Sydney is such a great place to be outdoors. It has great weather and so many open spaces that you often feel like you’re miles away from a city. There is literally no better way to experience the Australian lifestyle than with a barbecue in one of Sydney’s parks or on the beach. Get a couple of friends or fellow travellers, get your barbecue food of choice and get your adventure started!
Best Sydney Parks for BBQ’s
The majority of Sydney’s parks have BBQ facilities so you have many options when deciding on a place to sizzle your sausages. You could head to the Eastern Suburbs to the park at Coogee Beach, you could go to the Northern Beaches to the park at Shelly’s Beach in Manly or you could venture to a variety of parks on the Sydney Harbour.
Important to note: for those who like a drink, alcohol also goes down very well at outings such as this. However a lot of Sydney parks are alcohol free zones so double check before you go.
Whatever location you decide, if the sun is shining, or even if it’s not, you will be sure to have an unforgettable day! Here’s just a few recommendations for you where there are good BBQ facilities in Sydney.
1. Centennial Parklands
Centennial Parklands is actually made up of several parks which then form one huge area of parkland. The main green spaces are Moore Park, Queens Park and the largest one Centennial Park.
There are 8 locations with free electric barbecues within the park all operating on a first come first serve basis.
- Alcohol Allowed? Yes, although there may be some places within the park which are signposted as alcohol free zones.
- Things to do: You’ll find loads of sports areas like cricket grounds, baseball diamonds, hockey and soccer pitches as well as gardens, ponds, playgrounds and plenty of space to chill out and have a picnic. During the summer they also have a moonlight cinema.
2. Blackwattle Bay Park
Blackwattle Bay Park is one of a series of parks found on the Glebe Foreshore Walk. If you fancy sitting near the water and watching the boats go by this is the BBQ spot for you.
- Alcohol Allowed? Double check the signage when you’re there as there was a proposed timed alcohol free zone here. However I believe it’s ok to drink between 10am and 10pm here.
- Things to do: The best thing to do is walk along the Glebe Foreshore to enjoy all the historical structures you’ll see along the way before finding your spot to enjoy your BBQ.
3. Cockatoo Island
Not the prettiest of locations in Sydney at first glance but a fascinating place nonetheless. Cockatoo Island is a World Heritage Listed Site with a convict history. There are 2 barbecues available in Memorial Park opposite the Visitor centre.
- Alcohol Allowed? Sadly due to the bad behaviour of others in the past, it’s no longer possible to BYO.
- Things to do: There’s a surprising amount to do on the island. Play a big game of chess, have a game of tennis, play basketball or just go on a guided or audio tour of the Island to learn some history.
4. Shelly Beach in Manly
Even though you’re in a big city you’re in Australia and that means Beach BBQ’s! The best ones to head to, in my opinion, are Sydneys Northern Beaches. Almost all of them have fabulous BBQ facilities and of course you’re on the beach so you can’t go wrong. My personal favourite? Shelly Beach.
You’ve probably heard of Manly Beach but if you venture a little further (about 15 minutes walk) you’ll find Shelly Beach with BBQ spots available.
- Alcohol Allowed? Sadly, no. Alcohol is prohibited 24 hours a day here.
- Things to do: The walk from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach is the best part of this. You’ll walk past several sculptures along the way on “The Cabbage Tree Bay Eco-Sculpture Walk”. There are plaques so you can learn about Cabbage Tree Bays history and unique marine life. Once at Shelly Beach go for a snorkel or a swim in this lovely sheltered cove.
No matter how prepared you are when going to a picnic or BBQ, you always tends to forget something. So let me remind you of a few things you must remember to make the day a success:
- Tongs or a spatula – because turning food on a bbq hot plate with your fingers can never end favourably.
- Tomato sauce – because it won’t matter how much you burn the meat, if you cover it in tomato sauce it will always taste good!
- Rubbish Bag – Take your rubbish home with you!
- *Football – whether round or oval it is a necessity for any day out in an Australian park.
- *Frisbee – if you hate football take a frisbee with you!
*Although most parks let you play football, especially the ones with BBQ facilities, be aware that not all parks will allow you to kick a ball around.
Alright, so you’ve got your barbecue buddies, your food, chosen your location and remembered the necessities. The only other thing required is to know good BBQ etiquette!
Once you arrive there is some barbecue protocol that must be abided by:
- Wait – If someone’s using the bbq when you arrive, wait until they’ve finished before you put your meat on the bbq – obviously…
- Wait some more – If someone’s using the bbq and there are other people waiting to use the bbq after them, you must let the party that was there first be next on the bbq – obviously…
- Don’t get impatient – If you have to wait to use the bbq don’t get impatient. It’s all part of the Sydney outdoor experience – and it will get your day started with those drinks you brought along.
- Move away from the BBQ after cooking – When it’s your turn to use the bbq and you’ve finished, especially if there are people waiting to use it after you, move to a table or empty park space. You never know you may get along with or fancy one of them, so invite them over before you finishing your cooking. There are always people to meet whether local or other travellers making the most of Sydney’s outdoors.
- Clean the BBQ after use – I know your food smells good and you’ve worked up your appetite but it’s common courtesy.
- Make friends – If other people want to join in when you’re doing whatever you end up doing after your food, let them. You will have fun and meet some amazing locals or other bbq motivated travellers.
- Throw away your rubbish – Don’t leave anything behind unless it’s been put in the rubbish. Sydney parks are a beautiful place… let’s keep them that way.
You’ve been having so much fun I know you’ve forgotten to take photos. So make sure you get some before you leave, because whichever Sydney park you have chosen there are surely going to be some photographic memories to be had! If you do forget don’t worry too much about it – you know you’ll be back!
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