This is a short but very engaging walk alongside the Parramatta River, using the pathways that run along both sides of the river between Lennox Bridge and the weir by the wharf.
The river runs through the busy heart of Parramatta but is a tranquil and quiet haven.
If you come by car, train or bus, start at Lennox Bridge. There is a flight of steps down to the riverside which you might need a hand down.
The ferry journey to Parramatta from Circular Quay by Rivercat is a beaut trip and you can read all about it here. Those who arrive at the Parramatta Wharf by ferry can do the walk in two sections (see below).
Along the northern side, marvellous artwork by Aboriginal artist Jamie Eastwood covers the walkway. The artwork tells the history of the Parramatta River and its people from an Aboriginal perspective and it is a very bold, bright and enlivening sight.
So this walk provides a gentle leg stretching with a cultural experience, all by the peaceful river.
There are some good shady spots on the grassy slopes by the path that can be used for picnics or rests. The river is not fenced and so again this is not a walk for young toddlers or unruly young children.
There is no shade along the river so in warm weather BYO umbrella.
Parramatta River Walk With Strollers and Kids
Length of walk: 1.5 kilometres
Time to walk: 25–30 minutes
Toilets: Public toilets at Parramatta Wharf
Start: Lennox Bridge on Church Street, Parramatta
Map reference: Gregory’s 308 C1, Sydway 80 N13, UBD 24 H5
Parking: Carpark behind Church Street, entrance on Phillip Street
Nearest station: Parramatta is a 20–30 minute walk away
Nearest ferry: Parramatta Wharf is on the walk
Bus stop nearby: Yes
NB A new boardwalk section has added another 350m of walkway to the north side of the river, just across from the wharf, so this walk is even better!
Start at the top of the steps on the south side of Lennox Bridge. There are 35 steps here. Having negotiated them, the riverside path is very pleasant, flat and smooth as it passes lilies and ducks on the water.
The path also passes the Riverbank Centre, with its shops and offices and then the David Frater carpark. Then it goes under the David Wilde Bridge, where there is a low wildlife bridge running over the water although no wildlife can be expected to cross during daylight hours, most disappointing for children.
Further along the path is a pedestrian walkway over the river, joining Elizabeth Street on the north to the south side of the river.
A huge pipe also crosses the river at this point and any plans from accompanying children to try balancing their way across it must be immediately quashed.
Further along, apartment blocks line the river. There are some trees here which throw shade on the grass and it is a nice place to stop for a picnic or a play. Just ahead is the weir which divides the tidal part of the Parramatta River from the freshwater part. Beyond the weir is the wharf. Cross the river over the walkway above the weir.
On the north side of the river the pathway is very wide and it’s possible to have two or three strollers rolling along side-by-side, great for mums having a chat as they walk.
This pathway weaves in gentle curves. With its artwork, picnic tables and bubblers, the walkway is more than a functional path, it is a cultural experience in itself.
The artwork decorating the width of the path tells the story of Parramatta’s original inhabitants, the Burramatagal people.
The paintings include outstretched hands, rainbow serpents, huge fish, eels, Baludam the young warrior, turtles and other bush tucker, the coming of the Europeans, speared soldiers and other representations of the conflicts between the settlers and the Burramatagal.
Information boards alongside the path way explain the significance of the artwork.
Here you will also find the excellent Parramatta River Foreshore Playground. Any children who can climb or slide will love this. Read all about Parramatta River Foreshore Playground here.
This delightful stretch of walkway ends all too soon at the 30 steps leading up to the north side of Lennox Bridge. These pass the Parramatta Heritage Centre, which is immediately to the left. Across the road is the Riverside Theatre.
Of course you can walk further into Parramatta Park from Lennox Bridge if you’d like to extend the walk.
From the wharf
Simply follow the path from the wharf to the weir, walk over it and then along the north side of the river to the Lennox Bridge steps and then back to the weir. The south side of the river can also be walked along to its steps at Lennox Bridge and then back to the wharf.
Thanks to Destination NSW for providing three lovely photos of this walk. Much better than the ones I took!
Making the Most of a Parramatta River Walk with Kids: Key Considerations
A Parramatta River Walk with kids offers an enriching opportunity to explore the natural beauty and historical sites along the picturesque waterway. To ensure a successful and enjoyable experience, families should carefully consider several factors while planning and embarking on this scenic adventure. This article outlines key aspects to keep in mind, offering guidance and recommendations for creating a memorable and rewarding excursion with children.
One of the primary factors to consider when planning a Parramatta River Walk with kids is the route selection. Families should opt for a walk that is appropriate for the age, abilities, and interests of their children. A well-defined, paved path with minimal inclines and declines, such as the popular walk between Parramatta Park and the Parramatta Ferry Wharf, is ideal for younger children and those with limited mobility.
Alternatively, for older or more experienced walkers, a more challenging route encompassing the mangroves at the Silverwater Bridge or the heritage sites in Newington Armory can provide a rewarding experience.
The duration of the walk is another crucial aspect to take into account, as it can significantly impact the enjoyment of the outing. Families should select a walk that aligns with their children’s attention spans, physical capabilities, and interests, allowing ample time for rest and exploration.
Shorter walks, such as the 2.5-kilometre stretch between the Parramatta Ferry Wharf and the Gasworks Bridge, may be better suited to younger children or those with less walking experience, while longer walks can be considered for more seasoned walkers.
In addition to route selection, families should be mindful of the weather conditions and take appropriate precautions. Australian weather can be unpredictable, and adequate preparation is essential to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Families should check the weather forecast before embarking on their walk, dress appropriately for the conditions, apply sunscreen, and bring sufficient water, hats, and rain gear if necessary.
Safety is of paramount importance when undertaking a Parramatta River Walk with kids. Parents should remain vigilant and maintain close supervision of their children at all times, particularly near the water’s edge. Educating children about the potential hazards, such as slippery surfaces, uneven terrain, or native wildlife, can help to instil a sense of responsibility and awareness while still allowing them to enjoy the natural environment.
To maintain children’s interest and engagement during the walk, parents can consider incorporating interactive and educational elements into the outing. This can be achieved by providing kids with age-appropriate information about the river’s history, ecology, and landmarks. Parents can also encourage children to participate in activities such as birdwatching, photography, or nature sketching, which can further enhance their appreciation of the surroundings.
Practical considerations, such as transport, parking, and the availability of amenities, should also factor into the planning process. Families can choose to commence their walk at easily accessible points, such as Parramatta Park, which offers ample parking and is serviced by public transport. I also advise you to know the location of public toilets, picnic areas, and playgrounds along the chosen route, to cater to the needs and comfort of your family members.
Finally, your family should be prepared to adapt the plans according to your children’s energy levels, mood, and interests. Flexibility is key to ensuring an enjoyable and fulfilling experience for all participants. You can adjust their itinerary, allow for additional breaks or rest periods, or seek out alternative routes and points of interest that cater to your children’s preferences.
In conclusion, a Parramatta River Walk with kids can be a delightful and enriching family activity when thoughtfully planned and executed. By considering factors such as route selection, weather, safety, engagement, and practicalities, families can create a memorable and rewarding experience that fosters a deeper connection to nature, history, and each other.
This picturesque urban walk offers a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of Western Sydney and uncover its rich cultural heritage, all while promoting an active and healthy lifestyle for the entire family.
Where do you love to walk with your stroller and kids?