On my first date with Mark, he said the most fantastic thing.

We had been getting to know each other and the topic of conversation had turned to South Coast road trips as I filled him in on my childhood weekend ritual of driving down on Friday nights to Callala Bay where my family had a holiday house.

Mark was telling me how he’d only been to the South Coast a couple of times but he had remembered driving through this gorgeous little town and being really disappointed when his friends didn’t want to stop to check it out. I asked him where it was and he said the magical words:

“I think it was called Berry. I really want to go back”.

And it was in that moment that I knew he was a keeper.

Berry is now a special place for us and one of our favourite refuges when we need to get out of the city. It’s about a 2 hour drive from Sydney so perfect for a day trip. The drive is also pretty spectacular, especially when you pass through spots like this:





Berry has all the country charm of historic buildings and leafy surrounds but as an added bonus, comes complete with gourmet food spots and beautiful little stores which sell unique, one-off pieces. It’s our favourite weekend escape. This time, we took our mums with us as we knew they would love exploring Berry and enjoying a picnic with us. Plus, generally speaking, mums are just the best and every now and then you need to remind them of that.

Here’s our itinerary:


Food & Coffee:     Milkwood Bakery

Picnic:                     Apex Park

Afternoon Tea:    The Berry Tea Shop



109 Queen Street, Berry

You’ll be able to find Milkwood Bakery fairly easily – just follow the wafty scent of freshly baked bread to the line of people out the door.


Milkwood Bakery was established in 2012 and is the more casual offshoot of the Berry Sourdough Cafe (which you can find in a rustic, lovingly restored heritage-listed barn house just around the corner at 23 Prince Alfred Street).

It has a gorgeous range of artisan organic sourdough breads baked fresh in wood fire ovens – from the classic Berry sourdough to the pane pugliese, thyme and olive flat bread, the levain blanc (a classic french style loaf) and the fig & walnut loaf.



The display is also beautifully set up with a delicious range of flaky croissants, savoury muffins, cakes, pastries, scrolls, mini-pizzas and tarts.



We ordered the lamb and pine nut sausage roll (incredible) and a range of the meat pies – the Beef Bourguignon, the Steak & Caramelised Onion and the Chicken, Leek, Bacon & Mushroom (all impossibly good) – plus a mushroom and gruyere cheese tart with golden pastry (I could have eaten 7!). Oh, and the sweet pastries? Yeah, we got a few of those too: a raspberry danish, a nut tart and a Portuguese tart.


You can pick up a very good coffee to go made from a retro inspired duck-egg blue espresso machine. There’s also a range of house-made muesli, jams, and dips to bring home for your loved ones – which is handy, because I doubt the lamingtons will survive the car ride home.


Check out the website for more details. 



Cnr Queen St (Princes Highway) & Prince Alfred  Street, Berry

As soon as you glimpse the the little footbridge and gorgeous rotunda set amongst trees in beautiful Apex Park, you know this is a special place and the perfect spot for a Berry picnic.




Gah… looking at pastry makes me hungry all over again! Thanks Milkwood!


It was so lovely to have a full day out with our busy mums. It’s the special yet simple things that are a bit ‘out of the ordinary’ – like a road trip and picnic in Berry – that will be remembered and talked about in years to come.


→  ToiletsPublic toilets are adjacent to Apex Park.

→  Parking: There is street parking nearby or you can find parking down a side street. The main road has parking limits of 1 hour, but this is enough time for a Milkwood picnic. You may need to move the car however if you plan on shopping or enjoying afternoon tea later.

→  Bicycles: You can’t really cycle in the park, sorry – it ain’t big enough for that. But definitely take the bike around the gorgeous country lane ways in Berry and the surrounds.

→  Dogs: I didn’t see any signs, so I assume dogs are permitted on a lead. Maybe just check this when you are there.

→  Weddings: And yes, you can book Apex Park for weddings! Click here for details. How dreamy!



1/66 Albert Street, Berry

Many moons ago, I had to do a uni assessment which involved inventing a business to learn how to set up a company step-by-step. It was a law subject so naturally, a lot of people were setting up their own pretend law firms. Me? Well, I figured if it was all pretend and we could pick absolutely anything we wanted, I would go with my all-time favourite fantasy business…

A tea shop.

I spent a lot of time imagining how beautiful my tea shop would look, what it would be called (“Tranquilitea”, for the record) and the huge range of tea I would have. Much more time than necessary given I wasn’t actually getting graded on how awesome my invented shop was.

So, for someone who has imagined the perfect tea shop, I was blown away when I first visited The Berry Tea Shop. The shop doesn’t only just sell amazing tea but they have all kinds of beautiful tea accessories, like tea pots, cups, strainers, canisters, cake stands, teaspoons, paper goods, decorations, tea cosies and books. And, what’s more, you can sit inside and take it all in while drinking delicious tea and eating a freshly baked scone with Cuttaway Creek raspberry conserve and double cream. Yeah, amazing right?

It’s like all my tea shop fantasies brought to life and my equivalent of a ‘kid in a candy store’ experience.

Check it out:









In my mind, tea drinking is all about the experience and the ritual. It’s about fine china and teapots with cosies and, most importantly, taking time to enjoy and savour the moment. I’m therefore a firm believer that tea shouldn’t ever be in a takeaway cup or rushed or drunk on the run. Hence, I have a ‘no tea on picnics’ rule… unless it comes in Royal Albert, Royal Doulton or Wedgwood, then I might make an exception. Anything less would be disrespectful, really.

Luckily for us, at The Berry Tea Store, we got to enjoy a warming cup of tea with a slice of the gluten-free orange and almond syrup cake (a favourite of mine) and the hummingbird cake as a final treat to round out our picnic / Berry adventure.





I challenge anyone who goes to The Berry Tea Shop not to fantasise about giving it all up and moving to an adorable country town to open up an adorable little tea shop. If you need some inspiration, this is what husband and wife owners Cliff and Paulina did with a life-swap from stressful Sydney to country calm – and to great success.

I’m sure it’s not always tea and biscuits but if you get the chance to meet the bubbly Paulina, you get the idea that this probably comes close to “living the dream”. I was able to draw the simple conclusion that beautiful tea shops make people happy. The proof’s in the sign:


Tea really is like a hug in a cup. And if you take two mums out for tea, you get a bonus round of double hugs. I highly recommend it.


Check out the website for more details and to shop online – but make sure you go to the store as well!

Final note

There’s plenty to see and do in Berry that we didn’t get to showcase in this post, so take your time when you’re down there to explore. Some of our other suggestions are as follows:

♦   There’s Il Locale Gelato on Queen Street which sells delicious locally made ice-cream and has the cutest wall mural ever:



♦   If you fancy donuts, you cannot go past The Famous Berry Donut Van. Yes, famous for being awesome. Mmm… donuts.


♦   For gourmet food supplies, check out The Emporium Food Co at 127B Queen Street. You can also pick up a great picnic lunch here too as they have a wonderful range of deli products.

♦   For gifts, my pick is Huckleberry Home which has French and Hamptons inspired homewares and furniture. Find them at Shop 2, 94 – 96 Queen Street.

♦   For more gifts, homewares and some textiles as well, go to Juniper Hearth in a beautiful old building on the corner of Alexandra and Princess Street.

♦   And if that wasn’t enough and you want even more gifts, homewares etc, head to Moss Nest at 69 Queen Street.

♦   For art and design, check out Flying Pig Precinct at 12 – 14 Alexander Street, for a range of ceramics and handcrafted pieces.

♦   For the fashion I’d buy if I wasn’t on a budget, go to Roots & Wings Design at 83 Queen Street.

♦   For gorgeous hand cremes and toiletries, stop in at Scullys & Co at 108 Queen Street.



Next week on The Picnic Press: We make good on our promise to show you where to find the best pork belly in Sydney and a bonus ice-cream stop.


P.S If you love Mark’s photos, check out his other work at Mark Jay Photography and on Facebook.




Do you stop for lunch?

I have to admit, I am someone who frequently takes my lunch break at my desk in front of my computer. I multitask eating with responding to emails, paying bills or doing other personal admin tasks (and, if I’m honest, that turns into watching YouTube delights like tiny hamsters eating tiny burritos!!). It’s all under the guise of trying to be “productive” and get s#*t done, but how productive is it really?

Research conducted by ING Direct last year found that I am not alone. Working Aussies are increasingly eating lunch at their desks.

This is contrary to advice from professionals that have found it’s absolutely beneficial to take a lunch break. In fact, it’s a proven way to increase productivity and help sustain energy levels and focus into the afternoon. It’s also adds balance to the day to counter stress. If you’re one of those people who says, “I’m too busy to stop for lunch”, google “benefits of a lunch break” for some science behind why you need to step away from the desk.

With that in mind, we decided to swap stale air-conditioning for fresh air and fluorescent light for sunshine on our next lunch break and enjoy some time out in the park instead.

There are some added benefits to this lunch break picnic strategy: Sunshine tops up vitamin D levels, necessary for maintaining bone health and wards against disease, and also, it generally makes you feel happy. In addition, exposure to green environments, like parks, has been proven to improve health, increase wellbeing, and reduce stress. (You can read about it here).

Ergo, the Hyde Park Lunch Break Picnic. A wellbeing all-rounder.

Here’s our itinerary:


Food:     David Jones Foodhall, Market Street

Coffee:   Metro St James, Elizabeth Street

Picnic:   Hyde Park, Elizabeth Street



65-77 Market Street, Sydney

David Jones Foodhall is a gourmet emporium located under the DJ’s mens section on Market Street.


The Foodhall showcases fresh produce and finest food from Australia and around the world. It has a wine bar, oyster bar, panini bar, cheese and antipasto bar, noodle bar, grill bar, sushi bar, espresso bar and juice bar. It’s un-bar-lievable! 🙂

If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious lunch, there is an abundant range of gorgeous and enticing salads on offer:




Plus, you can pick up some fresh fruit for an afternoon snack:


For our Hyde Park Lunch Break Picnic, we couldn’t go past the fresh Vietnamese satay chicken & young coconut rice paper rolls and Peking duck pancakes from the cutely decorated MissChu mini-tuckshop, famous for its Vietnamese takeaway.


As you can see from the bag below, MissChu is described as “Queen of Rice Paper Rolls”, and I’d have to agree. The rolls are fresh and tasty and came with a lovely spicy dipping sauce to complement the satay flavour. Oh, and the Peking duck pancakes? Yes, my only complaint was that we should have ordered more!


Because we’re all for raising our endorphins today, we also got a small treat to go with the coffee we planned to order.

In my first full time job as a sprightly 21 year old, I worked in a building close to DJs. I learnt a lot in that job, including that David Jones Foodhall makes the best chocolate covered fruit. Ever.

There’s a huge range of all kinds of delicious fruit lavishly dipped in milk, dark or white chocolate including strawberries, figs, bananas and dates.


I know we are trying to be a bit healthier on our lunch break, but it’s still fruit, right? We deliberated a while before deciding on dipped strawberries in milk chocolate with crushed pistachio nuts, dipped strawberries in dark chocolate and slivered almonds and a chocolate covered fig.


You will see the huge range of chocolate covered stuff as soon as you enter from the stairs on Market Street. I dare you to resist these on your way out.

The other great thing about the Foodhall is that you can also pick up items for dinner, should you need to, so it saves you time running around after work. There is a range of take home items, like fresh pasta, and prepared meals, as well as fresh veggies, meat and fish. It’s multitasking at its finest!

For more details, see the David Jones Foodhall website here.



110 Elizabeth Street Sydney (just behind St James station)

Metro St James has been described as a “Parisian bistro meets New York cafe”, due to its French influence and location just behind St James train station. It’s situated in an elegant sandstone building which has maximised its pretty outlook over the leafy Hyde Park and St Mary’s Cathedral.

I first heard of this cafe when they ran a promotion last year where you could pay for your coffee with a kiss. The kiss had to be real, staff weren’t involved and it was all designed to promote love. How very French! The promotion is no longer running, but the coffee will warm your heart nonetheless. Merci, Metro St James xx.



Elizabeth Street (near Market Street), Sydney

Hyde Park is Australia’s oldest park and a tranquil setting in the middle of Sydney’s CBD. It’s a popular escape for office workers who want some fresh air or a quick siesta under the huge, leafy trees.


Park Street splits Hyde Park in half and the two sections are officially referred to as Hyde Park North and Hyde Park South. We picnicked in Hyde Park North this time, as it’s within easy distance of the David Jones Foodhall and Metro St James.

There are several monuments that stand guard in Hyde Park North, the most notable of which is the Archibald Fountain, with its commanding bronze Apollo.


The fountain is in an ideal location to enjoy some of Sydney’s tourist sites. To the left of the fountain, you have a view of the Sydney Tower (or Centerpoint Tower), which is the tallest building in Sydney.


To the right of the fountain, you overlook St Mary’s Cathedral, an English-style gothic church and one of Sydney’s most treasured historic buildings offering a unique space of solace and prayer within the bustling city.



Some of the beautiful gardens within Hyde Park

We set up our picnic so that we could fully appreciate the view on each side.


Taking an important call from the “Editor in Chief” – aka my mum 🙂

Our MissChu rice paper rolls and Peking duck pancakes were delicious and just enough so that we felt satisfied but not sluggish.


The David Jones Foodhall chocolate covered strawberries were absolutely necessary and completely worth it.



As soon as we found our spot on the grass in Hyde Park, we already felt more relaxed and refreshed.

We watched kids shriek with delight and chase giant bubbles made by a busker.

We saw people going about their business and realised the world doesn’t really revolve around us today.

We had real and genuine interaction with laughs and hugs instead of sending smiley faces and “xox’s” via email.

We felt our senses awaken by inhaling the crisp air and feeling the sunshine warm our backs.


We left feeling happier and more human and ready to take on the rest of the day.


→  ToiletsPublic toilets are available.

→  Parking / Transport: There is parking in the Domain Car Park, but we suggest leaving the car at home and making use of the train as Museum and St James train stations are beneath the park. Bus services are also available, as the park is bordered by several major roads.

→  Bike: You can’t really do any hard core cycling in the park, so bike parking is available.

→  Dogs: There aren’t any off-leash areas, but I saw a few dogs being walked on a lead.

See the City of Sydney website here for more details.


See how fun getting out on your lunch break can be? We spotted these people dancing!

Final note

As someone who has worked long hours, I understand that taking a lunch break can feel a bit self-indulgent when you have deadlines pressing, clients chasing you, or a huge task to complete. A lunch break picnic may not be feasible or realistic every day. At the very least, get outside for 15 minutes to get some air and re-centre.

If you’re normally desk-bound or running about doing personal errands, try once a week (at least) to lock in some quality time for a lunch break that you will actually enjoy – not some half hearted attempt at your desk or on the run, which ends up being counterproductive.

A lunch break picnic is a more fulfilling option and the fresh air and sunshine will stand you in good stead to face the rest of the afternoon. It’s also far less stressful than claiming a sticky table at a bustling and overcrowded food court. Time seems to move slower too, so even 30 minutes of actual rest will feel longer than an hour of running around or online shopping ‘al-desko’.

Invite your colleague, friend or partner along, or if you need some time out, take a good, fun book or magazine and some nice, deep breaths.

We’d love to hear if a lunch break picnic makes a difference to your day. Are you more focused? Less stressed? More productive? Happier? Please also tag us on your Instagram pics, and we’ll share with our community: @thepicnicpress #thepicnicpress.



Next week on The Picnic Press: We set up our picnic blanket in the beautiful town of Berry, on the NSW South Coast.

See you then! Now back to work…


P.S If you love Mark’s photos, check out his other work at Mark Jay Photography and on Facebook.