Far from the madding crowd

With lockdown restrictions easing  it's no wonder people are desperate to get out and catch-up with friends and family for a picnic.  As the weather warms up many people are heading to the well known large Hawkesbury parks to enjoy  the sunshine.  The bigger parks along the river have proven to be very popular but other parks  are tucked away around the district that are quieter.  You may have to bring your own fold-up chair and table (or picnic blanket) but all of these parks have things to offer.  Space to kick a ball around, easy parking  and shady spots.  One thing to plan for is that most of these parks don't have shops or cafes within walking distance  - so make sure you are fully prepared for your outing.

You'll find six suggestions below for quieter Hawkesbury picnic spots here.  Try them out - you might find you have a new favourite place to enjoy a lazy weekend  afternoon.

w1. Wilberforce Park, Wilberforce

This historic park was originally established by Lachlan Macquarie in 1810.  The park is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register as a fine example of early town planning in Australia.  This sloping park has heaps of parking, a kids playground and some remarkable old trees.  There are a few covered picnic tables on the lower side but no toilets.   If you are interested in local history check out St Johns Anglican Church on the top side of the park.

i2. Icely Park, Richmond

Found off Dight Street, East Richmond many locals may not even know this park exists.  Mostly used for community sport the park has  heaps of parking and tall shady trees bordering  the playing fields.  There is a kids playground in one corner and benches dotted here and there.  It's a good spot to see the RAAF planes  coming in and there is plenty of space to throw a ball around.

s3. Streetons Lookout, Freemans Reach

Tucked away  off the road between North Richmond and Freemans Reach this unique lookout  also has space to have a picnic.  Lots of shade and great views over the  Richmond Lowlands and towards the mountains.  Plenty of parking is available but not a great deal of space if you want to kick a ball around.  Great spot to watch the sunset over the mountains. Toilets available.

p4. Powell Park, Kurrajong Heights

Hidden away in the backstreets of Kurrajong Heights is the small but peaceful Powell Park.  Best accessed via Stanley Avenue this park includes a kids playground, toilets, shady trees and space to throw a frisbee around.  It is a great spot to look for birds.  If you have time after your picnic drop into Bellbird Lookout on Bells Line of Road for a fabulous panoramic view over the Sydney basin.

colo5. Colo River Park, Colo

As you head along the Putty Road  towards the Colo River Bridge this small park  is easily missed.  Just before you get to the bridge take the left hand turn to Upper Colo.  Then almost immediately turn right underneath the road bridge.  This park has direct access to the river via a small jetty and plenty of shady spots to set your picnic up.  Parking can be a bit tight as the road is narrow but you can park under the bridge.  There is a drop toilet on the other side of the road to the park.  If you have a kayak or canoe you can launch from the jetty but beware that the river is deep and there are no safe  beaches for the kids.

st a6.St Albans Common, St Albans

St Albans can get busy on the weekends as the local pub, The Settlers Arms, attracts many daytrippers.  However the park opposite the pub that runs down to the MacDonald River  is worth a visit.  The park itself  has lots of shade, a playground and access to a sandy beach.  The river often is just a trickle here but be careful after heaps of rain.  There are toilets and tables dotted here and there along the park.   Parking can be a bit tight on weekends if the pub is bustling.  We'd suggest heading up to the northern end of the park as it is quieter.