In Perth, ‘picnic’ and ‘barbecue’ are practically synonymous - find the good picnic spots and you’re almost certain to find a barbecue too.
There are public barbecues in parks and along the river foreshore, and beach BBQ areas hogging some of the best sunset spots in Perth.
On the other hand, taking your own pre-prepared food gives you more freedom to explore out-of-the-way places for romantic picnics or an adventurous family day out. There are also a number of summer events in Perth that invite you to bring a picnic, and plenty of outdoor activities you can combine with an alfresco meal on the grass.
Look for places to walk in Perth and you’re sure to find gorgeous picnic areas to stop for refreshment. You can take snacks in your backpack or explore one of Perth’s parks and grab a takeaway from a cafe to enjoy in the great outdoors. Kings Park, Yanchep National Park and Johns Forrest National Park are just three of many that we highly recommend.
Several wineries in the Swan Valley have picnic areas and offer gourmet picnic food for you to enjoy with a glass of wine or beer. Alternatively, head up into the Perth Hills to follow a walk trail, spread a rug near some majestic waterfalls and enjoy views back across to the coast.
To help you decide where to picnic this summer, here are 10 of the best barbecue and picnic areas within easy reach of the city.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Kings Park is vast and varied, so you’re bound to find a good picnic spot. There are grassy areas with play equipment for families, and romantic spots with views of the river and sunset. Active folks will enjoy the many walking trails and cycle routes around the park, its hilly terrain providing plenty of challenges!
Within the Botanic Garden is the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Parkland with its pretty lake and water fountains - a totally relaxing picnic spot often used for outdoor concerts and plays.
If it’s a barbecue you’re after, there are free ones at the Pines Picnic Area, Synergy Parkland and the newly re-opened Rio Tinto Naturescape, Lotterywest Family Area and Saw Avenue Picnic Area.
Families are in their element with the Synergy Parkland. This picnic area has it all - barbecues, playground, lake, grass and a cafe. The Lotterywest Family Area contains Stickybeaks Playground Cafe and the Ivy Watson Playground - perfect for toddlers. There are cycle tracks for children here too, and and you can picnic on the grass or in one of the gazebos dotted around.
For a romantic picnic in the evening, head to Fraser Avenue Lawns opposite the Pines Picnic Area, right at the top of the park. Here you can watch the sun setting and the moon rising with views over the river and the glittering city.
Yanchep National Park, Yanchep
The focal point of Yanchep National Park is its delightful lake surrounded by grass, hopping with grey kangaroos. Explore the extraordinary crystal caves and the koala boardwalk, where you can see these cute creatures lounging amongst the branches.
If you’re a hiker, follow one of the woodland trails through the park to work up an appetite. The trails range in length from 500m to over 46 km.
There are free barbecues around the lake and among the trees, with plenty of space to spread a picnic rug and watch the kids play. You can grab a drink at the Yanchep Inn too.
Walyunga National Park, Bullsbrook
This national park is simply stunning, with numerous scenic spots for a picnic.
The Avon River flows through the park, providing lots of cool swimming spots and pretty waterside areas such as Walyunga Pool, which has barbecues and benches. Others to look out for are Syd’s Rapids and Boongarup Pool.
Stroll along the river to find your perfect picnic spot, and enjoy being right out in the beautiful bush with the kangaroos and birds. There are lots of walk trails you can follow if you’re feeling energetic, including a fascinating Aboriginal trail that gives you an insight into the indigenous history of this area.
Lesmurdie Falls Picnic Area, Forrestfield
Wear some sturdy boots for this one - it’s worth climbing to the top of the falls for the view across the Swan coastal plain right out to Rottnest Island.
There’s a picnic area that has barbecues and toilet facilities, or you might want to find a quiet nook somewhere to spread your picnic rug and relax to the sound of the waterfall.
John Forrest National Park, Hovea, and the Zig Zag, Gooseberry Hill
John Forrest is a large national park within easy reach of Perth that’s a joy to explore with it’s leafy trails, rock pools and waterfalls - so refreshing on a hot day!
It’s also a great place to spot kangaroos just before sundown if you have overseas visitors wanting to see these fabulous creatures in their natural setting.
The main picnic area has barbecues and tables, or you can take a picnic further along the brook to find a pretty and peaceful spot.
Alternatively, stop on your way there or back follow the Zig Zag scenic drive and stop in Gooseberry Hill National Park. This is a wonderful spot for scenery across to the city and coast, especially at sunset.
Matilda Bay, Crawley
An old family favourite that never fades, Matilda Bay is a fabulous spot on the Swan River foreshore for family picnics and barbecues. In fact, on Christmas Day, it’s buzzing with activity. Get there early if you want to barbecue up a feast! There’s a cafe too for additional snacks and ice creams.
One of the best aspects of this picnic area is the numerous trees providing shade on a summer day. The kids can splash in the water, jump off the jetties or play cricket while the grown-ups kick back - or join in.
Freshwater Bay, Peppermint Grove
On top of an escarpment alongside Freshwater Bay is a picnic area that’s hard to beat for peaceful surroundings and pretty scenery. The high vantage point provides fabulous views and the grassy area is shaded by large gum trees. It’s often surprisingly uncrowded, ideal for a romantic sunset picnic, and fun for children to explore too, as you can climb down the escarpment to the river edge.
For families with active kids, head for the area near Freshwater Bay Yacht Club where there are barbecues, a playground and the river close by for the children to swim. Another good spot for families is Chidley Point, a few minutes downriver, which has amazing views, a playground, sandy beach, barbecues and toilet facilities.
Point Walter Reserve, Bicton
Another family favourite, Point Walter is a gorgeous spot on the south side of the Swan River just to the east of Fremantle, which seems miles away from city life.
There’s plenty of space, shady trees, free public barbecues, playgrounds, a jetty and walk trails.
Swimming here is fun and safe for little ones in the shallows. In total contrast, Blackwall Reach is the deepest part of the river where daredevils jump off the cliff, although you must heed the warning signs here!
A safer option is to just enjoy the vista from the cliff top across the glassy Swan River - beautiful at sunset!
Clarko Reserve, Trigg
A beach BBQ is a must during a Perth summer, and if you can snap up an oceanside sunset too, even better! One fabulous spot is at Trigg Beach - very popular with locals, especially families.
Clarko Reserve is right above the beach and has free barbecues, a playground, space to run around and shelters if you’re lucky enough to get one.
Trigg is a great surf beach, and a few minutes up the coast is Mettam’s Pool, which is wonderful for snorkelling with the kids or beginners. In between is the North Beach strip, all linked by a coastal path and little sandy, rocky beaches along the way.
One way or another, you’re sure to work up an appetite along this delightful stretch of coast.
South Beach, Fremantle
Another ideal family beach picnic area is at Fremantle’s South Beach. The large grassy area above the beach has a playground and barbecues, and the beach itself is perfect for swimming. There are changing facilities and showers too.
South Fremantle attracts dog-lovers. Either side of South Beach are two dog beaches, and there’s a dog exercise area at one end of the grassy foreshore. The main beach though is dog free.
All these beaches enjoy very calm waters compared to those further up the coast, and the Fremantle Sailing Club provides a pretty backdrop. On Saturday evenings throughout summer, the South Beach Sunset Market adds value to your picnic with stalls selling a range of food and drinks, plus live music.