North Queensland has an abundance of lush plant life and beautiful views. So, while you can always enjoy one of the many cafes, restaurants and the like, there is never a shortage of nature to be enjoyed. After isolation, we’re all itching to get out of the house. Why not pack the family a picnic and take some time to appreciate our truly great outdoors. Here are our picks for some of North Queensland’s Best Picnic Spots.
If you want to experience the beautiful tropical foliage of Cairns then the Botanic Gardens are the best place to go. Even if the plants aren’t your thing, it’s a peaceful place that creates a wonderful atmosphere to sit and relax while enjoying your favourite picnic foods. If the kids are getting restless, there are many different gardens to explore and learn including the Gondwanan Heritage Garden and Aboriginal Plant Use Garden. There is also kilometres of paths and boardwalks to explore, the Nature Playground, the Tanks Arts Centre, the Watkins Munro Martin Conservatory for valuable and tender plants and butterflies. Plus the ground has plenty of toilets, an information centre and café.
The Cairns Esplanade can be busy at times, but with good reason. You can take a walk along the foreshore and find your picnic spot, which is sure to be close to a playground or the Lagoon, a popular free-swimming pool. Muddy’s Playground is a must visit for families, there’s also Skate Plaza to check out, a bouldering park, the beach volleyball courts and multi-use court which is FREE to use. Don’t forget to BYO basketball or Volleyball. Whether taking shade under a tree or basking in the sun, the Esplanade is a great place to have a picnic with your kids and play outside.
With all the essentials right there, including toilets, barbeques, tables and walking tracks, you can have a bush picnic in the mountains of West Mackay. Sky Window and Broken River are two great places to picnic and enjoy the nature of the beautiful Eungella National Park. If you want to take it a step further and camp overnight at Broken River, keep an eye out on the river platform. You might see some platypuses and turtles! The circuit and viewing platform and at Sky Window offer a spectacular view of the park.
If you’re keen to have a picnic with a fantastic waterfall backdrop, Cedar Creek Falls is the way to go. Lush greenery and local residents including lizards, butterflies and more will accompany you in this gorgeous spot. It’s only a short walk from the car park and a 20-minute drive from Airlie Beach.
You can cool down by having a swim in the crystal watering hole. Make sure to pack a snorkel if you want to spot the turtles!
Pioneer Park, Thuringowa – Townsville
A popular fishing spot, Pioneer Park is located on the banks of Ross River Dam and Ross River. With both picnic and barbeque areas as well as sporting fields, the park has everything you need for a family day out. Playgrounds are available to keep the kids active and happy. Additionally, the park is not difficult to get to.
These gardens are home to a range of wildlife and native and exotic trees. These are situated amongst large lawn areas and paved pathways (which are perfect for a stroll, walking the dog and for the kids to ride their bikes on). Set up a picnic on the grass by one of the water features. Or, use the undercover picnic tables for a relaxing family outing.
The strand is a thriving beach foreshore where you can choose sand or grass for your picnic spot. Both will give you a great view. There are a number of fantastic playgrounds and the popular Strand Water Park to keep the kids entertained for hours. Bring the swimmers to take a swim in the ocean or the rock pool, or just enjoy a stroll along the beach foreshore. If you want to, you can even try catching a fish from the jetty.
Four Mile Beach – Port Douglas
With crystal clear waters and golden sand, this beach is the ultimate tropical picnic spot. It’s perfect for a lazy day of relaxing in the sun by the beach or under the shade on the grass. You can cool down by going for a swim in the patrolled section of the water.
Cape Hillsborough has a great picnic area with tables, but you can also enjoy a lovely beach picnic and swim if you wish. Kangaroos are often spotted at the beach during late afternoon. Pack a picnic for this time, watch the wildlife and stick around for the sunset.
In the rainforest, less than a 30-minute drive from Cairns, lies the peaceful Crystal Cascades. Here, there are several small waterfalls and an abundance of swimming spots. All of these are along a track that winds slightly uphill for over a kilometre next to the creek. You can experience a relaxing picnic while listening to the birds and admiring the greenery. When you’re done you can go for a swim to cool down.