It’s always great getting out into nature – both for our physical and mental health! And it’s not just good for the kids either. But with the coronavirus pandemic, we have to re-think how we do this. This articles covers important things to do if visiting a park, and a handy list of less popular parks with wide open spaces that are good to visit for some exercise.

Williams Reserve
Walking out a side passage onto Williams Reserve

It’s vitally important that we minimise the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. The current Australian Government’s advice on how best to do this is to keep 1.5m away from other people (excluding immediate family), stop all non-essential activities and stay home as much as possible. Thankfully exercise is considered an essential activity and we are being encouraged to go outside each day for our mental and physical health – but we must maintain a safe distance. Of course, if you have coronavirus symptoms, recently returned from overseas or been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you must self-isolate for 14 days!

“Australians should stay at home, unless shopping for essentials, travelling to and from work – where you cannot work from home, going to school and exercising.” – Australian Prime Minister, 24th March

So for the time being, the rest of us can still enjoy a much needed ‘play’ and walk outside at local parks and reserves for exercise – but only if we keep our distance! Thankfully there are about 300 local parks and reserve just within the City of Parramatta…. so plenty of space to spread out and enjoy being out in nature.

Parks and Coronavirus
Funny but true!

Things To Do When Visiting A Park

For everyone’s health and safety, there are a few very important things we all need to do when taking our kids to the park for exercise.

  • We must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people.
  • It’s best to go to less popular parks that don’t have any/ many other people there.
  • Playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment are now closed so keep your children away from the play equipment.
  • Coronavirus may be spread via surfaces so it’s best to avoid touching surfaces at a park, like the bubbler and toilets. If you need to touch a surface, use hand sanitiser (or wash your hands) before and after or wipe down the surface with disinfectant to reduce the possible spread of the virus.
  • Take a kite, ball or frisbee to play with you to the park – this will reduce the need to touch surfaces used by other people and add a heap more fun to your outing.

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This article has been written based on current advice provided by the Australian and NSW Governments. Some countries have closed parks. But if everyone practices social distancing and goes to a park with only a few (or no) other people, then hopefully we can all still enjoy some fresh air and exercise at parks here in Australia!


Coronavirus and Surfaces

According to the World Health Organization, we do not know for sure how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces. But it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. So we can use what we know about them to generally guide us as well as initial studies of COVID-19 – which is that they may persist on surfaces for a few hours (like on cardboard) or up to a few days (on plastic and metal surfaces). This varies though under different environmental conditions (like temperature or humidity).

Thankfully though viruses can only reproduce when they’re inside another cell. So left on a surface, without a host to live in, COVID-19 will eventually die out as it can’t copy itself to survive. But there hasn’t been the time to conduct research to definitively answer just how long COVID-19 stays on surfaces and at what rate it decays under what environmental conditions. And there are a lot of surfaces in the playground and kids aren’t the best at maintaining high standards of hygiene!

So to be extra safe, it is best to limit the touching of surfaces at parks. If you must touch a surface, then clean your hands with hand sanitiser or wash them before and after. Or clean the surface with a common household disinfectant.

This article by The Conversation is helpful in explaining all this further.


Quiet Parks Good to Visit During Coronavirus Pandemic

Here’s a list of 25 parks that usually aren’t crowded (actually we are regularly the only family there when we’ve visited!). This is mainly because they are tucked away. Plus, some of the parks don’t toilets (which means they aren’t as popular). But they have a great open space to fly a kite, kick a ball around, throw a frisbee or ride a scooter/ bike. And you should be able to easily maintain social distancing at them! We find going mid-afternoon is the quietest time generally. And if you are after more park suggestions, check out our long list of hidden gems. Or you could go on a lovely bushwalk instead.

1Valencia Park, Toongabbie

This is a delightful nature based playground in a peaceful setting, surrounded by trees and views over the City of Parramatta.

  • Key features: bush setting, toddler climbing play gym, oval, natural shade, lots of birds, picnic table.
  • Address: Valencia Crescent, Toongabbie
  • More details

2Ron Payne Park, North Epping

A cute little playground overlooking a large oval and Lane Cove National Park.

  • Key features: sit in train, oval (with fence/ dog off leash area), toilets, connects up with a bushwalk in Lane Cove National Park.
  • Address: Woods St, North Epping
  • More details

3John Curtin Reserve, Winston Hills

Tucked away in Winston Hills, John Curtin Reserve has a good playground, picnic tables, bbq’s, a sports field and a community hall with toilets. Plus lots of spots to explore the surrounding bushland and an undercover concreted area which is good for riding bikes on.

  • Key features: bush setting, oval, toilets, BBQs, links up with bushwalk through Moxham Park.
  • Address: Huxley Drive, Winston Hills
  • More details

This park has something for everyone and is a bit of a hidden gem! And will be particularly loved by any young climbers, and now skaters with the addition of a new skate park.

  • Key features: playground for young and older kids, sports fields, walking paths, toilets, BBQs, picnic tables, dog off leash area, skate park
  • Address: Jasper Road, Baulkham Hills
  • More details

Did you know that the Big Tree House Cafe in Rydalmere is actually very close to a local playground? Williams Reserve is tucked away behind houses, and we love wandering how the ‘secret’ paths to get there.

  • Key features: ninja warrior style playground, ‘secret’ entrances, lots of open space for nature play
  • Address: Dora Crescent, Dundas
  • More details

6Don Moore Reserve, North Rocks

  • Key features: bush setting, netball courts, sports fields, toilets, on-site parking, dog off the leash area.
  • Address: Tiernan Ave, North Rocks
  • More details

7Caber Park, Winston Hills

Caber Park is one of the first hidden gems we came across. It’s tucked away behind houses in Winston Hills, with little street frontage. There are a number of play spaces all in a lovely bush setting.

8Upjohn 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. It’s always a peaceful spot to visit during the week.

  • Key features: Bush reserve, set back from the road, bbqs, picnic shelters, toilets, purpose built scooter/ bike track, exercise equipment, sportsfield, creek and on-site parking.
  • Address: Kirby Street, Rydalmere
  • More details

9Peel Park and Bill Mitchell Park, Gladesville

10Concord West Playground, Bicentennial Park

A lot of families probably know of Bicentennial Park at Sydney Olympic Park. But we’re betting that a good number of parents don’t know about the kids play space tucked away on the eastern side of the park.

11McCoy Park, Seven Hills

  • Key features: scooter/ bike track, sports fields, links up to Reynolds Park and the Settlers walk.
  • Address: end of Edna Ave, Toongabbie
  • More details

12James Hoskin Reserve, Carlingford

  • Key features: links up with Terrys Creek Walk, bush setting, small bike/ scooter track
  • Address: Raimonde Road, Eastwood OR 17 Marook Street, Carlingford
  • More details

13Hazel Ryan Oval, North Rocks

You feel like you are driving down someone’s driveway to get to Hazel Ryan Oval! We like the combination of interesting play equipment, bushwalk nearby and open space set back from the road at this park.

14Ray Park/ Hazelwood Rose Park, Carlingford

  • Key features: community garden, links up with bushwalk, large circular paved path to ride on
  • Address: Avonlea Drive, Carlingford
  • More details

Down a path in Northmead, you’ll find the peaceful Charles Herbert Reserve, with rock ledges to climb and a small playground to enjoy.

16Dunbar Park, Marsfield

  • Key features: sports field, nature play space
  • Address: Sobraon Rd, Marsfield
  • More details

  • Key features: sports field, short walk from Vineyard Creek Reserve bushwalk, not far from Telopea shops
  • Address: Homelands Avenue, Telopea
  • More details

This is a popular sports park but with sport not being on there is a lot of room to roam without many people.

  • Key features: multi-use courts, lots of paved path to walk and ride on, toilets, on-site parking
  • Address: Murdoch Street, Ermington
  • More details

19George Thornton Reserve, West Pennant Hills

This large reserve in West Pennant Hills has a LOT to offer families with young kids…and well worth a visit for a nice few hours out.

20Forrester Park, Eastwood

Little white bridge that links up with the Terrys Creek Bushwalk
  • Key features: links up with Terrys Creek Bushwalk, open space, behind Sommerville Park
  • Address: Vimiera Road, Eastwood
  • More details

21Rainbow Farm Reserve, Carlingford

  • Key features: large, sloped open grassed space
  • Address: Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford
  • More details

  • Key features: community veggie garden (open to everyone)
  • Address: Trumper Street, Ermington
  • More details

  • Key features: sportsfield, short walk from Dundas Valley shops
  • Address: Alexander Street, Dundas Valley
  • More details

24Eccles Park, Ermington

  • Key features: cricket nets, short walk from Ermington shops
  • Address: 68 Spurway Street, Ermington
  • More details

25Prospect Reservoir, Prospect

  • Key features: walking tracks, historical houses and displays, short drive from the yummy chocolate shop Coco88
  • Address: William Lawson Drive, Prospect
  • More details

Map of Quiet Local Parks

Here’s a Google Park of the parks listed above to make it easy to find them.