Sunny days in Australia call for a basketful of amazing local produce – cheeses, cured meats and a chilled bottle of wine – eaten in a spectacular natural setting.
By Paul Chai
Perhaps you’d like to sip shiraz among the vines that produce it. Maybe you’d like to munch lunch on a beach. Whatever your tastes, there’s a picnic spot to suit you in Australia. Here are five of our favourite settings for a gorgeous picnic – just keep them to yourself.
Top spots to put down a picnic blanket
Uluru, Northern Territory
You’ve heard of Uluru – but did you know there are dedicated picnic zones around the famous red rock? Visitors are encouraged to lay their picnic rug in several locations; all the better to watch the ever-changing colours reflecting off the rock as the sun rises and sets. The viewing area at Talinguru Nyakunytjaku is a popular base, offering 360-degree views of the landscape, with both Uluru and Kata Tjuta in sight. It has covered picnic shelters, restrooms and drinking water. Bring a chilled glass of Australian sparkling wine and watch the show. Cheers!
Whitehaven Beach, Queensland
Regularly voted one of the best beaches in the world, the pristine white sands of Whitehaven Beach, on Whitsunday Island, call for a romantic picnic. You’ll find facilities at the southern end of the beach – available for use by anyone – but Cruise Whitsundays also offers a catered option for those who don’t feel like lifting a finger. Departing either Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island, you’ll cruise the area’s islands before being delivered to Whitehaven beach, where you’ll enjoy a couple of heavenly hours at this beautiful spot. Wash off any crumbs with a post-lunch dip!
Sydney Harbour, New South Wales
Every Sydneysider has an opinion on the best alfresco lunch spot by the harbour – there are dozens of hidden coves and secret beaches to choose from. Nielsen Park and the accompanying Shark Beach is one of the best local secrets in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Grab supplies from the beachside wooden kiosk – which dates back to the early 1900s and doubles as an Italian restaurant – to dine on the grass, then take a dip. In the northern suburbs, join in-the-know locals at Cremorne Point where you can picnic near the Robertson Point lighthouse and admire historic mansions. On the city side, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair might be the most famous picnic spot of all thanks to the panoramic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
It’s hard to know what’s better about a Barossa Valley picnic, the setting of vines strung across the rolling hills (some have been growing since the mid-1800s) or the produce you can pack in your basket. Feast on Zimmy’s gherkins, or Barossa Valley kalamata olives, quince paste and pate from Australian TV chef and author Maggie Beer. Whether you choose a high-end favourite like Henschke or relative newcomer Yelland & Papps as your wine of choice, you’ll be sipping a shiraz or a riesling that ranks with the best in the world. Some wineries such as Seppeltsfield Wines and Bethany Wines even offer picnic baskets and platters for you to enjoy in the grounds.
Perth, Western Australia
The capital of Western Australia is a vibrant city with beaches, parklands and picnic spots by the river, all within a short drive from the centre of town. Kings Park is a huge city green space with views of the Swan and Canning Rivers as well as the skyscrapers of Perth’s business district. Kings Park is also home to the Botanic Gardens, with hundreds of species of native flora to explore. Cottesloe Beach is where you’ll find the locals claiming a patch of sand to watch the sun set over the ocean – join them and head for a drink at the historic Cottesloe Beach Hotel afterwards. Or, just a short drive from Perth is the Serpentine Falls, where you can take a swim or embark on a bushwalk to work off your meal.
Feeling hungry? Don’t miss Tasmania’s cheap eats!
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