I’m so glad we took a trip to Narrabeen Lake this week during the heatwave hitting Sydney – we had an absolute stunner of a day at Berry Reserve! Kids were asking to come back before we had even left.. and they got their wish when we went back again on New Years Day!
I’ve taken my boys to Narrabeen Lagoon (also known as Narrabeen Lakes) before, over near the Holiday Park. And I visited the lake a lot as a child, swimming and sailing. But it was the recently opened Tramshed Cafe and new playground at Berry Reserve that was the main draw card this time round. Plus, I knew it would be about 10 degrees cooler than staying in Parramatta!
And oh boy – it was FAR BETTER than I had expected. The temperature was so much more pleasant than the stinking hot high 30s that we left behind in Parramatta. We got a free parking spot easily and a nice table just inside the cafe. The playground was amazing with so many imaginative and nature play elements, all under gorgeous large trees.
And after our yummy lunch and play at the fenced playground, we wandered down a few metres to the lake. Found a nice spot under one of the many trees and spent a few hours swimming and relaxing. Everything is right there is one spot!
Only downside is that it’s a 50min drive away… otherwise we would be there at least weekly in summer! Below is more info and photos on the different things to do at Berry Reserve.
After playing at about 250 Sydney playgrounds, it takes a bit to wow me nowadays. But the new fenced playground at Berry Reserve definitely has the WOW factor for young kids.
I’m hard pressed to think of another playground with so many fantastic imaginative play elements – maybe Golden Jubilee Field playground in Wahroonga comes close??
There’s a pretend train tunnel and ticket booth (linking to the tramshed), along side some houses. Plus a lolly store, complete with cash register and scales. As well as a cafe.
And then of course there is the amazing castle.
In the back, there are two in-ground trampolines. And some nature based play elements along the fence. We particularly liked the crocodile, frog prince and owl statutes.
At the main entrance, there are some musical instruments. Plus a beautiful mosaic dragon, magic carpet and swings.
And there is a picnic table and plenty of seating (in the shade) within the playground.
Can you tell I have a playground crush much!
The Tramshed Cafe has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, helped by its openness and outlook over the leafy playground and beautifully restored 1933 tram. You can eat in the cafe, with a view over the fenced playground. Or get take away and sit inside the tram or playground or by the lake… love all the options.
We’ve gone with sitting inside both visits. And the kids loved that their menu doubled as an activity sheet, with colouring in and word puzzles. They had the ham and cheese toastie for $7, which was devoured almost instantly, and a small chips for $6, which was a very decent size.
Hubby and I both had salads the first time, which were delicious. Though a little on the small side for me… but then I have been overeating over Christmas!
And burgers the next – mine the naked veggie burger and his the chicken tandoori burger.
Tramshed Cafe serve Little Marionette coffee and hubby gave it a thumbs up.
The Tramshed Cafe has lots of high chairs and a baby change table in their spacious toilets.
Now the more popular spot to swim at Narrabeen Lakes is near where it meets the ocean, around at the NRMA Lakeside Holiday Park. But you can swim just in front of the playground at Berry Reserve – and it was SO MUCH less busy. Plus at lots of other spots around the lake.
We swam at the ramp for the kayak club, almost straight in front of the playground. There’s shallow water to splash in before getting deep quickly. We could see lots of fish and the water was clear. The ground has that slightly muddy sand bottom that you get at lakes and rivers. There were also lots of ducks and a few geese around – remember, please don’t feed them.
And be warned, if you bring an inflatable you can easily find yourself drifting quickly across the lake!
4Around the Lake
There’s a multi-use trail around the entire lagoon for walkers, cyclists and people of all abilities. And along the way there are playgrounds, picnic tables, car parks, toilets, bbqs and entry into the water. So you can always take a nice after breakfast/ lunch walk before cooling off with a swim.
Plus people like to fish, paddle and windsurf at the lake.
At Berry Reserve, you’ll find toilets (northern end of the car park), BBQ and picnic tables. Plus there is a basketball court, exercise equipment and the new Tramshed Arts and Community Centre.
Finding Berry Reserve at Narrabeen Lakes
Narrabeen Lakes is just over 40kms north-east of Parramatta and takes about 50mins to drive there. There is a car park at Berry Reserve with free parking but there are restrictions on how long you can park for. Keep in mind that there is a market here on every 3rd Sunday of the month.
- Weekdays, most spots are for 3hrs.
- Saturday 8am to 1pm, it’s just 2hr parking.
- Saturday afternoon and Sunday you can park for as long as you like.
You can also park in the Park and Ride section – $10 all day on weekends and $30 on weekdays.
Plus, the B Line bus stops right near Berry Reserve.