The Best Bushy, Natural Playgrounds in Sydney

We’re fortunate to live in a cul de sac in the bush. Garigal National Park is our backyard and some beautiful misty mornings, the trees completely take our breath away.

Natural spaces are so good for us all, it’s been proven that living amongst nature improves mental health, physical health and even symptoms of ADHD in children (definitely true for my two with ADHD.)

We’re so lucky in Sydney to have an abundance of natural spaces to explore and enjoy. There’s the beautiful harbour, it’s beaches and pools, and our ocean beaches with beautiful coastal walks linking them.

Sunrise fog trees_0003_1
Dee Why Walk-2

Then we have Sydney Harbour National Park, and the other national parks which ring the sprawling suburbs; to the south the Royal National Park, to the North Ku-ring-gai Chase and to the west the Blue Mountains NP. And there are state forests too.

But when you have young kids, on many days, you just aren’t going to head off hiking into the wilds. You might only have the energy to pack a sandwich and head to a playground, preferably a fenced one that the kids can’t escape from.

There are some excellent, very natural and bushy playgrounds in Sydney and I’ve listed my favourites below. I’m sure there are more and I’d love to hear from readers about their own favourites; I’ll add them to this list.

Yes, I know that there are a zillion very modern, brightly coloured and very funky playgrounds in Sydney (check out my Sydney’s 50 Best Playgrounds post here). They can be thrilling to visit, but they won’t feed the soul the way a visit to a natural playground will.

My Top Four Tree-Tastic, Natural Playgrounds

Passmore Reserve Playground, Manly Vale

Hallstrom Reserve Playground, Willoughby

Lizard Log Playground, Horsley Park

Berry Island Reserve Playground on Sydney Harbour

(click on the names to read full descriptions of each playground)

Honourable Mentions

These playgrounds are within beautiful parks, by gorgeous trees or have a lovely natural area within them – or all three!

Bicentennial Park Playground West Pymble

Bilarong Reserve Narrabeen Lake

Carss Bush Park

Warners Park Playground, Northbridge

Willoughby Park Playground, Willoughby

Berry Island Reserve, Wollstoncraft

Balmoral Beach Playground

Lyne Park Playground, Rose Bay

Camperdown Memorial Rest Park Playground, Camperdown

Steel Park Playground, Marrickville

Rouse Hill Playground, Rouse Hill

Lake Parramatta Reserve

Bicentennial Park at Sydney Olympic Park

Wentworth Common, Sydney Olympic Park

Caber Park, Winston Hills

Blackman Park, West Lane Cove

Balmaringa Reserve, South Turramurra

Fagan Park

Boronia Park, Epping

I know that my teens and twins all benefit from being close to nature. I’ve always encouraged them to climb trees, play with sticks, get their hands very dirty. They all spent lots of time in bushy playgrounds when they were little. As they got older we dragged them out on bush walks, which they always enjoyed even if they whinged at first.

Long walks by the sea or in the bush are the best thing in the world. But when kids are little and you don’t have much time, at least there are some excellent places  to connect with our natural world and to soothe the soul.

The playgrounds I’ve listed above are great places for day trips and excursions, worth making a trip for, to let the kids run wild and your mind run free.  And don’t forget to read the 10 Reasons The Bush Is Good For Your Health.

Do you know another excellent bushy playground in Sydney?

How does being amongst trees make you feel?

And the kids?

Happy playing.

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    1. says: Seana Smith

      It is.. for the kids but for us adults too. I used to enjoy going to the gym but now I much prefer to be outside. I’ve had exercise clothes on all day but haven’t done any exercise – had a very busy day with three back to school and the one not back at school turning 15 and it feels as if I drove him around for half the day. Anyway, I’ll keep the exercise clothes on overnight and get up early and make movement in the great outdoors the first thing I do… well, that’s the plan… a good one!

  1. says: Kelly Tate

    A new (ish) park that we discovered is Ian Potters Wild Play. It is amazing! Nurrungingy is also a beautiful park!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Ah yes, those two are great, I have got detailed posts about both here on the website so just need to add them in. Thanks for the reminder and best wishes as you explore new playgrounds.

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