The Localist

Favourite picnic spots in Sydney


Many people who live in Sydney have come from near and far, lured by the lifestyle, the weather, the beaches, job opportunities, or an Australian partner. Others have no choice but to leave their home countries for reasons we can’t possibly imagine, and their harrowing journey ends here.

Most of my friends in Sydney, like me, put down their roots here in their twenties or thirties and now live without the comfort and convenience of an immediate or extended family. Some of these friends are now starting their own families, and have become acutely aware of the absence of grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles.

So we make do, we reach out to kindred spirits and we forge close friendships. Our friends here become like family. We have one family that we are born into, and another special family that we create ourselves.

One of my favourite ways to pass the time with my Sydney family is to grab a blanket, a mix of cheeses, fruits, dips, olives, bread and drinks and head to an outdoor festival, a park or a beach for a picnic.  It’s easy to while away a few hours catching up, grazing, resting, listening to music, or taking a dip in the ocean if we’re by the ocean or the harbour.

Here are four of my favourite picnic spots in Sydney:


1. The Domain during summer festival season

We always head to the free outdoor concerts that are held as part of Sydney Festival in January. If we want a good spot, we have to make our way to the Domain a few hours before the first performer starts to mark out our territory with strategically placed blankets, bags and shoes. Otherwise we squeeze ourselves in amidst the sea of picnic-goers, families, music lovers and other stragglers who can’t resist a freebie.

Address: The Domain is located in Sydney’s CBD (downtown) between Art Gallery and Hospital Roads.


2. Milk Beach, Vaucluse

The Sydney suburb Vaucluse is jam-packed full of my favourite semi-secluded harbour beaches, and if the area wasn’t so difficult to get to on public transport, I’m sure more people would descend upon this area, much to the dismay of locals. Milk Beach, with its incredible views of Sydney Harbour, is one of my favourite beaches in Vaucluse to head to with my picnic basket in hand.

Address: 52 Vaucluse Rd, Vaucluse 2030


3.  Parsley Bay, Vaucluse

Yes, another beach and park area in Vaucluse. A lot of people bring blankets and picnic baskets and compete for the shady edges of the grassy patch around the beach. We prefer to take the path that runs alongside the right of the beach, climb up over the rocky boulders that face the water and lay our blanket down. We shuffle around a bit until we find a comfortable nook on the hard, rocky surface, and then pause to take in our surroundings.

Address: Parlsey Bay Road, Vaucluse, 2030


4. Bicentennial Park in Sydney Olympic Park

We come to this parkland sometimes, just me and my fiancé, to be surrounded by families; families that aren’t ours, yet the atmosphere created by all of these other families gives us that same sense of comfort that family gives. People from all backgrounds and cultures come here and really settle in – chairs, tables, tents, bbqs. The smell of sizzling spicy meat kebabs always wafts our way, and we breathe it in as our mouths water. We wander around the lake, enjoying the wildlife, then hire bikes and ride alongside kids as they race each other, screaming with delight.

Address: 8 Australia Ave, Sydney Olympic Park





Images. All photos by Sally Langford.

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