The Best Picnic Spots in Sydney

The weather is fine, the picnic basket packed, so claim a top picnic spot to while away the afternoon
A generic shot of a picnic basket with plates, cutlery, bread an
Photograph: Alex Lang
By Rose Daisley |
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What could be more romantic than a picnic packed for two and sweeping harbour views? Where else could you organise a long, lazy lunch for a big group of friends? Or, an impromptu dinner date alfresco? Cancel your restaurant booking and head to one of these top places to enjoy a picnic. We’ve called ahead to find out if there’s parking, toilets and barbecues too. 

The pressure is off when it comes to dining on a plaid waterproof rug, but if you want to fancy it up afterwards, go all out with an overnight stay or spa treatment at the best luxury hotels in Sydney. Or, keep rolling with the savings and find all the coolest free things to do in the city.

RECOMMENDED: Sydney restaurants with a view.

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Barangaroo-_23.jpg
Things to do

Barangaroo Reserve

icon-location-pin Barangaroo

Best for: Watching the sunset over the harbour.
Parking: There's metered parking for 300 cars located under the park.
Is there shade? No
Other facilities: There's a massive cultural space called the Cutaway.
Can I BYO? Yes
What's my view? You've got Sydney Harbour Bridge to the right, Balmain, Pyrmont and Darling Harbour to the left, with glittering harbour all around.
And is there toilet access? Yes, in two locations.

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Blackwattle Bay Park
Things to do

Blackwattle Bay Park

icon-location-pin Glebe

Best for: A hassle-free Sunday funday on the water if you live in the Inner West.
Parking: No
Is there shade? Some
Other facilities: Barbecue areas, playground, historical structures, sports fields, walking path, water fountains. Dogs are also permitted off-leash.
Can I BYO? Yes – but be aware and look for signs, as restrictions can come into palce periodically.
What's my view? The ANZAC Bridge and the waters of Rozelle Bay.
And is there toilet access? Yes

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Bradfield Park
Things to do

Bradfield Park

icon-location-pin Milsons Point

Best for: Gazing at the proudly hulking mass that is the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Parking:
 It's metered parking in the surrounding area, or two free hours on some streets.
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: Fenced playground and a water fountain. Dogs are also permitted (with restrictions), and it's close to Olympic Pool and Luna Park.
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? Sydney Harbour, the Harbour Bridge and the city skyline.
And is there toilet access? Yes 

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Centennial Park
Things to do

Centennial Park

icon-location-pin Centennial Park

Best for: Spreading wayyyy out (it's huge) and lazing on the grass.
Parking:
 Yes 
Is there shade? There are covered areas and plenty of trees
Other facilities: There's one of everything: restaurants, cafés, a kiosk, bicycle hire, horseriding, off-leash dog-walking areas a bike path, running path and walking path.
Can I BYO? Yes
What's my view? Surrounding parkland.
And is there toilet access? Yes

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5
Clifton Gardens
Things to do

Clifton Gardens

icon-location-pin Manly

Best for: Indecisive groups – there are beaches, bushland and a large grassy area.
Parking: Your best bet is the pay-and-display car park.
Is there shade? Yes, and prime position is the undercover gazebo seating.
Other facilities: There's a netted harbour pool, children’s playground, basketball courts, skateboard/scooter track, walking tracks and an off-leash dog exercise area.
Can I BYO? Yes, but not after 6pm.
What's my view? Hit the grassed reserve for harbour and water views.
And is there toilet access? Yes. There's a modern new block and changerooms, too.

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Cockatoo Island
Things to do

Cockatoo Island

icon-location-pin Sydney

Best for: An offbeat, day-spinning picnic.
Parking: 
Cockatoo Island is only accessible by boat, so jump a ferry from Circular Quay, or hire a water taxi. Private boats can moor ($15 for 4 hours). Feeling adventurous? You can always kayak to the island, too.
Is there shade? Yes, plenty of umbrellas.
Other facilities: There's a café, bar, live music, tennis court, historical audio tour, boat hire, kayaking, swimming, kids' activities and barbecues. And you'll have to leave dearest dog at home.
Can I BYO? No alcohol may be brought to the island. Try the licensed cafés onsite.
What's my view? The harbour surrounds.
And is there toilet access? Yes

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7
Como Pleasure Grounds
Things to do

Como Pleasure Grounds

icon-location-pin Como

Best for: River-side lounging.
Parking: Yes
Shade: Yes
Other facilities: You can swim laps at the 20m pool inside the Como Swimming Complex (it's seasonal with free admission) and at the netted tidal baths. There's also picnic tables, barbecues, a playground, walking path and bike track.
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? The Georges River and surrounding bushland.
And is there toilet access? Yes

8
Cremorne Point Reserve
Things to do

Cremorne Point Reserve

icon-location-pin Cremorne Point

Best for: Unrivalled views of the harbour and city, and plenty of non-eating activities.
Parking: Limited, with some spots on Milson Road and Cremorne Road.
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: Swim in the Maccallum pool (it's free), or use the walking track, picnic tables, playground and gym stations. Dogs are welcome on leashes.
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? Those harbour sparkles.
And is there toilet access? Yes

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9
Davidson Park
Things to do

Davidson Park

icon-location-pin Forestville

Best for: A delightful day trip north.
Parking: There's parking for as long as the park is open (6am-6pm).
Is there shade? Yes, there are lots of trees and the barbeceue area (there's gas, electric and wood options) is covered.
Other facilities: There's drinking water, picnic tables, walking trails, fishing, disabled access and a boat ramp for seaward picnicers. This is a national park and entry fees apply.
Can I BYO? Yes
What's my view? Take your pick: Garigal National Park, Middle Harbour Creek, Roseville Bridge and bushland.
And is there toilet access? Yes

10
EG Waterhouse National Camelia Gardens
Things to do

EG Waterhouse National Camelia Gardens

icon-location-pin Caringbah

Best for: A refreshing respite from the heat and hubbub of the inner city.
Parking Yes
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: There's a teahouse, barbecues, and playground. Dogs are permitted on leashes as you walk through the colourful gardens.
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? Flower, flowers, flowers. You'll also be looking out over Yowie Bay.
And is there toilet access? Yes 

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11
Hyde Park
Things to do

Hyde Park

icon-location-pin Sydney

Best for: A green inner city experience.
Parking: No, but there's CBD council car parking in the city surrounds.
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: There's bicycle parking and constant public transport, so you hae easy access to the ANZAC Memorial, park café and plenty of grassy picnic spots. 
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? From the shimmering Sydney CBD through the leafy canopy and gardens to the fountain.
And is there toilet access? Yes

12
Lady Robinson Beach
Things to do

Lady Robinson Beach

icon-location-pin Brighton-Le-Sands

Best for: Sandwiches and a swim in Sydney's south.
Parking: 
Limited along the Grand Parade – or try the car park to the south.
Is there shade? Yes, in the park.
Other facilities: There's four tidal pools, a walking path, bike track and a foreshore reserve. The beach also has a minimal swell that makes it suitable for fishing and swimming.
Can I BYO? No.
What's my view? That beautiful big blue wet thing.
And is there toilet access? Yes

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13
Lane Cove National Park
Things to do

Lane Cove National Park

icon-location-pin East Ryde

Best for: Eating your freshly grilled snags in a canoe (or a pedal boat) while you drift down the Lane Cove River.
Parking:
Yes, and the entry fee is $8 per vehicle
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: Visit the barbecue area, café and kisok, tables and seats, kids' play area, walking tracks and bike tracks, or hire a rowboat. There's also a campsite with cabins available inside the park if you want to make a night (or a weekend) of it 
Can I BYO? Yes
What's my view? The mighty river and parklands.
And is there toilet access? Yes

14
Manly Dam
Things to do

Manly Dam

icon-location-pin Allambie Heights

Best for: A wild weekend of watersports and bush walking.
Parking: Yes, accessible from Condamine St, Manly Vale
Is there shade? Yes, five large undercover BBQ and picnic table gazebos can fit around ten people. They can be booked for $70.00.
Other facilities: Explore the network of bush walking tracks and the official Manly Dam Mountain Bike Track. The lake is a swimming, kayaking, waterskiing and fishing hotspot.
Can I BYO? Yes
What's my view? Gaze at the expanse of Manly Dam and surrounding parklands.
And is there toilet access? Yes, within 50m-250m depending on where you're picnicing.

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15
McKell Park (Darling Point)
Things to do

McKell Park

icon-location-pin Darling Point

Best for: A picturesque garden-harbour mash-up.
Parking: There's very limited street parking, so set sail on the public ferry to the Darling Point Wharf.
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: There's the playground to keep kids busy, sandstone sculptures, an impressively manicured garden and the heritage listed Canonbury Cottage.
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? Only some of the best in town – Sydney Harbour and our beloved Bridge.
And is there toilet access? Yes

16
Mrs Macquaries Chair
Things to do

Mrs Macquaries Chair

icon-location-pin Sydney

Best for: Showing off the city to visitors.
Parking:
Yes, there's metered parking on Mrs Macquaries Road (it's pricey), or ticketed at the Domain Carpark.
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: There's a food and beverage kiosk and and walking trail all the way to Barangaroo.
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? All the classics: Sydney Harbour, the Bridge, the trees and flowers of the Botanical Gardens and the city skyline.
And is there toilet access? Yes

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17
Nielsen Park
Things to do

Nielsen Park

icon-location-pin Vaucluse

Best for: A very proper picnic in the midst of a historically posh area of town.
Parking:
Yes, nearby on Greycliffe Avenue.
Is there shade? Yes, there's some tree cover.
Other facilities: Cool down in the enclosed harbour pool and netted swimming area, or use tables, the beach kiosk/café, restaurant, walking tracks and drinking water. But leave pupper at home, there's no pets allowed.
Can I BYO? Yes
What's my view? The harbour, the bridge and the sands of Shark Beach.
And is there toilet access? Yes

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North Bondi Beach
Things to do

North Bondi Beach

icon-location-pin Sydney

Best for: A post-picnic surf. 
Parking: Yes, in the surrounding streets.
Is there shade? Not much – it's all about the summer sun.
Other facilities: Jump on a bus to get to the water, where there's also a toddler pool, playgrounds, cafés, buses and coin-operated barbecues
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? The sun, sand and surf of Bondi Beach.
And is there toilet access? Yes, the toilets and changerooms are next to North Bondi SLSC.

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Pirrama Park
Things to do

Pirrama Park

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

Best for: Fun on the foreshore and great views of Blackwattle Bay.
Parking:
 Try Pirrama Road, the Jones Bay Wharf Car Park or the casino opposite.
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: There's the kids' playground, café, floating pontoon for private boats, water access and lighting if you're there after sunset.
Can I BYO? No
What's my view? The waters of Sydney Harbour and the hills of Balmain.
And is there toilet access? Yes

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wendys-secret-garden-01.jpg
Things to do

Wendy's Secret Garden

icon-location-pin Lavender Bay

Best for: A meal in sheltered surrounds.
Parking:
Yes, but you'll have to aim for the surrounding streets.
Is there shade? Yes
Other facilities: There's floral feasts for the eyes at the flower gardens, plus sculptures and pleanty of seating areas.
Can I BYO? Yes
What's my view? Sydney Harbour and our beautiful Bridge.
And is there toilet access? No, head to Quibaree Park for the closest pitstop.

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