Perfect picnics: Sydney

Perfect picnics: Sydney
Beautiful Balmoral Beach

A picnic in the great outdoors is one of the best ways to spend a long lazy afternoon, and Sydney boasts some great locations to find a patch of grass.

Whether it's a bushland park ringing with the calls of kookaburras and cockatoos, a harbour island, a gorgeous garden or a shady park with a beach close at hand, you can find the perfect setting in Sydney for a memorable picnic.

By the beach

Chinamans Beach, McLean Crescent, Mosman

Cupped in a green hollow of lawns and shady trees, this harbour-side gem is one that the locals prefer to keep a secret. There's plenty of space here so bring frisbees, footballs and cricket bats as well as picnic essentials. The well-protected beach, with its toddler-sized waves, is the icing on the cake.

Balmoral Beach, The Esplanade, Mosman

The long and shady parkland bracketing this north-side beach is a stunning backdrop for a summer picnic, with lawns, a playground, shade under the stately Norfolk Island pines and plenty of recreational options. Take a dip, hire a catamaran and head for the modish cafes at the back of the beach for espresso, cakes and fish and chips.

Darook Park, Darook Park Road, Cronulla

Overlooking the placid waters off Gunnamatta Bay to bushland on the far side, this south-side beauty has plenty of shady spots on the lawns which slope down to the water. There's plenty of enjoyable swimming in the protected waters of the bay and, although it's popular, there's space to escape even on the hottest weekend.

At the park

Centennial Park, Oxford Street, Paddington

Once the reservoir that supplied Sydney with water, this sprawling, 189-hectare parkland has something for everyone: stately palm avenues, a shady paperbark grove, duck ponds, statues, lawns, flowerbeds and birds. And it's a great place to observe Sydney's fashionable eastern suburbanites society at play.

Lake Parramatta Reserve, Bourke Street, North Parramatta

Based around a freshwater reservoir rimmed by natural bushland, this beautiful 73-hectare reserve is a glorious spot for warm-weather picnics. Among the highlights are native birds and wildflowers, as well as rock shelters and hand-stencils which bear witness to a long history of Aboriginal habitation.

EG Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens, corner of President Avenue and Kareena Road, Caringbah

This tranquil oasis was created 40 years ago and now features many rare species of camellias and azaleas, set against lawns, duck ponds, cascading water and bridges. Spring brings a brilliant flush of colour to the gardens, but they're serene and they make for a perfect picnic spot all year round.

On the harbour

Jubilee Park, Glebe Point Road, Glebe

At the water's edge in Glebe, this luscious parkland has been rehabilitated, with a lovely promenade walk wrapped around the shores of Blackwattle Bay — which has only enhanced the already existing shady Moreton Bay figs, playground, sports oval and acres of lawns. Delis and cafes in Glebe Point Road can supply your gourmet picnic ingredients.

Strickland House, Hermitage Foreshore Walk, via Carrara Road, Vaucluse

The grounds of this harbour-side villa, which was used as a location for Baz Luhrmann's film epic, Australia, are tailor-made for picnics in the grand manner. It's a 10-minute walk from the nearest parking, but well worth it for the dazzling harbour views alone. Bring swimmers for a dip at Milk Beach.

Wendy's Secret Garden, Lavender Street, Lavender Bay

Small and perfectly formed, this green heaven of tree ferns, palms and a massive fig tree frames a view of one of Sydney's loveliest coves, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House as a backdrop. A haven for chattering parrots, gulls, kookaburras and wagtails, the garden was created by Wendy Whiteley in memory of her husband, Brett, one of Sydney's favourite painters, who lived nearby.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Bordering the city centre, this sublime botanical wonderland incorporates palm groves, rose gardens, ponds and fountains, shady lawns and a treasury of tropical and temperate trees, wrapped around a harbour cove. Follow the waterline to Mrs Macquarie's Chair for one of Sydney's best views.

Got any other perfect picnic spots to add to the list?

User comments
So many in Sydney, where do you start!! Clareville beach is on the water, has views across pittwater, a child friendly beach, grass to sit and importantly... toilets. very civilised!!
I've always wanted to have a picnic on Shark Island. Great view, remote spot, with the added novelty of being a picnic on an island! In the city!