Centennial Parklands covers approximately 360 hectares, just 10 minutes from the Sydney CBD. Incorporating Centennial Park, Queens Park and Moore Park, the Parklands receives around ten million visits a year - making it one of the most popularly visited destinations in Australia.
The Parklands offers a wide range of recreational and leisure opportunities including walking, 36 sports fields, cycle paths and a dedicated children's learners cycleway, playgrounds, picnic sites, events and festivals, food and dining, entertainment, a golf course (Moore Park Golf), an equestrian centre, village markets, ranger tours, school holiday programs, visitor programs, birdwatching and much, much more. Follow latest Centennial Parklands activities on Twitter or become a Centennial Parklands Facebook fan.
Doonside, Nurrangingy Reserve, Knox Road. Provides an idyllic parkland space catering for bushwalking trails, picnic and play areas, nature studies, lake and fountain display, blacksmith displays and special event space. Reserve includes access to The Colebee Centre for functions and events.
Parramatta Park is an 85 ha parklands featuring places to walk, cycle, explore and enjoy. A nationally significant landscape, Parramatta Park includes aboriginal and colonial historic sites, signposted and self-guided walking tours, riverbank walking tracks, 10 ha of native bushland, 3.2 km of walking paths and cycle paths, a car free cycle area, playgrounds and extensive grassland open spaces. Once the former Government Domain of our Colonial Governors, the parklands is rich in historical interest and includes two of Australias oldest buildings the Dairy Cottage (c.1797) and Old Government House (1799), both of which are accessible for tours.
Plumpton, Plumpton Park Wetland. Plumpton Park is a recreational park located on Hyatts Road at Plumpton that includes bushland and wetland areas. The wetland system is 2 hectares in size with approximately 10 hectares of bushland. The wetlands treat water from 100 hectares of residential area. Plumpton Park Wetlands flow into Bells Creek.There are swamp areas near Plumpton Park that are of significance to the Dharug people. Hatchet heads (old Aboriginal artefacts) have been found in this area. Plumpton Park Wetlands were built to prevent water pollution from urban stormwater. This constructed wetland also aims to reduce flood heights, widen existing parks and nature reserves, cater for recreational activities and encourage animal life. Plumpton Park Wetlands are part of a long-term program to regenerate the Hawkesbury River system, which is vital to the Sydney region. Picnic, play and nature studies are readily available in this reserve area.
- Sutherland Shire has two featured gardens/reserves: E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens located in Caringbah and overlooking the beautiful Yowie Bay and Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve. The Joseph Banks Native Plant Reserve at Kareela is one of only a few specialised gardens in Sydney devoted entirely to Australian native plants. Sutherland Shire also has dozens of parks and gardens within its boundaries.
- Sydney Olympic Park: Located in the geographic heart of Sydney and set among 430 hectares of open space, wetlands and waterways lies the diverse Sydney Olympic Park. Over 35 kilometres of cycling and walking paths and scenic boardwalks exist within beautiful parklands, rare saltmarshes, remnant forest, a waterbird refuge and mangrove forest, as well as places of historical colonial and naval significance. Considered a nature hot spot, Sydney Olympic Park is home to hundreds of native plant and animal species, including birds, bats, reptiles and the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog.
The Western Sydney Parklands: Set in the heart of Western Sydney, it contains world class sporting facilities, popular picnic areas, a full length cycle/walking track and native bushland. Covering 5,280 hectares, the Parklands stretch 27 kilometres from Quakers Hill in the north to Leppington in the south and are one of the largest urban parklands in the southern hemisphere. Visitors can cycle or walk the entire length of the track, or walk their dog on a leash on one of the many shorter walking loops and enjoy some spectacular views and high quality bushland. The Parklands' picnic grounds provide first class amenities for large and small family get-togethers, offering free gas barbecues, picnic shelters, toilets, children's playgrounds, walking and cycle tracks and parking areas.
Woodcroft Lake & Wetland. Lake Woodcroft, situated 5km northwest of Blacktown off Richmond Road is a scenic lake and wetland surrounded by 5 hectares of open passive recreational space that provides a habitat for local wildlife and a valuable venue for walking paths,runners,cyclists and picnic gatherings.
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
Magnificient headlands, islands, bays and beaches form the string of urban parklands managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. These eight former defence sites on Sydney Harbour have been handed back to the people of Australia. The trust is conserving the cultural heritage of the lands, protecting their natural environments and opening them to the public for all to enjoy.
Parks in your local Sydney Council area
Your local council manages many local parks. If you wish to contact a local council about visiting parks in its area, the online NSW Local Government Directory provides up to date council contact details and weblinks. The Division of Local Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet, provides a clear policy and legislative foundation to local government in NSW so that councils are able to deliver quality services to their communities in a sustainable manner. Councils in the Sydney region manage many parks.
Below are links to some of the most popular local Sydney Council parks:
- Auburn Botanic Gardens
- Bella Vista Farm Park - a remnant 1890s farm recently restored by council and now a regional destination.
- Campbelltown, The Georges River Parklands and National Parks - variety of ownership. The Georges River flows through a very varied landscape from the almost fully urbanised lower coastal reaches through to the steep sided heavily wooded upper reaches near Appin. Vegetation communities in the catchment are primarily influenced by the distribution of shale (Cumberland Plain) and sandstone (Woronora Plateau) geologies. Many of these communities have been listed under the NSW Threatened Species Act (1995), particularly those communities located on the Cumberland Plain. Places to visit along the river are many and can be found on the map.
- Campbelltown, Noorumba Reserve – Council owned and Managed Parklands. Reserve is a bushland Reserve which contains remnant Cumberland Plain Woodland and a dam area which attracts a variety of birdlife. The reserve contains some walking trails and is a great place to watch for birds.
- Campbelltown, Keith Longhurst Reserve – Council managed Crown Reserve (bushland or near water). Keith Longhurst reserve is a bushland reserve situated on the west banks of the Georges River. The reserve contains numerous rare and threatened species and provides popular swimming holes.
- Campbelltown, Simmo’s Beach Reserve – Council owned and managed Reserve (near water). Simmo’s Beach is a popular recreation bushland reserve located in Macquarie Fields. This reserve contains walking tracks, BBQ facilities, picnic areas and a sandy beach on the Georges River in a picturesque bushland setting.
- Elizabeth Bay, McElhone Reserve
- Hornsby Heights Crosslands Reserve - a popular picnic and camping area located in the Berowra Creek Valley in Somerville Road. The Great North Walk runs through the reserve and the large, open grassed reserve is surrounded by steep, densely vegetated Hawkesbury Sandstone escarpments. There are several viewing decks out over the river and an interpretive, mangrove walk.
- Hornsby Lisgar Gardens - spectacular, heritage listed 2.4 hectare garden in Lisgar Road, with sandstone block walls, over 72 varieties of camellias, fish ponds, waterfalls and rainforest walk.
Liverpool, Bents Basin State Recreation Park - The Bents Basin State Recreation Area provides a relaxing atmosphere for a picnic lunch or a swim in the basin or a warm day. With its beautiful bushland setting, the recreational site contains caravan and camping grounds, as well as picnic facilities for day visits. There is an admission fee for the caravan and camping park. For more information on Bents Basin visit www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au
- Pyrmont, Pirrama Park
- Ryde, Field of Mars Reserve
- Ryde, Riverside Reserves
- St Peters, Sydney Park
- West Pennant Hills, Bidjigal / Excelsior Reserve (bushland reserve stretching from Castle Hill to Parramatta)
- Wiseman's Ferry, Hawkins Lookout (pdf) - a fantastic lookout of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury District
- Wiseman's Ferry Park (pdf) a popular picnic destination on the Hawkesbury River adjacent to the ferry