The Family Beast’s Top 3: Places to picnic with children (Sydney)

Finding affordable activities for children in a sprawling city like Sydney can be tricky. There are multiplexes galore, endless stretches of water activities and fast food outlets on every corner. But where can you go for a laid back, inexpensive outing that isn’t merchandised to within an inch of bankrupting you (both sustainably and financially) or overpopulated with semi-naked tourists, and the possibility of sharks?

The Family Beast’s three favourite hidden gems are out there waiting to be explored:

1) Chinese Garden of Friendship – Darling Harbour
For children and adults alike the Chinese Garden of Friendship is a haven in the middle of the city. Hidden away at the south end of Darling Harbour, these gardens are beautifully landscaped, with paths, ponds full of koi, bridges and concealed nooks and corners. There is food available on siteand they often have a special entry/lunch special.
Perfect for: A day out with out of town visitors, incorporating with a visit to the Powerhouse Museum, or meeting a city working dad for a lunch break.
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2) The Auburn Botanic Gardens – Auburn
A real gem, the Auburn Botanic Gardens have a sunken rose garden, a scented garden, a Japanese garden and a fauna reserve and aviary.  There is plenty of room to picnic and the entry cost is ridiculously inexpensive. When compared to taking in a block buster at a multiplex – the Auburn Botanic Garden’s win on price, variety and the ability to physically exhaust everyone, ensuring a good night sleep without nightmares.
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3) Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden – St Ives
As far as value for money goes, the Wildflower Garden costs (unless you are part of an organised group) and you are free to wander of the 123 hectares of bushland as you please. There are some stroller/wheelchair friendly tracks for the less agile. The Gardens hold workshops for children over the school holidays as well as providing a venue for birthday parties with organised activities. Pack a picnic and take little ones for a mini-trek along the Senses Track or choose a trail of suitable length for the amount of exhaustion you are aiming for.
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