All this weather lately has got us thinking dreamy picnic spreads and warm summer days spent outdoors.
Hang on a minute; what about the flies, the sweltering heat and (dare we say it) all those creatures that bite, sting and slither? Not to mention a bottle of warm white wine when you realise someone forgot to pack ice and the temperature gauge is peaking at 40 degrees. When those summer days hit, you can look forward to all of the above plus more sweat than one would care to imagine. Yes, even cheese sweats.
That’s why we’ll be taking advantage of these cooler days, greener pastures and the winter sunshine manifesting the perfect picnic conditions. Head for a seaside bite and you’ve got whale spotting. Inland you’ve got waterfalls and wildflowers. Seasonal produce to create a hamper from includes truffles, mushrooms, and of course cheese. Or take the easy option: pack a thermos of hearty soup and a crusty bread roll to mop it up.
Got an outdoors enthusiast in the group? Pick the right spot and you can even fire up a campfire for marshmallows and some billy tea before the seasonal fire ban hits.
Decide on your destination, pack up the hamper and get ready to hit those picnic goals.
Black Diamond Lake
You might recognize this spot from its Instafame. The azure waters of Black Diamond Lake are stunning all year round, though you might want to stick to photography rather than dipping your toe in the cooler months. Pack a kayak if you fancy a paddle on top of the water, or just laze about on the shore. It’s only 5km west of Collie, so easy to get to from Perth, or take it as a detour on a longer road trip down south.
When asking locals where the name Pussycat Hill came from, there is one united answer: no-one really knows. Some say it’s after the number of native cats residing here in the 1920s, some say it’s after the native plant ‘Pussy Tails’. Our verdict? It’s a stunner of a picnic spot, and that’s all that matters. Overlooking Lake Dumbleyung, the salt lake shot to fame in 1964 when Sir Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record on New Year's Eve. With 360 degree views, you’ll have a hard time deciding which way to look out if you plan for a sunset picnic over the lake’s pink hue. If you visit while the lake is full of water, you can make a day of it and enjoy water sports—just don’t get your hopes up for another record-breaker anytime soon; Campbell hit 444km/hour to claim his fame.
Yes, Surfers Point is hardly a hidden gem, but it’s one of the best spots for a winter picnic. With 180 degree views of the ocean in all her windswept wildness, you’ll find a few others with the same idea upon arrival. Reverse your car, pop open the boot and curl up with a blanket and hot drink to watch the sunset. Or take the extra easy option; simply crank up the handbrake and enjoy a sarnie with a view from the comfort of the car seat. If the weather is sunny, jump out for a stroll down to Rivermouth and back for brownie points.
This is one of the easiest options for city slickers. Noble Falls is at its most spectacular at this time of year. The waterfall is in full flow and the wildflowers are starting to put on a real show. It’s a feast for the eyes with flora such as yellow wattle, royal blue leschenaultia, orchids, grevilleas and abundant birdlife. After bellies are filled from lunch, take the 3.5km trail walk before swinging by the Gidgegannup bakery on the way home. You’ll be well rewarded for making the space for their sweet treats.
While this spot is a hive of activity in summer, you get to enjoy Pemberton Pool’s beauty in winter’s crowd-free surrounds. Soak up the tranquillity and the still waters, while you picnic on the shore or out on the jetty of the pool. Cyclists will jump at the chance to take in a few trails before stopping for lunch; this is also the start of the Pemberton Mountain Bike Park. It’s well worth arriving with a few hours up your sleeve for a ride as the twists and turns through the forest will soon have you working up a sweat. Pemberton is filled with epic picnic spots, so there’s no need to stop at just one outdoor meal. Try the Big Brook Dam for another peaceful waterside picnic spot. Daredevils can choose to scale either the Gloucester Tree’s 61 metres of peg ladder or the Bicentennial Tree’s 75 metre high climb.
Winter waterfalls are well worth a road trip for. There are enough walks around Beedalup Falls to keep you moving all day. Pack a bite to eat, and if you need a warming hit of caffeine to keep you going, you can hike the 4.5km loop and pop into the waterside restaurant at the RAC Karri Valley Resort. You might be tempted for a local wine in addition before heading back out on the trails to your initial picnic spot.
Head along the along the Cape to Cape Track from Moses Rock and after about 45 minutes you’ll hit one of winter’s most scenic spots in Margaret River. Locals like to keep this one to themselves, but head out for a hike towards Quindalup Falls and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and a fab picnic spot. Within minutes, the crash of waves from the ocean give way to the greenery and calming waterfall soundscape. There’s no rush here, have a lounge about before heading back along the track and reward yourself with a glass of red after the day’s picnic exploration.
Take your pick from top spots in the beauty of Boranup Forest. Whether you want to perch on a log under the canopy of majestic Karri trees, or you would prefer ocean views: You’ve got choices here. The ultimate romantic spot—there’s a reason that Instagram is flooded with wedding pics taken here. Bring your hiking boots and go for a stroll in the forest of giants, or pack a feast and curl up with a view over a valley of grass trees. Bring your binoculars and you might even catch a whale from the shores of Boranup beach down the 4WD track.
Never heard of Koombana Bay? Surely you’ve heard of Bunbury. Koombana Bay is actually the estuary that sits right next to Bunbury and we’ve got a picnic spot with a difference here. Pack some lunch or pick up a sandwich from the Dolphin Discovery Centre nearby and you’ll be ready to settle in for a day of dolphin spotting. Volunteers ring the big bell when there is a sighting in the bay, so all you need to do is sit up and keep your eyes peeled. It’s a lovely little protected beach to wade in and if the heavens do open up, you’ll be able to pop indoors to the new Interpretative Centre.
The adrenalin fix for thrill-seekers that don’t like to take risks. Lean over the epic viewing platform at The Gap in Albany and your heart will take a momentary break from beating. It’s spectacular, and even more so in the winter wilderness. Let the ocean’s depths beat themselves against the rocky cliffs while you watch on in awe. This is also the perfect moment to hold loved ones (or future loved ones) tight… just saying. The smooth boulders and granite rock formations nearby are perfect for an alfresco pit stop. Albany Is chock full of fab picnic spots, so hit the farmers market on a weekend morning and don’t be afraid to find your own private beach view. You’ll possibly be treated to a few whale sightings too if you’re lucky. A post-picnic cocktail at Liberte is an appropriate way to finish off the day of discovery.
Image credit: Cassandra Charlick