If you’re wondering where the best Perth picnic spots are or are looking for some new ideas on where to go, I’m sharing with you here a list of some of my favourite places for to enjoy a picnic around Perth, in suburban parks, along the banks of the Swan River and out in the Hills and national parks.
We are so lucky in Perth to be blessed with a beautiful sunny climate plus plenty of parks, rivers, lakes and open bushland areas, even in the heart of the city. This list features some of the very best Perth picnic spots, but it’s only the beginning! Be sure to share your own favourite places for a picnic in the comments at the end of the article.
1. Herdsman Lakes
Northern Suburbs > Wembley/Churchlands/Woodlands/Glendalough/Osbourne Park
Herdsman Lakes is a large, peaceful nature reserve surrounded by suburbia and not far away from the Perth city centre.
About four years ago I lived just over the road from it and would wander over almost daily to go for walks, bike rides and romantic picnics with my boyfriend at the time. I loved it because I always felt like I could lose myself in nature there and forget for a while that I was actually in the city.
It’s a wonderful area for spotting all kinds of wetland birds, long-neck tortoises and dragonflies. But keep an eye out for snakes on the tracks in spring and summer!
Go for a walk or bike ride all the way around the lakes to find your own secluded picnic spot. The varied landscapes of the park include woodland, lawns, horse paddocks, and wetlands with paperbarks, reeds and sedges.
My favourite spot for a picnic is over on the north-west side of the park. The grass there is lush and green, and there’s plenty of cool shade beneath tall tuart trees, and a serene view of the lakes. If you’ve got kids with you they’ll enjoy the play ground close by on the other side of the tuart trees.
2. Fraser Avenue Park or Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens (Kings Park)
Inner City > Kings Park
For a dinnertime picnic in Perth, the Fraser Avenue park (part of Kings Park) cannot be beaten. Perched high above the city, view the full moon rising and thousands of city lights reflected in the river and listen to the distant roar of traffic on the freeway below. Lemon scented gums along the avenue are lit up from below. Walk across the cool nighttime grass to the war memorial, it’s quite atmospheric after dark and the views of the city are some of the best in Perth.
Although I prefer nighttime picnics at Fraser Avenue, it’s a beautiful scenic spot at any time of day, and if you want more space or a bbq there’s the bigger Pines Picnic Area over the road.
Alternatively for a daytime picnic, my favourite spot in Kings Park is the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens which are just a short walk from the Fraser Avenue Park over on the other side of the War Memorial. This beautiful park features extensive lawns and a man-made lake connected to a cascading stream, and is surrounded by botanical gardens that come alive with the colours of native wild flowers in spring. My favourite spot to set up a picnic in this park is beneath some beautiful tall trees over on the far side of the lakes, closer to the river views and rotunda.
3. Bayview Park Above Freshwater Bay, and Keane Point
Western Suburbs > Mosman Park
This is another park with a high vantage point and glorious views of the river and city. In the quiet suburb of Mosman Park there is a grassy park shaded by gum trees right on the edge of the high escarpment above Freshwater Bay (part of the Swan River). This spot is never crowded and has some of the best views in Perth city.
From Bayview Park you can follow a walking path (or drive) down the hill to Peppermint Grove and the shores of the Swan River where you’ll eventually reach Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. The riverside lawns next to the yacht club and along Johnson Street is another option for a picnic that would be good if you have kids with you because there is a playground and the river to swim in. It is well set up for picnickers with benches and barbecues. However, the I prefer the park above the cliffs because it is so much more peaceful and the views are better.
4. Matilda Bay
Western Suburbs > Crawley
This was always my family’s favourite summertime Perth picnic spot when I was growing up because it’s close to our home, and right by the river. I have great childhood memories of running along the jetties, swimming in the Swan River and trying to avoid having a jellyfish thrown at me by the other kids. Later as a UWA student I enjoyed sitting and walking by the river at Matilda bay on breaks between classes.
The park by the river at Matilda Bay is huge with plenty of trees, a gazebo, barbecues, a bike path and a cafe.
Mrs Herbert’s Park
Western Suburbs > Claremont/Dalkeith
Along quiet Victoria Avenue, part of the long road that snakes around the Swan River from Crawley through Dalkeith and Claremont, there are a couple of small parks by the river hidden away between the houses. Mrs Herbert’s Park is my favourite of these. Although it’s quite small there’s plenty of room to run around and I’ve never seen it crowded. Beautiful gum trees provide shade and at the bottom of the hill, there’s the river with gorgeous views across Freshwater Bay towards the Mosman Park hill.
Facilities include a playground and toilets. If you’re interested in local history you can pop into the Freshwater Bay museum if it’s open. The museum is located right next-door to the park. Another nice idea is to go for a walk from the park along the river’s edge in front of the houses to the Claremont Yacht Club.
6. The Coombe, Mosman Park
Western Suburbs > Mosman Park
At the end of a small residential cul-de-sac in Mosman Park (the street’s called “The Coombe”), a tiny park hides away by the water’s edge amongst the houses. It’s a peaceful secluded spot for a picnic, and great for young kids. There’s a tiny playground off to one side and a little section of beach where you can wade or swim in the Swan River or launch a canoe. I like it because it feels cosy and kind of like a secret, even though there are usually other people there.
7. Rocky Pool, John Forrest National Park
Perth Hills > North: Mundaring area
John Forrest National Park has many nice spots for a picnic and is a great day out if you like bush walking, babbling brooks, old railways, and pretty Perth Hills scenery and views. In summer there are some nice spots to swim and paddle, and in winter and spring the waterfalls are at their best and wildflowers are in bloom.
The official picnic area near the tavern and old rail bridge with the cute little wooden houses to sit in is a lovely spot, but my favourite thing to do is to wander up the Jane Brook from the western boundary of the park on Pechey Road and set up a picnic on a big flat rock by the water (near “Rocky Pool” on the maps).
National Park entrance fees apply for the main picnic area, but it’s free to park on Pechey Road and walk i from there.
8. Walyunga Pool
Perth Hills > North: Avon Valley area
Walyunga National Park protects a beautiful natural bushland area in the hills beyond the Swan Valley. The Avon River flows down through the National Park to meet up with the Swan much further down stream. At Walyunga Pool there’s a large picnic area with plenty of parking, bbq’s and benches… and beautiful scenery with views of the river and lots of parrots about. From there you can go for an easy walk along a path following the river. If there’s any green grass around at all you’re bound to see lots of kangaroos on this walk! If the weather’s warm you might like to go for a swim in the river.
Entrance fees apply to Walyunga National Park.
9. Point Walter
Southern Suburbs > Bicton
Point Walter is a wonderful Perth picnic spot with a large park right next to the river, shady trees, and a white sand beach that becomes a sand spit extending far out into Freshwater Bay. Walk out along the long narrow sand spit, wade and swim in the shallows. We’ve had a few successful prawning nights there (going back a good 10 years ago, though) – have also tried crabbing but didn’t catch any.
Nearby Blackwall Reach is the deepest part of the Swan River with a shoreline of limestone cliffs. Cliff jumping and deep-water solo rock climbing are definitely possible if you dare, although the signs suggest otherwise! Or you can just go for a pleasant walk from Point Walter up along the clifftops and enjoy the views.
10. Araluen Botanic Park
Perth Hills > South: Armadale area
Araluen is a flower garden and tree park in the Perth Hills beyond Armadale with a beautiful range of exotic and native plants. In spring it is glorious and colourful with fields of tulips and daffodils – and lots of people around. It is Perth’s version of Holland’s Keukenhof Gardens!
At other times of year it’s less colourful, but peaceful and quiet.
Entrance fees apply.
Image: FARIDA RIDZUAN on Flickr
11. Serpentine Falls
Perth Hills > South: Jarrahdale area
Serpentine Falls in the southern Perth Hills is a beautiful spot that’s great for a picnic any time of year. The smallish waterfall, which runs over a sloping boulder of granite into a large pool in the Serpentine River, is most impressive in winter and early spring after the rains. In spring there are colourful wild flowers blooming in the Serpentine National Park jarrah forest. In summer and autumn the waterhole beneath the falls is a great spot for a refreshing swim! The picnic area is pleasantly shady and covered in green grass. Facilities include toilets, picnic tables and barbecues. A couple of great bush walks begin near the picnic area.
12. Cottesloe Civic Centre Grounds
Western Suburbs > Cottesloe
The Cottesloe Civic Centre has grand Spanish Mission style buildings and walls, built in 1889 surrounded by extensive grounds featuring shady jungle gardens and huge sunny lawns on multi-level terraces. The grass is always nice and green there even at the end of summer.
Although the grounds are a public space free for everyone to use, not too many people seem to know about it so it’s usually pretty quiet with plenty of room away from other groups and the occasional wedding. It is a quiet and peaceful hideaway in the middle of the suburb, right by the sea, and among my group of friends is a favourite Perth picnic spot. Facilities on offer around the grounds include barbecues, a gazebo, a stage and a couple of playgrounds.
13. Noble Falls
Perth Hills > North: Gidgegannup
Noble Falls is a beautiful location in the bush near Gidgegannup with a large picnic area and a playground, and plenty more secluded spots for a picnic along the river banks. The falls themselves are part of the Wooroloo Brook and although very beautiful, are almost too small to really be considered a proper waterfall. They are more like a series of cascades, steps and rapids where the water flows over some low granite rocks.
The Noble Falls picnic area is especially nice to visit on a sunny day in spring or summer (before the water levels get too low) for swimming and paddling because it’s like a natural water park with terraced pools and slippery rocks to slide on. On a cold day you might prefer to set off on a bush walk instead of braving the chilly water.
Image: Michael Bailey on Flickr
14. Kalamunda Zig Zag Lookout
Perth Hills > North: Kalamunda Area > Gooseberry Hill National Park
At the top of the Zig Zag hill and on the way down the Zigzag Road (following an old railway) in Gooseberry Hill National Park you’ll find unofficial lookouts that makes great picnic spots, with some of the best and clearest views in Perth. It’s especially lovely and romantic at night when the lights of the city are twinkling.
Taking in the sweeping panorama the Swan Coastal Plain, spot the airport, the sky scrapers of the CBD, suburbs, and lots and lots of trees. Because the airport is so close, you get some great views of jets taking off and landing and flying low overhead, so do a bit of plane-spotting while enjoying your picnic! After enjoying your picnic and the views drive down the winding switchbacks of Zig Zag Scenic Drive.
15. Chidley Point Reserve
Western Suburbs > Mosman Park
Chidley Point is a peaceful and quiet corner hidden away behind the suburbs, backed by a pocket of natural bushland growing on a steep hillside. But because its located at the bend in the river where Freshwater Bay narrows into the channel that leads down to Fremantle and the ocean, you get an expansive 270° view out across the water.
With a playground, a white sandy beach and the river to swim in, it’s a great spot for families. Boats and dolphins pass by frequently. Has BBQ facilities, shaded benches and toilets. I recommend bringing a beach umbrella if you plan on staying a while.
Last Updated: 4th September, 2015.
First posted on 13th April, 2015 by Bonny.
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