There’s a reason the Northern Beaches is nicknamed the insular peninsular, and it’s because, once you get here, there really is no need to leave. But with 82 kilometres of coastline to cover, there are many a local (and even a non-local) who hasn’t explored everything our wonderful peninsula has to offer.

So we thought we’d give you a hand exploring some of the Northern Beaches’ best bits, starting with our top 5 secret picnic spots. Get those picnic rugs out!

5. Billarong Reserve, North Narrabeen

BarnIt’s easy to miss Billarong Reserve, being that it’s situated just off the Wakehurst Parkway, but it’s well worth making the deliberate mental note to visit, the next time you’re looking for a secluded picnic spot. The reserve also adjoins a wildlife sanctuary, which has a walking trail running through it, for those who’d like to walk off their picnic lunch. The kids, meanwhile, can expend all of their excess energy, playing in the fenced playground.

Other facilities: Covered picnic tables, free electric barbecues, toilets, boat ramp.

4. Forty Baskets, Balgowlah

BarnThis is one of our favourite picnic spots on the Northern Beaches, located in the middle-part of the Manly Scenic Walkway, not far from North Harbour Reserve. With views of Fairlight and Manly Cove, Forty Baskets beach is the perfect picnic hideaway, as long as you pack light; car access to Forty Basket’s is limited, making it a true local’s spot. There’s parking in Gourlay Avenue, near the Davis Marina, but it’s few hundred metres away. We suggest taking your hiking boots and making a day of it, starting at either the Spit Bridge or Manly entrances to the Manly Scenic Walkway, and enjoying lunch on the shores of Forty Baskets

Other facilities: Picnic tables, free electric barbecues, enclosed tidal pool, toilets.

3. Chinaman’s Beach, Mosman

BarnOkay, it’s not technically the Northern Beaches, but it does directly face Clontarf, which is on the Northern Beaches. Unlike Clontarf and nearby Balmoral, however, there are far fewer crowds of people at Chinaman’s Beach on the weekends, plus it’s also tucked behind Rosherville Reserve, so there are plenty of shaded areas to sit and enjoy the serenity; there’s also a playground for the kids. Parking can be expensive, but, hey, this is Sydney!

Other facilities: Toilet and shower amenities.

2. Bungan Beach, Barrenjoey

BarnBungan Beach is one of Sydney’s most unspoiled beaches, located between Newport and Mona Vale, and hidden behind the rugged cliff faces of Bungan and Mona Vale headlands. There are a few decent waves to be caught at Bungan, but you’ll find there are far fewer crowds here, due to the car park being located at the top of a very, very steep hill. The upshot is that it gives you an excuse to consume all of the wine and cheese and other delicious, albeit unhealthy, treats you packed in your picnic basket, because it’s simply too heavy to schlep back up to the car. If you do swim, stay between the flags, as a sandbar, which runs the length of the beach, is prone to causing rips.

Other facilities: Toilets and shower amenities.

1. Obelisk Beach, Mosman

BarnWe realise this is two out of five now, but we simply couldn’t overlook Obelisk Beach, near Chowder Bay in Mosman, because it’s one of Sydney’s few legal nudist beaches! Yes, folks, this secret picnic spot is NSFW! It also proves that the Lower North Shore does know how to let it all hang out! Although, if you’re game enough to visit, you’ll find that there are actually very few locals who frequent Obelisk at all, so maybe they’re not that wild after all. On the upside, this makes Obelisk a very tranquil place, while the long hike down from Chowder Bay means it’s ultra secluded, so if you do decide to skinny dip, you can do so away from any prying eyes.

Other facilities: None.

Bonus picnic spot: Your place!

BarnYou know the best thing about having a picnic at home: it doesn’t matter if you forget the salt (or the butter or the knives and forks or, heaven forbid, the bottle opener!). If you also happen to have a beautifully crafted, long-lasting Le Bench table, you won’t have to worry about getting there early to bag yourself a spot, either. So if you’re homebodies like us, and you’d rather have your next picnic in your very own secret spot (AKA your backyard), pop by our showroom or visit our website and bag yourself a picnic-at-home must have: a Le Bench Table.

Other facilities: Free parking, clean toilets, working fridge, exclusive use of the kitchen, kick-ass picnic table with built-in ice bucket.