Best Parks in Sydney - from the locals
It is no secret that Sydney is known for its gloriously sunny weather all year round. While it is certainly not beach-weather every day, as long as the sun is out, there are few better places to enjoy the fresh air and a bit of greenery than at an idyllic park.
So whether you are looking to kick back at a relaxing summer picnic or to stretch your legs on a crisp winter day, stroll your way through this list of the best parks in Sydney.
Located in the heart of Potts Point, Embarkation Park is a secret hideout hidden away on the roof of the naval carpark. It offers great views over Woolloomooloo and the magnificent Sydney skyline, featuring the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Botanic Gardens. When you venture into the park, you will find a network of well-kept lawns and garden beds, coupled with ample seating. While the sun is out, this popular off-leash dog park welcomes many regular furry friends. This prime sight-seeing destination is a popular choice for locals and tourists, looking for the perfect picnic spot, a sunset stroll or a place to enjoy the spectacular firework display every New Years Eve.
Read more about Embarkation Park here
Rushcutters Bay Park
With a stunning waterfront location, Rushcutters Bay Park provides an excellent backdrop for a scenic picnic or a Sunday laze on the grass, overlooking a host of luxury yachts. This park really has it all on offer, featuring outdoor tennis courts for hire, two sports fields that regularly host cricket, rugby union and soccer, a children’s playground, a cafe and even a residential seal that comes to visit. If boats spark your interest then you will be pleased to know that this exact spot is where the world famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was first born in 1944. Today, Sydney-siders flock here on Boxing Day (26 December) every year to watch hundreds of international competitors sail down the coast towards Hobart, all while enjoying the park in all its glory.
Read more about Rushcutters Bay Park here
Featured on more than 189 hectares of open space, Centennial Parklands is known as one of Australia’s most popular and historic public parklands. This grandiose park was first opened over 130 years ago and today, it stands as the centrepiece of Sydney’s urban green space in the east. The park features many great picnic spots and barbeque facilities, multiple sports fields and cycle tracks around its beautiful ponds and gardens. Attracting more than 30 million visits per year, be sure to include Centennial Parklands on your hit list.
Read more about Centennial Parklands here.
Royal Botanic Garden
Occupying a stunning position on Sydney Harbour, the Royal Botanic Garden is a spectacular attraction as one of the most important historic botanical institutions in the world. While so many features of the garden are worth a visit, popular highlights include the 1885 Glasshouse, Palm Grove, Wollemi Pine, Cadi Jam Ora: First Encounters and the Calyx.
Packed with wholesome natural beauty and a great ambience, this picturesque park is perfect for everything from a solo relaxation, a great game of frisbee, a calming picnic with friends or a big family gathering.
Also home to one of the best Outdoor Cinema Experiences in Sydney, with that iconic backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Read more about Royal Botanic Garden here
If you have ever ventured through Sydney CBD, then you would have likely come across Hyde Park. As Australia’s oldest public park, it features 16 hectares of wide open space, tinkling fountains and is home to the heritage-listed ANZAC War Memorial. Extending to the Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park is a wonderful bit of greenery amongst its skyscraper neighbours; truly offering a place of refuge for busy city workers.
Read more about Hyde Park here
Barangaroo Reserve generally needs no introduction. This stunning 6 hectare waterfront park was part of the huge transformation project that created the now thriving business, entertainment and leisure precinct of Barangaroo. The reserve is home to more than 75,000 plants, a man-made hill and the Barangaroo Ngangamay; which pays homage to the Cammeraygal woman from whom Barangaroo takes its name. There is plenty to do at the reserve, including multiple walk or bike paths spread over several levels. Better yet, as there is no set start and end point, you can choose to wonder in and out as your mood (and the weather) takes you.
Read more about Barangaroo here
Deemed as one of Sydney’s top tourist destinations, Robertson Park is located right in the centre of Watsons Bay and surrounded by secluded beaches and cafes. This marks a stop for the Bondi to Manly Walk or for the shorter Instagram famed Federation Cliff Walk (Watsons Bay to Dover Heights).
It is easy to spend a whole day in this scenic family-friendly spot, offering great views of the Sydney Harbour and the Tasman Sea. Whether you are making your way there by car, by ferry or by feet as part of a longer coastal walk, Robertson Park and the picturesque Watsons Bay will be sure not to disappoint.
Read more about Watson's Bay here
Hidden away in Darling Point, McKell Park is an absolutely stunning location that is off the beaten track. Sitting in an idyllic location on the Harbour, this spot showcases beautifully manicured lawns with a picturesque view; all the markings for a perfect wedding and special events location. The park was built on the foundations of a large historical mansion that was later demolished, leaving behind some of the walls and stonework of the original foundation that add character to the space. This secret local gem is the perfect spot to enjoy a bit of sun, some fresh air, a great water view and perhaps even to daydream a little as the day goes by.
A local secret spot to view the New Year's Eve Fireworks, get there early with your picnic blanket and bubbles for a superb night!
See more about our Top Picnic Spots with a view here