Sydney has got to be one of the most picnic friendly cities in the world. Dotted all around the place are hundreds of green spaces, a large majority of them enjoying ocean or harbour views. To save you the trouble (and to give myself a pretty awesome research assignment) I have come up with a list of the best places in town to bring along a blanket and basket.
The Bleeding Obvious
Highlights: This place is freaking huge. You could have a picnic here every Sunday afternoon for a year and still have plenty of spots left to chose from. There are half a dozen ponds, cute gardens, open fields and thick groves of trees. It’s also super close to Oxford Street so you can pick up some food and coffee on your way if you can’t find the energy to make it yourself.
Lowlights: The place is swarming with armies of stroller wielding families come the weekend. Probably best to avoid the ponds as there will always be at least one little boy throwing things at the ducks. Which reminds me, THE BIRDS! So many birds! They all want your food and will do whatever it takes to get it from your grasp. Avoid ibis birds at all costs.
Highlights: The 30 minute ferry ride over offers a convenient opportunity to pick the house you’ll live in once you become a millionaire. The island itself is a giant playground for adults. There are so many weird old buildings scattered around the place, you probably won’t get a chance to explore them all before the ferry home arrives. Also, some genius recently realised that the island’s awesome factor could be increased 200% with the addition of a bar.
Lowlights: The bar is expensive. It may lure you in with the smell of wood fired pizza, but stay strong!
Highlights: Here you can expect the most amazing view of Bondi. It can get fairly busy by the water, but North Bondi is rarely as choked up as the main beach. There are a few cafes nearby, as well as an incredible look out just up the road. Plus setting up camp on this nice grassy spot ensures your day at the beach won’t involve sand in your food or nether regions.
Lowlights: This patch of grass is damn popular during Summer. Unless you’re here at the crack of dawn you probably won’t get a spot. Also there’s no shade so bring sunscreen or prepare to be mistaken for a lobster.
Highlights: Remember getting the ferry to Taronga Zoo as a kid? You were probably too excited for the animals to notice the secluded beach just around the corner from the wharf. Once you get to the wharf take to path on your left down to Whiting Beach. Although on the harbour and fairly close to the city, the water is surprisingly clear. The beach is bordered by dense bush and there are even remnants of indigenous art to found. Top that off with panoramic harbour views and you have yourself a pretty sweet spot.
Lowlights: Your view may be blocked by a group of rich jerks who park their fancy pants boats nearby.
Highlights: The water is beautiful, so beautiful in fact that this is a very popular spot for snorkelers and divers. The bay is lined with hundreds of big rocks that serve nicely as a platform on which to soak up sun, have a bite to eat and watch the water. It’s much nicer than setting up camp on the sand, which is usually covered in seaweed.
Lowlights: If you’re coming from Clovelly, beware! Battling the giant flight of stairs in 30+ degree heat is not fun. Come via Coogee instead, it’s not so steep, a little more shady and there’s a nice lookout just up from Dunningham Reserve.
Highlights: Situated on the tip of South Head, Hornby Lighthouse and the surrounding national park offers an amazing view of both the harbour and the ocean. Getting there is a mini adventure, with the scenic walk from Watson’s Bay taking just over an hour.
Lowlights: On your way you may notice Lady Bay, one of Sydney’s oldest nudie beaches. You may think that sounds cool now, but the bathers there probably won’t be as hot as you’d hope.
So there you have my picks, please recommend some more!