12 perfect summer picnic spots around Australia
Picnics combine two of our favourite things: delicious fresh food and the great outdoors. Not only does rolling out the rug for an al fresco feast offer up one of the few settings where it’s acceptable to eat and lay down, picnics also give you the chance to enjoy yummy share plates with a side serve of vitamin D. Try taking your meal out into the sunshine at one of these picnic spots.
New South Wales
Bateau Bay beach, Central Coast
Like your picnics with a beachy backdrop? Make tracks to Bateau Bay in the Wyrrabalong National Park. The shoreline is sheltered from the elements (with plenty of shade to boot!). But before you settle in, pay a visit to The Entrance Farmer’s Market where you can load up fresh sourdough bread and local fruit and veg.
Blackwattle Bay park, Sydney
A stone’s throw from the Sydney Fish Market, Blackwattle Bay is the perfect place to enjoy fresh prawns or make the most of the barbeques on offer at the park and sear yourself some calamari with soy, chilli and spring onion. Want to stretch your legs after lunch? The Glebe Foreshore Walk combines pretty water views with a stunning cityscape.
Rymill Park, Adelaide
Rymill Park is a regular crowd-pleaser with something for everyone. Think playgrounds, duck ponds, bike paths and rowboats for hire. Adelaide’s apple orchards start bearing fruit in May so make the most of the in-season Fuji, Red Delicious and Pink Lady varieties. You can prep an apple slaw or satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthy take on apple crumble.
Kuitpo Forest, Mt Lofty Ranges
Calling all hikers! Forgo the picnic basket and stow your spread in a backpack so you can take to the trails at Kuitpo Forest. You’ll find picnic areas dotted throughout the reserve – but you might have to share with the local kangaroos. Embrace some typical Aussie tucker (damper, anyone?) and olives from the Murrylands.
Cattana Wetlands, Smithfield
Hello, local wildlife! You’ll find plenty of birds and butterflies at this scenic spot – and the boardwalks around the freshwater and saltwater lakes will make sure you get to see them all. Tropical North Queensland is famous for its beef, so throw a steak on one of the barbies at the picnic site and serve it up with a fresh salad starring locally grown mango, avocado, papaya or lychee.
Kangaroo Point Cliff, Brisbane
River on one side, cliffs on the other and a pretty spectacular view of Brisbane city… If that sounds like your idea of a great picnic spot, lay down your blanket and get comfy. Want to pay homage to the local agricultural industry? What, barley, chickpeas and mungbeans are all harvested in southern Queensland’s Darling Downs, so make them the hearty building blocks for your packable salads.
Hanging Rock, Woodend
Maybe you read the novel Picnic at Hanging Rock in school – but we’ll bet you didn’t know that, while the volcanic rock formation is cool, the thriving local food scene in the Macedon Ranges is the real reason you should be picnicking here. Rich volcanic oils and bountiful water make the produce top-notch. olive oils and tapenades are where it’s at, so make those ingredients the stars and pic up local bread and cheese to DIY an antipasto platter. Optional extras: cheese, meat and organic veg.
National Rhododendron Gardens, Olinda
Think 40 hectares of brilliant blooms (more than 15,000 rhododendrons 12,000 azaleas and 250,000 daffodils to be exact) and sprawling green lawns. There are no barbecues on site though, so pack your picnic with smoked fish, a chicken pasta salad, and cherries from the orchard that dot the area for a sweet finish/
If you want the kind of views that don’t even need a filter to impress, this place delivers. Throw down your picnic rug and enjoy the expansive Tasman Sea and Freycinet National Park. As Tassie is the world’s largest supplier of wild abalone (a delicious succulent shellfish that’s also a great source of omega-3, FYI), it seems only right that you plate some up for your picnic. Try it butter-fried with a side of seasonal vegetables.
Berry Springs Nature Park, Berry Springs
Just south of Darwin, this picturesque park is a top day trip destination for picnickers (think shady tables and barbeques aplenty). Other highlights include Berry Creek’s clear water pools, woodland walking tracks and a pretty impressive assortment of native plants. Darwin is famous for its eclectic cuisine, but if you want something local, mud crab or barramundi should be what you’re throwing on the barbie.
Matilda Bay, Nedlands
Who doesn’t like to look at bottlenose dolphins while they chow down their lunch? No one, obvs! But if the Swan River residents aren’t poking their fins up to say hi, there are plenty of pelicans, swans and ducks to keep you company at Matilda Bay. WA boasts some of the best fresh fish you can hook, so barbeque some scallops and prawns – they won’t need much more than a squeeze of lemon and some seasoning to make them shine!
Noble Falls Reserve
Just 50km north easy of Perth, Noble Falls is the perfect spot to get your nature on among the gumtrees and the Wooroloo Brook. The nearby Perth Hills region is home to a host of wineries, so if you fancy your picnic feast with a glass of local shiraz, stop by on your way through.
This story originally appeared in the May issue of Women’s Fitness.