The Best Parks In Perth For A Picnic
Can you blame us for loving a picnic? We have some pretty glorious weather, picturesque parks and some of the best beaches in the world. With plenty of unique locations perfect for a sunny day feast, it’s time to grab your picnic rug, some friends and a set of Finska.
South Beach Recreation Reserve
South Beach is one of the best beaches in Perth, so it seems only fitting to set up shop at the park just behind it. The beach itself is sheltered by the elements, making the water almost lagoon-like, keeping you protected from the big west coast waves. Once you’ve had a dip, set up a blanket and pull out the snacks at the reserve. Luscious green grass, plenty of parking and lots of shade from nearby trees. Shoot some hoops at the basketball court and let the kids play on the playground, and bring some snags to cook up on the BBQ facilities.
Hidden between Graham Farmer Freeway and Claisebrook cove you’ll find Madalup Park. Positioned on the Swan River, you get the best of it all; city views without being in the hustle and bustle, waterfront location without all the beach-goers and bushland without the regional drive. The wide-open space with plenty of nooks and crannies means it’s easy to find your own spot amongst the park without being on top of your picnicking neighbours.
South Perth Foreshore
The stretch of green along the South Perth Foreshore is home to some of the most famous and beautiful views of the city skyline. Whether you want to base yourself right in the action by the observation deck near the Scented Garden or if you want to place yourself down at McCallum Park, there are plenty of picturesque spots to relax and watch the world pass you by. Activities are plenty in this active and dynamic location. Have a crack at the surf cats, hire out a kayak and cruise past the dolphins on the Swan River, or test your skill at a game of ultimate frisbee. After you have worked up your appetite, set up your spread and soak up the city.
The Zig Zag
Gooseberry Hill’s scenic Zig Zag Drive offers some views of the Swan Coastal Plain that are unparalleled. It’s a steep, almost-3km one-way drive that winds down a very narrow road, with plenty of hairpin turns and dynamic changes of scenery around every corner. Just make sure to keep things slow and steady rather than 2 Fast 2 Furious… it only just reopened, after all. Borrow your mate’s ute, chuck a bed in the back and you have got yourself a private dinner party with a million dollar view and all the creature comforts from home.
John Oldham Park
Just off Mounts Bay Road amid the hustle and bustle there is a secret oasis immersed with greenery. There are plenty of walking and cycling paths in the area but it is still surprisingly quiet and perfect for a midday rendezvous. Ideal for those who work in the city and need a spot for a sneaky spot to snack, unwind and maybe even take a little nap in the sunshine. Chill out in front of the pond and watch the ducks cruise along the water, embrace your inner child at the outdoor jungle gym or cook up a burger at the outdoor BBQ spot.
Let’s paint you a picture of an idyllic summer’s day in Perth. Wake up nice and early, pack a picnic in a backpack, and load the bikes on the car. Head to Scarborough Beach, grab a smoothie from one of the local cafés and cycle your way along the coastal pathway, working up an appetite and admiring the west coast views. Stop in at Clarko Reserve, settle in for the afternoon enjoying your yummy spread of food, kick the footy in the park and go for a dip in the ocean. When you’ve got a little bit of energy left, pack up and mosey your way back to the car in Scarborough, stopping at the seasonal afternoon markets along the way. Tell us a day better spent, we’ll wait.
Head to Chidlow, just 50 minutes east of Perth, to find the expansive Lake Leneschaultia. You can hire canoes or just walk off the white sandy beaches and hit the pontoon. Explore on foot via the 3km walking trail, fire up a barbecue or hit Reflections Café right on the water.
John Forrest National Park
In just a short 45-minute drive from Perth you can escape suburbia and step out into the great outback. Filled with spectacular trails for any skill level, it’s also home to two of our favourite waterfall hikes in Perth. The Eagle View Walk is a 15km loop offering beautiful native plant life, glistening waterfalls and up-close wildlife. Take the trail away from the main picnic area and down through the Jane Brook valley, as you come up and out of the west end you’ll find yourself standing over a boulder overlooking the great Australian bushland and nestled right in the centre lies the Perth city skyscrapers. And of course, no trip to John Forrest would be complete without a post-hike beer at the Tavern afterwards, alongside the furry locals.
Look, you didn’t think we’d really leave Kings Park off the list, did you? It’s not through chance that this park has become our inner-city jewel: it’s huge, it’s got views, it’s got manicured lawns, it’s got pristine bushland, it’s got great play areas. We get it! It’s a winner on just about all fronts.
There’s nothing that makes us feel like a real, proper city like an inner-city park – and Hyde Park will do the trick quite nicely. We’ve spent many long afternoons lounging under the shade of the plane trees, whether it’s been nursing a hangover or at a family-friendly barbecue (por que no los dos?). Accompanied by a coffee and loaded toast from Chu Bakery, making friends with passing pooches – there are worse ways to spend an afternoon, that’s for sure.
Cottesloe Civic Centre Grounds
The leafy suburbs of Cottesloe are not wanting for lush green spaces, but the Civic Centre Grounds are surely the cream of the crop. From the expansive Main Lawn, to the Secret Garden, Sunken Lawn and Old Tank Stand, it’s a stunning location that does have public barbecues – just get down early on the weekends. If you really want to take things up a notch, pick up a cheeky takeaway picnic box from North Street Store en route…
There are many great spots along the river near the suburb of Dalkeith to pull up for a picnic, and it’s hard to go past Beaton Park, home to the Jo Wheatley All Abilities Play Space. There’s picnic facilities galore, and it’s a brilliant spot to bring kids and adults of all ages and abilities.
Photo by @cityofnedlands
For unparalleled views of Fremantle a trip up Monument Hill is a must. The historic site will also give you a look at the harbour, Garden and Rottnest Island and the Darling Ranges. Make sure you to pay your respects at the magnificent Fremantle War Memorial too.
Araluen Botanic Park
Nestled amongst the hills of Roleystone, Araluen Botanical Park is one of the most picturesque manicured gardens in the state, if not the country. Open every day of the year, the park features an incredible array of exotic plants, landscaped to peaceful perfection and is a must-visit during wildflower season.
Are you even from Perth if every few weekends, your Instagram stories aren’t clogged up with someone’s day trip to Serpentine Falls? The Falls are the star attraction of the Serpentine National Park, nestled at the foot of the Darling Scarp – as the winter rains arrive, water cascades down 15 metre tall granite outcrops into a rock-lined pool below, turning it into a popular swimming and picnicking spot. Make sure to get there early: the falls are open from 8:30am to 5pm daily, but often reach capacity before 10. But once you’ve found a spot, you can enjoy the picturesque surrounds all day – plus there are heaps of native animals in the area, like Western Grey roos, echidna, mardo, quenda, brushtail possum, western brush-wallaby and more.