From the finest local food, wine and spirits to the world’s most celebrated beers and coffees, Winning Tastes is your go-to guide to the very best in food and drink, showcasing medal and trophy winners from Australia’s leading awards programs.
Those awards programs are the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, Australian Food Awards, Australian International Beer Awards, Australian International Coffee Awards and Australian Distilled Spirits Awards.
Bradfield Park’s big green lawn offers a prime locale for gazing at the awesome expanse that is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can bring a picnic and even alcohol (7am-7pm). Dogs are also permitted (with restrictions), and it’s close to Olympic Pool and Luna Park. 1A View St, Alphington 3078.
Picnic match: Pirate Life Imperial India Pale Ale has big, fresh, delicious flavours in perfect balance. It’s a Gold Medal winner at the Australian International Beer Awards.
Opened in 2015, Barangaroo is ideal for watching the sunset with Sydney Harbour Bridge to the right, Balmain, Pyrmont and Darling Harbour to the left, and glittering harbour all around. There’s also a massive cultural space called the Cutaway, parking for 300 cars located under the park, and toilets. Barangaroo Point Park, Sydney 2000.
Picnic match: Plough to Plate Fine Food Tomato and Chilli Dip is a smoky dip handcrafted from scratch using handpicked tomatoes and bright yellow chillies grown in Strath Creek. Judges at the Australian Food Awards awarded it Best Dip.
Snaking along the shoreline, this park offers one of the best views of ANZAC Bridge and is an ideal place to barbecue some meats, lay out a picnic spread, watch the dogs gambol, the sun set and the lights of Sydney’s CBD illuminate. Leichhardt St, Glebe 2037.
Picnic match: If you’re barbecuing you need a Margaret River red wine to complement. Deep Woods Estate 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, winner of the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy at this year’s Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, has a palate layered with complex varietal flavours.
A harbourside bushland and garden with unrivalled views of the harbour and city, this reserve is packed with things to see and do. Facilities include MacCallum saltwater pool (it’s free), walking track, picnic tables, playground, gym units/fitness stations, water fountain, and the ferry wharf. Milson Rd, Cremorne 2090.
Picnic match: Baylies Asterisk Kitchen Activated Coconut Charcoal Lavosh is a flat bread with a slightly nutty flavour and black appearance, made with unbleached Australian flour, sesame seed and Activated Coconut Charcoal. It won Best Cracker at the Australian Food Awards.
When artist Brett Whiteley died in 1992, his widow Wendy channelled her grief into creating a place of enchantment. Natives, exotics and towering fig trees run along winding gully paths while birds chatter amid the flowers and berries. Claim a table or bench and enjoy Harbour Bridge views with your picnic. Clark Park, Lavender St, Lavender Bay 2060.
Picnic match: Prom Country Cheese Venus Blue, named Champion Dairy at the Australian Food Awards, is a delicate, creamy blue mould sheep cheese made with the unique cultures from their raw milk.
A weekend trip to Centennial Park, especially in summer, reveals Aussies at their leisurely best. There’s an outdoor fitness station, and you can hire rollerblades and bikes or even go horse riding. Don’t be scared off by all this activity: the park is also teeming with those just looking for a shady spot to snooze, picnic or read a good book. Between Oxford St, York, Darley, Alison & Lang Rds, Centennial Park 2021.
Picnic match: Re-energise after that jog with a thermos of Grouch & Co Diamond Mule coffee, Champion Espresso of the Australian International Coffee Awards, made from the highest quality, ethically sourced green beans and designed to be
Generations of Sydneysiders have been flocking to Nielsen Park for family get-togethers since the early 1900s. They sit on Shark Beach or the grassy slopes behind or climb the headlands either side for a great view across the harbour. With its abundance of shady trees, gentle waters, and panoramic views, it’s a perfect picnic spot. Greycliffe Ave, Vaucluse 2030.
Picnic match: Whip up a G&T using Champion gin at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards, Kangaroo Island Spirits Distillery Old Tom Gin. It’s lightly sweetened and aged for a short period in French Oak, with an addition of lemon myrtle and anis myrtle.