With an average of 300 days of sunshine each year, the Gold Coast is the ultimate year-round destination for dining outdoors. Though who needs linen table wear and fancy restaurant staff when you can BYOP (that’s bring-your-own picnic blanket) and create your own #cheeseboardgoals?
All you need is a magical backdrop and your weekend is complete. We’re helping you out with five picture-perfect Gold Coast Hinterland picnic spots, some local faves and some harder to reach gems (that are totally worth the effort).
O’REILLY’S CANUNGRA VALLEY WINERY
One of the most scenic picnic spots in the Gold Coast Hinterland, this beauty comes complete with a winery and cellar door. Speaking your language? We thought so. Located in the foothills of Lamington National Park, there’s something pretty magical about outdoor dining beside a babbling stream (Canungra Creek is home to platypus and turtles), under the shade of majestic Silky Oak trees. Pre-order a gourmet picnic basket or vineyard BBQ pack from the team at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Winery for a fabulous al fresco feast. This place is picnic perfection.
If the sociable crowds at Burleigh Hill are a little too much for you, pack up your hamper and chilled bevvies and head for the mountains. Well, not quite. In the flanks of the Gold Coast Hinterland is where you’ll find Hinze Dam and the 3,700-acre Advancetown Lake reservoir that supplies valuable drinking water to the Gold Coast. With four thoughtful picnic grounds smattered with free BBQs, tables, shaded areas, playgrounds, landscaped gardens and ample open space to throw a Frisbee, this is a local favourite for low-key weekend gatherings and picnics in complete tranquility. Need to work off that second helping of hotdog? Conquer the four-kilometre round trip walk across the top of the towering dam wall. For the less adventurous or those landing in the heat of summer, the Hinze Dam Interpretative Centre will give you a new appreciation for the drinking water than runs from your tap.
Worth the trek from the coast, particularly if paired with a visit to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Kamarun Lookout is nature at its best. Sitting within the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park with panoramic 270-degree views across to the Gold Coast and towards Brisbane, this lesser known gem is one of the best hinterland picnic spots, and where your only company is often the placid resident cows. An expansive grassy lawn beckons to spread out your picnic rug, while refreshing mountain air and the peaceful soundtrack of nature ensures you won’t feel rushed to pack up and move on post lunch. Aside from a common gazebo and picnic table, facilities here are minimal so come prepared.
CEDAR CREEK FALLS
North west of the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain covers 2,800 hectares and is seriously beautiful, so if you can’t find somewhere to throw down your picnic rug, well, you must be driving around with your eyes closed. The Cedar Creek Falls picnic ground is one of our all-time faves. With ample shady space under the gum trees, picnic tables, manicured grass, BBQs and amenities, this place just ticks all the boxes. This picnic spot is located at the trailhead to Cedar Creek Falls, so allow time pre or post-picnic for a nature hike and refreshing splash in the rock pools. You’ll be glad you did.
CURRUMBIN VALLEY ROCK POOLS
Located in the foothills of the Gold Coast Hinterland, set up your outdoor kitchen on the calming banks of the Currumbin Valley Rock Pools. Here, the destination is as much about the journey to get there, where you’ll feel the stress peel away as you drive through the serene Currumbin Valley past hobby farms, trickling creeks and weeping willows. The well-maintained picnic area includes several gazebos with tables, free BBQs and ample open lawn areas. If you come on a weekend, we suggest calling into Currumbin Valley Harvest or Freeman’s Organic Farm beforehand for freshly plucked produce from the garden to pimp up your salads and sandwiches. Don’t forget your swimmers for a splash in the rock pools with the merry local crowd.