Fresh air, nature and good food in the great outdoors. There are few better ways to spend a sunny day than packing a picnic and heading to a special spot to enjoy the simple things. Many of Gold Coast’s beach front parks are ideal for picnics (Burleigh to North Burleigh, Broadbeach and Coolangatta in particular). You’ll be spoilt for choice with shady spots, playgrounds, picnic tables, toilets and BBQs, not to mention dreamy beach scenes a stone’s throw away. But we’ve put together a list of some other places to explore – some firm faves and a few lesser known spots that are off the beaten track. Stock up on premium produce, roll up the rug and get ready for a delightful day spent at one of Gold Coast’s top picnic spots.
1. RT PEAK MEMORIAL PARK | Kirra
This beautiful hill-top spot has views for days – from up here you can see where the best surf is, spot whales out to sea and enjoy an elevated picnic perched up high above Coolangatta. RT Peak Memorial Park has recently undergone a major makeover with a new lookout platform, seating, picnic settings, BBQs, a large shelter to protect you from the elements and a hot tap to make a cuppa (BYO teabags!). You can either drive or walk up, but be warned, it’s quite steep so make sure you’ve got helping hands to carry all your picnic gear.
2. BURLEIGH HILL | Burleigh
This one is a no-brainer, but it can’t be beat. Burleigh Hill is without a doubt the most popular picnic spot on the Coast. Spread your rug out under the pandanus palms, lie back, relax and admire the views of ocean, coastline and the surfers below. This location is not only stunning, but fully kitted out with all the facilities you could wish for including playground, toilets and BBQs. Kids will love exploring the rock pools at low tide and the pristine Burleigh Beach a short stroll down the hill.
Where: Goodwin Tce, Burleigh Heads
3. CASCADE GARDENS | Broadbeach
This hidden gem isn’t hard to find, yet it’s easy to miss. Very central and easy to access, this family-friendly park is just off the Gold Coast Hwy in Broadbeach. Cascade Gardens is a peaceful, riverside sanctuary with plenty of shady nooks and soft grass to lay down your picnic rug and relax. The kids will be kept entertained by the playground (and let’s not forget the simple pleasure of throwing rocks into the river). There are a few barbeques and undercover tables available too. Take a stroll around the gardens – there’s lots to explore including a central rotunda that’s a popular spot for weddings and Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall to honour those who fought on the Kokoda Track during World War II. Plus a purpose-built, wheel-chair accessible sensory garden for seniors with raised garden beds, accessible seating, a giant xylophone and other features to interact with nature and stimulate the senses.
Where: 2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach
4. BUDDS BEACH | Surfers Paradise
On the banks of the Nerang River, Budds Beach is a charming waterfront picnic possie with barbecues, park benches, a shallow swimming area, plenty of climbing trees and a fun playground for the kids. They can splash in the water, play in the sand and there are paddleboards for hire too if you fancy floating around on the picturesque waterway. Pack your own picnic or pick up some tasty treats from the much-loved Bumbles cafe across the road. Budds Beach is such a tranquil spot you’d never know you’re a stone’s throw from Cavill Ave.
Where: River Dr, Surfers Paradise
5. DOUG JENNINGS PARK | Main Beach
Drive to the end of The Spit to discover this 30ha parkland paradise where not only can you secure a premium picnic spot but partake in a spot of fishing, surfing, snorkelling, swimming too. You’ve got the pick on the oceanside or the protected Broadwater side. There are plenty of pathways which are perfect for bikes and scooters or take a stroll along the sand pumping jetty or break wall. You could easily spend a whole day in this gorgeous Gold Coast picnic spot. Dogs on leash are welcome too so pack the Shmackos.
Where: Seaworld Dr, Main Beach
6. GOLD COAST REGIONAL BOTANIC GARDENS | Benowa
This serene, green oasis set on 31 hectares is just a 10 minute drive from Surfers Paradise. With lots of BBQs and picnic areas you’ll be spoilt for choice and outside of eating all the delicious things you’ve packed to snack on, there’s lots to do. Take a stroll on the boardwalks and do some bird watching around the lake. Explore native ecosystems along the Mangroves to Mountains trail, smell the roses in the Rose Garden, visit the Butterfly Garden to learn which plants will attract butterflies to your backyard, and discover new tastes in the bush foods garden and the Aboriginal plant use trail. Treat yourself to an ice cream or coffee at the Friends Centre.
Where: 230 Ashmore Rd, Benowa
7. SYD DUNCAN PARK | Lower Beechmont
High up in the hinterland, Syd Duncan Park is an incredible spot to enjoy nature and all its splendour. Home to a community-built nature playground, kids can engage in some imaginative play and there’s a basketball ring if you want to shoot some hoops. This park is dog-friendly (as long as they’re on a leash) so bring your pup to the picnic too. The vistas from up here are unbeatable – you can see for miles to Mt Warning to the south, out across Hinze Dam and all the way down to the distant skyscrapers of Surfers Paradise. Well worth a visit at the end of the day for spectacular sunset views (best enjoyed with a glass of bubbles). There aren’t any shops in this little village so BYO everything.
Where: Outlook Ave, Lower Beechmont
8. EVANDALE PARKLANDS | Bundall
Part of the HOTA Cultural Precinct, these scenic sprawling parklands in the center of the city offer picnic perfection with plenty of activities to enjoy once you’ve finished your mobile meal. There are ample picnic areas with barbecues and shaded seating in the parklands, plus a lovely lake for calm water swimming (bring some inflatable toys or paddleboards for floaty fun). You can explore the entire park by following the Sculpture Trail, which features 49 outdoor artworks or climb the landscaped “green roof” at the back of the outdoor HOTA Stage – it’s made to be climbed on and the view from the top is spectacular. Head there on a Sunday and stock up your picnic basket with all the goodness at the HOTA Farmers & Artisan Market.
Where: 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise
9. TALLEBUDGERA CREEK | Palm Beach
The decision on which side of Tally Creek to park your picnic is a tough one. But no matter where you land, this lovely location is an ideal place to set up, snack and splash aaallll day. The calm creek waters are perfect for swimming and water sports. At Tallebudgera Creek Park there are BBQs, tables and toilet facilities and you can pick up some bakery bliss at Custard Canteen. Beware of the hungry bush turkeys on the Burleigh Heads National Park side – they’ll pillage your picnic basket if you leave it unattended!
Where: Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach
10. THE HINTERLAND
This is really just scratching the surface when it comes to top Gold Coast picnic spots. We haven’t even got started on the Hinterland which is full of hidden gems and lush locations boasting incredible views across rolling valleys down to the coast. Check out this blog for five more fabulous locations to roll out your rug and enjoy a delicious meal al fresco.
And if you’re looking for things to put in the picnic basket, find out where to get all the best fresh local produce. We’ve got you covered – keep reading! Keep It Fresh: Where to Get Your Gold Coast Produce.
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