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Top Picnic Spots on the Northern Beaches

By ALEC SMART

Swamp Wallaby, The Basin, Pittwater. Photo: Alec Smart

Now that Sydney’s long Lockdown has ended (106-days!), we are allowed to attend (socially-distanced) picnics again. In alphabetical order, 2099 magazine recommends picturesque spots in the Northern Beaches region where you can unfurl a blanket, open an esky and relax with friends and family.


Apex Park, Mona Vale

Seabeach Ave, Mona Vale

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, tidal rock pool, picnic tables, limited shelter, freshwater tap, free on-street parking.

Attractions: adjacent to Mona Vale Beach and ocean pool.


Dee Why seafront. Photo: Alec Smart


The Basin Picnic Area

Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

Accessible via ferry from Palm Beach

Entrance fee required

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, off-leash dog area, netted harbour pool, tidal rock pool, picnic tables, shelter, showers, freshwater tap, fishing, bushwalking paths, overnight camping (booking necessary).

Attractions: situated in a sheltered cove surrounded by bush, with swamp wallabies roaming picnic areas and a tidal lagoon in which it’s safe for children to swim. Aboriginal carvings can be seen on a 2.8km bush trek up towards West Head


Balmoral Beach Playground

The Esplanade, Balmoral

Facilities: toilets, kids playground, netted harbour pool, picnic tables, limited shelter, showers, cafés, freshwater tap, fishing, cycle + walking paths, basketball court, on-street parking.

Attractions: extensive parklands, range of diners & cafes, safe harbour swimming, sporting facilities at Balmoral Oval, short walk to Rocky Point Island (connected to shore).


Deep Creek, Narrabeen. Photo: Alec Smart


Berry Reserve, Narrabeen

1395-1417 Pittwater Rd, Narrabeen Lagoon (east side)

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, kids playground, off-leash dog area, shallow tidal lagoon swimming, picnic tables, café, freshwater tap, cycle + walking paths, kayak/SUP hire, on-street parking.

Attractions: situated along the foreshore of Narrabeen Lagoon, this waterside rest and recreation spot is a close walk to Narrabeen shops and public transport, and hosts a market every third Sunday. Best enjoyed at sunset.


Bilarong Reserve, North Narrabeen

Wakehurst Parkway, Narrabeen Lagoon (north side)

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, kids playground, shallow tidal lagoon swimming, picnic tables, limited shelter, freshwater tap, cycle + walking paths, ticketed parking.

Attractions: on the northern foreshore of Narrabeen Lagoon, this pretty spot with a wooden bridge and sandstone sculptures features dual play areas for smaller and larger kids. Also a popular point to launch kayaks, stand-up paddle-boards or small water craft.

Manly Reservoir and Dam, Allambie Heights. Photo: Alec Smart


Clareville Beach Reserve

Delecta Ave, Clareville

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, netted harbour pool, picnic tables, café, freshwater tap, on-street parking.

Attractions: a shallow, calm beach on the Pittwater side of Avalon with nearby netted wharf swimming and views of the bushland across Pittwater.


Clifton Gardens Reserve

Morella Rd, Mosman

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, off-leash dog area, netted harbour pool, picnic tables, limited shelter, café, freshwater tap, fishing, cycle paths, ticketed parking, free on-street parking at top of hill.

Attractions: large grassy area with trees for shade, cycle tracks, basketball hoop, safe swimming and a jetty for fishing.


McCarrs Creek, Church Point. Photo: Alec Smart


Clontarf Reserve

Sandy Bay Rd, Clontarf

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, leashed dogs allowed (dedicated dog beach nearby), netted harbour pool, picnic tables, limited shelter, showers, café, freshwater tap, fishing, cycle paths, ticketed car park, free on-street parking.

Benefits: safe netted pool suitable for small children, views of Spit Bridge opposite, small sandy beach, Clontarf Marina nearby.


Collaroy Beach

Birdwood Ave, Collaroy

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, ocean rockpool, picnic tables, limited shelter, showers, café, freshwater tap, walking paths, ticketed car park, ticketed parking.

Benefits: the modern playground is popular for parents with young children, and many of the rides are accessible to kids with mobility issues.


Collaroy Beach playground. Photo: Alec Smart


Davidson Park, Roseville Bridge

Healey Way, Garigal National Park, Forestville

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, picnic tables, limited shelter, boat ramp, freshwater tap, fishing, bushwalking paths, canoe hire, ticketed parking.

$8 vehicle entry fee

Attractions: located beneath the Roseville Bridge, which looms high above on concrete columns, the beautiful forested environs of Middle Harbour Creek are enjoyable to explore on light water craft.


Dee Why Beach

The Strand, Dee Why

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, off-leash dog area, tidal rock pool, picnic tables, shelter, showers, cafés, freshwater tap, cycle + walking paths, on-street parking + ticketed car park.

Attractions: the enclosed Michaela Howie playground at the southern end of Dee Why Beach features modern equipment including a spider climbing web, and alongside that is an all-weather ping pong table. Nearby is an ocean rockpool, and further north, adjacent to Dee Why Lagoon, James Meehan Reserve is an off-leash dog walking area.

Deep Creek Reserve

Wakehurst Parkway, North Narrabeen

Facilities: toilets, off-leash dog area, picnic tables, limited shelter, freshwater tap, fishing, cycle + walking paths, parking.

Attractions; a foreshore reserve on the north bank of Deep Creek, which feeds into Narrabeen Lagoon, this forested parkland is popular among kayakers as well as dog walkers.


Apex Park, Mona Vale. Photo: Alec Smart


Fairlight + Delwood Beaches

Kay-Ye-My Point, Fairlight

Facilities: toilets, ocean pool, showers, freshwater tap, walking paths, limited parking (access by bus).

Attractions: situated on either side of Kay-ye-my Point and connected by a walkway, Fairlight Beach features an ocean rockpool whilst Delwood Beach, with a view out over Manly Cove, is a small sandy beach good for snorkelling and surrounded by pine trees and rocks. It is popular among locals and wedding parties because it is remote from Manly’s touristy areas, primarily because it requires parking some distance away.


Manly Warringah Memorial Park

Manly Reservoir, King St, Allambie Heights

Facilities: toilets, electric + woodfired BBQs, shaded kids playground, freshwater swimming, picnic tables, limited shelter, boat ramp, café, freshwater tap, fishing, mountain bicycle + walking paths, ticketed parking.

Attractions: popular with water skiers and kayakers as well as off-road cyclists, this picturesque spot (with a dam wall that can be traversed) also hosts annual Remembrance and Anzac Day ceremonies.


Little Manly Beach, Little Manly. Photo: Alec Smart


Little Manly Beach

Stuart St, Manly

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, netted harbour pool, picnic tables, limited shelter, showers, boat ramp, café, freshwater tap, fishing, on-street parking + small carpark.

Attractions: this small cove with views out over Manly Cove is popular with families with young kids, because they can swim in the netted pool, enjoy the playground or make castles in the sand.


McCarrs Creek Reserve

McCarrs Creek Rd, Church Point

Facilities: toilets, woodfired BBQs, off-leash dog area (weekdays), shallow tidal inlet, picnic tables, limited shelter, boat ramp, freshwater tap, fishing, on-street parking.

Attractions: a pretty bushland spot with a large grassed area shaded by trees, a small jetty from which to fish and a shallow tidal inlet at Cicada Glen Creek that kids can splash in.


Sirius Cove, Mosman. Photo: Alec Smart


Middle Creek Reserve

Wakehurst Parkway, Narrabeen Lagoon (west side)

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, leashed dog area, shallow tidal lagoon swimming, picnic tables, limited shelter, freshwater tap, fishing, cycle + walking paths, ticketed parking.

Attractions: another popular kayaking spot along the cycle/walking track that circumnavigates Narrabeen Lagoon.


North Harbour Reserve

Condamine St South, Balgowlah

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, off-leash dog area, not recommended for swimming, picnic tables, limited shelter, café, freshwater tap, fishing, walking path, on-street parking.

Attractions: with a large grassy reserve for unleashing dogs, a basketball court and children’s play area, this family-friendly recreation ground is a great spot to relax and enjoy the harbour view.


Shelly Beach, Manly. Photo: Alec Smart


Rosherville Reserve, Chinaman’s Beach

McLean Crescent, Mosman

Facilities: toilets, shaded kids playground, small sandy beach, picnic tables, limited shelter, freshwater tap, fishing, on-street parking.

Attractions: extensive grasslands with shady trees, small white sand beach, pleasant area for kayaking, close to The Spit.


Shelly Beach, Manly

Bower St, Manly

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, kids playground, cove beach, picnic tables, limited shelter, showers, café, freshwater tap, ticketed parking.

Attractions: ideal for snorkelling and light water craft, the waveless Cabbage Tree Bay is safe for younger children who also enjoy gathering shells on the aptly-named Shelly Beach.

Winnererremy Bay, Mona Vale. Photo: Alec Smart


Sirius Cove Reserve

Sirius Cove Rd, Mosman

Facilities: public toilet, electric BBQs, kids playground, off-leash dog area, picnic tables, limited shelter, freshwater tap, fishing, on-street parking.

Attractions: views of Sydney Harbour, seafront bush walks, short trek to Taronga Zoo, sheltered cove for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, original campsite of famous 1890s artists’ colony established by Arthur Streeton.


Winnererremy Bay Foreshore Reserve

Mona St, Mona Vale

Facilities: toilets, electric BBQs, shaded kids playground, shallow bay swimming, picnic tables, shelter, café, freshwater tap, cycle paths, on-street parking + small car park.

Attractions: located at the southern end of Pittwater, the water is shallow enough for kids to paddle and the all-ages playground includes a flying fox ride. Also ideal for kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding.


Davidson Park, Forestville. Photo: Alec Smart


Information on parking, costs, facilities, etc., associated with picnics and barbecues along the Northern Beaches.

https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/






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