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Sydney Beaches, Parks and Playground Ultimate Guide

When you’re looking for where to play and swim in any city, we figure that locals always know best. So we’ve asked our readers to share their favourite Sydney family parks and beaches

Ferry passing through Sydney Opera House
Ferry passing through Sydney Opera House

Parks & Playgrounds in Sydney

Blenheim Park in North Ryde

“This is the best playground.  Something for kids from tots (sandpit and wooden speedboat, crocodile obstacle course), to the big kids (flying fox and sideways swings). And best of all? A coffee van visits frequently.” Kate Paterson

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Bobbin Head National Park in North Turramurra

“The Kalkari Visitor Center has a nature walk and an auditorium where you can watch Australian animal documentaries and educational Aboriginal cartoons, plus there’s a big playground and plenty of picnic tables.”Cynthia Keithly

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Fagan Park in Galston

“The kid’s playground is amazing, complete with its own flying fox, jungle gym, sandpit, interesting swing set, and a swing for the disabled. There are spaces to run, kick a ball, throw a frisbee, and miles of tracks to ride a bike or just wander through the beautiful themed gardens.” Bronwyn Taylor

“We love to feed the ducks, go on a magical walk to find trolls and fairies, then finish with a play and drink at the park.”

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Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden in St. Ives

“We enjoy trekking about the hectares of urban bushland and following the (wheelchair/pram accessible) boardwalks around the gardens. There are picnic areas and playgrounds, as well as organised activities for kids of all ages (bookings required).” Kate Paterson

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Centennial Park in East Sydney

“We love to feed the ducks, go on a magical walk to find trolls and fairies, then finish with a play and drink at the park. Plus there’s horse riding, rollerblading and playgrounds aplenty.” Jo McPherson

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Centennial Park. Picture Alison Godfrey
Centennial Park. Picture: Alison Godfrey

Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens in Botany

“This fantastic park is on the former site of Sydney’s first zoo. The gardens have a maze, shady pergolas and an ‘animal’ playground where kids can clamber on animal sculptures and topiary elephants.” Lisa Jansen

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Newington Armory in Sydney Olympic Park

“The bikeways are safe for children and connect to the Bicentennial Park cycleways. There are barbecue areas, fountains, art exhibitions at the Armory and a pleasant cafe next to Parramatta River.” Adele Go

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Nurragingy Reserve in Doonside

“The reserve is a 90-hectare open space with picnic areas scattered amongst the bushland. When the waterfall is flowing it’s a terrific place for a picnic.” Belinda Burns

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The Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney

“We’re big fans of going to the Botanical Gardens on a sunny day. It’s a lovely place for a walk and a picnic lunch in the grass while listening to all the flying foxes screeching in the trees. The kids love it.” Marija Zeko

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Book a unique Mystery Picnic in Royal Botanic Garden Sydney here!

Rouse Hill Town Centre

“This is a real hidden gem for families, with secret gardens, hidden stairwells leading to interesting places, a worm farm, fabulous play areas, and lots of free activities (most of which are educational). There’s also a good coffee shops for the oldies.” Lisa King

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The Walter Read Reserve in Paddington

“It’s been described as Sydney’s own Hanging Gardens of Babylon and this sunken water garden, surrounded by the heritage columns, is a simply beautiful place that my family loves.” Mark Robinson

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Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney

“This is our Sunday morning favourite. We start with breakfast on Bronte Road and then head to Bondi for the markets. ” Karen Woods

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Sydney's Bays, Baths and Beaches

Greenwich Baths in Greenwich

“Surely this is the Northside’s best kept secret. There’s a cafe by a netted harbour pool, plenty of clean sand for kids to dig about in, plus sun lounges and loads of beach toys for visitors to use.”  Bronwyn Reilly

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Little Manly Beach in Manly

“We love family days at this secluded beach in Little Manly Cove. There is a gentle shore, safe swimming baths for the kids, picnic areas, amenities, and a nice kiosk for coffee.” Nola Ficcara

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Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain

“A tidal netted saltwater pool in Sydney’s Inner West? You better believe it. At low tide our kids can even build sandcastles on the beach. We’re locals and we love it.” J. McGovern

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Nielson Park in Vaucluse 

“Our family loves a morning swim or snorkel in the netted area at Nielson Park’s pretty harbour beach. Afterwards, there’s lots of shady green space for a picnic and plenty of facilities including a great cafe.” Claire Charles-Smith

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Maianbar Beach in Maianbar

“It’s an easy escape from the fast pace of the city to this beautiful beach next to Bundeena in Sydney’s south. It also has secluded bay, lovely bushwalks, and barely any visitors.” Melanie Malkav

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Splashers Water Playground in Homebush

“Splasher’s is a great water play centre at Sydney Olympic Park. There are pools, spray jets, waterslides, rapids and more. Our kids adore it.” Jeanne Peters

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