Spring has finally sprung across the capital so what better time than to embrace the outdoors and go on a picnic. The territory is brimming with picturesque picnic spots for the whole family to enjoy, so head outside, lay down the picnic blanket, relax and soak up the sunshine.
Here’s our pick of the best spots.
Weston Park in Yarralumla is one of Canberra’s hidden gems and arguably one of the most picturesque locations for a picnic, barbeque, or family day out across the capital. This secluded park on Lake Burley Griffin’s western peninsula offers a beach, picnic tables, electric barbeques, cycle paths, an adventure playground, and gorgeous views of Black Mountain Tower. What more could you ask for?
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Immerse yourself in nature at the Australian National Botanic Gardens situated on the north-eastern side of Black Mountain Peninsula. This heritage-listed, 90-hectare (220-acre) botanic garden is home to the largest living collection of native Australian flora and is brimming with luscious plants, green lawns, walking trails, and picnic tables peppered throughout the grounds. If you’re looking for the ideal spot for a picnic, relaxing stroll, or family day out, this is it.
Picnic-goers and nature-lovers will be spoiled for choice at the National Arboretum. Spanning 250 hectares (617 acres) of stunning undulating landscape, this outdoor sanctuary is home to 44,000 trees, nearly 100 forests, a bonsai collection, themed gardens, outdoor sculptures, and more than 20km of multi-use trails. Be sure to visit the Himalayan Cedar Forest barbeque area or head to the peak of Dairy Farmers Hill, which offers 360-degree views over Lake Burley Griffin, the Brindabellas, and Black Mountain Tower.
Soak up the sun and picnic amongst the sweet-smelling roses in the Senate Gardens at Old Parliament House. The largest of the Old Parliament House Rose gardens, the Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden, was planted in 1931 and is home to more than 40,000 roses. This stunning spot boasts landscaped gardens, luscious lawns, seating pavilions and walking paths.
Lennox Gardens, situated on the southern shores of Lake Burley Griffin, offers the ideal setting for a picnic, featuring green lawns and spectacular views of Black Mountain, the Brindabella Ranges, and the city centre. The grounds are also home to two landscaped gardens from Japan and China. One of these is the Canberra Nara Peace Park, which features several memorials and monuments that represent the capital’s friendship with our sister city Nara, including a Japanese themed garden, traditional wooden gate and gazebo as well as iconic cherry blossom trees. The other is the Beijing Garden, designed in the imperial Chinese garden style of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). It features a traditional Chinese welcome gate, Chinese stone sculptures and a pavilion.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on the fringe of Namadgi National Park offers the ultimate bush escape within a short drive of the city centre. Here, you’ll find countless areas to picnic while you watch the local wildlife in their natural habitat and admire the surrounding native Australian flora blooming around you. Nearby, you’ll find Corin Forest, an outdoor adventure playground with slides, forests, lots of space to play, plus picnic tables aplenty, ensuring a great day out for all ages.
National Gallery Sculpture Garden
The National Gallery Sculpture Garden sits between the National Gallery of Australia and the shores of Lake Burley Griffin and is one of the most serene places to picnic. This secluded garden is home to nearly 30 sculptures scattered around its grounds and is full of mature eucalyptus and casuarina trees, acacias, grevilleas, and ponds. Bring your picnic blanket and pore over these wonderful pieces of work created by Australian and international artists.
The Cotter Dam site is one of Canberra’s most popular recreational areas and is located along the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. The grassy Cotter Reserve and the nearby Casuarina Sands are surrounded by beautiful bushland and offer barbeque areas, picnic tables, walking tracks, swimming, playgrounds and loads of green space and shade for a great day out with the family. Keep a look out for local wildlife including emus, kangaroos, as well as platypus swimming in the river.