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AmazingCo Mystery Picnic treats

If you’re wondering what to expect on an AmazingCo Mystery Picnic, now is your chance to find out. As you may (or may not) already know, a Mystery Picnic involves booking a picnic experience in one of the destinations on the AmazingCo website and setting aside around three to four hours to use clues to find picnic goodies along the way so you can enjoy them a mystery picnic location. There are mystery picnics for couples, mystery picnic dates and mystery picnics for friends in loads of different cities.

We decided to head to the charming suburb of Paddington for a Brisbane Mystery Picnic Date. This trendy inner-city area located 5kms from Brisbane’s CBD was once a rough, working-class suburb. However, when living near the city became trendy in the 1980s, young socialites moved in and Paddington was transformed into a local hot spot with a thriving drinking, dining and shopping scene.

Most of the area’s interesting shops, boutiques, bars and cafes are housed in historic buildings, workers’ cottages and the classic timber houses known as ‘Queenslanders’. I grew up in Paddington and was looking forward to revisiting one of Brisbane’s most atmospheric and historically significant suburbs. I couldn’t wait to see where the instructions for our picnic sent us and what we were going to explore in Paddington.

Paddington in Brisbane
Paddington in Brisbane

A few days before our AmazingCo Mystery Picnic in Brisbane an email arrived with a link to the clues for our day out. It’s best to solve the first clue before you leave home so you know where to go to pick up your first treat. If you’re not good at puzzles, don’t worry as there are hints and the answer is also readily available on the next screen if you are really stuck. If you are doing a group picnic, it would be fun to do one or two puzzles each. Solving the puzzles turned out to be one of our favourite parts of the day and my husband and I had fun working each one out together.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise of where you’ll go for each food pick up stop so I haven’t included any of the clues or pictures of the shops to keep the ‘mystery’ in your Mystery Picnic if you decide to book. However, I have included photos of the food we picked up along the way so you might want to grab a snack before you keep reading if you’re hungry. When you arrive at each stop, you simply let the staff know your name and that you’re on an AmazingCo mystery experience, and they hand over your pre-packaged picnic items. Easy!

Mystery Picnic Stop No. 1

Our first stop involved using a cipher to unscramble letters to form the name of the shop our Mystery Picnic would start at. This was a surprise because (a) I was able to solve the puzzle (I’m usually hopeless at these types of things) and (b) the shop wasn’t in Paddington but the neighbouring suburb of Bardon. I had driven past this cute store a few times and had wondered what it was like so it was great to drop in to collect our first lot of treats and check it out.

AmazingCo Mystery Picnic treats
AmazingCo Mystery Picnic treats

Do pay close attention to the instructions for your Mystery Picnic with regard to getting around. Our introductory email sensibly suggested that we drive and it was excellent advice. With an itinerary that ended up ranging through multiple suburbs – many of them far apart – in an area of Brisbane that is notorious for being hilly, there is no way you could complete the AmazingCo Mystery Picnic in Paddington on foot.

Mystery Picnic Stop No. 2

Our second stop was also in Bardon at a rather unremarkable-looking bakery. However, when we cut into the sourdough baguette at our picnic, we understood why we were sent there as the bread was unbelieveably good. When we solved the clue to head to our next spot, we were also hoping for some suggestions for destination highlights to visit as there hadn’t been many so far apart from a local market after our first stop (this only operates on Sundays but luckily we timed it well). We had started our picnic experience at 9am as suggested but it was way too early to go to our next food pick up stop so we grabbed a coffee and ate the pastries. These were probably meant to be dessert for our picnic but they looked so good that we couldn’t resist them.

Bardon Market
Bardon Market

With some time to kill and a bit of local knowledge on our side, we decided to visit Empire Revival in Paddington as it was just up the road from our next stop. Housed in a heritage listed 1920s theatre, this vast antique centre features over 50 dealers selling everything from furniture to cameras, jewellery and historic tchotchkes. After browsing the stalls, we walked to the back of the building to see The Plaza Theatre’s original features, such as gilded balconies and scroll-work spelling out the theatre’s name. We also dropped into Lethbridge Gallery and browsed some of the cute boutiques and gift stores like Thousand Island Dressing which is as bright and colourful as its name suggests.

Mystery Picnic Stop No. 3

Our next pick up spot was a cute café housed in a traditional wooden worker’s cottage which really captured the character of the area. We thought this spot was a great choice. The cafe was busy and while the cheeses were ready to go, we had to wait quite a while for the drinks included in our picnic. However, it was worth it as the housemade lemonade was delicious and perfect to enjoy on a warm spring day.

AmazingCo Mystery Picnic treats
AmazingCo Mystery Picnic cheese plate

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AmazingCo Mystery Picnic treats
AmazingCo Mystery Picnic housemade lemonade

Mystery Picnic Stop No. 4

From here, we solved another clue and headed down the hill to the suburb which used to be known as Rosalie until it officially became part of Paddington in the 1970s. Our final stop was an amazing deli which had us drooling over all the wonderful pastries, olives, meats, and gourmet specialty goods which filled the store. We agreed that we would love to return here some time to stock up on goodies. We collected meats, olives and sundried tomatoes for our picnic and took them back to the car.

AmazingCo Mystery Picnic stop
Great deli on our AmazingCo Mystery Picnic
Great deli on our AmazingCo Mystery Picnic
Smile and say “cheese”!

Mystery Picnic Stop No. 5

We didn’t have to solve a clue or puzzle to find the final stop of the tour which was our picnic destination: the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mount Coot-tha. This was a 10 minute drive from our final pick up stop and not really anywhere near Paddington but it’s a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic with loads of space to find your dream picnic destination. We took a stroll around the beautiful Japanese Garden and then found a shady spot nearby to enjoy our picnic feast.

Japanese Gardens
Brisbane Botanic Gardens
AmazingCo picnic
AmazingCo picnic provisions

Overall, we really enjoyed our AmazingCo Mystery Picnic even though it was a little different to what we were expecting. As someone who usually finds puzzles more frustrating than fun, I was surprised how much we enjoyed solving each clue. It would have been great to have some more suggestions for things to do as part of the experience. And also to spend more time in Paddington since that’s where the picnic was advertised as taking place. Having less than half the stops in Paddington was disappointing. This charming historic suburb has loads of interesting shops, historic sites and delicious destinations to check out if you know where to look. Combine some of these things with your Mystery Picnic and you will have an even more amazing time.

Disclosure: The writer was a guest of AmazingCo.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Brisbane, we have reviewed the Treasury Hotel, The Calile, Ovolo The Valley, W Brisbane, Capri by Fraser Brisbane, Hilton Brisbane, The Johnson, NEXT Hotel Brisbane, Sage Hotel James Street, The Westin Brisbane, Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites, Royal on the Park, Ibis Styles Elizabeth Street, Sofitel Brisbane, Crystalbrook Vincent, The Inchcolm by Ovolo, Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments, and Pullman Brisbane Airport.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.