Family Fruit Picking Near Melbourne
By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist
There is no family experience more delightful, makes better use of nature or makes greater use of Melbourne’s fresher than fresh produce quite like fruit-picking. Fruit picking provides an opportunity to get children connected to nature, teach them where fruit comes from, enjoy some gorgeous natural surrounds and indulge in a fresh and tasty hand-picked treat. Here are our top picks for orchards and farms where fruit-picking is on the agenda, just a short drive from Melbourne.
1. Blue Hills Berries & Cherries, Silvan
The Chapman family have farmed in the Silvan area since 1894, so you can trust them to make all your fruit picking dreams come true. Their “Pick Your Own” or “U Pick” service allows you to pick raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, youngberries, and loganberries depending on weather, fruit maturity and availability during October and May. It costs adults $13 entry including 500g of mixed fruit to pick and take home, and children 3-14 years (under 3 go free) $6.50 to pick up to 250g of berries. Additional berries picked, like at other venues, will cost more. Check out their stunning website for more information here.
2. Buningyong Blueberry Farm, Buninyong
If you love blueberries- this is the farm for you! Established in 1982, they grow 6 different varieties of blueberries. From about Australia Day onwards (26 January), the pick your own service becomes available, and from early January to early March, you can get ready-picked, dessert-quality or commercial quality berries to take home, eat or freeze for later. If your name is Violet Beauregard, visit their website for more information.
3. CherryHill Orchards, Wandin East
Delicious cherries straight from the tree just an hour from the Melbourne CBD! The cherry season doesn’t last long: usually from early December to early January only, however the shop will still be open selling ready-picked boxed cherries, cherry-flavoured ice cream (with a cherry on top, naturally), cold cherry drink, and families are still free to roam, explore the orchard and have a picnic in the fresh summer air. The staff here are super friendly and will teach families how to pick the biggest and sweetest berries before you set off. For more information, visit their website.
4. Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, Main Ridge
Sunny Ridge is a place as magical as its name, and only about an hours drive from the Melbourne CBD. The U-Pick strawberry season runs from November-April when the farm is open daily for families to experience Mother Earth at her very best. It only costs $9 for an adult to pick up to 500g of berries, $4 for children who can take home up to 250g, and under 4s go FREE! In their onsite delightful shop, you can purchase all matter of delicious jams and syrups for exceptionally reasonable prices. For more information and to read about the unique family history of the farm owners, visit their website.
5. Kinglake Raspberries, Pheasant Creek
Nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range is a 25 hectare haven of all things raspberry- this is the cheapest way to get the freshest fruit! They offer pick your own in the summer season (early Dec-end January) and in Autumn (late March-June) where you will get lost in one of 6 rows of raspberries, with about 3000-6000 metres of berries in each row. Berries cost $18 per kg for pick your own, and $25 per kg for pre-picked. You can also purchase frozen berries, vinegars, cordials, berry sauces and berry jams to take home. More information here.
6. Paynes Orchards, Bacchus Marsh
Just 40 minutes west of Melbourne! In January, nectarines, peaches and plums turn ripe for the picking, with apples available from about February to April, and cherries available in November/December. Entry is only $4 per person, with little ones entering for free. Fruit is priced per kilogram, so only pick what you’re willing to pay for. Hosts at Paynes Orchard are friendly and accommodating, the grounds are idyllic and photo opportunities are bountiful. You can also purchase ready-picked fruit at The Shed. More information here.
Know another great farm or orchard? Willing to share it with other Melbourne mums? Comment below!