Spring is nearly here and that means it's almost time to hit the water. You don't have to head to the beach in Sydney. You can actually go for a great paddle in the west.
Hire a canoe and head to Lake Parramatta Reserve. Try a rowboat, paddleboat or just dip your toe in for a swim.
The Lake Parramatta Reserve covers 70 hectares in Sydney's west. Its namesake reservoir was created when Hunts Creek was dammed in 1856.
The lake is patrolled by lifeguards between October and March. The reserve has barbecues, picnic areas, a playground, a kiosk and concrete platforms into the water. Families can also take several bushwalks through the reserve.
Romantic rowboats, playful paddleboats and kid-friendly kayaks and canoes can be hired onsite without booking. Paddleboats fit two adults and two children. Rowboats hold up to four adults are good choices if you want everyone on the one vessel. With older kids, you can also hire Stand Up Paddleboards. Watersports equipment is available for two hour, four hours or all day hire between 10am and 5pm on weekends and holidays. Lifejackets are included in costs and required for rowers or coxswains under 12 years. The smallest size fits children from 10kg.
Parramatta Reserve has three picturesque bush trails encircling segments of the lake. The She-Oak, Banksia and Lake bush trails vary in length. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a lead. The longest trail circumnavigates the full 4.2km of the lake’s perimeter. The short She-Oak track is 1.5km return.
Parramatta’s pretty reserve is just one of the many canoe hotspots within easy distance of Sydney CBD.
More non-beach water play in Sydney
Another great spot is the Lane Cove Boatshed inside Lane Cove National Park. This 4.5km stretch of river is ideal for paddling and has plenty of picnic spots.
The second oldest national park in the world after America’s famous Yellowstone, the sprawling Royal National Park south of Sydney houses the Audley Boatshed. Established in 1893, this cornerstone of Kangaroo Creek and Port Hacking River contains aqua bikes, canoes and rowboats.
You might like to read about a weekend getaway canoeing and kayaking at Lake Macquarie.