Our Best Beaches For A Summer Picnic From Around The Country

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Summer in Australia is a truly glorious time of year, and one way to escape the chaos and pressures of modern life is to head to a beautiful, sun-filled picnic with a picnic. From state to state, region to region, there are many places where you can spread a blanket on the sand and enjoy some tucker along with a swim. Here’s a few of our favourite places around the country to consider.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Queensland

Our Pick For Best Romantic Beach

Consistently in the running as Australia’s  “best beach”, this seven kilometre stretch of pure white sand is a Queensland tourism icon. It has crystal clear water on one side and lush tropical rainforest on the other, and it has been spared from development to ensure it retains its “get-away-from-it-all” feel. That means you can’t actually stay on Whitehaven, but you can do a day trip on a boat which will stop at the beach for at least a few hours. Other options are to hire a “bareboat”, or a sail-yourself yacht, with the ultimate being a champagne helicopter tour which drops you at Whitehaven for a couple of hours complete with a bottle of bubbly and a picnic. 

Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia

Our Pick For Best Sunset Beach 

No trip to Western Australia is complete without catching a west coast, over ocean sunset, and Cottesloe is the perfect place to do it. Located on Marine Parade, on its own it’s a truly beautiful beach with a colonial era surf club standing sentinel over the beautiful strip of sand and azure blue water, lifesavers practicing their drills, Perth’s beautiful people sunning themselves, and children building sandcastles on the beach. Another perk is that parking is free and there’s a train station is 600m from the beach if you don’t fancy driving. Cottesloe also has a picnic area, toilets and change rooms, plenty of shaded areas and a shop selling drinks and light snacks. Nearby are beachfront restaurants and cafés, and a couple of pubs to round off the perfect day with a cold beer. 

Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth, Western Australia

Our Pick For Best Snorkelling And Diving Beach 

Ningaloo Marine Park is a World Heritage-listed site located approximately half way up the West Australian coastline, around 1250 kilometres north of Perth, and nestled in its crystal clear waters is the world’s largest fringing reef; a 260 kilometre stretch of coral reef which is home to more than 460 species of fish and 200 species of coral. Just a few include turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales and the elusive whale shark, with between 300 and 500 visiting each year. Ningaloo is the only fringing barrier reef on the western side of the continent, and snorkelers can walk directly to the reef from the beach on the north-west cape. As the park is remote you'll need to bring all your supplies, but there's nothing quite like combining a picnic with a snorkel in one of Australia's most famous spots.

Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast Queensland

Our Pick For Best Surfing Beach

The Gold Coast is blessed with more than its fair share of gorgeous beaches, but if you love to surf it’s hard to beat this one. Snapper Rocks is a small rocky outcrop on the northern side of Point Danger and the southern end of Rainbow Bay, and as surfing goes, it’s a point break forming the first part of the man-made Superbank which extends from Snapper Rocks Point, through Rainbow Bay, Greenmount Point, Coolangatta Beach, and Kirra, for around two kilometres. The Superbank is renowned as one of the most consistent breaks in Queensland, which is why it hosts the World Surf Leagues’ Quiksilver and Roxy Pros each year. The quality of the surf has also improved considerably since the 1990s, and is now regarded as being of legendary quality, creating one of the longest, hollowest and best waves in the world. If you don’t want to BYO food, relax over lunch, a coffee or a beer at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club; it’s also the best place to view the break.  

East Point Reserve, Darwin, Northern Territory

Our Pick For Best BBQ Beach 

How many places in the world can you fire up a barbie, spot some wallabies and watch a fantastic sunset all in one outing? The answer is very few, except for East Point Reserve in Darwin. Located on Fannie Bay and at 200 hectares, it’s the largest park in or near the city, coming with the bonus of a safe, year-round swimming in salt water Lake Alexander and extensive walking and cycling paths. It’s also home to Darwin’s Military Museum. With picnic and free BBQ facilities set among a landscaped environment, East Point Reserve has a seemingly endless supply of great spots to enjoy a day out with friends and family; and its sunsets are legendary.   

Shelly Beach, Sydney, New South Wales

Our Pick For Best Family Beach

Locals on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, which stretch from Manly in the south to Palm Beach in the north, have known and loved this little slice of paradise for years. While most visitors cram themselves onto world famous Manly Beach at the end of the Corso, a short and easy 10 minute walk away is Shelly Beach on Bower Street. It’s a protected little bay with beautiful white sand and with no waves it is perfectly safe for everyone, including kids, to go swimming. The beach also has all the facilities you could ask for including changing rooms with showers, water fountains, plentiful if pricey parking on the headland, free gas BBQ’s and decent shade. And if you’re not organised with picnic food, right next to the beach there’s a cool cafe called The Boathouse which offers breakfast and lunch, and takeaway coffee. 

Breakout Box - Picnic Essentials

* Utensils, plates and cups

* Corkscrew/bottle opener 

* Extra cooler bags with ice or ice packs 

* Sunscreen for daytime and insect repellant for after dark

* Food storage containers and bags

* Folding chairs

* Cushions and a large picnic blanket

* Napkins, paper towels and Wet Wipes

* Umbrella or tent for the kids

* Mobile phone & map


Picnic Tips 

Remember the rules of good food safety when transporting or eating outdoors, and avoid foods which will melt easily or go off quickly.

Take plenty of fresh water with you in case there isn’t a source close by, or it isn’t potable.

Never feed local wildlife, including seagulls.

If you are planning to fire up a portable BBQ, check that it’s okay to do so in the local area, also check any fire bans for the day.

Dispose of all rubbish properly using local bins if provided or taking it with you when you leave.

Be thoughtful and remember you are sharing public space with other picnickers!


Joanna Hall


  • 4
    Help Please

    Posted by Charlie White on 27th Jan 2021

    Can you do a list for the Sunshine Coast? We're going there in February for a romantic trip, Thanks

  • 4
    Nice Article

    Posted by Shirley C on 27th Jan 2021

    Maybe you should have mantioned something about social distancing?