16 Great Picnic Spots in and Around Sydney
Blessed with a pleasant climate and stunning natural scenery, Sydney is pretty much the perfect city to go out and have a picnic. With so many parks, reserves, beaches and lookouts to choose from, you’ll never run out of options in the weekends.
To make it easier for you, we’ve come up with a list of 16 of the best picnic spots in Sydney.
What Makes a Good Picnic Spot?
Everyone is different so the perfect picnic spot doesn’t exist. Some like peace and quiet with no one else around, others like a bit more action. Some like good facilities such as shelters, BBQs and parking areas, others like to go back to basics. What most of us have in common though is the appreciation for great views.
Here are 16 of the best picnic spots you can find in and around Sydney. Beautiful parks, great beaches and quiet hideaways to enjoy a great afternoon outside, with sensational views right at your feet.
1. Bradleys Head
The man-made amphitheatre at Bradleys Head is a very popular fishing and picnic spot in the Sydney Harbour National Park. It’s also a great lookout for panoramic views across the city skyline, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
The huge mast at Bradleys Head was the foremast of HMAS Sydney, a light cruiser that was broken up on Cockatoo Island in 1929. Erected at Bradleys Head in 1934, it now serves as a monument for all Australian ships lost and all Australian sailors killed at war.
If you feel like hiking, the easy but picturesque walking trail from Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay is highly recommended!
2. Wattamolla Picnic Area (Royal National Park)
Wattamolla in the Royal National Park has a huge picnic area with excellent facilities such as BBQ’s, covered and uncovered tables, a large toilet block, bins and running water. A great spot to have a break from all the swimming and hiking, and to enjoy a nice lunch in the outdoors.
The picnic area is located right next to the parking areas. Be mindful that in summer weekends this area can fill up quickly so it’s best to come in early to enjoy a great day out in Wattamolla.
3. Bradfield Park
Located right under the Harbour Bridge in Kirribilli, Bradfield Park is a very relaxing spot for a picnic. Right next to Luna Park and the Olympic Pool, the park offers pleasant views of Circular Quay and the massive Cruise Ships that regularly pass by.
It’s best to travel to Bradfield Park by train, getting off at Milsons Point train station. Alternatively, there is metered street parking close by.
4. Cockatoo Island
Situated right in the middle of Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island is a historic UNESCO World-Heritage Listed island that you should visit at least once per year.
Wander around on the island and enjoy its well-preserved history. Cockatoo island is very popular with photographers so make sure you bring your camera to capture the beauty and rawness of this place. Book a luxury tent on the camping site if you’d like to stay overnight. Alternatively, you can also bring your own tent and camping gear and book a small space on the camping ground.
5. Bobbin Head
Bobbin Head is a popular day-trip destination in the west of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, Bobbin Head offers excellent facilities such as picnic areas, playgrounds and gas barbecues.
With several exciting hiking trails in the area, Bobbin Head is also great for bushwalking.
6. West Head Lookout
Known as one of the best lookouts in New South Wales, the West Head Lookout in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park offers breathtaking views across Pittwater, Broken Bay, Barrenjoey Headland and the Central Coast.
The Resolute Picnic Area is located less than a kilometre away from the lookout and has parking available. From the picnic area you can choose to do some of the bushwalking trails that will take you to beautiful secluded beaches, such as Resolute Beach.
7. Balls Head Reserve
Perhaps not as well-known, Balls Head Reserve in the Sydney lower north shore is a true bushland oasis overlooking Sydney Harbour. The picnic areas on this peninsula are nicely maintained, with several tables and BBQ’s, a water fountain and toilet facilities.
Historic Waverton Peninsula Reserve, next door to Balls Head Reserve, is also a great place to visit, with serene walking trails and pretty views.
8. Royal Botanic Garden
Located in the heart of Sydney CBD, the Royal Botanic Garden is one of most important historic botanical institutions in the world since 1816.
Simply pick a spot anywhere in the park and enjoy a wonderful afternoon surrounded by unique plants, trees and flowers. With the Opera House and the City Skyline right next door, you won’t get tired of the views.
Technically part of The Domain, Mrs Macquaries Point is a great spot for a picnic with panoramic views across the harbour. Go there if you have visitors from overseas that you want to impress!
9. Barangaroo Reserve
Barangaroo Reserve is a brand new 6-hectare Sydney Harbour foreshore park with a large man-made hill right in the middle. It’s now home to more than 75,000 planted trees, palms, ferns, shrubs and other plants, that have been native to the Sydney region since the last 200 years.
With so many beautifully designed terraced gardens and different walking paths winding around the hill, Barangaroo reserve is a wonderful place for an afternoon picnic.
10. Bicentennial Park
Established in 1988 to commemorate 200 years of white settlement in Australia, Bicentennial Park is a very neat and relaxing place to enjoy a lazy afternoon.
While you’re there, make sure you do the Glebe Foreshoree Walk from Bicentennial Park to the Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont, along Rozelle Bay and Blackwattle Bay.
11. Clifton Gardens
Boasting a rocky beach with netted swimming enclosure, a fenced playground, change rooms and excellent BBQ and picnic facilities, Clifton Gardens Reserve has been a popular picnic spot for families since the 19th century.
Next door neighbour Chowder Bay is a great place to relax with a coffee and a bite at one of the kiosks.
12. Wendy’s Secret Garden
Set against the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, Wendy’s Secret Garden is a green oasis of native plants, fig trees, beautiful flowers and a thriving community of birds.
After her husband died in 1992, Wendy Whitely decided to transform a derelict piece of land at Lavender Bay into a beautiful garden at her own expense. With the ashes of her husband and child buried in the garden, Wendy has continuously been maintaining and beautifying the garden for us all to enjoy.
The garden is a beautiful place for office workers and local residents to wind down, eat a sandwich, read a book or to simply enjoy the views.
13. Robertson Park
With lots of picnic tables, a fenced playground, lovely views across Sydney Harbour and lots of food to choose from, Robertson park in Watsons Bay is a very family friendly place to hang out for a day.
The scenic Watsons Bay Walk around the area is fairly easy and highly recommended!
14. Somersby Falls
Situated in the Brisbane Water National Park, the picnic area at Somersby Falls provides excellent facilities, such as BBQ’s, picnic tables, toilets, garbage bins and useful information signs.
Follow the short bushtrail from the picnic area all the way to the bottom of Somersby Falls. A series of beautiful waterfalls will greet you as you make your way down this short walking track.
15. Lake Parramatta Reserve
Hiking in the Lake Parramatta Reserve is a great experience, as you walk through 75ha of bushland around an idyllic lake with a decommissioned dam. The picnic area has excellent BBQ facilities, a designated swimming area, playgrounds and free parking.
16. Rosherville Reserve
Nicely located just behind Chinamans Beach, Rosherville Reserve is a large but quiet park in Mosman, perfect for a picnic or a barbecue. While Balmoral Beach attracts big crowds each day in summer, next door neighbour Chinamans Beach is a very welcoming quiet alternative.
With lots of large trees spread across the park, there is enough shade to be found in Rosherville Reserve. It also boasts a small playground and modern shower and toilet facilities.
Hopefully this list has given you some great ideas for picnic spots in Sydney. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, as there are many more great locations in and around Sydney to go for a home-made bite outside in the fresh air.
Some of the more obvious places to consider are Hyde Park and The Domain in the city, Centennial Park in the eastern suburbs, but also beaches like Coogee and Bondi have beautiful grass areas where you can enjoy a BBQ or picnic. Wherever you go, please make sure you protect yourself adequately against the strong Sydney sun.