Head out for a picnic! As of Monday 13 September 2021, the NSW government has advised that for those who live outside the LGAs of concern, outdoor gatherings of up to five fully-vaccinated adults will be allowed in a person’s LGA or within 5km of home. (Children under 12 will not count towards the total). The adults must have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and need to have proof of vaccination. See NSW Government website under Exercise and outdoor recreation for all the details.
You won’t be able to meet up at someone’s home or even in a backyard. But if you’re fully vaccinated, it does mean you can head to a local park, playground or picnic spot to meet up with those you’ve missed! Just bring the face masks as you’ll still need to follow mask regulations outside.
We’ve put together a guide to the best Cessnock and Hunter Valley picnic spots including those with barbecues, playgrounds and amenities. We’ve organised it by local government area (LGA) so that you can choose a place that’s permitted. If there are any other picnic spots in Lake Macquarie you can recommend, let us know and we’ll add them to the list.
Bridges Hill Park
Head for a picnic at one of the region’s largest playgrounds. While the kids play, you can relax at one of the covered picnic shelters. If you feel like cooking, grab one that has barbecue facilities. Choose a spot at the back of the park if you want more peace and quiet. There’s also plenty of lawn to throw down a picnic blanket and enjoy a picnic. More information about Bridges Hill Playground.
Hunter Valley Gardens Picnic Area
Just outside Hunter Valley Gardens near the Shopping Village, you’ll find a dedicated picnic area area. It features sheltered picnic tables and barbeques. This is located at the Village Playground so kids can have a play before or after eating.
Enjoy some history with your picnic at Kitchener Heritage Poppethead Park. Look for the poppethead used in the Aberdare Central Colliery. This historical site is now a recreational area with a playground, picnic areas and a walking trail. After your meal, go for a walk around the area.
Chinamans Hollow / Maybury Peace Park
There is plenty of space for a picnic at Maybury Peace Park and Chinaman’s Hollow in Weston. These are actually two different sites connected by a 2.5km shared pathway. Head to Maybury Peace Park for a picnic followed by a play at the playground. If you can’t find a free picnic shelter, there’s plenty of grass for picnic blanket or camp chairs. At Chinaman’s Hollow, you’ll find picnic shelters and walking trails. Both spots have barbecue facilities if you’re in the mood to cook up some food.
Pines Pinic Area at Olney State Forest
Get out in nature and enjoy some food in the The Pines Picnic Area in Olney State Forest. There are picnic tables and wood barbecues scattered throughout this area which features pine trees planted in the 1920s and 1930s. Following your picnic, head out for a short 1.1km loop along Pines Walking Track. The track follows Dora Creek and you can see pockets of moist eucalypt forests, rainforest and a lovely rock pool. Dogs are allowed in NSW State Forests. For more information, visit the Forestry Corporation website.
Boarding House Dam Picnic Area in Watagans National Park
Enjoy a picnic with your family starting at Boarding House Dam picnic area in Watagans National Park. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy a meal. There are picnic tables and barbecues in this area as well as toilet amenities. You can then go on a short bush walk, crossing over a beautiful wooden bridge to an amazing 120m green moss wall that overlooks and leads you back around to the other side of Boarding House creek. The entire circuit spans only 700m in total, making it a perfect nature walk for all ages, particularly the little ones. For more information, read our review about Boarding House Dam walk. Boarding House Dam picnic area and walk is in northeastern section of Watagans National Park. Note that there is a current safety alert that Watagan Road is not suitable for 2WD vehicles
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Started in late 2012 by a local mum, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.