Vino with a view: 7 picnics that put yours to shame
Destination goals: this is where it’s at
The human race has been picnicking ever since evolution gifted them with opposable thumbs. For, you know, basket-carrying, cheese-cutting, cork-popping.
In Australia, we’re lucky to have pretty consistent weather, lush ripe produce and pretty bloomin’ beautiful views – put them together and you got a picnic on steroids.
Plus, it’s one of the cheaper ways to enjoy the company of your mates or main squeeze.
Here are some of the best picnic spots around the country, that blow your sad little backyard grass party right out of the water.
National Arboretum, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
You’re not about to say no to a 250 hectare (618 acre) Himalayan cedar forest, now, are you? Didn’t think so. Located west of Lake Burley Griffin, this bad boy has a picnic deck within the forest, with a free-for-all barbie and a sexy lookout spot (hel-lo, lovers). There’s even a strange-yet-beautiful timber playground with acorn-shaped pods, which also makes for a great spot to picnic on a sunny arvo. Mind you, bring a blanket. Sitting on those pods won’t feel great on your bum.
Noosa National Park, Queensland
Stash up on your snack supplies in Noosa then elbow someone off one of the prime picnic tables in the wildlife refuge of Noosa National Park. If you get your thrills from animal-spotting, this is a winner; you’ll find koalas, black cockatoos and bush turkeys a-plenty. If walking is your Viagra of life then you’ll be pleased to find five tracks, ranging from an easy 1 kilometre (2/3 mile) stretch to an 8 kilometre (5 mile) stretch, that lead to hidden beaches and rocky shorelines fringed with pandanus palms. Oh, and try not to get blindsided by the food, because if you keep an eye on the water you just might spot whales, sea turtles and dolphins.
Cataract Gorge Reserve, Tasmania
The walk to this wonderful-yet-kinda-weird urban park is only 15 minutes from Launceston, so your cheese will be fine but maybe pre-fuel with the popsicles so they don’t melt through your backpack. Known as ‘The Gorge’ to locals, this reserve is found via a 19th-century pathway along a cliff face, where you can set up your vibe before the South Esk River. By the way, if you choose the shady northern side of the river to picnic, you’ll get to admire a muster of peacocks.
Zebedee Springs, El Questro, Western Australia
We’re talkin’ scenic thermal springs enveloped by ancient King Leopold sandstone cliffs and Livistona palm trees. Right near Kununurra in the East Kimberley, Zebedee Springs becomes exclusive to guests of the Homestead in the afternoon. Which means, obviously, this is a breakfast picnic spot, and even then, you might have to roll up your sleeves to snag this beauty.
Mount Gower, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales
If you have a fear of heights – or cardio – then this one is not for you. If you only have FOMO, please read on. Mount Gower can only be reached via a guided tour, which includes hiking and mounting the 875 metre (2870 feet) high rock wall, hard-hat and all. But if you feel up to the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with forestry covered in white orchids and lichens, a picnic at the summit and, obviously, firmer glutes. WARNING: this option is not cheap, so don’t bother unless it’s pay day... or unless your weekend is being bankrolled.
Ormiston Gorge, Northern Territory
At least at the Ormiston Gorge, you can be sure that you’ve burnt off the equivalent calories you’re about to ingest, given the only way to get there is via the 8 kilometre (5 mile) Ormiston Pound Walk. First, you have to walk up a ridge in the West MacDonnell Ranges, west of Alice Springs, probably pause for quick view-perv/Insta-story, then rock-hop through the gorge like a freakin’ fairy. ATTN, nature nerds: you’ll spy black-footed rock-wallabies and birds along the way.
Warburton, Yarra Valley, Victoria
As if the Yarra Valley hadn’t been objectified enough, here’s a new way to look at her. Begin with a drive through tall-timber country via Healesville to Warburton in the Yarra Valley. Then, if you’re feeling bourgie (or if you have a baller in tow), pick up some treats from cellar door Innocent Bystander. If not, have a little foresight at Coles before you leave home. In Warburton, along the river, you’ll have way more options for picnic parking than you did for snacks.