Gather outdoors in groups of five at these top places for a picnic around Sydney and NSW.
Make the most of the spring sunshine by gathering on a patch of grass with family and friends. From pretty gardens with ponds to parks with playgrounds and waterfront sites, here are some of the most perfect spots for a picnic around NSW. We’ve also included inspiration for picking up provisions.
Where: Moore Park, Sydney
Why: There is more than 189 hectares of open space to choose from at Centennial Gardens, which includes wetlands, sporting fields, formal gardens and wide avenues looped with lanes for cycling and rollerblading. Make the most of your elongated evenings in this large urban park which is a haven for residents of the Eastern Suburbs.
Provisions: Fine food fanatics should pop into Gourmet Life in Darling Point to pick up everything from caviar and camel milk chocolate to fresh truffles, olives, pickles and prosciutto. You can order a sweet or savoury hamper from Gourmet Life with a French or Italian accent and request a bottle of Aziza’s Rose by Harkham Wines be included.
Alternatively, Fromage Sydney will deliver a cheese and deli box right to the centre of your picnic rug. Paired wines are available on request.
Como Pleasure Grounds
Where: 2A Cremona Road, Como, Sydney
Why: This outdoor park was built on a rocky peninsula near to the railway line in 1886 to encourage Sydneysiders to get out and about. The park has since evolved to include a playground, picnic tables and BBQs as well as a bike track and path that loops around the leafy promontory. Como Pleasure Grounds has panoramic views over the Georges River and surrounding bushland and features tidal baths, too.
Provisions: Head to Rudi’s in Gymea to pick up some artisan-style gourmet sausages, to the nearby Grate Cheese Co. for a Pot Luck Cheese Box, and to Thoroughbread bakery for some fresh paninis and Pepe Saya salted butter.
Where: Kirribilli, Sydney
Why: Wendy’s Secret Garden is not such a secret these days. And while the Lavender Bay park is always worth a look-in, we highly recommend nearby Bradfield Park, in Kirribilli, which is bracketed by the sandstone pillars of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The park slopes down to the Sydney foreshore and loops around to Luna Park so there’s eye candy all around.
Provisions: After claiming a patch of prime waterfront picnic space, call in a delivery from Steve Costi’s Seafood Online Store, which could include lobsters, prawns and oysters or ready-made meals such as seafood lasagne and fish pie. The Botanist Kirribilli is also set to reopen selling picnic packs comprising Australian native olives, crackers, apricot marmalade, poached pears, semi-dried Roma tomatoes, and a selection of chocolate strawberries and marmalade.
Where: Forestville, Sydney
Why: Stake out a section of grass on the banks of the beautiful Middle Harbour Creek in Forestville. The pretty harbourside park is popular with families playing rounds of French cricket or Frisbee, and to those dedicated to exploring Sydney’s waterways by canoe or kayak as there’s a boat ramp near the picnic grounds
Provisions: Head to Chargrill Charlies to pick up provisions for an old-school feast of charcoal chicken and grab-and-go salads and onto Ganache Patisserie to procure a loaf of pain Parisien and some almond croissants. You can also order ahead from Aplenty, a Sydney-based catering company that curates Mediterranean-inspired feasts.
Rotary Park, Narooma
Where: Riverside Drive, Narooma, NSW South Coast
Why: You can leave your picnic hamper at home, outsource the catering and have it delivered to this pretty park, located on the banks of Wagonga Inlet in Narooma. The park is a five-minute walk to the much-Instagrammed Australia Rock, a favourite spot to watch seals basking on the rocks below and has a shaded picnic area with tables.
Provisions: Book an e-bike with Southbound Escapes and zip around Narooma to pick up fish and chips from The Inlet, cocktails from the Quarterdeck (both now owned by hotelier Justin Hemmes). Southbound Escapes can also curate a posh pop-up picnic for you replete with a grazing platter from Mr Bold Catering.
Where: 58 Washburton Rd, Ulladulla, NSW South Coast
Why: Unfurl your red-checked picnic blanket and lay it out on the manicured lawns around Cupitt’s Estate, a working farm that includes a brewery, fromagerie and winery on site. Enjoy your al fresco feast on the grass and then wander around the sprawling kitchen garden where the farm-to-fork philosophy will become part of your love-in at Cupitt’s.
Provisions: Visit the cellar door at Cupitt’s Estate to pick up a bottle of barbera; Cupitt’s Estate Craft Brewery for a few cans of Mollymook Pale Ale and Uludulla IPA, and the Cupitt’s Estate Fromagerie for a round of washed-rind cheese from the fromagerie.
Killcare and Hardys Bay, Central Coast NSW
Where: Stretch your legs along the Bouddi Coastal Walk before finding a spot to sit and settle in for sunset in a peaceful pocket at Hardys Bay. You will find a BBQ picnic area at the north end of the beach, which backs onto Bouddi National Park.
Provisions: Although it feels compulsory to want to improve your picnic game, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Keep it simple by stocking your hamper full of picnic provisions such as bread, preserves, cured meats and tarts from The Fat Goose at Killcare. You can also pick up a Spanish salami pizza from The View Pizza or Peking duck spring rolls and crispy fried eggplant to go from The Lucky Bee.
Pokolbin Hill Picnic Park
Where: Cnr Debeyers Rd and McDonalds Rd, Hunter Valley
Why: Curated picnics have taken off around the world. And it’s not all about the eating and drinking. Pokolbin Picnic Co. also find beautiful locations for lazy picnics that are predicted to become a low-fi highlight on all our social calendars. A few semillons in, while you’re surrounded by vineyards, you may well be convinced to move to the country.
Provisions: Pokolbin Picnic Co. brings a bit of life to picnic parties around Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley with beautiful blankets, pillows, baskets that will level up your picnic. The fabulous picnic hampers include platters of fruit and cheese and wine as well as local olives, salads, dried fruit and sweet treats such as brownies.
Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head
Where: Northern end of Pacific Parade
Why: This tea-tree stained dunal lake is set on 118 hectares of coastal land minutes from national parks and rainforests near Lennox Head. The freshwater lagoon is hugely popular with locals who like to swan around on their inflatable flamingos, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks in the mineral-rich waters of the lake, known for its rejuvenating properties.
Clarrie Hall Dam, The Tweed
Where: Upstream from Uki
Why: Clarrie Hall Dam is located in mountainous terrain on Doon Doon Creek, a tributary of the Tweed River, and upstream from the charming hinterland village of Uki. The recreational area is one you will want to explore in full: while fishos flock here in the hope they will hook a decent-sized bass to cook on one of the electric barbecues, the park is also a draw for birdwatchers and paddleboarders. The peaceful spot, which boasts beautiful views back over Wollumbin/Mt Warning, has picnic tables and toilets, too.
Provisions: If you want a DIY hamper: pick up some pies from Uki Pies; fill the thermos with black coffee from Bastion Lane Espresso; labna from Tweed Valley Whey Farmhouse Cheeses; and sourdough from Wollumbin Street Bakery. Blue Ginger Picnics on Water has also partnered with Tweed Escapes to pull together a picnic on water where visitors can cruise along the Tweed to get a taste of the NSW North Coast.
Where: Secret garden in an orchard
Why: Have you been putting off a marriage proposal? Call Country Food Trails to come to the rescue and tailor a Secret Garden Picnic set in beautiful, exclusive local gardens in Orange, in the NSW’s Central West. A proposal picnic is a particularly lovely notion in the springtime during cherry blossom season.
Provisions: A vintage Moroccan rug, napkins and cutlery, plates, glasses, cushions and catering are all included in a Proposal Picnic curated by Country Food Trails. You can also sway your sweetheart to accept your proposal by booking a bespoke tour with Crooked Compass and arriving to Orange by private plane. Plan B is a Printhie Picnic set amid the vines embroidered onto the earth around Printhie Wines’ estate.