At a Glance: A huge public park that is home to cafes, playgrounds, walking tacks, fantastic picnic areas and some very noisy critters.
Opening Times: 6am - 6pm (8pm in Summer)
Dogs: Yes (on a leash)
Kiosk or Cafe: Yes
Age Suitability: All ages
Description:Parramatta Park covers 87ha of land smack bang in the middle of Parramatta. There is loads of parking and it is also in easy walking distance from the train station (either Westmead or Parramatta stations). There are several entrances to the park and at each one you will see beautiful old gatehouses that give you a glimpse into the history of Parramatta Park.
Parramatta Park became a public park in 1858 and as such is probably one of the earliest public parks Australia has. Before this time there is evidence of a strong Aboriginal presence in the park, dating back 20,000 odd years and from 1788 it was home to the Governors of colonial times - sitting proudly on a hill in the middle of Parramatta Park is old Government House. But to be honest with you, kids probably aren't that interested in visiting an old house, they will be wanting to explore other parts of this fantastic park.
So all kids love playgrounds - there are two inside the park to keep them entertained. Not far from the main entrance on Macquarie St, is a small quiet playground, ideal for younger children. There are swings, slides, climbing equipment and a large wooden bow of a ship. The second and larger playground is on the other side of the park. It has a lot more climbing and agility equipment so it is suited more to older kids. It is also near a lot of picnic shelters and open green space.
For kids that love to exercise make sure you bring your bikes, roller blades, scooters, kites, bats and balls. There is so much open space for children to run wild on as well as dedicated cycle tacks and walkways. The park is located at the end of the Parramatta River, so be careful with your kids that they don't run off too far as the river is not fenced off.
After all of this activity you will need some refreshments. If you have come with the picnic basket, there are numerous spots to either throw down the picnic blanket or if you prefer you can sit at one of the many picnic shelters around the park. Be warned that the park is very popular for birthday parties, so many of the shelters may have been pre-booked (especially on weekends).
If you are more of a cafe type of person than you have 3 places to choose from. The poshest is Lachlans, a lovely restaurant located in Old Government House. If you have well behaved kids this would be an option for you, if not you should try Parramatta Park Cafe. This cafe is really child friendly and they serve awesome food and coffee. Their babycino is so sweet and they have colouring books and pencils to keep your little ones occupied. It is favoured by cyclists so it would be a good idea to ring ahead and make a booking.
The latest addition to the park is the Gatehouse Tearooms at the Macquarie St entrance to the park. This is the perfect spot for high tea, so once again maybe only suitable to those of you have children who like to sit for long periods of time!
On your way home make sure you take time to find the resident colony of bats in the park. These wacky creatures can be found in their thousands suspended from the trees near the weir (not far from the Parramatta Park Cafe) - have a competition with your kids to see who can count the most of these noisy critters!