Five Idyllic Spots for a Picnic in the Inner City Where You Can BYO Booze
Sydney's inner 'burbs are more than concrete deep — here you'll find stunning harbourfront parks, dog-friendly neighbourhood gems and Australia's oldest botanic garden.
September 28, 2021
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Vaccinated masses rejoice: up to five double-jabbed mates can now gather in outdoor areas together, meaning the hottest ticket in town is the humble BYO picnic. So, it's high time to grab cured meats, crudites and cold ones and make tracks to your nearest scenic park for a long, leisurely day in the sun. But you don't want to throw your picnic blanket down on any old patch of bindi-riddled grass. Sure, you may be restricted to your LGA or five-kilometre bubble, but there are still plenty of sprawling parks, stunning gardens and secluded reserves around.
We've teamed up with Rosie Spritz to round up five of the most idyllic spots in the inner city 'burbs — all of which allow you to BYO booze. Here's where to lay in the sun, crack open a pre-batched bottle of rosé spritz and tuck into some A-grade cheese.
BARANGAROO RESERVE, BARANGAROO
Named after the Cammeraygal leader and wife of Wangal man Bennelong, Barangaroo is known for both its cultural heritage and as a sprawling precinct nestled between Sydney Harbour and the city. It's also home to Barangaroo Reserve: a six-hectare swathe of rolling parklands brimming with Australian natives, meandering trails, dreamy harbour views and plenty of space to plant your vaxxed bums for a picnic. It's close to Wynyard Station and, if you haven't packed a picnic basket, Barangaroo's southern end is conveniently home to much-loved Sydney eateries like Belles Hot Chicken, Bourke Street Bakery, Ume Burger and Rivareno Gelato, all of which are currently offering takeaway options for your al fresco snack needs.
Both the oldest scientific institution in Australia (it was opened way back in 1816) and one of the oldest botanic gardens in the southern hemisphere, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is truly one of the Harbour City's top natural(ish) gems. It's also a perfect spot to set your self up for an afternoon. Why? For one, it's absolutely massive — 30 hectares in total. And, as one of the city's most prized green spaces, it is home to a jaw-dropping collection of both native and foreign species of plants, and, of course, local wildlife. And with all that space, there are myriad options for either a lively picnic with harbour views or a quiet leafy paradise all to yourselves. There are also endless amenities, so if you desperately need a coffee or (inevitably) need to go to the bathroom, you won't have to leave the park.
BEARE PARK, ELIZABETH BAY
Known mostly for its foreshore trail loved by seemingly every jogger in town, Beare Park is a stunning space to take a load off post run — or walk, or drive. While this pocket of green space is relatively small (compared with the Royal Botanic Garden anyway), it has ample space for you to spread out. It's also BYO booze-friendly and, thanks to it being a stone's throw from Potts Point, it has no shortage of sweet food options for a luxe picnic spread, including top cheese shop Penny's and go-to sandwich spots like Small's Deli and Room Ten. Kick back, sip a Rosie Spritz and daydream you're one of the local multibillionaires who owns a superyacht moored in the bay.
HARMONY PARK, SURRY HILLS
If you're on the hunt for a park that's close to the best eateries in town, look no further than Harmony Park. An ol' faithful outdoor lunch spot for the Surry Hills crowd, the park has an endless list of A-class food spots surrounding it. You can pick up a falafel-filled pita pocket at Shwarmama, a quality cup of joe from Single O, a Japanese-style katsu sando from Sandoitchi and Butter's famed fried chicken — the list of Surry Hills spots goes on and on and on. Harmony Park is also BYO-friendly (praise be), so you can cheers it up with your vaccinated pals. But, the real drawcard is all the cute pups parading around the park, so bring your pooch along, or simply coax a cute doggo over to your gathering with a fistful of leftovers.
HICKSON ROAD RESERVE, THE ROCKS
If you're looking to picnic as close as humanly possible to an Australian landmark, then Hickson Road Reserve is your spot. The park sits underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and it brings some vacay vibes with the giant palm trees lining the foreshore footpath. Not to be outdone by the bridge, there's also a pretty bloody spectacular view of Sydney Opera House and the rich blue hues of the harbour waters. Though small, it's probably the most blue-chip patch of grass to roll out a picnic blanket in the city.
Rosie Spritz is an ideal springtime sip and is available at BWS, Dan Murphy's and First Choice Liquor stores across Sydney. For more picnic inspiration, check out our guides to idyllic picnic spots where you can BYO booze in Sydney's inner west, eastern suburbs, lower north shore and northern beaches.
Top image: Barangaroo Reserve, Brooke Zotti
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