Feeling more adventurous than the local park, but not quite up for an all-out adventure? Here are six of the best adventure picnic spots across Australia that may not have popped up on your radar.
1. Wineglass Bay
Location: Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
Cost: $12 park entry fee per person (or $24 per car)
One of the top 10 beaches in the world? Say no more.
With its picture perfect white sand, sapphire-blue waters and pink granite rocks, it’s easy to see why Wineglass Bay is regularly voted as one of the world’s best beaches. Located in Freycinet National Park on the East Coast of Tasmania, Wineglass Bay is a scenic 2.5 hour drive from Hobart and a must-do day trip for any Hobart long-weekender.
The beach itself is only a 4km walk from the car park. Follow the path up to the Instagram-worthy lookout, then wander down to the beach to find a picnic spot and go for a swim. Once you eventually tear yourself away, you can return the way you came, or if you’re prepared, continue onto Hazards Beach Circuit for a scenic 11km walk.
Pay your entry fee at the visitor centre just before you drive into the car park.
Hot tip! Visit the Freycinet Marine Farm en route back to Hobart for fresh local oysters scallops and crayfish washed down with a glass of local Tasmanian wine.
2. Shark Island
Location: Sydney Harbour, NSW
Entry fees: $7 fee to NSW National Parks to visit the island
A picnic spot with 360-degree views of Sydney Harbour. Nice.
Roll out the rug, unpack the cheese and watch the harbour life float by. Shark Island is the perfect place to wow out of towners on a bluebird Sydney day.
Used as an animal quarantine station and naval depot until 1975, the island takes its name from its shark-like shape. These days, it’s solely a recreational park. Located 1km from Rose Bay, the island is accessible by a ferry that departs Circular Quay or private water taxi.
It’s possible the island will be reserved for a function, so it’s best to book ahead.
3. Providential Point
Location: Royal National Park, NSW
Entry fees: Entry into the Royal National Park is $11 for a day pass
Opening hours: 7:30am – 8:30pm
Sandstone cliff tops, breathtaking views and whale spotting. What’s not to love?
About an hour drive from Sydney in the Royal National Park, the spectacular Providential Point is an idyllic picnic spot.
The beautifully smooth sandstone has been weathered down by wind over time making it the perfect backdrop to lunch with a view. Only a 45 minute easy return walk from the Wattamolla car park, you can head straight to the cliffs, or get your daypack on and walk the beautiful 10.4km Wattamolla to Marley Beach Circuit. Nearly the whole circuit has views of the water and with plenty of spots for a dip at Big Marley and Little Marley beach it’s definitely worth packing your swimmers if it’s warm. Keep an eye out for whales too.
Check out our previous post on exploring Wattamolla.
4. Abbotsford Convent
Location: Abbotsford, Victoria
Entry fees: Entry is free but you will have to pay for parking
Opening hours: Sunday – Monday, 7.30am – 9.30pm, Tuesday – Saturday, 7.30am – 10.30pm
A sanctuary in the city.
The Abbotsford Convent is the perfect intersection of inner-city outdoors, history, culture and convenience.
Added to the national heritage list earlier this year, this site on the Yarra River was home to one of the biggest convents in Australia for over 100 years. Now it’s a multi-arts precinct and home to over 100 creative studios. Surrounded by the Collingwood Children’s Farm and an abundance of maintained gardens and lawns, it’s the perfect place to explore the inner city or spend an afternoon sprawled out in the sun.
Hot Tip: The convent holds a farmers’ market on the 4th Saturday of the month. Stock up on local produce, including; cheeses, meats, smoked fish and freshly baked sourdough, then head for the lawn.
5. National Rhododendron Gardens
Location: Dandenong Ranges, Victoria
Entry fees: Free!
Opening hours: 10am – 5pm daily with last entry at 4:30pm
A magical garden with no shortage of secluded picnic spots.
Nestled in the Dandenong Ranges, just outside Olinda and only an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the National Rhododendron Gardens are the perfect spot to head for a day trip out of the big smoke.
Filled with an abundance of brightly coloured rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, cherries, and daffodils you’ll keep finding picnic spots better than the last. There are also many themed gardens within the gardens, so be sure to explore! One of the most spectacular is the Japanese gardens, which used to be home to the Japanese cherry blossom themed festival.
If you’re looking to make a day out of it, tackle the 6.7km Olinda Falls circuit walk starting at Mechanics Reserve.
6. Three Falls Grand Hike
Location: Morialta, South Australia
Entry fee: Free!
Stretch your pins and get your waterfall fix.
Less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide, The Three Falls Grand Hike is a rugged 7.3km circuit hike with – you guessed it – three waterfalls. It also boasts dramatic cliffs, gorges, and epic views over the Adelaide Plains and the River Torrens. It’s no walk in the park, though. There are a number of steep sections so you’ll really have to earn that mid-hike picnic.
Note: The park is accessible by both car and Adelaide metro bus (routes H30S and H33).
Feature photo by @terencechinphotography