When you think of Sydney what comes to mind? Let me guess…the Harbour Bridge? or maybe the Opera House? Sydney is a very iconic city mainly due to the man-made structures that lie within its CBD.
But there is another side of this magnificent city which people often overlook, its parks. When we lived in Kings Cross, in the beating heart of this metropolis, it was walks in the park that helped us unwind each day and detach from the hustle and bustle. In this article I’ll outline the top 3 parks to stretch your legs in Sydney.
#1 Rushcutters Bay Park
Rushcutters Bay Park, originally known as 'Rush Cutting Bay' because the swampy land was covered in tall rushes used by early settlers to thatch housing. In 1878 the park was officially reserved for recreation and since then has been the site of several historical events, most notably the famous 1908 clash which saw Jack Johnson claim the heavyweight title from Tommy Burns at Sydney Stadium on Boxing day.
The park has a path that winds around its edges and is a great place for an easy stroll with stunning views of Sydney’s Skyscrapers and into the harbour itself. If you have a dog then Rushcutters is a great place for them to make friends as the park is frequently filled with dog owners walking their pets. The park has cricket, soccer and rugby pitches with games held for each several times a week. If you are in need of a coffee or refreshment you have a few options, the kiosk next to the playground is great for a sandwich or brekky whilst the café next to the tennis courts has better coffee (in my humble opinion).
Rushcutters is renowned for being a great spot to watch the fireworks on NYE despite not offering direct views of the harbour bridge. For a better vantage you can climb the horrendously steep Loftus road at the back of the park for sweeping views of the city and harbour bridge.
#2 Centennial Park
Located just 4km south east of the CBD the Centennial Parklands started out as a reserve to protect the central swamps and ponds which contributed to Sydney’s early water supply, only becoming an official park in 1888.
This park has so much to offer due to its scale, layout and recreational areas. There is a 3.7km track running the circumference as well as a maze of paths and roads in the interior so walkers and runners have plenty of options. The multiple ponds and swamps host a variety of birdlife including swans and pelicans and there is even a large colony of grey headed flying foxes, which have been roosting in Lachlan Swamp since 2010.
Centennial park has BBQ areas for picnics with the family or friends, multiple sporting pitches and even an outdoor movie theatre so there is always something going on. If that wasn’t enough neighbouring Moore park has a massive Entertainment Quarter, Sydney Cricket Ground and the Allianz stadium which will be linked to the CBD by the Light Rail in Dec 2019.
#3 Western Sydney Parklands
If you find yourself in Sydney’s west or seeking a longer walk the Western Sydney Parklands are a great place for a stroll immersed in nature. The boundaries to the park were completed in 2006 with walking and cycling tracks added a year later. Walkers, runners and mountain bikers can now enjoy over 60 km of trails going through dense bush, past rivers and around the sizeable Prospect Reservoir, the most popular being the the 7.4km Western Sydney Parklands track.
Sugarloaf Ridge and Moonrise lookout offer a great vantage point to watch the sunset or spot wildlife, with the park being home to many threatened and endangered native species. Annual events in the parklands include Bungarribbee Woof-fest in April for dogs lovers and the Parklands Food Fest in September for everyone else. Whatever activity you are wanting to undertake this massive parkland has got you covered. We thoroughly enjoyed our walks in Western Sydney and it's the only park on our list which is far enough away from the CBD that you can actually forget your in a city at all!
Sydney is packed full of beautiful parks, each with their own unique characteristics and applications. In this article we uncovered some of our top parks for walking, but it should be noted that there are many more suited to this or other activities within the bounds of Greater Sydney. Notable mentions are Auburn, which showcases the spectacular Cheery Blossom Festival each year, Robertson Park in Watsons bay, Cann Park which over looks Bear Island in La Perouse and one of our favourites Governor Philip Park in Palm Beach.