Gay marriage. The carbon tax. The mining tax. Higher education costs. Refugees. Put a bunch of Aussies in a room together and you can bet your bottom dollar that we will be divided on all of these issues. One issue that is never up for debate however, and that the country will always remain united on, is that public BBQs are the greatest institution in Australia.
Very few places in the world can we pack a couple of kilos of raw meat and head down to our local park to cook it all up on a free BBQ while overlooking some brilliant natural scenery. That is precisely what we can do all over Australia.
So let’s visit my Top 10 best BBQ spots around Australia:
1. The Basin, Sydney, NSW
This picnic and camping ground on the western foreshore of Pittwater is one of the best-kept secrets in Sydney. After working up a sweat running around the large grassed areas or going on one of the many short walks, the sheltered beach and inland lagoon are divine for cooling off.
One of The Basin’s biggest draw cards is its secluded location. However, this comes at a cost since it’s only accessible via a 2.8km walking trail from West Head Road. You can also get there via ferry, which departs from Palm Beach Wharf.
2. Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW
These expansive parklands are as rich in history as they are in beauty. In 1888, Sir Henry Parkes dedicated the area as a public open space for the enjoyment of the people and it remains that way 125 years later.
The ponds, bird life, native plants and sheer size of the park make it easy to forget that you are just minutes from the centre of the largest city in the country. There are a number of BBQ areas, all with good facilities not too far away.
3. Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne, VIC
Located on the south banks of the Yarra River, Alexandra Gardens is the most popular spot in Melbourne to fire up a public barbie. The city skyline makes the perfect backdrop to the rowers gliding along the river.
BBQs are located in various locations along the banks and are accompanied by picnic facilities, playgrounds, bicycle paths and a skate park.
4. Westgate Park, Port Melbourne, VIC
Further along the Yarra, towards the mouth of the river, bird lovers will love Westgate Park. Swans, pelicans, spoonbills, ibises and lorikeets are all common sights in this wetland area that contains a number of salt and freshwater lakes.
There are fantastic views over the city and Hobsons Bay, which can be enjoyed while eating a barbecued lunch, and cycling or walking along some of the many tracks.
5. Rymill Park, Adelaide, SA
The city of Adelaide is surrounded by beautiful parklands, with none being more suited to cooking up a barbie than Rymill Park. Located to the east of the city, it contains rose gardens, playgrounds and expansive grassed areas.
Rowboats can be hired for a romantic navigation of the large lake, and there is a kiosk where you can buy a satisfying post-barbie ice cream.
6. Long Beach Playground, Lower Sandy Bay, Hobart, TAS
This modest park area may not have the expanse of a Centennial Park or the wildlife of a Westgate Park, but it is simply a great place to bring the kids and cook up a few snags.
It contains a quality playground and promenade that overlooks a lovely beach on the banks of the River Derwent. There is also a large sheltered area in case that wet Tassie weather rolls in.
7. Swan River Foreshore, Perth, WA
Similar to the Yarra in Melbourne, the banks of the Swan River provide a stunning contrast of the natural and the built world, with the city skyline acting as a backdrop to the river.
A boat cruise and a BBQ picnic make for just about the perfect day in this city that is blessed with ridiculously good weather. Nearby is the Swan Bells – a funky-looking glass and copper structure that offers fantastic views from its observation deck.
Considering the temperature never seems to drop below 35 degrees Celsius in Darwin, it might seem strange to want to stand over a hot BBQ. However, East Point Reserve is such a perfect spot for it that it’s almost too hard to resist.
The park is a massive 200 hectares and includes massive swaths of natural forests filled with native flora and fauna. Lake Alexander offers safe (important in these parts) swimming, and not too far away is Dudley Point, which provides some of the most stunning sunset views in the country.
9. Simpson Falls, Mount Coot-tha, QLD
Located about 10km out of Brisbane, a barbie at Simpson Falls is about getting back to basics. You’ll have to bring your own wood for the wood-fired BBQs, but you’ll be rewarded with meat that has a rich, smoky barbecued flavour.
Surrounding the picturesque, eucalypt-filled picnic site is the enormous Mount Coot-tha Forest. It is a delight for bird watchers and bushwalkers alike.
10. Weston Park, Canberra, ACT
Weston Park is situated on a peninsula on the western side of Lake Burley Griffin. While it is a beautiful spot for anyone who loves nature, picnics and beautiful scenery, it is a particularly good spot to bring the kids. Along with the BBQ facilities, there are a number of children’s playgrounds, a maze and a miniature railway.
So there’s my Top 10. What do you think? What’s your favourite public BBQ spot in Australia? Please leave your comments below.
And keep in mind that if you’re looking for a public BBQ in your local area, you should check out the wonderful website, ‘Meat in a Park’: