Sydney summers are synonymous with long, lazy days and there is no better way to enjoy the warmer weather than taking the family and a picnic basket full of delicious goodies and heading to a beautiful location.
Whether in a park, in bushland or by the beach, there's no shortage of spectacular places to enjoy a picnic. All that's needed is a trip to the supermarket to stock up on food and drinks, a ball or cricket set, or a bucket and spade for spots near the beach.
Adventurous types can head to one of the state's many national parks and tie in a picnic lunch with a long walk. Brisbane Water National Park has interesting historic tracks and a beautiful dedicated picnic area at Girrakool, while Audley Weir in the Royal National Park is an excellent well-shaded riverside location adjacent to a popular walk down the Lady Carrington Drive fire trail. Little Manly Beach and Nielsen Park are great harbourside places for young children to paddle, with safe swimming spots and shaded, grassy areas behind the beach for picnics.
Head west to enjoy some beautiful picnic grounds and gardens, such as Mount Annan.
A day out in any of these parks will please the whole family: children can let off steam exploring in a designated playground or kicking a ball around while parents relax. And don't forget the camera - these picturesque parks provide plenty of photo opportunities. WISEMANS FERRY PARK
* Great North Rd
Located next to the ferry crossing, this park is framed by the natural beauty of the Hawkesbury River. The park is home to parts of the Wetlands Complex, which is a natural habitat for native fauna species such as frogs and small birds. It is one of the last remaining sections of the complex within the Baulkham Hills Shire area and searching for evidence of the fauna, or the creatures themselves, is a great way to keep children entertained. The park features a couple of barbecues, a kiosk, toilets and play areas for children. The grassy areas along the riverbank are ideal for laying out a blanket and admiring the dramatic hills on the other side of the river in Dharug National Park. There are also plenty of shaded areas. Energetic families can cross the river on the ferry and explore the national park. The Wisemans Ferry Park gates are locked at sunset. GIRRAKOOL PICNIC AREA
* Quarry Rd, Brisbane Water
Set on the Hawkesbury River in the Central Coast region, this is a popular spot for bushwalkers. Motorists must buy a day pass to the park. It costs $7 and there is a pay-and-display machine, but remember to bring exact change. This is a peaceful place for a family picnic. There are facilities, including gas barbecues, cooking shelters, picnic tables and toilets. This picnic area is also the starting point for a number of walks, including the 6.5km Girrakool-Patonga Nature Walk, which is medium difficulty and takes about four hours, or a short version of the Mooney Nature Walk, which is about 3km and takes up to two hours. The park is home to lots of native wildlife including wallabies, platypus, gliders, bush rats, echidnas, marsupial mice, possums and 175 species of birds. ALLAMBIE HEIGHTS, MANLY DAM
* King St
From kayaking and fishing to water skiing and mountain biking, there is no shortage of ways to keep the children entertained at this picnic spot. Manly Dam, officially known as Manly Warringah War Memorial Park, is a hub of activity with families and leisure-lovers on weekends. There are picnic spots along the waterfront on the southern side of the dam, plus boat launch ramps and a swimming area. Some of the picnic areas have barbecues, and there are public toilets along Sir Roden Cutler Dr in the park. Visitors can park inside the area for a $7 fee (free for locals). There is a speed limit of 20km/h. Nature-lovers will enjoy the park's Wildflower Walk and Nature Trail, or those who want to do a longer walk can take the Park Circuit Track, which traces the perimeter of the dam towards the northern end of the park. MANLY, LITTLE MANLY POINT
* Stuart St
On the harbour side of Manly, this point has spectacular views across the harbour as well as the essentials for a great picnic spot. It has barbecues, a children's playground and a flat grassy area shaded by trees that is ideal for laying out a blanket. The point is a short walk from Little Manly Beach, which has toilets, a small kiosk (daily 8am-5pm daylight savings) and an enclosed swimming area, perfect for families with young children, especially as the harbourside beach is nearly always calm. There is a small car park off Stuart St, but the area is an easy walk from Manly Wharf, so public transport is a good option. After lunch, families can walk around Spring Cove and into Sydney Harbour National Park to secluded Collins Beach for a splash in the gently lapping water, or walk further to Fairfax Lookout at North Head. LAKE PARRAMATTA
* Lake Parramatta Reserve, James Ruse Drive
This dam was created on Hunts Creek in 1855 as a fresh water source, but is now used for recreation. During the 1920s and '30s the lake was a popular paddling spot for locals, but was closed to swimming because of high pollution levels in the 1980s. In late 2006 the lake was opened for swimming again, but only on specific days. Even when visitors aren't permitted in the water, the lake provides a picturesque backdrop for a family picnic. Gates to the reserve open at sunrise and close at sunset, and there is a kiosk, play area, parking, barbecue and toilet on the southern side of the lake. Set up a blanket to lunch on the flat grassy area while watching abundant birdlife in the bushland and on the water. There is also a walking track on the eastern side MERRYLANDS, CENTRAL GARDENS
* Merrylands Rd
This large park sits on the corner of Merrylands Rd and the Cumberland Highway and is a popular weekend picnic spot for families. Visiting the animal enclosure is a must with wallabies, emu, kangaroos and many birds including native waterfowl, galahs, parrots, rosellas, and cockatiels. Many of the species have their own enclosures and a path winds through them all. There is also a man-made pond that is home to water birds and carp. Set up a blanket beside this pretty pond and watch the wildlife. There are designated picnic areas in the park and all have barbecues and picnic tables. Trees provide natural shelter and there is also parking, toilets and children's play areas. A large gathering will require booking (call Holroyd Council on 98409840). The park is open 9am-7pm on weekends (daylight savings) and 9am-5pm on weekdays. VAUCLUSE, NIELSEN PARK
* Vaucluse Rd
The spectacular views and calm harbour beach are just two of many factors that make this a popular family picnic spot. There are public toilets and a kiosk to purchase last-minute picnic supplies. Families will find picnic tables, but leave the meat at home as there are no barbecues. The park fronts Shark Beach, which has a netted section for safe Harbour swimming. Unless there is a big swell, the water laps gently to shore, making it a great beach for younger children and less experienced swimmers. There are also several interesting walks, such as the Hermitage Foreshore Track, with views to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Walk up to Mount Trefle, the highest point in the park, which was named after the Secretary for Lands between 1912-15, J.L. Trefle. The park is open daily from 5am-10pm. CRONULLA, SHELLY PARK
* Ewos Pde
Fronting popular Shelly Beach, this modern park has all the essentials for an enjoyable family day out, with picnic tables, free electric barbecues, water bubblers, public toilets and off-street parking. In close proximity to Cronulla train station, the scenic walk along the seafront from Cronulla Beach via The Esplanade is a pleasant start to a day out. A large play area inside the park has swings, a junior slide, a rope climber and a Liberty Swing for children in wheelchairs, guaranteed to keep youngsters entertained for hours. The play area is shaded by trees and there is also a shade cloth over the Liberty swing. Take a dip in the ocean at Shelly Beach, or head over to the nearby rockpool for more protected swimming. There are change rooms near the rockpool and a basic pavilion and shelter behind Shelly Beach. MT ANNAN, MOUNT ANNAN BOTANIC GARDEN
* Mt Annan Drive
The gardens make for spectacular picnicking year-round and the large grounds mean there is plenty of space for children to let off steam. The 410ha park has picnic areas dedicated to different feature gardens such as the Banksia, Wattle, Bottlebrush and Terrace Gardens and the Woodland Picnic Area. The native plant garden is the largest botanic garden in Australia and is designed to display the diversity of Australian flora. Stop at the visitor centre to find out about different sections or drive slowly through the grounds to find a picnic spot, spread a blanket and enjoy the lush surroundings. The garden has parking, toilets, barbecues, picnic tables and shelters, plus a children's play area. The grounds open 10am-5pm October-March (adults $4.40, child $2.20). AUDLEY WEIR
* Royal National Park, Princes Highway turn-off, Loftus
The most difficult part of packing a picnic and heading to the Royal National Park is deciding which spot to choose. The many beaches provide pretty and peaceful waterside settings, but Audley Weir, just a short distance from the main entrance to the park at Loftus, is also a popular picnic spot. There are designated picnic areas on both sides of the weir - Allambie Flat to the north and Ironbark Flat to the south. Both have barbecues, parking (day pass $11) and toilets. At Ironbark Flat there is also a kiosk and picnic shelters to escape the heat. Both have grassy areas ideal for spreading out a picnic blanket. Paddle and row boats can be hired on the Allambie Flat side, but no swimming is permitted. The area also marks the start of Lady Carrington Drive, a 10km walking/cycling track.
i have been to most of them
Article from: The Daily Telegraph