Spring is here, the weather’s warming up and now is the perfect time to add a picnic or six to your calendar.
While often overlooked as an activity, the humble picnic provides the perfect opportunity to soak in some sunlight while catching up with friends and family in the most relaxing of all environments. Not only is there health-giving Vitamin D to be gained, there’s also the chance to explore the countryside for great picnic locations. Another positive from getting out into the sun for a while is the creation of serotonin, known to boost mood and help people to feel calm and focused. Whether it’s a lunch break taken outside where you’re watching the waves roll in at the beach, the birds going about their days in the local park, or the ebb and flow of a city and its inhabitants, the very act of getting outside and just “being present in nature” can calm the mind.
As Buddha reflected in his teachings: “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live in the present moment, wisely and earnestly.”
When it comes to picnics – there are no rules.
They can be a solo affair, something for couples, or a huge family gathering. The options are endless. The food choices are the same – as simple as a sandwich or as extensive as a blanket full of hot, cold, sweet and savoury food options. Bring a thermos and make your own tea or coffee on the spot, or bring an esky and partake in something colder, alcoholic or not.
As for locations to visit, the team at Tourism & Events Queensland scouted a few top locations in Queensland and the top 16 are:
- Mount Nebo, Brisbane: Enjoy the views, bushland and rainforest surrounds of D’Aguilar National Park.
- New Farm Park, Brisbane: Rose gardens, seasonal flowers, and wide-open green spaces with poinciana and jacaranda trees a plenty are on offer at this riverside location.
- Ravensbourne National Park: High on the Scenic Rim the Gus Beutel Lookout offers picnic tables, panoramic views and easy access to the park’s four walking tracks.
- Picnic Point, Toowoomba: A highlight of the Lockyer Valley, Picnic Point Square or Heller Street Park are great locations for a picnic, and as an extra bonus for families with youngsters, both have large kids play areas.
- Eungella National Park, Mackay: In the mountains west of Mackay, Eungella National Park offers the chance to spot a platypus at Broken River. The site offers a bush picnic
- The Strand, Townsville: At the base of Castle Hill, The Strand offers a range of picnic areas to explore, and even some local markets nearby to stock up on supplies.
- Cedar Creek Falls, Whitsundays: Drive 20 minutes from Airlie Beach to Cedar Creek Falls and you’ll find a perfect picnic spot by the waterfall. Pack a snorkel and see if you can spot a turtle in the waterhole while you’re there.
- Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane: By the river in Brisbane Howard Smith Wharves offers green spaces, cold beers, a wide range of food, live entertainment and more. If your picnic falls short on supplies, the options for top ups are wide.
- Queens Park, Ipswich: Queensland’s oldest park has seen millions of picnics over the years. If nature’s your thing, the Ipswich Nature Centre offers the chance to see endangered bilbies and spinifex hopping mice, along with an aviary full of colourful birds.
- Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island: Feel like a ferry ride? Pack a picnic and catch the boat across Moreton Bay to North Stradbroke Island where you’ll be spoilt for picnic locations.
- Quart Pot Creek, Stanthorpe: Wineries, dairies, orchards, and picnic spots! Stanthorpe offers plenty for the visitor, including plenty of shady grassed space on the edge of Quart Pot Creek.
- Kondalilla Falls, Montville: Pack a picnic in your backpack and wander down the trail to the swimming hole at the bottom of these beautiful falls or stay at the top and enjoy the grassed areas, creek and water hole just 100m from the car park.
- Daisy Hill Conservation Park, Brisbane: Head a little north of the Gold Coast and you’ll find Daisy Hill Conservation Park. It’s a space dedicated to the great outdoors with plenty of picnic tables, and even a free Koala Centre where you can catch up with our furry friends.
- Paronella Park, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef: You will find this picnic spot near Mena Falls, a short drive away from Cairns. Complete with a Spanish-style castle it’s a picnic spot with a difference.
- Carlo Sandblow, Rainbow Beach: Spot whales while you picnic during whale season, or marvel at the skills of the hang gliders mastering the air currents at this popular Rainbow Beach hideaway.
- Bulcock Beach, Caloundra: Grassed areas, picnic tables, board walk, calm water, rockpools, children’s play areas, cafes, shopping and more are all to be found within easy reach of Caloundra’s famous Bulcock Beach.
- Bell Park, Emu Park: on the water across from the Keppels and a Botanic Gardens Reserve, Bell Park is a heritage-listed park at Hill Street, Emu Park on the Central Coast of Queensland, Australia.