The Best Picnic Spots in Sydney

Play, Sydney / 31 October 2022

We’ve rounded up the best picnic spots in Sydney for a relaxing day in the great outdoors.

From beachside party BBQs to unbeatable Sydney Harbour and ocean views, enjoy a relaxing day with your family and friends whilst taking in the breathtaking views of these locations. These are our top picks for Sydney’s best picnic spots.

Sydney's best picnic spots mckell park

McKell Park, Darling Point

At the end of Darling Point Road in Darling Point is McKell Park, a picturesque hideaway situated on the shores of Sydney Harbour. Pack a picnic and take in the glistening harbour, city skyline and the Harbour Bridge all in one. The garden has tiered grass levels with lots of different spots, but if you want a prime position to watch the sun set head down towards the water. You’ll often see people fishing off the sandstone wall while others relax in the sun reading a book or sipping wine. The perfectly manicured gardens also attract a number of wedding ceremonies in the warmer months. The gates close at sun down so make sure you don’t get too relaxed and make it out on time.

Sydney's best picnic spots centennial parklands
Photo courtesy of https://www.centennialparklands.com.au/

Centennial Park, Centennial Parklands

Centennial Parklands is one of the most popular spots to have a picnic in Sydney, and with good reason. The large open grasslands make it the ideal spot to enjoy the sunshine and relax with friends. The sheer size of the park means you will rarely be fighting your picnic rug space; there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy. Another major draw card is the eight free gas-powered barbecues available for public use. Cook up a storm with plenty of mouthwatering sangas and steaks. Your four-legged friends are also welcome, winning!
Sydney's best picnic spots Blackburn Gardens

Blackburn Gardens, Double Bay

Blackburn Gardens is a beautifully restored heritage garden, tucked away just up from Double Bay. If you stand up and peak over the lush greenery you can see spectacular views of Sydney Harbour. The garden adjoins Murray Rose Pool (formerly Redleaf Pool) and Seven Shillings Beach. The garden features manicured lawns with an idyllic secret garden oasis, sundial and water features. It’s a short 5-10 minute walk from Double Bay wharf with some limited parking available nearby. If the weather is warm definitely pack your swimmers. Nothing beats cooling off with a dip in the ocean in between snacks and you’re just a one minute stroll to the waters edge at this beautiful picnic spot.

Photo courtesy of http://www.sydney.com/
Photo courtesy of http://www.sydney.com/

Royal Botanic Gardens

It wouldn’t be a list of the best picnic spots in Sydney without mention of the iconic Royal Botanic Gardens. It offers a tranquil escape ideal for picnics and garden parties. There are so many different parts of the Gardens that make for an awesome picnic, including the Harbour View Lawn (small intimate lawn with a large shady fig tree and views across Sydney Harbour) and the Herb Garden and Pavilion (offers rain coverage for up to 20 people).

If you’ve got less than 20 people joining you for a picnic you’re free to pop up anywhere you please. Or if you’re having a little picnic party you can reserve an area. The Royal Botanic Gardens opens at 7am each day and closes at different times during the year ranging from 5pm in June and July to 7.30pm in October.

Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/EddiemArtproduction/
Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/EddiemArtproduction/

The Office (Manly Harbour)

Manly’s beloved East Esplanade Park is home to what locals have called ‘The Office’. Spreading right around Manly Cove, this stretch of grassland is an ideal summer picnic spot, with the ocean literally at your feet. With a few coin operated BBQs scattered around, be sure to get in early to secure a spot and get some snags cooking. You can even bring along some frosty cold beverages, with the consumption of alcohol legal between the hours of 6am and 4pm. If you’re still looking to drink after the sun goes down, Manly Wharf Hotel, 4 Pines and Manly Skiff Club are all within walking distance.

Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/CockatooIslandSydneyHarbour/
Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/CockatooIslandSydneyHarbour/

Cockatoo Island

Hop on the ferry and spend the day wandering around Cockatoo Island’s picturesque attractions. Having worked up an appetite on a self-guided tour of the island, you can set up a picnic on the grass and enjoy those money-can’t-buy views of Sydney Harbour. There are a few picnic areas to choose from, some of which have coin operated BBQs. Be sure to download the Cockatoo Island map and have a look to see which spot most takes your fancy. Unfortunately, Cockatoo Island does have a strict no BYO alcohol policy. But don’t let that ruin your fun!

Photo courtesy of https://www.wendyssecretgarden.org.au/
Photo courtesy of https://www.wendyssecretgarden.org.au/

Wendy Whitley’s Secret Garden 

Who doesn’t love the romantic notion of a secret garden? Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a public garden situated in the heart of Sydney in Lavender Bay. Bring along a picnic basket with all your favourite goodies and set yourself up beneath the garden’s canopy. This garden is free and open to the public seven days a week. Perhaps one of the best romantic picnic spots in Sydney!

Photo courtesy of http://www.barangaroo.com/
Photo courtesy of http://www.barangaroo.com/

Barangaroo Reserve 

For front-row views of the Sydney Harbour, gather your picnic basket and head to Barangaroo Reserve. You can BYO blanket, picnic and drinks (alcohol is allowed in the Reserve), or you can purchase a great range of picnic options from the food outlets at Barangaroo’s food and retail precinct. Bel and Brio have a lot of gourmet picnic products and you won’t need to carry them far.

Cremorne Point Reserve

The Lower North Shore is undoubtedly home to some of the best picnic spots in Sydney, and Cremorne Point Reserve does not disappoint. The grassy knolls scattered along the 3km Cremorne Point Walk are ideal for afternoons in the sun. With plenty of impressive real estate to admire on one side and stunning views of Sydney on the other, what’s not to love? Why not make a day of it and catch the ferry to Cremorne Point, picnic basket in hand?

Balmoral Beach

Another North Shore gem ideal for picnicking is the picturesque Balmoral Beach. With plenty of grass space, sprawling shady trees and public BBQs, nab a spot and enjoy the glistening harbour views. The calm harbour water and neighbourhood vibe of Balmoral will keep you feeling relaxed late into the afternoon. 

Sydney Park, Alexandria

Located in Alexandria, Sydney Park is the expansive recreational park that features off-leash areas for your furry friends, rolling hills, playgrounds and so much more; it really has something for everyone. Our favourite way to enjoy this inner-west gem is sprawled out on a picnic blanket with plenty of snacks and good company. 

Observatory Hill Park, Millers Point

Let your pup run free while you enjoy 360 degree views of the harbour from one of the best dog friendly picnic spots Sydney has to offer. This inner city gem is off-leash, close to public transport and is ideal for watching the sunset; date night sorted. 

Bradfield Park, Milsons Point 

Perhaps one of Sydney’s most iconic picnic spots is Bradfield Park in Milsons Point. Located under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and just a stone’s throw away from Luna Park, this is where you take your out of town friends who are looking for the ultimate Sydney experience. We recommend getting the train to Milsons Point, stocking up on wine from Le Pont Wine Store and pastries from Loulou, then wandering down through Wendy Whitely’s Secret Garden, past Luna Park and on to your idyllic picnic destination. 

Photo courtesy of https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
Photo courtesy of https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/

Bateu Bay Beach (Central Coast)

Why not make a day out of it with a road trip north! There is an ideal picnic spot located on Bateau Bay Beach on the Central Coast. Sheltered and quiet, remember to also pack a towel. This little area is perfect for an after lunch dip or a chance to explore the rock pools.
picnic spots

Ku-ring-gai National Park (various spots)

There are a smorgasbord of picturesque picnic spots in the National Park including Akuna Bay, Apple Tree Picnic Area and Bobbin Head. Boat enthusiasts can dock at Akuna bay before indulging in a long picnic with the added benefit of BBQs on site. Apple Tree picnic area provides an easily accessible spot to re-energise before you head off into the park and explore one of the many tracks. You can buy drinks and food at the café or make use of the shaded picnic tables and barbecues. Located in the west of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Bobbin Head also has plenty of lush green space with inbuilt barbecues, picnic tables and shelters available.

picnic spots
Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve courtesy of https://thecarousel.com

Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve

Why not spend the day at Conjola Beach picnic area in Narrawelle Creek Nature Reserve. Situated in the South Coast, explore a range of remote beaches and make the most of the warmer weather with a spot of bush walking.

Photo courtesy of http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
Photo courtesy of http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/

Georges River National Park

Bankstown has over 350 parks to choose from, with gorgeous pockets of native bushland making for the perfect picnic pit stop. One such area is Burrawang Reach Picnic Area. Set on the sandy shores of the Georges River, there’s ample room for a family catch up and you can use the barbecues or bring along a spread to share on the wide stretch of grass. The area also boasts a number of sporting reserves where you can enjoy activities such as water-skiing on the Georges River or simply stroll along the river foreshore.
Wattamolla Beach, Royal National Park

Wattamolla Picnic Area (Royal National Park) 

If you’re itching for a beachside picnic, it’s hard to pass up the extremely picturesque Wattamolla picnic area in the Royal National Park. Bring along your swimmers to make the most of the lagoon where you can also snorkel. There are also plenty of spots to set up your picnic up under the cabbage tree palms.
picnic spots

Cattai National Park

Perfect for a family picnic or a weekend getaway, Cattai Campground on the Hawkesbury River offers plenty of space for kids and the four-legged friends to run around. Those looking for a little more adventure can also partake in canoeing, fishing, bike riding and bird watching.

Photo courtesy of http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/

Garie Beach (Royal National Park) 

You’ll quickly fall in love with this little spot, just an hour or so from Sydney. Pack a picnic, herd up the clan and get down there nice and early to grab a great spot at Garie Beach, in the southern end of Royal National Park.

best-summertime-picninc-spots-8
Royal National Park photo courtesy of http://www.sydney.com/

Bonnie Vale Picnic Area (Royal National Park) 

Embark on an adventure in the Royal National Park. Kick back, relax and enjoy your picnic in the Bonnie Vale picnic area. A great day of water-based fun for family and friends, you can swim in the tranquil waters of Cabbage Tree Basin and on the weekends hire a canoe and paddle the waters of Port Hacking.

Frequently asked questions:
What are the best romantic picnic spots in Sydney?

Observatory Hill in Millers Point, Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay, and Bradfield Park in Milsons Point are among the most romantic picnic spots.

What are the best picnic spots that allow alcohol?

Cremorne Point Reserve, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Manly Office, and Wendy Whiteley Secret Garden allow you to BYO alcohol.

What are the best dog friendly picnic spots in Sydney?

To spend the day picnicking with your furry friends, visit Observatory Hill in Millers Point, Sydney Park in Alexandria, Centennial Parklands and many more.

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