Lions Park, Tallebudgera
Why it’s perfect: Not only is it pretty as a picture but you can park your car right on the edge of the picnic area so you don’t have to schlep all of your stuff – hurrah! There is a huge shady grassy area to roll out a rug as well as a (very) basic playground, but it’s the creek and rope swing that will have little people (and big people) entertained for hours.
Rosins Lookout Conservation Park, Beechmont
Why it’s perfect: It looks like it could be a scene from Jurassic Park, just replace the pterodactyls with much less sinister paragliders soaring around. The awe-inspiring lookout offers insatiable views of the mountain ranges bordering Queensland and New South Wales, and provides the perfect place for a picnic on top of the world. Plus, there are public toilets and barbecues if you prefer to stay for an all-day affair.
Long Tan Park, Currumbin Valley
Why it’s perfect: On the corner of Bains Road and Currumbin Creek Road lies a pristine hidden gem. A favourite for photographers and Insta-folk, as soon as you cross the rickety one-lane bridge you’ll appreciate why. Long Tan Park is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and spend the afternoon swinging on the rope swing, skimming rocks across the creek or exploring the natural surrounds.
Cedar Creek Falls, Tamborine Mountain
Why it’s perfect: If you are up for a little adventure with your picnic, head up the mountain in search of Cedar Creek Falls. As its name suggests – cascading waterfalls, icy-cold rock pools surrounded by picturesque rainforest make Cedar Creek Falls a must visit. It’s hard to describe the natural beauty of this place so pack your picnic basket and see for yourself. Just be prepared for a bit of a walk.
Macintosh Island Park, Main Beach
Why it’s perfect: It’s possible you’ve driven past it a thousand times and had no idea how amazing Macintosh Island Park is. Also known as ‘Peacock Park’ because of the resident peacocks that roam about the parklands, it’s definitely a must for a picnic. There is a sizeable playground and plenty of places to spread out and enjoy a bite in the sun with pals. Plus, there are barbecue facilities so that you can cook up an al fresco feast.
Cougal Cascade, Currumbin Valley
Why it’s perfect: Keep driving past the eternally jam-packed Currumbin Rock Pools and you’ll eventually come across Cougal Cascade. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a waterfall slide that will send you plunging into a natural pool of freezing water but if that feels like a little too much effort, set up in the designated picnic area. It’s a pretty place to sit and enjoy this truly beautiful part of the world.
Hinze Dam, Gold Coast Hinterland
Why it’s perfect: It’s the main drinking water supply for the entire coast topping out at 310,730 megalitres, which you can imagine is also a pretty impressive sight to behold. Take a stroll along the top of the dam wall but be warned, it’s a 3.6-km round trip so you’ll well and truly earn the coffee and cake from the architecturally amazing View Cafe afterwards.
The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Benowa
Why it’s perfect: Despite its location on a main thoroughfare, once you drive down the driveway, you feel like you’re a world away. Great expanses of lush lawn sprawl out before you, begging for you to roll out a rug. While you’re there, take a moment to smell and touch plants and flowers in the Sensory Garden, explore local species in the Mangroves to Mountains walk, visit the native Butterfly Garden or smell the roses in the Rose Garden.
Cascade Gardens, Broadbeach
Why it’s perfect: If you don’t have an entire day to spend swanning around rainforests taking pics for the ‘gram but you still want a pretty backdrop for your mobile feast, Cascade Gardens is perfect because it’s literally in the heart of Broadbeach. Parking is easy and there are a few things to see within the gardens including The Queensland Korean War Memorial and the Kokoda Memorial Walk. The walk extends from Rotary Park in the centre of Cascade Gardens south along the pathways towards the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Honourable mentions: With so many amazing places on the Gold Coast, it was hard to narrow it down, however if you do have some spare time after visiting all of the above, we also recommend checking out Araluen Swimming Hole hidden within Springbrook National Park, Paradise Point Parklands, Kirra Hill Lookout and Evandale Parklands.