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The Best Spots For BYO Picnics On The East Coast Of Australia

The Best Spots For BYO Picnics On The East Coast Of Australia

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Thanks to idyllic weather conditions on Australia’s east coast for most of the year, gathering friends and heading to a park for a picnic or barbecue is a beloved weekend tradition. There’s something incredibly nostalgic about dining outdoors on a glistening autumn day; from the sound of laughter to the scent of snags wafting by, there’s no better way to enjoy a warm weekend in BYO-friendly cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Read on for our pick of parks and gardens where you can enjoy an al-fresco afternoon.

Sydney: Wendy’s Secret Garden

Photo: Wendy’s Secret Garden/Wikimedia Commons

The name says it all: Wendy’s Secret Garden is indeed one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets. Situated in Lavender Bay, the private park – maintained by Wendy Whiteley in honour of her late husband, artist Brett Whiteley – is a hidden wonderland, perfect for a lazy stroll or a relaxing afternoon on the grass with friends. As well as offering jaw-dropping vistas of Sydney Harbour, the park itself contains sculptures, fig trees, and chirping parrots, owls and kookaburras.

Sydney: Shark Island

Photo: Shark Island/Wikimedia Commons

Don’t let the moniker deter you – this island is named after its shape, as opposed to hungry sharks patrolling the area! Nestled near Rose Bay in Sydney Harbour, Shark Island offers up a gazebo, picnic areas and a shallow wading beach. While it’s admittedly harder to get to than your average beach or park (you’ll need to hop a ferry or water taxi from Circular Quay) it’s totally worth it, offering up one of Sydney’s best possible spots for an afternoon tipple with one hell of a view.

Melbourne: Fitzroy Gardens

Photo: Rexness/Flickr

Though situated right by the Melbourne CBD, Fitzroy Gardens offers a serene haven from the hustle and bustle of its busy surrounds. The beautiful Victorian-era gardens span over 26 acres and are home to towering elm and blue gum trees, fountains and even a conservatory. Considering the close proximity to the city and public transport, it’s one of the best inner-city spots for drinks with friends, especially on blissfully warm, summery afternoons. 

Melbourne: Half Moon Bay

Photo: Geoff Penaluna/Flickr

In Port Phillip in Melbourne’s south-east, you’ll find the crescent-shaped Half Moon Bay. The iconic weekend haven offers up calm swimming conditions with gentle waves, meaning it’s an excellent spot for snorkelling and boating, as well as a casual swim. Interestingly, the Bay is also home to its very own shipwreck, the HMVS Cerberus, a battleship that acts as a breakwater for the area. And if you happen to recognise the cliffs lining the area, that’s because they’ve made special cameos in the original Mad Max film and Round The Twist. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can sit back and enjoy a picnic by the water.

Brisbane: Lake Precinct

Photo: Lake Precinct/Visit Brisbane

Is there a better way to spend a balmy Sunday afternoon than enjoying a couple drinks on a park, by a lake, watching the world go by? If so, we don’t really want to hear about it. The Lake Precinct within Brisbane’s Roma Street Parklands is an ideal spot for breezy afternoons, with its wide walkways and idyllic wetlands, complete with ducks and other wildlife that call the park home. Though most of Brisbane’s public areas are alcohol-free, the area is licensed between 10am – 8pm, providing you’ve packed food as well. The best part? You’re already in the CBD, even if you feel like you’re out along the coast somewhere far, far away.

Brisbane: Picnic Island Green

picnic island
Photo: Picnic Island Green/ Visit Brisbane

All right, so Picnic Island Green is not an actual island – but it sure is green,  and given the free undercover barbecue facilities on offer, it’s more than suitable for a spot of al fresco dining. Again, the area is licensed from 10am until 8pm, meaning it’s perfect for an afternoon out. The gorgeous park revels in the serenity of its secluded feel, with a huge grassy area surrounded by towering trees and an enchanting giant ficus tree, as well as a pcturesque pond.


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