Perth is a city that’s best experienced outdoors. With blue skies and sun for most of the year, we’ve got every reason to get out and explore the city’s natural beauty – one picnic-perfect spot at a time. Pull out a blanket, grab your favourite snacks and head to one of these picturesque spots for some sunshine and fresh air.
Kings Park, Perth
On the western edge of the CBD, this park is a popular choice for its views of the city and the Swan River. Though its 990 acres are primarily dedicated to natural bushland, wildflower beds and discovery walks, there’s still plenty of lawn to lay your blanket out. Stake your claim to a patch of grass near the State War Nemorial for the best view of the snaking river below, or perch yourself on the embankment along Fraser Avenue to marvel at the city skyline. A packed picnic is recommended, as the only barbeque facilities come sans view at the Lotterywest Family Area, Pines Picnic Area, Saw Avenue Picnic Area and the May Drive Parkland.
Araluen Botanic Park, Roleystone
Once a youth holiday camp, this revitalised botanic garden 45 minutes south-east of the CBD entices visitors with its wisteria-covered pergola and beds of roses, camellias, and tulips (all 150,000 of them). Araluen Botanic Park’s 34.5 acres of manicured gardens are at their best in spring, but if you miss the flower show, the eucalypt forest and bubbling stream are just as worthy of a visit. You can BYO feast (the barbeques facilities are free with entry) or grab a meal at the on-site cafe (which is housed in a log cabin dating back to the ’30s). Admission to the park ranges from $10 for kids to $45 for a family.
Hyde Park, Perth
Built around a large, duck-filled pond, Hyde Park is an oasis in the middle of three lively inner-city suburbs. Bordering North Perth, Highgate and Northbridge, the park is always abuzz with wedding and birthday parties, family groups, and locals walking their dogs. Weekends are prime picnicking time under the century-old plane and fig trees, so head down early to avoid the crowds. Stop in at Chu Bakery across the road for picture-perfect French pastries, or load up on supplies from nearby Mary Street Bakery, Wines of While and Boo Too.
Cottesloe Beach Foreshore, Cottesloe
The foreshore at Cottesloe Beach is an iconic Perth picnic location. With some of the state’s finest views, the grassed terraces that extend from either side of Indiana Tea House are a great place to sit, eat and watch a WA beach sunset. Last-minute picnic-goers can stop across the road for fish’n’chips from Amberjacks, or step things up with woodfired pizza and a bottle of pét-nat from Canteen. Parking is available nearby, and dogs are welcome to join on the grass.
Serpentine Falls, Serpentine
The serene Serpentine Falls is worth the one-hour drive from the CBD. There’s a grassy picnic area – complete with picnic tables, gas barbeques and wildflowers – that’s shaded under a canopy of tall trees, ideal for summer days. In the late afternoon, friendly kangaroos can be seen grazing on the grass by the barbeques. Just a short walk from the car park and picnic area is the cascading Serpentine River. Cooling off in the waterhole below is permitted, but be careful entering and exiting via the slippery rock shelf.
South Perth Foreshore, South Perth
This seemingly endless expanse of riverside has plenty of picnic real estate. Looking directly across the Swan River to Elizabeth Quay and the city, the South Perth Foreshore also has prime views. Soak up the sunshine on a quiet patch of grass to the west or east of the bustling ferry terminal, or enjoy the buzz closer to the newly redeveloped playground and cafe at the end of Mends Street. Parking can be scarce on the foreshore, so to avoid the jam, take the short ferry ride over from the CBD.
John Forrest National Park, Hovea
If you’re open to spending your day with some local ‘roos, a picnic at John Forrest National Park is the place to do it. Proclaimed WA’s first national park, the state’s oldest conservation area is renowned for its tall jarrah and marri forests – and its kangaroo population. Enjoy their company from a distance at the public picnic area, or treat yourself to a classic pub lunch, pint and view of the sunbaking ‘roos at the John Forrest Tavern. The picnic area is also the starting point of many great walking trails, two of which lead to hidden waterfalls within the park.
Monument Hill, Fremantle
Monument Hill doesn’t just have beautiful views – it’s a place of historic significance too. This 11-acre park has been home to the Fremantle War Memorial obelisk since 1928, and it also has some well-maintained rose gardens and a vast grassed area. Monument Hill is the highest point in Fremantle, so it’s a popular spot to picnic. Dusk is the best time to set up on the grassy west-facing slope, which has unparalleled views of the sunset over the port city’s harbour, as well as Garden Island, Rottnest Island and the Darling Ranges.
Point Walter, Bicton
A 30-minute drive from the CBD, Point Walter (Dyoondalup in Noongar) was traditionally a place for the Whadjuk Noongar women and children. Today, it’s a popular spot for rock climbing, fishing and picnicking. Nature abounds at the reserve with a healthy population of fish living under the jetty, and a natural sandbar that serves as a feeding and breeding habitat for native birds. A short walk down a scrubby track leads to a lookout over eight-metre-high limestone cliffs – a natural playground for climbers and boulderers. Under the shade of the towering eucalyptus trees are public barbeques that come with a spectacular view of the river.
South Beach, Fremantle
Located to the south of Fremantle’s inner harbour, the calm, turquoise waters of South Beach make it a popular seaside picnic spot. Arm yourself with snacks and while away the afternoon watching the water from the (largely sand-free) comfort of the large, grassy reserve. Or make the most of the beachside location with a refreshing dip before firing up one of the free public barbecues in the area. Dogs are welcome on the reserve and the northern end of the beach. Seafood and natural wine stronghold Madalena’s is an ideal stop, pre- or post-picnic.