You don’t need to do much in summer to feel like you’ve made the most of a day. Round up some friends, a picnic basket, an esky and head to one of these spots to enjoy the sunshine.

Nielsen Park, Sydney Harbour National Park
People have been picnicking at Nielsen Park since 1910 (although it was once a rather enviable private estate). The beach looks like a postcard summary of a coral-reef cruise, and beyond the beach’s deeper contours there’s a great view of Sydney harbour. Before cracking a James Squire Golden Ale, dip into the kiosk and nab a Golden Gaytime: it’s pretty much a Nielsen Park tradition.

Clareville Beach Reserve, Clareville
Quite unlike Nielsen Park, Clareville Beach is one of Sydney’s few scenic beach spots that isn’t regularly trampled every weekend. Even on a busy day there’ll only be a handful of people, and perhaps an occasional wedding. The beach’s white sands are flanked on one side by timid surf and on the other by a strip of shady lawns and some picnic tables – perfect for a quiet, romantic picnic.

Parsley Bay, Vaucluse
There are three main picnic spots at Parsley Bay. The first is the green behind the beach’s fine sands. With shady tables, tap access and a nearby kiosk, it’s for veteran picnickers who need to facilitate avocado distribution, bread slicing and the division of a cream-based dessert. The second option is the outcrop at the edge of the bay. It has a few slantly rocks, shade for half the day and a luxurious walkway into the water. The last option, and our favourite, is only accessible by the bay’s connected bush walk. Near the point there’s a little shaded rock with a blissful view, perfect for a can of Modus Operandi Cream Ale and an accompanying mango.

Wattamolla, Royal National Park
When tourists arrive in Sydney, we like to tell them that every corner of Sydney is surrounded by natural paradise. Down south it’s Wattamolla: bush-covered sandstone cliffs, cream-coloured sands and lagoon pools dancing with light. It’s a bit of a trek, and well worth it, but make sure you bring all your supplies because there’s no facilities or shops.

Chinamans Beach, Mosman
The park behind the beach used to house Chinese market gardens, but these days it looks more like a golf course – but with more picnic facilities. On the beach side you’ll find a great spot at which to sip a can of Australian Brewery’s Saison, sheltered thanks to some of Sydney’s few remaining sand dunes. Although the beach is almost always quiet, we’d recommend arriving early because there isn’t much in the way of parking.