Top 20 Parks for Summer BBQ Dinners | Parramatta Region

We love making the most of the warm, sunny summer nights to have a BBQ dinner at a local park. Here are our top 20 picks. And we would love to hear what you have cooking on your BBQ....

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Dundas Park
BBQs right near the playground

Last year we started a new family tradition of having BBQ dinners at local parks each week during day light savings. Mostly because I wanted a change of scenery from eating dinner at home every night with little ones and summer nights are gorgeous to enjoy outdoors. Plus, it is much easier to cook dinner when the kids are happily playing.

Now there are a LOT of local parks with free BBQs that you turn on simply by pressing a button. But the ones we visit regularly is greatly determined by how easy they are for hubby to get to after work by public transport from the city. The good thing though is that there are some great parks along Parramatta River and so he catches the Parramatta Rivercat to meet us….not a bad way to travel home! The top 20 list below is a mixture of parks with great summer playgrounds, gorgeous views along Parramatta River and ones with great picnic facilities.

Keep in mind that some BBQs are cleaner and better maintained then others but I have a trick to help with that – alfoil! I just cook on a large piece of alfoil, which saves needing to clean before and after. We have never had a problem with the BBQs not working, but in case you turn up to a park ready to cook dinner and find the BBQ isn’t working, I have provided details of where you will find another BBQ in a park nearby. Plus some parks close to vehicle access at sunset.

What’s Cooking on the BBQ?

I don’t cook anything fancy and basically stick to the same meal each week – to keep it simple with little ones. But there is lots of yummy food you can cook on a BBQ if you have the time and energy. My summer BBQ park dinner usually consists of sausages or chicken skewers, salad, friend onions and BBQ potato cubes/ chips. And after a bit of trial and error, here is what I pack each week into a grocery cooler bag to make the BBQ dinners super easy.

  • Tongs
  • Piece of alfoil (or 2) that will cover the bbq – saves on having to clean the BBQ before and after
  • Spray oil
  • Paper towels
  • Knife
  • Plastic bags for rubbish and dirty plates
  • Reuseable plastic plates
  • Container for left over food
  • Cutlery
  • Ice blocks
  • Food

And my trick for making yummy, crunchy BBQ potato cubes/ chips is to microwave them until they are almost cooked, add some seasoning and a bit of oil at home. Then crisp them up on the BBQ.


List of Top 20 Parks for Summer BBQ Dinners

The order of parks is based on a combination of what BBQ facilities are available (toilets and taps are important), how close the BBQs are to the playground (closer the better), how good the play equipment is for a hot summer evening (water play is great) and how nice the spot is.

1Dundas Park, Dundas Valley

This large park has the newest water playground in the City of Parramatta Council area.  It operates from 9am to 8pm. Both the water play area and play equipment right next to it are under shade cloths. Plus, there is a large oval to fly a kite or kick a ball around and a path around the park great for riding on. And if you happen to not want to cook dinner on the BBQ, we often get pizza’s from Vulcano Pizzeria a short walk away.

2James Ruse Reserve, Parramatta

James Ruse Reserve has a large, shaded water playground that operates from 9am to 8pm, September to May. There is also a skate park and playground (not shaded) with swings, slides, rockers and rope climbing tower.

This is a gorgeous spot along Parramatta River and great for watching the sun set. Kissing Point Park is right near the Kissing Point ferry wharf and this is one of our favourite spots for a BBQ dinner in summer and where you will regularly find us.

4Memorial Park, Meadowbank

A popular park for social gatherings, Memorial Park is a short walk from Meadowbank Wharf and train station. It has views of Parramatta River, playground, war memorial, picnic areas and bushland. The playground consists of slides, climbing steps, a water pump with creek bed, swings, rope tunnel and more.

5Lake Parramatta Reserve, North Parramatta

There is so much to do at this natural oasis, just north of Parramatta. Lake Parramatta Reserve is popular for bushwalking, playing, picnicking and now water activities – swimming, canoeing and paddle boating. Lifeguards are on duty every weekend, every day of the summer school holidays and all public holidays until 2nd April 2018 from 9am to 6pm. New BBQs were installed in October 2017 near the swimming spot, along with covered picnic tables overlooking the water. Note: the gates close at 7:30pm during day light savings.

6Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park

Bicentennial Park is a lovely large park with two shaded playgrounds, cycle ways, picnic spots, water fountains, tower, lake with ducks and a cafe. The Village Green playground, near Waterview Cafe, is the largest and most popular one. It is best suited to kids 1-8yrs. Concord West playground is a hidden gem on the eastern side of the park and has play equipment for teenagers as well as primary school aged kids and preschoolers. Plus there is a purpose built bike and scooter track.

  • Facilities: BBQs near both playgrounds, large picnic shelters, large grassed area, toilets next to Waterview Cafe and BBQs at Concord West playground, tap next to BBQs, garbage bins near BBQs and off street parking.
  • Address: 8 Australia Ave, Sydney Olympic Park
  • More about Bicentennial Park
  • Nearest Alternative BBQ: there are numerous BBQs within Bicentennial Park, or Wentworth Common is a short drive away.

7Granville Park, Merrylands

Granville Park in Merrylands has a shaded water playground that is fantastic on a hot day. There are two sections, one aimed more at little ones with things to hold onto and the other for older kids with big water jets, tipping buckets and big fountains. Right next it the water playground is a traditional playground with swings, climbing play gym and slide that get some natural shade in the afternoon. The BBQs unfortunately aren’t near the playgrounds but only a short walk away.

8Putney Park, Putney

Putney Park is a fantastic park, found along Parramatta River in Putney. There is a great, free water play area suitable for young children. Unlike the other water playgrounds, this is more like toddler pools. There are no water fountains and tipping buckets, just two shallow pools connected by a pebble creek bed. There are also two other playgrounds in the park and two VERY large slides. Note: the gates close at sunset during day light savings.

Blaxland Riverside Park is a large and awesome park, best suited for kids 4yrs+. It has a fantastic water playground section as well, though there is no shade. Keep in mind it is very popular so parking can be difficult but easier in the evening. There are BBQs along Parramatta River near the Armoury Wharf Cafe or at the back of the playground, near the second car park.

10Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park

This is a fantastic park in the heart of Parramatta. At the Domain Creek playground located on the Westmead side, there is a host of play equipment that should keep most kids entertained for a while. From in-ground trampolines, merry-go-round, spinning chair, sit on diggers and horizontal climbing net to musical instruments, swings, slide, walking see saw, tall slide, a big birds nest swing that can probably seat at least 5 kids and flying foxes. There is also a water play area that has two pumps with channels running to a sand pit.

11Boronia Park, Epping

Boronia Park ticks almost all the boxes for a great park! Fab shaded playground with equipment for a range of ages, toilets, bbqs, picnic tables, bike/ scooter track, bush setting, gardens and exercise equipment. Just needs a water pump or water play area.

12Cabarita Park, Cabarita

Cabarita Park is a great place! Plenty of space to have a picnic and enjoy time with your family. The park has 2 playgrounds and a swimming centre that faces Parramatta River. Plus the closest, swimmable ‘beach’ to Parramatta. We even saw a pod of dolphins one summer, which is a great sign that the water quality is good. I am though more concerned about sharks and with no shark net at Cabarita Beach, we only have a splash up to our knees. The beach is about 200m long and full of shells and our favourite spot is at the opposite end to the ferry wharf. There are a few dual BBQs in the park, all up overlooking the water.

Positioned in a lovely, picturesque spot along Parramatta River, with three good playgrounds, McIlwaine Park and Brays Bay Reserve make for a great family outing. There is a fenced toddler playground and next door a playground for older kids. Then there is the Kokoda Trail Memorial WalkwayKokoda Cafe and another fenced playground.

14Lions Parks, West Ryde

This great playground on Victoria Road is easy to miss as you drive by seeing as it is hidden behind a line of trees. My boys love the sand pit and scooter track, particularly coming around the bend and down the little hill. There is a shade cloth over the sand pit and natural shade across the playground in the afternoon. The BBQs are right near the playground and the toilets are on the other side.

  • Facilities: Dual BBQ, picnic tables, grassed area, toilets, bubbler, garbage bins at opposite end of the park to the BBQs and off street parking.
  • Playground best suited: 1.5-8yrs
  • Address: 1141 Victoria Rd, West Ryde (car entry on Shaftsbury Rd)
  • More about Lions Park
  • Nearest Alternative BBQ: Darvall Park.

15Banjo Paterson Park, Gladesville

Banjo Paterson Park is a gorgeous, hidden away spot along Parramatta River. The park got a new themed adventure playground towards the end of 2016 and there are bbqs and picnic tables nearby.

  • Facilities: Dual BBQ, covered and uncovered picnic tables, grassed area, toilets, tap at toilets, garbage bins near playground and off street parking.
  • Playground best suited: 2-8yrs
  • Address: Punt Road, Gladesville
  • More about Banjo Paterson Park
  • Nearest Alternative BBQ: Boronia Park in Hunters Hill.

16Phoenix Park, Rhodes

The colourful and artist inspired Phoenix Park features a wonderful medium sized playground as well as bbq and picnic spaces, iconic artwork and walkways, which are fantastic for kids on scooters and bikes. And it is walking distance to Rhodes train station. Plus the surrounding buildings provide a good amount of shade in the afternoon.

17Third Settlement Reserve, Winston Hills

Third Settlement Reserve is such a lovely park, along Toongabbie Creek. There is a fab shaded playground, lots of paths to walk and ride on, a little bushwalk, plenty of picnic facilities and open grassed spaces.

Located in a lovely spot along Parramatta River, Anderson Park has a shaded, medium sized playground. There is a boat themed climbing play gym, swings, small rope climbing tower, rockers and twisters. The park is within easy walking distance of Meadowbank ferry wharf, near Ryde Bridge and Ryde wharf. It is along the Parramatta River Walkway so you can go for a ride or walk along the foreshore.

19Upjohn Park, Rydalmere

Almost fully surrounded by houses, it would be easy to live right near this park and not know it exists….well unless you looked at Google Earth or your kids play sport there. The playground gets natural shade in the afternoon and there is a bike/ scooter track, plus exercise equipment and creek to explore.

20John Curtin Reserve, Winston Hills

Tucked away in Winston Hills, John Curtin Reserve has a good playground, picnic tables, bbq’s, a football field and a community hall with toilets, plus lots of spots to explore the surrounding bushland.


Special Mention

The dual BBQs and picnic shelters at Eric Primrose Reserve are near Rydalmere ferry wharf. And are a great spot to watch the sun setting over Parramatta River. Unfortunately there are no toilets nearby at the moment but that will change in 2018 when an amenities block is being built.

There are so many other parks that just missed the cut and I have edited and re-edited the list as we eat our way through the local parks with BBQs. Let us know if one of your favourites is missing or see a fuller list of parks with BBQs.


Google Map of Parks for Summer BBQ Dinners

Here is a map with our top 20 parks for summer BBQ dinners shown (blue), along with the alternative BBQs in nearby parks (grey).

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I am a Sydney mother to two gorgeous, active boys – Mr funny bunny is 4yr and Mr cheeky monkey is 3yr. We are out every day, rain or shine, and love being park explorers, construction chasers, experimenters, book lovers, Pinterest testers, playgroup organisers, singers, builders, treasure hunters, musicians, cooks, gardeners, bush walkers, YouTube watchers, helpers and lots more.

1 COMMENT

  1. sincere thank you for such detailed
    areas for bbq around parra an other areas
    ..it’s a shame other parents cant be bothered
    to at least leave a nice reply
    otherwise they wouldn’t know
    how to find such good areas
    ..very much appreciated
    for doing the ground work.

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