AHH, THE PICNIC… IS THERE A BETTER WAY TO COMBINE GREAT FOOD WITH THE GREAT OUTDOORS, AND ENJOY SOME QUALITY TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHILE YOU’RE AT IT? PACK A BASKET, A BLANKET AND MAYBE EVEN A FOOTY, AND PUT ONE OF THESE SPOTS INTO GOOGLE MAPS – WE’RE GOING PICNICKING.
Jabiru Island Park, Paradise Point
Little-known Jabiru Island Park is a picnicking family’s paradise. The waterfront park includes a kids’ playground, sheltered picnic tables, barbecues, modern toilets and a swimming enclosure. Plus, the nearby Phil Hill Environmental Park has a great nature boardwalk for spotting local wildlife.
Broadwater Parklands, Southport
Despite its location in the heart of Southport, the waterfront Broadwater Parklands feel a world away from the hustle and bustle. With a world-class children’s playground (bouncy pillow included!), picnic tables and barbecues, rock pools and shady trees, the Parklands offer great views down the coast and across the Coral Sea to Main Beach and Sea World.
Macintosh Island Park, Surfers Paradise
Macintosh Island Park is a sanctuary in the centre of Surfers, characterised by lush green trees, manicured lawns and a few interesting residents. Between their free-roaming peacock population and the local Bigfoot (who can be found sleeping in his cave), it’s hard to believe that Macintosh Park is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the high-rises of Surfers Paradise. Plus, it’s got a playground, picnic tables and shelters, toilets and plenty of other facilities that make it the perfect spot to lay your picnic blanket in Surfers.
Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Benowa
For the perfect balance of sun and shade, flora and fauna, the Gold Coast’s own Botanic Gardens are the place to be. Formerly known as Rosser Park, the Gardens offer 31 hectares of picnic paradise, with boardwalks, playgrounds, a dog off-leash area and a number of gardens (including one full of butterflies!).
Cascade Gardens, Broadbeach
It’s been labelled one of the best barbecue spots on the Gold Coast, but Cascade Gardens are a fantastic spot for a picnic, too. Its riverside location makes it a perfect place to lie back and relax, and an enormous playground for the kids to run rampant in. After lunch, take a stroll along the Kokoda Memorial Walk, which takes pedestrians through tropical jungles and beyond the Gardens towards the Gold Coast Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Ken Mansbridge Park, Mermaid Beach
Named in honour of local lifeguard Ken Mansbridge, Ken Mansbridge Park on Mermaid Beach is the ultimate seaside picnic spot. It’s quiet and picturesque, shaded by the tall pine trees that are more typically associated with Burleigh Heads to the south. A small exercise park, playground and beach volleyball court provide afternoon entertainment, but don’t feel pressured to fill the time with activities as this park is perfect for surf and people watching – whatever takes your fancy.
Mick Schamburg Park, Miami
Mick Schamburg Park is a wildly popular wedding destination and taking one look at the view, it’s not hard to see why. The grassy hilltop – with its distinctive circular lookout spot – makes a great place for a sunny picnic, followed up by a hike along one of the nearby walking tracks.
John Laws Park, Burleigh Heads
Otherwise known as ‘Burleigh Hill’, John Laws Park is the ultimate GC sundowner spot. Find a patch of grass, or a picnic table if you’re lucky, and set up to watch the sun set over our beloved Gold Coast – from your Burleigh Hill vantage point, you can see all the way up to Surfers Paradise. You don’t even have to pack a picnic, because nearby Justin Lane does bike-delivered pizza right to John Laws Park.
Deodar Park, Burleigh Waters
John Laws Park certainly offers a world-class view, but if you want to stay away from the crowds try heading inland to Deodar Park and the Burleigh Knoll Conservation Park. You’ll come across some pristine picnic spots. It’s still near the water and a favourite for dog owners and nature lovers alike (kangaroos are commonly spotted here), while the kids will enjoy the nearby playground and large grassy areas to run around on.
Tarrabora Reserve, Palm Beach
There’s seriously no better place for a beach picnic than Tarrabora Reserve. This natural parkland sits right on the waterfront of Currumbin Creek, and is a refuge to a variety of native wildlife, particularly birds and reptiles. Enjoy your picnic between ocean swims or try your hand at some fishing – you might even catch your lunch! Plus, the neighbouring Palm Beach Parklands have an awesome pirate ship playground to keep the kids entertained for hours.
What’s in the basket?
Here’s the scout team’s ideas for what you should throw in your picnic basket – in no particular order!
- Gooey brie cheese
- Water crackers
- Dip, dip, dip
- Fresh fruit
- Mozzie spray
- Massive rug/blanket
- Beach games – even just a ball
- Alcohol (of course)