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Photograph: Benjamin Townsend

A guide to Macquarie Park

This burgeoning suburb in Sydney’s north is more than just offices and lecture halls – it’s also a vibrant place to live and play

Written by
Juliana Yu
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Each day, thousands commute from all over Sydney to Macquarie Park to work, shop and study. The high-tech commercial hub has been growing rapidly since the 1960s establishment of Macquarie University, with dozens of major corporate businesses moving their operations here since. It’s not all work and no play though – bound on the north by Lane Cove River, the suburb is rich with parkland as well as diverse options for entertainment, dining and leisure.

Recommended: A local's guide to Chatswood.

Versace Pizza
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Versace Pizza

Verace takes its ‘za very seriously, adhering to the strict rules of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana which include burning in a woodfired oven at 400˚C and using only a certain brand of 00 flour. The result is a pizza that’s a ‘true’ Neapolitan pizza, thin in the middle with puffy edges that are both crisp and chewy. While they’re certainly the main attraction, Verace also does a medley of classic pastas, salads and desserts making it a place where everyone leaves happy (and full). 7 Khartoum Rd, Macquarie Park.

From Macquarie Park you can hop onto the approximate middle point of this scenic five kilometre track that meanders through the natural bushland of Lane Cove National Park. Pack a spread to enjoy at one of the numerous picturesque picnic spots along the way, or simply amble along while keeping a keen eye out for lorikeets, kookaburras, brush turkeys and swamp wallabies.

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Kin by Us
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Kin by Us

This warm and welcoming cafe has become a stalwart of the local brunch scene, winning regulars with their hearty dishes and fun drinks menu. While they do worthy renditions of all the classics (avo toast, green bowls and burgers), you’ll have an even better time branching into one of their Asian-influenced dishes, like the kaya-drizzled granola or warming chicken congee that’s served with crispy fried dough sticks for dipping. For extra weekend indulgence, swap your iced latte for a sweet and nutty black sesame shake. 1A/2 Saunders Cl, Macquarie Park.

Macquarie Ice Rink
Photograph: Benjamin Townsend

Macquarie Ice Rink

It took just two weeks to nix plans to demolish this beloved ice rink, such was the outpouring of love and resistance from the 40-year-old institution’s fans. So on it lives, a place where newbie skaters wobble their way around the perimeter, figure skaters train from 6am and kids birthday parties run amok. The cheapest time to skate is from 4pm-5pm on a weekday, when entry is reduced by $7 for both kids and adults. Cnr Herring Rd &, Waterloo Rd, North Ryde.

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Sambal
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Sambal

Sambal’s classic Penang cuisine has made it an enduring favourite among locals and expat Malaysians alike. Roll up with a crowd so you can order freely and widely, with their long communal tables offering plenty of space. The extensive menu covers favourites like char kway teow, beef rendang and assam laksa that are hard to go past, but it’s the specialties like otak otak (fish fillets steamed in banana leaves with fresh herbs and coconut curry) that you won’t find elsewhere. 297 Lane Cove Rd, Macquarie Park. 

If you’ve never been to Macquarie Centre, just know that it’s totally normal to get lost your first few times. The gargantuan shopping complex has over 360 stores, many of them built after a recent redevelopment. You’ll find all the big players there – Uniqlo, H&M, Zara, Sephora, Mecca Maxima – but it’s also a great place to chase down Australian designers. Support local fashion by dropping into Aje, Gorman, Sass & Bide, Scanlan Theodore or Zimmerman for a sweet new fit. Cnr Herring Rd &, Waterloo Rd, North Ryde.

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Macquarie University Astronomical Observatory
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Macquarie University Astronomical Observatory

Take a tour of the galaxy at Macquarie University’s state-of-the art astronomical observatory. The facility was established in 1978 purpose is to support research, teaching and community outreach, part of which includes public viewing sessions. On Fridays and Saturdays they host their Night Sky Discovery event, where anyone can visit and view planets, moons, binary stars, star clusters and nebulae through their powerful telescopes, guided by knowledgeable astronomy staff. 5 Gymnasium Rd, Macquarie Park.

The Governor Hotel
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The Governor Hotel

The Governor is far from your average neighbourhood boozer. Only a few years old, the swish four-storey venue has been built with a younger, flashier audience in mind. The spacious ground level bistro is kitted with natural timber, cosy booths and even an open fireplace, though the garden terrace is hard to pass up during warmer months. Upstairs, a buzzy rooftop bar beckons for knockoff beers and sunset cocktails, backdropped by 360 degree views of the surrounding suburb. 9 Waterloo Rd, Macquarie Park.

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Macquarie University Sport and Aquatic Centre
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Macquarie University Sport and Aquatic Centre

Few things feel better than bashing out a couple of laps in the morning air. Macquarie University’s full eight-lane, 50 metre outdoor pool is open to the public and more importantly, heated to a comfy 25-degrees all year round. Swing by for a casual dip or sign up to one of their membership options for access to a range of top-notch facilities including gyms, group fitness classes and martial arts training. 10 Gymnasium Rd, North Ryde.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Macquarie Park

Eden Gardens comprises a sprawling nursery, café, family play area and sculpture park spread over several hectares. The fenced play area features a beehive cubby house, and the display gardens include waterfalls, archways and bridges. A popular venue for weddings and events, Eden Gardens offers services for green thumbs including a plant doctor, backyard briefing, plant ID and soil testing. They also host workshops on topics such as flower arranging, terrariums and kokodamas. 307 Lane Cove Rd, Macquarie Park

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