So, you’re in Emerald, Queensland and you’re looking for the best places to go to relax, have a picnic, and just simply enjoy the sunshine. With so many things to do in Emerald, it may be hard trying to figure out where the best spots are, according to the locals (and tourists) to enjoy a peaceful, blissful picnic.
Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with our list of the best Emerald picnic spots that have been rated highly by both locals and tourists alike. Guaranteed to give you the best picnics at Emerald, all you have to do before visiting one of these spots is to prepare yourself for an awesome picnic - think plenty of water, sunscreen, and all - and to check the weather beforehand!
Emerald Botanic Gardens
An absolute classic place to spend the day, the Emerald Botanic Gardens is truly an oasis like no other. Immersed within Queensland’s Central Highlands, the Emerald Botanic Gardens offers a tropical paradise in a perfect location for all picnic goers looking to have an easy, chilled day surrounded by beautiful fauna and flora.
The Emerald Botanic Gardens is the only one of its kind in all of Central Western District of Queensland, making it a tad more special to visit. It nestles neatly on the banks of the Nogoa River, where there is a windmill to awe at, and covers a whopping 42 hectares. Not only is the Botanic Gardens a great place to relax and unwind, but it offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about the region’s natural environment too. With over 12 different themed plant communities that represent native plant species to foreign ones, there are plenty of things to see and do here at the Emerald Botanic Gardens.
For those who enjoy birdwatching, you will be thrilled to know that several species frequent the Emerald Botanic Gardens thanks to its green lush. With varieties that change by the season, meandering around the gardens is a delight for nature lovers. There are 6 kilometres worth of walking and biking tracks through all 12 different communities.
For art lovers and those interested in games, be amused at the art installations such as the marble game and Federation Panels.
In terms of having a picnic here, the barbecue facilities here are nothing short of spectacular. Extremely clean and well-maintained, you will be fully equipped with all you need to have an awesome barbecue, short of bringing the food to cook. There’s also a kids playground - and plenty of wide, open spaces - for the kids to burn their energy while the adults mingle and cook up a storm. Thanks to the vast amount of greenery, there are plenty of spots to take shade should the intensity of the sun get too much.
There are plenty of parking spaces, even for caravans and RVs situated under the rail bridge. The gardens are access friendly with wide, floured concrete paths that open up options to wander for mobility vehicles.
Oh, and to further seal the deal, the Emerald Botanic Gardens is rated as the Number 1 thing to do in Emerald for its nature, parks, and gardens.
Lake Maraboon and Fairbairn Dam
A short 25 kilometres South West of Emerald, Lake Maraboon is the second largest lake in Queensland. With a 15,000 hectare surface area when full, it’s a shocking three times larger than Sydney Harbour with the capacity to hold up to 1.3 million megalitres. Being a man made lake, the water area is called Lake Maraboon while the wall and spillway are referred to as Fairbairn Dam.
Beyond its magnificent views, especially as the sun rises and sets, Lake Maraboon has so much to offer for the adventurer or the lounger.
Stocked with eight varieties of fish including Murray cod, saratoga, golden perch, silver perch, barramundi and the popular red claw crayfish, Lake Maraboon is a highlight for anglers alike. You will need a fishing permit if you want to fish at Lake Maraboon and can be grabbed from the Emerald Post Office or online. To hook yourself up for a successful day on catching red claw, the trick is to use fruit, partially cooked veg, or pet food as bait.
At Lake Maraboon, there are no boating restrictions, although you won’t be allowed to boat or fish around the dam wall. There are plenty of water activities to keep the kids busy such as water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking, and swimming in the designated swimming area.
To catch spectacular views, head to the lookout.
And don’t forget to pack a picnic for a relaxing and picturesque day here. With tables and electric barbecues available to visitors, all you have to do is bring some snags and patties to cook for the fam!
The Massive Van Gogh’s Sunflower
For the art fans, why not have a picnic while admiring the work of a true artist? The large Van Gogh Sunflower painting is situated in the Morton Park corner.
The sunflower painting is said to be a reflection and remembrance of Emerald when it was once a booming sunflower industry.
There aren’t any electric barbecue pits to fire up here so bring a picnic that’s ready to eat and enjoy it on the benches available across the park.
Why not grab a bite in Emerald instead?
Sometimes a planned picnic idea may not pan out the way you want it to. Be it the unforeseeable weather, some mishaps that happened along the way, or unexpected delays, it always pays off to have a backup plan.
So, why not grab a bite at one of the most notable establishments in Emerald instead? The Maraboon Tavern is known to be a local favourite boasting terrific food that offers great value for money. From mouth watering steaks that will match the quality of high end restaurants to freshly caught fish and chips that will have you crunching for more, and amazing salads that will impress, there is a meal for everyone.
Oh, and come on a Wednesday, and the Kids Eat Free with any purchase of a main meal. The meal deal includes free ice cream, free drink, and an activity pack to keep them busy!