Our guide to the best picnic spots in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie
As the warm weather rolls around, picnic season is in full swing. Make the most of sunny days by packing a basket full of goodies and heading to one of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie's many picturesque picnic spots.
We're spoilt for choice, so regardless of your picnic preferences, there's a location to suit everyone. From beachside locales to shady neighbourhood parks, here are the best picnic spots in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
Perch yourself just beneath Bar Beach carpark on the grass at this iconic picnic spot. On summer evenings, the hill is buzzing with people enjoying a picnic dinner, and the last couple of years, musician Pete McCredie sets up to soundtrack the evening with his acoustic tunes. Alternatively, grab your feed and sit at one of the tables along the Bather's Way on the way to Dixon Park Beach.
It’s long been a family favourite, and for good reason – Blackbutt Reserve makes for a beautiful venue for picnic goers of all ages. Relax on the lawn and take in the sounds and animal experiences, or if you’re feeling a little energetic, spend some time exploring Blackbutt’s many walking trails and animal encounters.
Situated between Horseshoe Beach to the north, Nobbys Beach to the east, and Newcastle Harbour to the west, Camp Shortland is a spacious area ideal for families. There's a few undercover tables and free BBQ facilities, making it a great spot for a bigger get-together.
This Cooks Hill park is an urban oasis. The expansive grassy area provides loads of space for bigger groups or picnics for two. If little ones are in tow, take a spot near the playground and keep the whole family happy.
Dixon Park Beach
Dixon Park Beach boasts a few beachside picnic spots that are great for a sunny afternoon. Sit close to the lifeguard tower or head towards the playground for undercover tables, or move a little way up the hill to find several benches and grassy space. Go right to the top on Ocean Street for some more tables and fantastic ocean views, or head to the off-leash dog area to give your pooch some room to run.
Foreshore Park is a huge space right on the harbour featuring converted train sheds, a kids playground, and even a former frog pond that's now drained, making it a great spot for scooting, riding, and even rollerskating. Spreading out on the grass with a picnic makes for a lovely Newcastle afternoon.
Only a short walk from the buzzing Beaumont Street in Hamilton, Gregson Park offers a relaxed picnic vibe. Either take the sheltered table option or place your picnic rug under one of the canopies for a lazy afternoon.
If you like to combine your picnic with spectacular views over Newcastle Harbour, Stockton's Griffith Park is the spot. There's a great playground and skate park, so bring the kids and settle in on a sunny day. The park is right near the ferry terminal, so it's super easy to access from Newcastle.
Hickson Street Lookout
Easily one of Newcastle’s best picnic locations, Hickson Street Lookout is a short walk from its namesake street in suburban Merewether. With a backdrop of Burwood Beach and Glenrock State Conservation Area, its faux-grass lawn is ideal for long picnic lunches and balmy evenings.
Islington Park has heaps of stuff for kids to do, so bring the family, kick back on a rug or on the undercover picnic tables and let the little ones climb on the playground, scooter on the track, or shoot some hoops.
King Edward Park
An iconic Newcastle park, King Edward Park is a local favourite for a picnic on a sunny day. Featuring beautiful gardens, towering Norfolk pines, and manicured lawns, there's plenty of spots in King Edward Park to throw down a rug and get snacking. We especially love the area at the top of the park, just above the off-leash dog area, for spectacular views over the ocean towards Newcastle Ocean Baths.
Parks don’t get more versatile and picturesque than Lambton Park. From the beautifully manicured lawns and gardens, playground areas, and wide footpaths ideal for scooters and bikes, Lambton Park has something for everyone.
Whether you kick back on the grass opposite Estabar, or get comfy in the shade, Pacific Park is a lovely picnic spot right across the road from Newcastle Beach. In summer, the park is home to Friday Chill, with live music and food trucks providing a lively atmosphere in the park.
The beautiful park area has equipment for all ages and makes for a lovely place to picnic. The plentiful tree canopy offers loads of shade on those hot summer days, ideal for lounging around under. For the more active picnickers, grab a ball and head out onto the cricket pitch for a spin.
Yuelarbah Walking Track
If you don’t mind mixing your picnicking with some hiking, then pack your goods up and make your way to Glenrock State Conservation Area. The 6.8km round trip offers scenic views, waterfalls and plenty of picnic spots along the way. If you have the time, hike down to Glenrock Lagoon to set your picnic up whilst relaxing to the calming sounds of the ocean and bush reserve.
This lakeside location brings together calming water views with the history of Dobell House. Take a dip in the water as the weather warms up, followed by a picnic spread in the park.
Croudace Bay Park
Dog-friendly, kid-friendly, lakeside, and with loads of space, there's not much that Croudace Bay Park doesn't offer. Take in views of the lake while you kick back for an afternoon, either spread out on the grass or at the covered tables.
Green Point Reserve
Take your bikes or go on a bush walk and work up an appetite before you tuck into your delicious picnic spread. Then sit back, relax and catch all the wildlife action in this picturesque part of the world.
One of the prettiest spots in Lake Macquarie, Naru Beach is a great option for when you want to combine your picnic with a refreshing dip. Located in Marks Point at the end of a dirt road, Naru Beach is a picturesque spot for families to hang out.
Pelican Foreshore is a lovely picnic spot during the summer months, with all the facilities you need right on the water. There's a playground, picnic tables, and BBQs, making it a great family-friendly picnic location.
Pirrita Island Nature Reserve
Pirrita Island takes its name from the Awabakal word for oysters from the mangrove tree. This stunning sandy oasis has picnic tables, BBQs, and plenty of shade, so spread out with your picnic while you take in views of Swansea Channel.
Whether you take your picnic onto the sand or hang out at the top of the hill above the carpark, Redhead Beach is a dreamy picnic location in Lake Macquarie. Eat your post-swim fish 'n chips while you watch the sky change colour at sunset.
Speers Point Park
Considered Lake Macquarie's premier recreation area, when you visit, it’s easy to see why. Get comfy amongst the lush leafy surrounds, explore the lake's beautiful foreshore, and let the kids run wild on the huge playground. Stop by when the Homegrown Markets are on to grab some food and splay out on the grass.
Warners Bay Foreshore
Bringing a takeaway feed or a packed picnic to Warners Bay Foreshore on a warm evening is quintessential Lake Macquarie experience. There's plenty of spots on the grass or on tables along this stretch of the lake to enjoy a picnic while you relax and admire the lake at sunset.