Can’t decide between Sydney’s tranquil green spaces and its stunning blue water views? You don’t have to choose at these Sydney parks that give you the best of both worlds.
For up-close-and-personal vistas
Blues Point Reserve in North Sydney is easily accessible by public transport; it’s a five-minute walk from the McMahons Point ferry wharf and a 15-minute downhill walk from North Sydney train station. There’s also metered parking available. With its harborside location, it provides a front-row seat for observing the buzz of the city’s seafaring activity. A custom maritime-themed playground on the eastern side will keep the little ones busy, so you can delight in your own relaxation on the city’s doorstep. The mature Moreton Bay fig trees that give the reserve its unique character provide an ideal spot to unfurl your blanket for a shady respite. Be sure to bring your camera, as you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better view of the Harbour Bridge.
For a reserve with verve
Walk to Barangaroo Reserve (pictured above) from Circular Quay by way of the wharves at Walsh Bay or through The Rocks and across the Sydney Observatory. Rich in Aboriginal history, this Sydney park takes its name from a courageous and influential Cammeraygal native woman. Make your way up to the Stargazer Lawn, where there may be a market or festival on, or visit at night to see why its name is well-deserved. Learn more by taking an Aboriginal cultural tour. Once you’ve explored, head over to the Streets of Barangaroo, an emerging food and retail precinct, for a spot of shopping or bite to eat. From here, you’re only steps away from a nightcap at Solander Dining and Bar in West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton .
Aboriginal Cultural Tour | Address: 5010 Munn Street, Barangaroo NSW 2000 | Tel: +61 (02) 9255 1700
For panoramic picnics
If the backdrop is just as important as the view, head to Illoura Reserve in Balmain, Sydney’s Inner West. Sandwiched by water and stunning natural rock formations with lush native vegetation, you’ll get a 360-experience. If you’d like to leave the food prep to someone else, stop in at The Fenwick, a waterside café with views that take in Barangaroo, Luna Park and the Harbour Bridge. (There’s even a small art gallery upstairs.)
Head to the southern end of this Sydney park for a protected sandy beach and treasure-laden tidal pools set amid the cliffs at Peacock Point. If you’re feeling social, join a pick-up basketball game on the half-court. Treat yourself to a Sydney ferry ride, as the reserve is easily accessible from the Balmain East ferry wharf.
Illoura Reserve | Address: Weston Street, Balmain East NSW 2041
The Fenwick | Address: 2-8 Weston Street, Balmain East NSW 2041 | Tel: +61 (02) 9159 4700
For walks in the wetlands
In the past, the Sydney Park Wetlands was the site of both a dump and a brickworks. Today, through extensive planning and preservation, it has become a boon to plant life and wildlife. The diversity in this thriving urban green oasis will especially delight bird and reptile enthusiasts – or turn you into one. Located within the larger Sydney Park, the wetlands provide trails throughout that welcome pedestrians and bicycle riders, and footbridges and stepping stones let you explore over and on the water (and provide great photo opportunities). Follow the footpath to meander through the water cascades and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. When you’re feeling sufficiently at one with the environment, take the 20-minute stroll to Erskineville and try one of the classic pubs in this eclectic neighbourhood: The Erko, Rose of Australia or The Imperial.
Sydney Park Wetlands | Address: Sydney Park Rd, Erskineville NSW 2043
The Erko Hotel | Address: 102 Erskineville Road, Erskineville NSW 2043 | Tel: +61 (02) 9565 1608
Rose of Australia | Address: 1 Swanson Street, Erskineville NSW 2043 | Tel: +61 (02) 9565 1441
The Imperial | Address: 35 Erskineville Road, Erskineville NSW 2043 | Tel: +61 (02) 9516 1766
For more on these and other Sydney parks with water views, talk with your knowledgeable Hilton Concierge. You can even ask them where you can pick up a delicious picnic hamper for your alfresco outing.