If you are healthy and well and engaging in social distancing correctly, there is no inherent risk in going outside to spend some time in Sydney's gorgeous parks and gardens. And getting some fresh air and some sunlight might be just what you need in these times of isolation and spending a lot of time indoors at home.
Whether you're looking to go for a run, walk your dog, have a sedate picnic or just take a break from the concrete jungle, these are the parks to visit.
They have sprawling open spaces, free barbecues and shaded spots to while away an afternoon or simply catch a break at lunchtime. Some of these parks also welcome horse riding, if you fancy a bit of equestrian exercise.
The best parks in Sydney
Best for: kicking back or working out
It’s not hard to scout out a secluded spot to lay under the shade, read a book, or have your lunch in Sydney's largest park. The statues, ponds and native flora make this location a pretty place all year round. There’s an outdoor fitness station, places to cycle or horse ride, and ranger-led walks to join onto.
Best for: lunchtime catch-ups
Australia’s oldest park is found in the middle of the city. Take a leisurely stroll around the historic Archibald fountain, or find a quiet spot for losing yourself in a good book. Hyde Park offers an escape from the concrete jungle and it’s only a four-minute walk from Town Hall Station.
Best for: watching the sunset
Sydney’s newest foreshore park is six hectares of open headland space rich in Aboriginal history. Named after the prominent fisherwoman Barangaroo, the waterfront park is ideal for sprawling across the grass as you admire the sweeping harbour views. There are plenty of walking and cycling paths, shady spots under trees and even free WiFi.
Best for: native flora – plus Opera House views
This harbourside botanic garden has colourful flower beds that make excellent still life for budding photographers, or a pretty backdrop for lunchtime runners. Many dedicated yogis can also be spotted mid vinyasa underneath the shady canopies, too. It’s an excellent place to find native flora and birds, and a top Sydney attraction.
Best for: family gatherings at the free barbecues
Located in the wetlands of Homebush Bay, this park offers 40 hectares of land teeming with activity. Fire up one of the free electric barbecues for a casual lunch with friends or family and hire a bike to burn off the big feed. There’s a water play area and plenty of secluded areas surrounded with bushland, plus trails for walking your dog on a leash, be mindful of the signposted ‘no dog’ areas aimed at protecting local wildlife.
Best for: outdoor fitness
This park is great for anyone wanting to get in shape surrounded by spectacular views of the harbour. Build up your strength with pull-ups and crunches at the park’s outdoor gym – or simply park a picnic blanket on the edge of the grassy knoll so you can watch the sun setting over the city. Got kids? This park has a cycling track for children.
Best for: picnics overlooking the harbour
Situated in the heart of Watsons Bay, Robertson Park boasts wide open green spaces and – in the distance – city views. Find yourself a spot under a pine tree for a leisurely lunch break or seek shade under one of the many rotundas located all around the park. It’s a quick walk to Camp Cove beach if the weather heats up.
Best for: touring historic buildings
This park is rooted in history; you can explore the Boer War Memorial, Old Government House and the Dairy Cottage to learn more about the colonial impact on the area, as well as how the Aboriginal community has survived since. The park can get busy with families on weekends, but like most of these public parks, there is enough space for you to scout out a private spot to enjoy the serenity.
Best for: feeding the ducks
Sydney Park is 40 hectares of wetlands and rolling grassy hills ideal for a picnic by the water. The park is known for its historic sites, including the old brickworks site complete with brick kilns and towering chimneys. Head over to the ponds to feed the ducks from the viewing deck.
Best for: admiring the architecture
Ashfield Park is filled with leafy Phoenix palms perfect for lounging under, there are pathways for long walks and a soccer field too. But the park is also rich in Victorian era history with notable architecture such as the Commonwealth Pavilion and the War Memorial. Check out the iron statue of Mary Poppins; Ashfield Park was one of author P.L. Travers’ favourite places to frequent while she was writing the character.