We’ve had the chance to check out quite a few hidden gems this lockdown and have documented it all on our Instagram. Here’s a bit of outdoor adventure inspo for you, but of course – please make sure you are following public health orders when visiting any of the following locations. If it’s too busy when you arrive, go with a plan B. Remember to socially distance, wear a mask and sanitize.
Whale Rock, North Epping 🐳
We entered this bushwalk at the fire trail on the end of Boundary Rd near Braidwood Ave, North Epping. From there we headed towards the creek and up to Pennant Hills. It took under an hour with kids aged 5-10 years. After you reach the whale, there is a fork in the path – we went left and walked alongside the creek and down to the creek crossing. This walk would be easily doable for kids 3+ but it’s not pram friendly.
Field of Mars, East Ryde
Located opposite Buffalo Creek Reserve, our bushwalking adventure started with easy parking and a gentle stroll to the start of the trail. We spent 20 minutes enjoying a gentle climb to the summit and another 20 minutes climbing back down. Felid of Mars has quite a few tracks, all great for 4yrs+.
Lane Cove River Walk
This walk started at Magdala Park North Ryde, located behind North Ryde RSL. We followed the Lane Cove River towards Buffalo Creek Reserve for about 30 mins then turned back. HOWEVER, if we followed the River the other way and walked another 260km along The Great Northern Walk track, we would have reached Newcastle #justsaying. It was an easy walk with views of the wetlands, the river of course, and beautiful flora and fauna. Kids 4+ would have no trouble doing it.
North Epping Great North Walk
This one started at the corner of Boundary & Eastcote Rd North Epping (it’s a steep walk down) and then joined the Great North Walk to head up to the bottom of South Turramurra. To finish we headed back around to North Epping, popping out near Whale Rock at Boundary Rd. BMX bike lovers – you’ll love this one! It has some great parts for kids with BMX bikes.
Darvall Park surprised us with its beautiful walking track, little creeks and gullies. Running from Eastwood down to West Ryde, this long, peaceful track is about 1.9kms and perfect for kids 4+ (not pram friendly). Afterwards, the kids might enjoy a play at the modest little playground or a run around on the grass area. It’s also a great place for younger kid’s to bring scooters as it’s quite enclosed and doesn’t get too busy.
Ryde River Walk, Ermington – Rydalmere
This Parramatta Riverwalk section is a nice spot to get in your daily exercise. We started at Halverson Park and walk down towards Rydalmere and then back towards Ryde. It’s great for walking, running, bike riding or scooters. There’s bubblers along the way, chairs for a 5 min rest stop and some nice river views.
Riverglade Reserve at Tarban Creek
On a nice day, this walk is blissful! Beautiful! And a little bit batty 🦇🦇. Along the path, you’ll discover the home of the hundreds and hundreds of bats that live in the mangroves there! If that’s not your jam, stick to the reserve – it’s an off-leash dog park where each pouncing pup seems cuter than the next! Along with lush green grass, an easy pram-friendly track and the prettiest outlook, the reserve also has toilets, parking and filtered water stations.
Ryde River Walk from Bill Mitchell Park
What a stunning find this one was, starting at Bill Mitchell Park in Tennyson Point. Here’s all the things we love about it in order of how we experienced it:
- dedicated carpark
- pram / scooter friendly track
- toilet and filtered water fountain
- huge grassy field
- a Spoonville!
- the River
- the Ryde River Walk (including gorgeous boardwalk completed in Jan this year)
- secret garden brick maze + street library!
We only managed probably 1km of the 12km stretch but it was magic! ✨
Macquarie University Lake
This was a brilliant find that Humans of Eastwood gave us a tip-off for. It’s huge, peaceful and the kids just love it! Between the ducklings, the lake, the lake crossings and the beautiful landscaping we can’t get enough!
Spoonville’s are popping up everywhere and we LOVE that! Our first trip was to the one at Tarban Creek Canals, Gladesville but now there are at least 15 sites – here’s a list of their locations.
Meadowbank Netball courts (ERNA)
We visit the Netball courts regularly and bring bikes, scooters, balls and the kitchen sink (feels like it)! The kids feel really comfortable riding their bikes on this flat, easy surface but for those with more confident riders, you could ride there along the riverfront.
Parks and Playgrounds
Wangal Centenary Bushland Reserve, Mortlake
We were so impressed by this park – there’s so much to enjoy from musical play to water pumps, multiple slides, plenty of swings, a flying fox, spinner and much more. It’s very picturesque with lots of lovely seating areas to take in the water views.
Tuckwell Park, Fontenoy Rd, Macquarie Park
There’s lots to love at Tuckwell Park including a little kids area + swings, large slide, rock climbing, rope climbing, lots of open green space, paths for bikes and scooters.
Halvorsen Park, Ermington
What’s not to love? Halvorsen Park is riverfront, has an on-site cafe, there’s plenty of space and is connected to a 20km cycleway – so don’t forget the bikes/scooters/ walking shoes! Kids 1-9 yrs will love this nautical themed playground – you’ll find it at 40 Seamist Avenue Ermington.
West Epping Park
Kids 1-18yrs will love this huuge play space which includes a play area for toddlers AND older kids, basketball + tennis court, skateboard area, table tennis tables, lots of seating, toilets, water fountains and a great multi-sport synthetic field. Not to mention there are FOUR slides and plenty of space to ride scooters 🛴
Mindarie Park, Lane Cove North
Mindarie Park is a lovely fully fenced playground that is wheelchair accessible. It has great tree shade and SO MUCH to do for toddlers & big kids including slides, swings, rock climbing, binoculars, stairs, tunnels, rocking boat, spinners. There is also a mini coffee shop onsite, a multi-use sports court, green space, a wooden climbing area and a great seniors exercise area. You’ll find it on the corner of Kullah Parade and Mindarie Street, Lane Cove North (just off Mowbray Road).
Waterloo Park, Marsfield
We waited for a windy day, brought kites with us and while the kids tried to get them up in the air, we adults lapped the oval. We got 3 laps in! Better than nothing! This park has:
- Huge oval with surrounding footpath
- Kids playground
- Exercise equipment
- Sports courts
- Adjacent shopping village
Lachlan’s Line Park, Macquarie Park
This playground is right opposite Lachlan’s Square Village, has plenty of play equipment AND a skateboard section which looks perfect for beginners. The playground features rock climbing, slides, tunnels, spinners, a water play area, swings and lots more to entertain the kids. You’ll also find a huge grassed area, toilets, seating area (for non-lockdown times) plus easy street parking – or you park at Lachlan’s Square and get your groceries before or after playing here.
Bicentennial Park, West Pymble
Such great news that KuringGai Council has reopened 9 of their playgrounds! Council has also put up QR code’s and is encouraging visitors to check in when at the playground. Bicentennial Park playground packs a punch with the following features:
- fully fenced
- lots of free shade
- HUGE sandpit with digger
- lots of tables & shelter (best suited for non-lockdown times when picnics are allowed)
- little kids structure with slides, stairs, shapes to move, viewing platforms
- lots of swings including a circle bucket
- large climbing rope frame
- spinny thing
- balance beams
- lots of grass for ball games
- easy parking
Elouera Reserve, Macquarie Park
At Elouera Reverse you’ll find inground trampolines, lots of slides, swings, flying fox, climbing, green space, balance beams and a filtered water bubbler too. We must admit, it’s hard to find parking and there’s no fence facing Waterloo Rd but it’s not super close to the road and we have never had an issue.
Livvi’s Place – Quarry Road, Ryde
We’ve shared this one a few times over the years because she’s a goodie. Livvi’s Place Ryde is a fully fenced, inclusive playground with activities and equipment for babies up to 10yos. There’s even a water play pump however it’s turned off over winter. You’ll also find a double flying fox, swings, huge sandpit area, slides, merry go round, climbing spider (on another merry go round!!), dedicated toddler equipment in the top left corner, music & mirror area, lots of open green space and toilets. Last but not least, there’s 2 car parks – one on QuarryRd Ryde and the other off Clermont Ave.