For things to do in Sydney that involve delicious food, the great outdoors and your friends and family, we can't think of anything better than a good old picnic. Pack your picnic essentials and find yourself a sweet spot at one of Sydney's eight best picnic spots.
Wendy's Secret Garden | Lavend
It may be a garden, created by a Wendy (wife of the late Australian artist Brett Whiteley), but a secret? Maybe not. Regardless, this pocket of greenery overlooking the harbour is a beautiful spot to spend a sunny afternoon. Anchored by the Whiteley family home, the story of one of this countries most loved-artists literally flourishes here – told through sculptural displays, meditative spots beside beautifully coloured flowers and benches for visitors wanting pay their tribute to Brett by creating their own art work. Those not so creatively inclined need not fret – stopping for a picnic is an equally welcome excuse!
Australian Botanic Garden | Mount Annan
Sure it may be showing off, but The Australian Botanic Garden in Mount Annan is kind of a big deal. Boasting 410 hectares, it is literally the largest botanic garden in Australia and the most visited tourism attraction in the Macarthur area. Up there with Tim Tam, Vegemite and Ugg Boots (okay, maybe not so much that last example), the gardens are a source of national pride. Designed to display the diversity of Australian flora (the aim is to eventually showcase 25,000 known plant species), it's time to get patriotic with your plants. Facilities include picnic areas, free barbecues, walking trails, The Australian PlantBank, Garden Shop and The Garden's Restaurant. Otherwise pop up events like The Autumn Plant Sale (never met a discount we didn't like) and Sculpture in the Garden keep things fresh.
One third of a trifecta in Australia's picturesque Centennial Parklands (the other two being Moore Park and Queens Park); Centennial Park may only be four kilometres from the Sydney CBD, but it is worlds apart. With huge amounts of green space and little nooks to have a more private picnic, you can either book ahead to secure yourself the best spots in the park or simply ride your bike and find a nice spot near the lake. Either way, Centennial Park is one of the best picnic spots around.
Nielsen Park | Vaucluse
One of the perks of getting married (besides that whole life partner thing), is the opportunity to consider this iconic Sydney park as a potential wedding location. Heritage listed and unspoiled, Nielsen Park offers four independently run venues that take advantage of its amazing position on the foreshore of Sydney harbour. Even if he didn't "put a ring on it", patrons can take advantage of the naturally beautiful surrounds and pack their own picnic.
Offering a stunning picnic spot (with grassy areas; undercover seating and electric BBQs) by a stunning beach where fishermen park on the pier and try their luck in turquoise waters that would not look out of place in Barbados, Clifton Gardens is a perfect go-to picnic spot for Sydneysiders. The hardest thing about Clifton Gardens is deciding which Italian dessert you will purchase from Bacino Café on the North side of the site. (And as one constantly balancing the advantages of Nutella filled cannoli over vanilla varieties, we appreciate this is not a decision to be made lightly).
McKell Park | Darling Point
With manicured lawns, intimate alcoves, a public ferry wharf, harbour bridge lookouts and the heritage-listed sandstone Canonbury Cottage, this park on the shores of Sydney Harbour is a winning spot in our books. Spend the afternoon nibbling on picnic snacks and feeling smug about how beautiful Sydney is.
Milk Beach | Vaucluse
It should come as no surprise that a beach situated on the base of Hermit Bay, is not built on a foundation of flamboyance. Instead of excess, Milk Beach (surrounded by the Heritage listed Strickland House) is simple, understated and down right gorgeous. Sure, you might miss the crowds of loud tourists, overpriced prices and pollution of other more populous beaches (note the sarcastic tone), but we think a snorkel, picnic under the awning or walk along the Hermitage Foreshore, should prove suitably compensatory.
Lane Cove National Park | Chatswood
Easily reachable and full of flat grassy areas just begging to be covered with a plaid blanket, you'd be an absolute basket case if you don't check out this spot. And if enjoying antipasto spreads with the locals (laughing kookaburras, colourful lorikeets and water dragons) is not your thing, you can get active by using the walking tracks to explore the park's bushland, hire a boat from the boatshed to row along the Lane Cove River or cycle along the park's road. There's even an overnight camping option for those who want linger a little longer.
Image credit: Canelle et Vanille