Central Gardens Merrylands: Animals, Playgrounds, Walks + Picnics!


Central Gardens Nature Reserve is often better known simply as Central Gardens Merrylands, and is a much-loved local area of natural beauty.

Central Gardens Nature Reserve emus walking

Emus at Central Gardens Nature Reserve; the kids’ favourite

Central Gardens is one of the best of Sydney’s free entry wildlife parks, seeing the animal enclosures at the Gardens is a highlight for little kids.

There are also beautiful bush trails and two adventure playgrounds. as well as lush grassy spaces, excellent areas for BBQs and picnics and lovely bush trails. 

NB  The larger playground is currently closed for an upgrade! Opening late in 2019, it is hoped.

Have you visited Central Gardens in Merrylands?

You haven’t?  How daft!  You need to get over there!


Central Gardens Merrylands Map



 Merryland Central Gardens

The Merrylands Park playgrounds are getting an upgrade – excellent!


Central Gardens Merrylands

Cnr Betts and Merrylands Roads

Merrylands West 2160

Central Gardens Opening Hours:  7.30am – 5pm Monday – Friday and 9am – 5pm at weekends. Closed Good Friday and Christmas day.  Daylight savings hours, check Council webpage here.

Water features operates from 11am – 2pm daily.

Central Gardens is a huge park with great playgrounds close to both entrances and a massive open space in the centre. The smaller playground is to the right of the Merrylands Road entrance, beside the Yarrabee picnic area.

It has long, wide ramps, two slides, a rope-grid bridge and spring rockers. The picnic area is shaded and has barbecues. Beside it is a huge pond full of ducks and other birdlife, plus two fountains and a waterfall.

There is another picnic area on the other side of this playground and close to it is Central Gardens biggest attraction for kids, the aviary and animal enclosures. The animals on view include wallabies, hens, cockatoos, budgies and waterfowl. There are koalas here too, but they are very shy!

To the right of the Paton Street entrance is a third picnic area with barbecues, lots of picnic tables and plenty of tree shade. The larger playground is found here, currently being upgraded.

Nearest takeaway coffee: BYO

Toilets: Toilet blocks beside both playgrounds, the disabled toilet has a baby change table

Shade: Yes

Enclosed: The playgrounds are not enclosed but the gardens themselves are fenced

Dog friendly:  No, dogs are not allowed in the gardens.

Mum’s report: A great spot for a picnic and play, especially if you are meeting friends and family. A trip to see all the animals always goes down well with the children.

Parking: There are car parks near both playgrounds, entry from Merrylands Road and from Paton Street

Bus stop nearby: Yes, at Merrylands Road 

Extra: The Gardens Playground runs on Mondays in term time, check Gardens Playgroup website here


You might like these other playground posts:

Seven Great Cafes Beside Playgrounds

Sydney’s Best Bike Tracks Part 1

Best Fenced Playgrounds – North


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Last Updated on

Posted on: June 24, 2019


  • Reply September 17, 2011


    You are full of ideas! I haven’t ventured to Merrylands with the tribe but I now know where to go if I were so inclined. 200 hits, 1 comment! Thanks for Rewinding x

  • Reply December 1, 2013


    I had no idea this was in Merrylands. Not that big a distance for us. Must take a look 🙂

  • Reply March 26, 2014


    Australia has hands down the best playgrounds in the world! Been to Perth and these playgrounds looked nicer than most Disney entertainment parks.

    I just followed you on Twitter – looking forward to connect!

    • Reply March 26, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Lovely to meet you! Will pop over to visit your blog too. I agree that our playgrounds here in Oz are just fantastic, much better than most UK ones we have visited though there are some top ones there too.

      • Reply September 23, 2019


        Is dogs allowed at central garden merryland

        • Reply September 24, 2019

          Seana Smith

          I will call Cumberland Council to ask and will add to the article, if you need to know quickly, contact Council’s Parks and Recreation Team by phone on 8757 9000. I will update the article when I know.

        • Reply September 24, 2019

          Seana Smith

          I have just called and dogs are definitely not allowed into Central Gardens Merrylands.

  • Reply March 28, 2014

    Lisa Wood

    Playground? Whats a Playground? Can’t remember the last time we were able to visit one with all the rain we have had!
    I am so disappointed in the Playgrounds in the Wollongong area – there is nothing worth visiting besides the Botanical Gardens Playground.
    Can’t wait for the sun to come back out so that we can look for more places to explore – will have to remember Merrylands when we are up in Sydney visiting our older son 🙂

  • Reply June 5, 2014

    Mama Frog


    That park is 18min walk from my house!!! I will try…


    – Isolated incompetent 1st time mum with 5mo Froggie scared to leave the house…

    • Reply June 5, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Get out of the house!! Would you like to have a chat sometime. I found the early days with my first son very hard going. Very sympathetic!

  • Reply November 21, 2016

    Petra L

    This is a great park as both play areas are completely covered with shade. On a hot 30degree day, we enjoyed our time underneath the canopy. However, there are no swings in this park.I am finding it very difficult to find a park where the swings are covered. My son is at the age where he is not walking without assistance and his favourite equipment is the swing, but not ideal now that summer is here.

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