Sure, Sydney is known globally for its spectacular sparkling blue harbour, but did you know our city is also sprinkled with lush green grassy knolls and vast open spaces awaiting exploration?
Looking to fill your lungs with fresh air and get amongst nature? While Sydney is a bustling metropolis, it’s also teeming with greenery. You can find more than 400 parks, gardens, reserves and nature strips in Sydney city alone, ranging from pocket parks to expansive natural wonderlands. There’s even a bunch of islands dotted around the harbour, covered in native flora and fauna and ready to discover.
In our neighbourhood of Pyrmont, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by both harbour and parks. And the best way to discover them is on foot. In fact, you’ll no doubt stumble upon a wild little gem or two on a wander around our tree-lined streets. From stunning waterfront wharf walks to elevated picnic spots offering views over the harbour and city, you’ll be amazed at what you can find around each corner.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the best parks, playgrounds, waterfront walks, exercise spots and grassy grounds in the area.
Lap up the great outdoors in a local park
Spotted around Pyrmont, you’ll find 20 parks and reserves of varying sizes in which to enjoy a quiet moment of reflection, a piping hot takeaway coffee or an encounter with local wildlife.
The biggest is Pirrama Park, spanning 1.8 hectares along the harbourfront. This park has something for everyone – multiple cafés, free barbecues, covered picnic areas, an outdoor gym, fishing spots, harbourside seating, and a huge playground with a sandpit and water fountains where the little kiddies can cool off in the summer.
Many of our local parks feature artwork of some kind – some are more hidden than others. If you like some culture with your greenery, then Pyrmont’s Waterfront Park comes with the goods. Formerly the site of old CSR (Colonial Refining Company) sugar refinery during the area’s bygone industrial days, the harbourside park features three giant rusting spheres, or “digesters”, once used in the sugar production process. You’ll also find the sculpture installation Metamorphosis, the pieces of which, like the basic elements of the site, remain constant, only their orientation and one’s perception of them changes.
Wander a wonderful walking track
Pack your sneakers when you come to stay. The hotel is located at the centre of some of Sydney’s best walks, from wharf and harbourside promenades to bridge climbs and urban art treks. So whether you’re getting your steps up for the day, wayfaring to somewhere new or simply stepping out for some fresh air, you won’t be disappointed.
Ask one of our hosts for a map and start exploring our fascinating inner city village on foot (or bike), keeping an eye out for points of interest and landmarks along the way. We have a few favourites to suggest, like a zigzag walk through little leafy laneways and hidden staircases of our neighbourhood down to the water, or a wharf-to-wharf walk around Jones Bay Wharf and Darling Harbour.
You can even make a day of your walking adventure, starting at historic Pyrmont Bridge and following the shoreline west to make your way over and up to Anzac Bridge, stopping at Zebra Lounge for breakfast, exploring Rozelle and Balmain before coming back via the Sydney Seafood Market for some of Sydney’s freshest fish and chips for lunch. Then onwards via the city to Chippendale where you can circle the lake at Victoria Park, and pop into a few galleries like the White Rabbit Gallery where you can immerse yourself in Chinese contemporary art, before heading back to Pyrmont for a sundowner at one of the many local historic pubs.
Pick the perfect picnic spot
Dining alfresco is a must when in Sydney, and while there’s no shortage of fantastic outdoor cafes, restaurants and bars in Pyrmont and Darling Harbour, sometimes there’s nothing better than claiming your own patch of grass and setting up your own dining experience, picnic style in the sunshine.
Gather a few supplies (cheese and biscuits, anyone?) from the local supermarket, and find a spot by a tree at Ballaarat Park to watch Sydney’s iconic green and gold ferries cruise along the harbour in either direction. Or grab a selection of sweet and savoury treats from the local PiOiK Bakery and find a sunny spot on the grass at Pirrama Park, just a few minutes’ walk.
If people watching is your thing, grab a coffee or light snack from Wayfarer’s and walk down to the harbour’s edge by the Pyrmont Bridge, and snap up a bench.
Get out into the open air with outdoor exercise
Not a gym junkie of the indoor variety? Soak up nature on a walk, jog or run through Pyrmont to the outdoor gym equipment at Pirrama Park. The perfect way to start the day in the fresh morning air or end one as the sun sets, this alfresco gym is always open and always comes with a great view. It’s a favourite of our General Manager and Pyrmont local, Michael.
If you’re looking to find fitness on two wheels instead of two feet, you can always explore the green spaces and scenic cycleways of the area by bike. Pyrmont is a hub of cycling activity, connecting the city to the west with a number of cycle paths, and offering stretches of wide berthed pathways and cycle-safe boardwalks along the harbour. If you need wheels, ask one of our hosts and we’ll help organise a set for you.
Where’s your favourite leafy outlook in Pyrmont? Let us know and tag us on Instagram.