicacies. Stock up on local fruit and chocolate as well as some Spanish jamón and lovely cheese to go with your baguette.
- Piper St Food Co, 89B Piper Street, Kyneton: Add some French charcuterie to your picnic by picking up some rillettes, pates and terrines, made from central Victorian produce.
- Banks Fine Wine,134 Mollison St, Kyneton: Scott will help you pick out a local wine or beer to accompany your picnic.
- Rundell and Rundell, 29 Piper St, Kyneton: Housed in one of Piper St’s original goldrush buildings, the Rundells have created a unique shop full of handmade goodies, most notably, Glen Rundell’s Windsor chairs. You can pick up a woollen picnic rug, and if you fall in love with the chairs, you can sign up to a course and Glen will teach you how to make them.
Once you’ve stocked up on your picnic provisions, it’s time to hit the road. Here’s three of my favourite picnic spots in and around Kyneton. They all feature big trees, gorgeous walks and ample opportunities to lay out a picnic rug and loll about in dappled sunlight.
Picnic Spot 1: Kyneton Botanic Gardens
Enter the Botanic Gardens at the corner of Powlett and Clowes St and head down the hill to the big mulberry tree, which comes complete with its own festive, scene-setting bunting, next to the old pig pen. Lay out a blanket, set up a field game, run around like you’re a kid and admire the giant cedars, oaks and redwoods. You can take a stroll down to the Campaspe River and follow it around the outskirts of Kyneton. In spring you’ll encounter swathes of daffodils lining the walking tracks, celebrating the return of the sun.
Picnic Spot 2: Blackhill Nature Reserve
Found on the corner of Ennis Rd and Blackhill School Rd, about 5 or so minutes out of town, Blackhill Nature Reserve is a granite outcrop that springs up out of flat plains and offers some amazing rock formations to gawk at and lovely, meandering bush walks. There’s picnic areas around the base of the hill, or you can walk up to the Eastern Lookout and prop on the rock to enjoy your picnic while looking out over the outskirts of Kyneton.
Picnic Spot 3: Turpins Falls
To get to Turpins Falls you’ll drive down dirt roads, through farmland, and you’ll no doubt think I’ve sent you on a wild goose chase. You’ll see a sign to the falls, and think, “We are in a flat paddock. Surely there’s nowhere for the water to fall?” You’ll walk down some rocky steps and behold a giant, natural swimming hole at the bottom of a sheer wall of rock punctuated by two waterfalls. At the height of summer, take your lilo and a hat and slip into the water to float the afternoon away. Bliss. The walk to the pool is steep, so wear decent shoes.
Have I convinced you to add Kyneton to your day trip agenda? If so, here’s a google map with all the points above plotted on it, to make things easier.