Denman Masthead

Seven spring picnic spots

Elisabeth Sander O'Hearn

Finally, we’re seeing some of the amazing spring weather Canberra is famous for. 

Canberra’s abundance of open green spaces make for some great adventures outside, so why not combine a day out with lunch or afternoon tea in a shady spot somewhere? Here are some of our favourite picnic locations for the warmer months.

Pine Island Reserve


Image via VisitCanberra

A perfect daytime escape from the city, Pine Island is just a short drive out past Tuggeranong. It’s located on the Murrumbidgee River so it’s a bit of a change of scenery from the usual Lake Burley Griffin.

While the reserve tends to be quite popular in the summer time, the cooler spring months are the perfect time to explore and hike around the area –perhaps to find secret swimming spots to be returned to during the hotter months. If you do find yourself there on a warmer day and the children have had enough of the playground, you can check out the beach and perhaps go for a dip!

Weston Park, Yarralumla


Image via VisitCanberra

For a more activity-filled picnic outing, Weston Park located in Yarralumla is an ideal place for families to spend the day. Children can play mini golf, take a ride on the miniature railway or say hello to the cute animals at the petting zoo! Families aren’t the only thing attracted to this lake side area as there are numerous kangaroos lazing around under the shade. When the picnic food runs out, there’s a child-friendly cafe for the parents to stop and have a cup of coffee, as well as one found at the

When the picnic food runs out, there’s a child-friendly cafe for the parents to stop and have a cup of coffee, as well as one found at the the beautiful Yarralumla Nursery located only a few minutes away.

The Cotter Dam Reserve


Image via VisitCanberra

Loved by many (and for a good reason too), The Cotter Dam is perfect for a spring day picnic. There are more than enough parking spots and BBQs, with ample space for everyone to spread out and relax with their loved ones. For those who want to squeeze in some education, they can check out the Discovery Trail and learn all about how the Cotter Dam came to be.

Children can occupy themselves on the large playground but should stick to swimming in the nearby protected swimming area, Casurina Sands. Or, they can even keep a little eye out for animals as seeing an emu or kangaroo is quite common!

The National Arboretum


Image via VisitCanberra

Perhaps the most perfect spot to spend a spring day, The National Arboretum boasts numerous activities that take advantage of this colourful season! During the four weeks of Floriade, the Arboretum will offer three guided spring walks to learn all about the types of trees found there! Visitors should return on Saturday 8 October and spend time driving through the colourful ANU research forests which are usually closed to public vehicles.

When the learning is over, families can use the free electric BBQs at the Himalayan Cedar Forest barbeque and picnic area, seeking shade under the tall trees. This picnic area cannot be booked; bus are welcome to use any forest area for their picnic should they find the Himalayan Cedar Forest to be occupied.

Commonwealth Park


Image via VisitCanberra

Checking out the beauty of Floriade is sure to work up an appetite, which is why Commonwealth Park is the perfect place to place down the picnic rug and have something to eat. Although parts of the park are currently sectioned off as part of Floriade, a short walk along the lake is bound to bring a grassy area to finally sit and relax.

When the crowds disappear after Floriade, guests should once again head back and enjoy the waterfront views sitting at the top of Regatta Point. The younger ones can explore and get lost in the caves of the maze castle found just a short walk away. For those who want to relax, they can sit and eat by Nerang Pool whilst watching the waterbirds play.

Japanese Nara Peace Gardens

Image by Martin Ollman

Image by Martin Ollman

Lying just on the inner south side of the lake near the Commonwealth Bridge, found within Lennox Gardens is the Japanese Nara Peace Gardens.

The garden represents the friendship with Canberra’s sister city Nara, Japan and hosts many memorials and monuments. Included are stone lanterns known as ‘Kasugas’, gifted by the Japanese in April 1997. Not far away is the Yarralumla Yacht Club, so there will be an array of yachts boats on the water perhaps with a sailing lesson occurring – free entertainment for the picnic goers! While definitely family friendly, this spot may be more ideal for a date or smaller group.

Canberra Botanical Gardens

Image via VisitCanberra

Image via VisitCanberra

For the true nature lovers, the Canberra Botanic Gardens make a very family friendly picnic spot. It’s located just minutes from the city at the base of Black Mountain with cheap parking. Guests can spend time exploring the gardens themselves, or take a specific path such as the iconic Rainforest gully walk.

Children can take part in the 30-minute discovery walk and visit all nine of the activity stations to learn all about plants and animals. When all have had enough, visitors can sit themselves down at a picnic table and soak in the nature that surrounds them.

Feature image by Martin Ollman

Elisabeth Sander O'Hearn

Despite struggling to throw together a few catchy sentences about herself, Elisabeth hopes she can portray Canberra in a much more positive light. Although she’s read Her Canberra articles meticulously, Elisabeth has still fallen prey to making poor dining choices- a fate she wouldn’t wish on anyone. She may be leaving the country’s capital in a few weeks for some overseas travel – but she’ll only speak fondly of the city that’s been her home for the past nine years. More about the Author

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