After weeks of staying home, social distancing rules have been relaxed and we can finally get out and enjoy ourselves. From 13 June 2020, outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed in NSW. Never has a picnic outdoors sounded so good. Here are some of our favourite picnic spots in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter area. For those looking for a family picnic spot, we’ve included some with fenced playgrounds! If there are any others you can recommend, let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
While outdoor facilities will be open the community is encouraged to follow social distancing rules of 1.5 metres, limit their outdoor gatherings to no more than 20 people, and continue to practice safe hygiene and wash hands regularly.
King Edward Park
This beautiful park with a lovely big lawn and Victorian rotunda is a great place for a picnic. If you need some shade, spread out a blanket in the rotunda or under one of the large majestic Norfolk pines. There’s picnic tables dotted around the perimeter of the park. This park complete with playground is suitable for children of all ages and as a result is a popular spot with families on weekends. There’s usually a cricket or footy game in progress! Wander down to Garside Gardens. It’s beautiful when it’s in bloom. More information about King Edward Park.
Although Bathers Way runs from Nobbys Beach to Merewether, a top spot for picnics is at the picnic shelters at Bar Beach. These sheltered tables have a million dollar view looking out to the beautiful coastline. With wide shared paths, there’s plenty of room for scooters, kids bikes and skateboards along Bathers Way or try out the Empire Park skate park across the street.
Covered picnic shelters and a view of the beach make this an ideal location for a picnic. There are barbecues so you can cook food and you’re a short walk from the playground and toilets. There’s also a picnic shelter by the playground that you can nab if it’s free. Plus you can go for a swim after the picnic, weather permitting. More information about Dixon Park
Lambton Park is a favourite for picnics. There are a couple of covered picnic shelters plus barbecue facilities. You can even head up to the rotunda for a picnic if it’s free. There’s plenty of green spaces for kids to run around and the nearby playground keeps kids occupied. After your picnic, walk around the perimeter of Lambton Park. More information about Lambton Park.
Jesmond Park is a fantastic spot for a picnic as there are picnic tables and benches all over the park. It’s quieter at the back playground and also has covered picnic shelters and barbecues. There are loads of things for kids to do including a large playground, half-basketball court and a frisbee golf course. If Just bring mozzie spray in summer. More information about Jesmond Park.
There’s plenty of picnic spots at Blackbutt Reserve no matter if you head to Carnley Avenue entrance (Animal exhibits) or Richley Reserve (Adventure Playground) area. You’ll find picnic shelters, barbecues and lots of grassy spots to throw down a rug. Both areas feature playgrounds so that the kids can burn off energy. More information about Blackbutt Reserve. Please note that due to COVID-19, animal encounters, wildlife exhibits and shows remain suspended under the current social distancing and public gathering restrictions.
There are numerous spots along the Foreshore to have a picnic. There are picnic tables and barbecues just east of the Brewery. It’s a top spot for a family picnic with views of Nobbys and plenty of room for kids to roam around on the grass or ride bikes and scooters on the path. Otherwise, head for a picnic in Foreshore Park either on the grass or in the covered Tramsheds. More information about Foreshore Park
Anywhere along Stockton Foreshore is a great place for a picnic. Sit and watch the coal ships come in and the ferry zip back and forth. However, if your kids want to play or skate, head to the Stockton Active Hub. Views of the harbour and combination of playground and skate park make this an ideal spot for a picnic. There’s a large covered picnic shelter with barbecues in the middle of the Hub which make it easier for parents to keep an eye on kids whether they be in the playground or at the skate park. More information about Stockton Active Hub
Located in the middle of Cooks Hill, Centennial Park is a beautiful spot for a picnic. There’s lots of grassy area surrounded by trees plus a modern playground and rotunda. There are picnic tables but bring chairs or picnic blankets so that you can laze around on the grass or even in the rotunda. More information about Centennial Park
Nearby Nesca Park is also great for a family picnic. There are covered picnic shelters, barbecue facilities and a fun playground for kids. Nesca Park is a large park with lots of green space and palm trees, perfect for ball games and games of hide and seek. More information about Nesca Park
Blue Gum Hills Park
Take a trip out to Blue Gum Hills Regional Park at Minmi / Fletcher. This is a lovely large bushland park with lots of space for a picnic. Choose from covered picnic shelters or throw a picnic rug down on the grass. The park features barbecues so bring some snags if you feel like cooking. Nearby, you’ll find a unique playground reflecting the history of the area with a mining theme. If you feel like walking, there are walking tracks throughout the park including the easy 2.5km Heritage Walking Track which takes you past coal mining infrastructure. More information about Blue Gum Hills Regional Park
Speers Point Park
Head for a picnic at one of the region’s largest playgrounds. While the kids play, you can relax at one of the many 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. More information about Speers Point Park
Enjoy some history with a picnic. Rathmines Park was home to the RAAF Catalina Flying Boat Base with 14 Catalinas and almost 3000 officers at its peak making it the largest flying boat base in Australia. As a result, there’s lots of plane themed play equipment. It’s a top spot for a picnic with amazing views of Lake Macquarie. If you feel like cooking, there’s also a covered seating area behind the park with a BBQ. There’s plenty of grass to kick around a ball and the wide paths are perfect for scooters and bikes. More information about Rathmines Park
Croudace Bay Park
Another area with great lake views is Croudace Bay Park. The park boasts some great picnic opportunities, with wide open grassed spaces and plenty of sheltered picnic tables and barbecue facilities. Kids can burn off energy at the playground, wooden play area or climb a tree. There are also wide paths where they can cycle and scoot. More information about Croudace Bay Park
Warners Bay Foreshore
Enjoy a picnic at Warners By foreshore along the Esplanade and enjoy the lake views. You’ll find barbecues and sheltered pinic tables. Either bring food with you or grab some takeaway from the cafes across the street. Once you’ve finished your picnic, go for a wander and see the check out the sculptures dotted along the lakeshore.
For those with young kids, a fenced playground brings peace of mind. Choose Warner Park across the street from Warners Bay Foreshore for a picnic. There you’ll find covered picnic shelters and a large playground to keep kids happy. From here, you can still enjoy views of the lake. More information about Warner Park
Also with a fenced playground, Pelican Foreshore is a lovely spot for a picnic. It features barbecues, picnic tables and a lot of space for kids to run around. On a warm day, take a dip at the gentle lakeside beach and spot the pelicans. More information about Pelican Foreshore
Maitland & Cessnock
Bring a picnic and head to Maitland Park. It’s an expansive area of parkland encompassing sporting fields, picnic spots, tennis courts, croquet lawns and a swimming centre. It also features the Magic Garden, Maitland Park’s All Abilities Playground. Fully-fenced, this playground enables kids to play while parents keep an eye on them from picnic tables outside the playground. More information about Maitland Park
Walka Water Works
Head to Walka Water Works, just outside Maitland for a peaceful picnic. Originally built in 1887 to supply water to Newcastle and the Lower Hunter Valley, the area has since been restored and preserved and is now registered with the New South Wales State Heritage Register. Bring a picnic and enjoy the park. It features barbecues, picnic tables, shade and plenty of green space. There are also walking trails located throughout the park. The Bush Trail is known for its expansive views and The Kangaroo Trail is where, you guessed it, you are most likely to see a mob of kangaroos. More information about Walka Water Works
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Started in late 2012 by a local mum and newcomer to Newcastle, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle & 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.