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Five picnic spots for cooler weather—yes, really

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Picnics? In autumn? Really? Yes—and they’re lovely. We reveal the best spots for a cooler weather picnic.

Okay, we do realise the irony of this headline. Picnics are not the best in cold weather. In fact, add rain and they’re downright miserable.

But given it’s a top of 21 degrees and sunny tomorrow, why not give it a chance?

When choosing these spots we factored in wind chill, proximity to parking, shelter opportunities, the ability to cook hot food and the availability of a hot cup of coffee should the weather turn. Thank us later.

House of Representatives Gardens + The Senate Gardens

Naturally, these lush inner south public gardens come top of the list due to their perimeter hedges providing the perfect windbreak. There’s plenty of grass you can stretch out on, and shade to avoid the midday sun.

While there aren’t any BBQs on-site, there are public toilets in the Senate Rose Gardens and hot drinks and food available in the Old Parliament House cafe or across the road at the National Portrait Gallery.

Weston Park

Offering a vast array of picnic options, from kid-friendly spots next to play equipment to leafy hideaways near The Heritage Nursery, Weston Park’s mature trees provide perfect coverage from blustery off-lake winds.

With plenty of sunny spots for soaking up those autumn rays, BBQs and toilet facilities, Weston Park is perfect for large families and if it gets too frosty, you can nip over to Yarralumla Play Station for something warming.

Lennox Gardens

This might be one of the best-loved spots for a picnic in Canberra—but for this spot you’ll want to head to the southern end, near the Chinese Friendship Garden.

Down the slope near the water’s edge, you’ll be sheltered from any westerly breezes, and if the breeze is coming off the water, you can move up the hill and into the Nara Peace Park.

There are BBQs, pergolas for shelter in case of rain and parking close by. If the weather really turns, it’s a short drive to Bookplate at the National Library of Australia.

Molonglo Reach

This leafy stretch of river corridor is dense with mature trees and the twisting nature of the river means you’re sheltered from many sides. While the tree coverage means you’re almost never in the full sun, it’s lovely to be by the river in such an inner-city location.

There are toilet facilities and BBQs, although you will have to drive to seek out a hot drink.

Kingston Island

It isn’t the most ‘bush’ picnic spot, but the stretch of grass along the lake-side of Kingston Island (accessible via the footbridge from Jack Ross Park) is a lovely sunny spot and while it isn’t particularly sheltered, the angle means unless the wind is coming off the lake, you’re okay.

No BBQs but there are some picnic tables around the northern end of the island and there are plenty of takeaway food and drink options along the Foreshore

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