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Published January 8th 2014
Don't hide at home - get out and enjoy Australia Day
With Australia Day just around the corner, it's time to dust off your Australian flag apron and start preparing for Australia Day celebrations. Admittedly, most Sydney parks and beaches get busy on this day, but instead of hiding at home, why not plan ahead and have a great Aussie Day with your family and friends.
Here are suggestions for some great spots to enjoy a picnic or a BBQ. Plan to get there early and you are guaranteed to have a fun day.
Address: Sandy Bay Road, Clontarf
This northern beaches reserve has everything you may need for an enjoyable day out. A large park with picnic tables, several free BBQs and large trees which provide shade. If it turns out to be a hot day, you can swim, snorkel or kayak, as the reserve is located right next to the beach. There are no waves and so it is suitable for even young children. For coffee or ice cream, head over to the kiosk or if you are lucky an ice cream boat will come right to the shore. Free parking is available at nearby streets and paid carpark right next to the reserve. More about Clontarf Reserve
This family park offers plenty of space for children to play. It has a good size playground, part of which is covered and lots of sheltered picnic tables as well as benches to sit on. Separate from the park is a BBQ area with many barbecues or if you don't feel like cooking, you will find a convenient Carss Park Café & Grill, which serves modern Australian cuisine and is open for breakfast and lunch and on the weekends for dinner. The park offers lovely waterviews as it overlooks Kogarah Bay and Georges River. The beach is relatively calm and is ideal for swimming. Children will enjoy building sandcastles, as the sand changes colour the deeper you dig.
Bicentennial Park Address: Australian Avenue, Homebush
Spread over a large area, Bicentennial Park has something for everyone. If you have young children, you will find a large playground and a grassy oval as well as a bike/scooter track. There are many BBQs throughout the park and lots of places to sit and enjoy a quiet picnic. Lilies on the Park Café, which is located near the playground serves hot meals as well as coffee, snacks and ice cream. On a hot day, you can cool down at one of the water fountains. There are several free carparks within the area or you can park on the road which runs through Bicentennial Park.
Pirrama Park is a 1.8 hectare harbourside park which won an Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture award in 2012. The stunning park includes not only incredible views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge but also grasslands, an adventure playground, water play area as well as a café, toilets and BBQs. Metered parking is available near the park.
This is another fantastic park which is suitable for large gatherings. With a number of sheltered picnic tables and BBQs, it is an ideal spot to catch up with family and friends. For children, there is a large gated and sheltered playground which is located right next to Flying Fox Café, a casual, child friendly spot, which also caters for animals. Bring your four legged friends and you can sit outside with them and enjoy your lunch. Don't forget scooters, skateboards and bikes for your kids, as the park has a bike track which circles a large grassy area.
A stunning family beach and park with large sheltered picnic tables, BBQs, excellent amenities and a gated playground with lots of equipment for children up to 8 years. For older children, you will find a basketball court and a pier from which they can jump into the pristine waters or fish. If you have snorkling or diving gear, bring it with you, as Clifton Gardens is a great spot to explore the underwater world. Parking is costly and limited near the park, however, you can park in some of the side streets. More about Clifton Gardens.
A popular eastern suburbs park with large trees that provide plenty of shade. If you are planning to spend the day in this spot, it is a good idea to arrive very early to ensure you find a parking space. The park offers beautiful harbour views and a beach with calm waters and a shark net. Nielsen Park Café and Restaurant is located on the foreshore and serves take away food or sit down meals.
A lovely spot to celebrate Australia Day for singles, couples and families. With lots of open grassy spaces, you are sure to have plenty of room to move around. Enjoy stunning harbour views as you indulge in a delicious picnic. The park has many large trees which provide shade from the sun. Children can enjoy playing ball games, throwing a frisbee and on windy days even flying a kite. Parking can be a little tricky, but you can catch a ferry to Circular Quay or a bus, which drops you off near the entry to the gardens. You will find a couple of cafes within Botanical Gardens or enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants at Circular Quay. More about Royal Botanic Gardens.
To get into the Australian spirit, check out GetKooky website. You will find great merchandise including Australian Flag beach towels, hats, jumbo glasses, stubby holders, sequin tank tops, tiara headbands, serving dishes, face paint, invisible full body suit and much much more.
Australia Day Recipes
Wondering what to make for this special day? Here are some delicious classic dishes as well as recipes with a few twists.