9 must see parks in Sydney

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Sydney isn't only the most populated and largest city in all of Australia, but it's also the official state capital of New South Wales. The city is most popular for its landmarks including the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge which are some of the most common reasons people travel here, but the famous Bondi Beach brings in lots of visitors as well. With a fabulous location by the Tasman Sea on the southeast coast of the country and being surrounded by grassy hills and national parks, Sydney is also a wonderful place to go if you enjoy hiking.

Below we've gathered a list of some of the best parks in Sydney to check out during your trip. If you're a local then this guide is also meant for you, as everyone should take advantage of the beautiful parks and green spaces the city has to offer.

Many of these pretty parks offer fun activities like trekking or biking that you'll want to join in on, but that means you'll need a place to leave your bags near the park. Luckily for you bounce luggage storage in Sydney is easily booked on the app with storage locations all over the city.

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Centennial Parklands

Centennial Parklands dates back to 1888 and is Sydney's largest urban park. It's actually made up of Moore Park, Queens Park and Centennial Park. Believe us when we say this place is huge with nearly 189 hectares of natural beauty for you to explore. It's definitely a place created for the enjoyment of the people of Sydney and has plenty of opportunities for leisure and recreation activities. As you make your way through the walking and cycling paths you'll come across ponds, statues and gardens with colorful flowerbeds.

It's really a people's park and lots of locals use the space for jogging, dog walking, or just taking a relaxing stroll. However, inside the park there are also sports fields, picnic facilities and free barbecues you can use, and even an equestrian centre on site. This is the perfect place to go biking or horse riding and it has some great activities for kids, too. Let them play in the Ian Potter Wild Play Garden or see if you can make your way together through the stone labyrinth.

If you're a history buff you'll want to visit The Federation Pavilion during your time here, and make sure to come back in the summertime to enjoy the Moonlight Cinema events.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is special because it's the oldest park in all of Australia, which is pretty cool. On top of that, it's home to interesting sculptures and art installations and is surrounded by historic buildings. You'll find this public park in the Sydney CBD by Park Street and just a short walk away from the Botanic Garden as well as the local shopping precinct.

One of the things that make Hyde Park such a great place to spend an afternoon is that there's just so much to do here, and it's also a heritage listed area. You'll find lots of cozy places shaded by trees that are perfect for picnicking or relaxing with a book, as well as the impressive Archibald Fountain. Stop by the Anzac Memorial Building and reflection pool while you're here, and view the beautiful Nagoya Gardens that are found in the park's northern area.

Hyde Park serves as the perfect venue for festivals and events like the Sydney Festival and the Food and Wine Fair. Fun fact; the park grounds were once used by the Gadigal people to get food and water and became a public park back in 1810.

Barangaroo Reserve

Located near the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it's hard to miss the Barangaroo Reserve. It's a modern green space recently constructed to give life and beauty to the industrial area where it's located. It took several years to plan the design and eventually develop the park, but now that it's here, it's become a place to be appreciated by both tourists and locals alike. The park takes up 6 hectares of space and features well-paved walking tracks, gorgeous views over Sydney Harbour, and even free wifi making it a great spot to meet up with friends, go for a jog, or get some work done.

Barangaroo Reserve features more than 75,000 plants, ferns, shrubs and trees and has a rich history involving the Aboriginal people of Australia. The park was named after a Cammeragal woman who played a very important role in the Eora community and the park area was made to be a re-creation of a headland that would have been found there before European contact. Inside the park, you'll find shell middens and rocks with engravings that are almost 6,000 years old. To learn more about why this reserve is so important, book an Aboriginal Cultural Tour.

Carss Bush Park

Consider Carss Bush Park a hidden gem since not many people from outside of southern Sydney know about it. It's situated in a stunning area at Kogarah Bay right by the waterfront and makes for the ultimate spot to hang out with friends and family or have a picnic. You can be comfortable sitting almost anywhere since there are lots of shaded areas and even a small beach where you can put your toes in the sand or let the kiddos build a sandcastle. Once you're done at the beach, follow the footpath that'll take you to a grassy area with fantastic views of the waterfront. For family gatherings, take the kids to the playground.

Carss Cottage is also worth visiting, it has a small entrance fee but can give you insight into the history of the park and surrounding area although it's only open on Sundays. You might not know that Carss Bush Park was dedicated on Australia Day almost 100 years ago back in 1924, which makes it just a bit more special for the locals in the neighborhood.

Glebe Foreshore Parks

The Glebe Foreshore consists of four separate parks in Sydney that are connected. This includes Blackwattle Bay Park, Federal Park, Jubilee Park and Bicentennial Park which provide the people of Sydney with great playgrounds, dog friendly areas, wetlands, areas with picnic tables, sports fields and more. While you're here make sure you stop and take a minute to admire the incredible views of the Sydney city skyline across the water. Each park area has something different to offer so make time to explore the whole parkland.

Blackwattle Bay Park was recently added back in 1983 and is home to a children's playground, a dog park and unbeatable views of the Anzac Bridge. Federal Park dates back to 1899 and was the first of the parks to be built in the area. It has a skate park as well as an excellent playground suitable for older kids. Jubilee Park takes the prize for being the biggest of the four and features an off-leash dog area, a playground, sheltered picnic areas surrounded by fig trees, and a fenced off area dedicated to sporting sessions. Bicentennial Park, which is also part of the Sydney Olympic Park, was constructed in 1988 for the country's bicentennial and is home to incredibly diverse wildlife. Come here for nature tours, public art and statues.

Sydney Harbour National Park

At under 4 sq km, this Sydney park isn't very big but it's significant and definitely still worth checking out. Its role is to protect and preserve the shores and islands found in the area around Sydney Harbour and is home to beautiful calm beaches where you can relax or have a picnic. It also holds stories from the histories of the colonial and Aboriginal peoples.

A few of the notable islands and beaches included in the Sydney Harbour National Park are Middle Head, Goat Island, Sydney Heads and Shark Beach and Island. Nielsen Park is a great place to go for swimming and also has a cute cafe with tea, and Bradleys Head is home to the HMAS Sydney. To see traces of the previous inhabitants of the area you can go to the Quarantine Station which has more than a thousand engravings on show.

Lavender Bay Parklands

The beautiful Lavender Bay Parklands is made up of a collection of parks that are located around Lavender Bay. This includes Guibaree Park, Clark Park, Watt Park and the Lavender Bay Foreshore. Similarly to the other parklands mentioned above, the unique parks are pretty different from each other and each one is worth checking out on its own.

By far one of your favorite places will be Wendy's Secret Garden where you can find all sorts of plants native to the area as well as fir trees, beautiful flowers, and plenty of bird communities. When making your way to and from the park we recommend taking the shoreline beginning from the Milsons Point ferry wharf because the scenery is stunning.

Pirrama Park

Pirrama Park can be found just a short walk away from Pyrmont Point Park and is one of the best places to go to capture shots of the Anzac Bridge, Harbour Bridge and Barangaroo, so bring your camera. There are some interesting things to see here including a sculpture called Tied to Tide which actually moves as the tide gets higher and lower.

On the western side of the park, you'll find a playground and a cute cafe where grown-ups can hang out as the kids play. It's best suited to younger children and has fun toys like a sandpit and water fountain. The park features wide walking paths and BBQs and picnic facilities, so consider coming here for lunch. Did you know that the park area was used as a base for the water police up until it was bought by the City of Sydney back in 2005? This park can easily be reached using the light rail making it very accessible from many places around the city.

Bronte Park

As you might guess by its name, Bronte Park is located right behind Bronte Beach and you can easily visit both of them in a day. It's an all around good place for families, couples and anybody else to hang out thanks to its grassy open spaces with shaded areas where you can sit. It's also possible to go swimming or surfing on the beach, so definitely pack your bathing suit. As a disclaimer, you should be aware that the water on Bronte Beach can be a bit rough sometimes, so don't let the kids swim unattended and if you aren't an experienced surfer you might want to try out the watersport at another location.

The Bronte Baths, which can be found at the beach's south end, have a saltwater rock pool which is the perfect place to sunbathe or have a calm swim. When you're done hanging out at the park, head to nearby Bronte Road where there are lots of opportunities to dine at a waterview cafe and restaurant. You could even pick up food and bring it back to the park to eat while admiring gorgeous ocean views. Bronte Park is attached to the popular Bondi to Coogee coastal walk which we definitely recommend exploring further.

Spend some time outside in Sydney, Australia

When you want a break from the busy city streets there are plenty of places that you can go. Listed above are only some of the parks in the Sydney metropolitan area and there are lots of other fantastic places where you can get some fresh air and enjoy the lush plants and greenery.

Those who really want to go trekking might find a green space better suited to their needs in this guide on The Best Hikes in Sydney. If relaxing at the beach sounds more like your style, check out The Best Beaches Near Sydney.

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