Planning the perfect picnic isn’t hard, it just requires a little bit of organisation to make it stress-free and fun:
What is the occasion?
- Weather perfect? Just feel like you want to do something different? Don’t wait for a ‘special reason’, go for it!
Romantic picnic for two
- Want to make the love of your life know how special they are? An anniversary, or even … an engagement?
- Picnics can be a fantastic day’s adventure, especially if you have kids – choose a location where you can eat and there is something for the kids to do. Somewhere you can swim, a playground, space to play a game like Frisbee, cricket, or bike riding.
Gathering with friends
- Organising to catch up with friends, but want to do something different than going to a restaurant or someone’s house? A picnic can be a lovely alternative – choose somewhere easy for everyone to get to and have everyone bring something along to eat and share! If there are kids, choose a location with things for them to do (playground, space to play). If it is just adults – choose somewhere you can spread out and catch up – play board games, go for a group bike ride, or just somewhere beautiful to enjoy with those you haven’t seen in a while.
A meal before going out
- Going to an outdoor cinema? Shakespeare in the Park? Lots of places have events running outside in warmer weather. You may be able to have a picnic at the location or go to a nearby park beforehand. You can even have a picnic and then go to a movie or a show that is indoors – you are only limited by your imagination!
A special event
- This can require a little more planning, depending on the event: birthdays, anniversaries, someone going overseas, engagement parties, and even weddings!
Choose your location
Check the weather forecast
- Does the location have covered areas if it rains or gets too hot? Do you need to bring something in case the weather changes: umbrellas, a portable marquee?
- You need to check if there are any local restrictions, for example: no alcohol, no fire?
- Again, local and national parks often have restrictions, for example: no alcohol, no fire/BBQs.
- Yep, you can have a picnic in your own backyard! Whether it is just for your immediate family, or for a special occasion, your own backyard can be a magical location for a picnic. In this case, there are fewer things to check (and you can use your own kitchen! If you are going to BBQ make sure you know if there are any fire restrictions in place.
- This can be the ultimate romantic gesture, or fun adventure for kids – and it doesn’t rely on good weather!
- Make the room feel special, move everyday furniture out of the way and think about what sort of mood you want to have – romantic (candles?), or kid friendly (built a fort out of cushions lately?)
The perfect picnic kit
- If you have a special picnic basket, then bring it out! There are lots of picnic sets – including baskets or backpacks – available in stores or online (these can make great gifts!) – but you do not need to have anything special. A plastic or cardboard box can work just as well.
- Even if there are picnic tables at your location, there is something about eating on a picnic blanket. You can get purpose made blankets (with a plastic/rubber undersides) from camping and other stores. If you have people coming who cannot sit on the ground, make sure you do bring some chairs.
Plates, bowls, cups, spoons, forks, knives
- You’ll need enough for everyone, and don’t forget utensils for serving, cutting, and cooking!
- Will you need something to keep food cool and food warm? You may need more than one storage container for food.
- Baby wipes are a convenient way to bring a way to clean hands and faces if things get a little messy!
- If you are using a public BBQ you will need to clean it – so something to scrub the surface, dishwashing liquid, and maybe some gloves will be useful.
- Bags for rubbish – don’t leave anything behind, take your rubbish with you!
- Something to put dirty plates, etc. in – this can be a good way to reuse old plastic bags, or use something you can wash easily, like a cloth bag.
This is where you can let your creativity flow, and a few questions can help make sure your catering is on point.
- Is your picnic during the day or evening, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea?
- Is the weather very hot, just warm, or cool?
- Who is coming?
- How many?
- Are there any food allergies?
- Do you want, or have the facilities, to cook on location?
Once you have these answered … the sky is the limit!
Even if you are going to cook on location, the best picnic food is what can be prepared mostly before you go, easy to transport, and bite sized/easy to eat!
Food for all
- Homemade cheese pull-a-parts
- Delicious pulled pork jerk sliders
- A tasty and easy to transport smoked chicken quiche
Something sweet for afternoon tea or dessert
- For the grown-ups try:
- a delectable frangipane raspberry tart
- or an Australian classic – pavlova nests!
- For the kids (or the kids-at-heart)