We are fortunate in Sydney that we surrounded by so many beautiful parks and gardens that offer great picnic spots. Even in winter packing a picnic and getting outdoors is a great way to spend an afternoon. Here are some well-known and some hidden picnic spots in Sydney that I enjoy going to. I have added public transport information that might be useful for visitors to Sydney.
Picnic Spots with views of Sydney Harbour
Berry Island – Wollstonecraft
Hidden away on the western side of Sydney Harbour 2kms from the Harbour Bridge just before it splits into the Parramatta and Lane Cove River Berry Island is a great picnic spot that virtually deserted during the week and a perfect place for a romantic harbourfront walk and picnic. Weekends it is a little busier with families.
Technically Berry Island is not an island at all anymore. In the early 1800’s resident Edward Wollstonecraft attached the island to the mainland by creating a causeway. Today along with being a lovely picnic spot it also offers a 20 minute bush walk, the Gadyan track. The track around the island details the history of the Cammeraigal people, using signboards to
Why picnic at Berry Island?
- Large flat grassy area perfect for picnic blankets and accessible for wheelchairs and prams
- Children’s playground
- Electric BBQ
- Aboriginal middens to explore
Where: 10 Shirley St Wollstonecraft
Getting there: Take the train from Town Hall to Wollstonecraft Station. Berry Island is about 10-minute walk from the station.
Royal Botanic Gardens
For an impromptu picnic, it is hard to go past the Botanic Garden. I am sure you are aware of the view but did you realise that just minutes away from the Macquarie Street gates is David Jones Food Hall or the IGA supermarket at Martin Place where you can put together a lovely bag of goodies to enjoy in the sun?
Why picnic here
- Admire the fantastic views
- Enjoy plenty of shade and lots of quiet spots
- Access toilets
- Join one of the free walks or tours
- Grab a fresh coffee from the Botanic Gardens cafe
Where: Enter from Macquarie Street near Bent Street or by the Opera House
Getting there: Less than 10 minutes walk from Martin Place, St James or Circular Quay Stations.
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy’s Secret Garden is hidden behind an old railway line in Lavender Bay. The park is built on a steep embankment that runs down to the harbour
The terraced areas lend themselves to exploring, with many hidden features waiting for you to find them. There are tables and chairs dotted about the place and some green lawn areas for stretching out with a book.
Why picnic in Wendy’s Garden?
- Small nooks and crannies make it perfect for quiet romantic picnics
- The garden is dog-friendly
- Shady spaces perfect for escaping the summer heat
- Harbour views through the trees make it a photographers delight
- Fun for older children to play hide and seek
Where: Lavender St, Lavender Bay NSW 2060
Getting there: Walk from Milsons Point Station or wharf
Blues Point Reserve
Blues Point is the only place where you can stand directly opposite the bridge. This park on the northwestern foreshore has views across to Darling Harbour and both up and down the harbour. The best thing about picnicking here is the tower is not in your view.
It was here that in 1817 Governor Macquarie awarded Billy Blue 80 acres of land here and he began his ferry service to Circular Quay making harbour crossings available to the first settlers. This service operated until the Harbour Bridge opened in 1932.
After your picnic take the stairs up to the lawn in front of the infamous Harry Seidler Blues Point Tower, which many consider the cities ugliest building, for fantastic harbour views.
Why picnic at Blues Point Reserve?
- Fun and fenced children’s playground
- Fantastic water views
- Lovely old Morton Bay figs provide good shade cover
- Picnic tables
- Dog-friendly (outside the playground)
Where: Blues Point Road, McMahons Point
Getting there: Walk from MacMahons Point Wharf
More details: North Sydney Council
Cremorne Point was one of the most popular pleasure grounds for Sydneysiders in the 1920s
Why Picnic at Cremorne?
- Explore the National Trust listed Rex and Ruby Gardens
- Take a swim at the historic Macullum Pool
- Kids playground
Where: Milsons Road Cremorne Point
Getting there: Take a ferry from Circular Quay to Cremorne Point.
Walk off your picnic lunch by taking the very lovely Cremorne Point Walk
Observatory Hill Sydney
Just a short walk from Circular Quay through the Rocks and under Harbour Bridge will get you to Observatory Hill. Once here you will find a beautiful old rotunda and a lovely place to look over the harbour from a different perspective.
Why picnic at Observatory Hill?
- Just minutes from the city but lovely and quiet
- Fantastic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Beautiful old rotunda
- Shaded by a gorgeous tree
Where? 1001 Upper Fort St, Millers Point
Getting there: Walk along Kent Street from Town Hall right down to Observatory Hill.
Picnic Spots By the Beach
Bronte Park – Bronte
Just a couple of kilometres along the coastal walk from world famous Bondi Beach, Bronte Park is my pick for an eastern suburbs picnic. With its cute little picnic huts and eight gas BBQs. It’s got everything you need for a perfect day in the sun. The park backs the beach, and there is also an ocean pool which is great for kids.
Best mid-week if you have the luxury of not working as it can get crowded here on weekends. Get in early to secure one of the huts. Bronte Park is a dog free and an alcohol-free zone.
Why picnic at Bronte Beach?
- Lots of shady spots and several covered huts
- Free BBQs
- Kids playground
- Kiosk for coffee and cold drinks
- Gorgeous ocean views
Where is it? East end of Bronte Rd, Bronte
Getting there: The quickest way is to catch a Bondi Junction train from platform six at Town Hall then take the 378 bus from Bondi Junction station.
Robertson Park – Watson’s Bay
Watson’s Bay is a great picnic destination with park and beach options. There is the large Robinson Park by the ferry wharf, with lots of trees and half a dozen picnic tables. There is a small sandy beach and several walks from the top of the street to Camp Cove Beach, South Head or the infamous Gap lookout. The area also provides some magnificent harbour and city views.
If you don’t feel like bringing a picnic along there is Doyle’s fish, and chip take away on the wharf or perhaps a few hours in the beer garden at the Watson’s Bay Hotel is more your type of picnic. Where ever you decide to dine at Watson’s Bay it’s a great day out for visitors or locals. Sadly dogs are not permitted in Robertson Park.
Why picnic at Watson’s Bay?
- Fantastic harbour views
- Small harbour beach
- Picnic tables
- Great for sunset picnics
- Easy transport from the wharf
- Netted swimming area
Where is it? 22 Military Rd, Watsons Bay
Getting there: The most enjoyable way to get here is by ferry from Circular Quay, but you can also take the 324 or 325 buses from the city or Edgecliff station.
Brighton Le Sands Beach
The shores of Botany Bay where the first fleet landed and just 3km south of the airport is home to Lady Robinsons Beach, Sydney’s longest beach.
Why Picnic at Brighton le Sands
- Great boardwalk and bike track to stretch the legs after you eat
- Watch the locals flying kites and kitesurf
- Plenty of great coffee and ice-cream
- Netted swimming areas
- White sandy beach and flat bay with no real waves
- Several parking areas and lots of BBQs and tables
Where: General Holmes Drive, Brighton-Le-Sands
Getting there: The303, X03 buses from Circular Quay or take the train to Rockdale and jump onto the 478 bus down to the beach.
Darook Park Cronulla
If you want a spot that is a bit away from it all and certainly not on the tourist trailhead south to Darook Park. Named after the local aboriginal tribe Darook is a pretty sheltered spot on Gunamatta Bay in the southern suburb of Cronulla. It provides safe swimming, shady grass picnic areas and even toilets, picnic shelters and a playground. If you prefer to swim in a netted area, you could stop off at Gunnamatta Park right by the station.
Where: 43 Darook Park Rd, Cronulla
Getting there: It’s a 55-minute train ride from Town Hall to Cronulla beach in Sydney’s south then a short walk from the station.