It can get very hot in summer in Parramatta – even in spring and autumn! I do miss living close to the beach…. but thankfully there are some great free and cheap ways to cool off without having to drive for ages through Sydney traffic – yay! Here I have listed my top 10 favourite summer water fun picks. They are my families go to ones on a hot day – with two preschoolers. At most they are 45mins away for us from Rydalmere and generally not stress inducing outings. There is a mixture of outdoor pools, tidal baths, water playgrounds and natural swimming spots.
And they should suit a range of ages and swimming abilities. The order of my list changes with the tide, day of the week, time of the day and how much shade I am after. Some are best visited at low tide, in the afternoon or with two adults watching over young kids.
If you are after somewhere else, check out our ultimate guide to water fun in and around Parramatta with over 40 options or our top 20 summer playgrounds for some non-water fun. And if you want a cool indoor option, head to a shopping centre with free indoor play area, visit your local library, grab a bite to eat at a local club with an indoor play area or go to the museum or aquarium.
1Epping Aquatic Centre | Epping
Epping Aquatic Centre has three lovely outdoor pools in a tranquil bush setting. It’s great for families with a kids pool (naturally shaded in the afternoon), shaded baby pool and 50m pool. Plus there’s usually a giant inflatable to enjoy on Wednesdays and Saturdays over the school holidays. There is free on-site parking and a small entry fee. Note: there is no ramp down to the pools, so ask the staff for assistance in getting a pram down.
2Dundas Park | Dundas Valley
This large park has the newest water playground in the Parramatta Council area. Both the water play area and play equipment right (next to it) are under shade cloths. There are three sheltered picnic tables, lots of grass to sit and play on, bbqs and the toilets are a few minutes away. Plus the Container cafe is a short walk, along with the Vikings Sports Club.
3Yarramundi Reserve | Richmond/ Windsor Area
This gorgeous natural swimming spot along the Grose River is both peaceful and fun. There are shallow sections as well as deeper parts, a gentle current to float on, sand and lots of room along the banks for a family picnic. It is also a dog off the leash park so your furry family members can join in the fun. And while further away in distance then some Sydney beaches, it only takes us 40-50mins to get there from Rydalmere.
4Northbridge Baths | Northbridge
The Northbridge Baths is a free tidal, netted swimming area within the stunning Sydney Harbour foreshore and bushland of Middle Harbour. There is plenty of shallow water for little ones to splash in and at low tide there is also a beach to build sand castles on. There is shade on the grassed area from the surrounding trees and two small shade sails. The Baths are equipped with a BBQ, picnic area, change rooms, toilets and hot showers. There is free parking on Widgiewa Road, just above the baths. Best to check water quality and tides before heading there just to be sure.
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 picnicking, bushwalking and now water activities – swimming, canoeing and paddle boating. Plus, there are BBQs, toilets, a playground and cafe. Lifeguards are on duty every weekend, every day of the summer school holidays and all public holidays until 2nd April 2018.
6James Ruse Reserve | Parramatta
This is the largest water playground in the Parramatta Council area and should keep both little and big kids happy. The park contains seating, picnic tables and BBQ, a skate park and metered off street parking. There is also a playground (not shaded) with swings, slides, rockers and rope climbing tower. Unfortunately there are only temporary toilets set up.
7Greenwich Baths | Greenwich
The picturesque Greenwich Baths on Sydney Harbour is a way to experience the beach in a safe environment. There is a shark proof net and gate to enter. Plus toys are provided on the beach for building sandcastles and playing. There is shade under a lovely huge tree, plus beach deck chairs to relax on (if you get a chance). There is a small entry fee and it isn’t pram friendly, though you can get one down with some assistance.
8Putney Park | Putney
Putney Park is a fantastic park, found along Parramatta River. There’s a great, free water play area suitable for young children, 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 to enjoy. Plus BBQs, picnic tables, toilets and on-site parking.
9Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre | Lidcombe
Similar to Birrong Leisure Centre but closer to Parramatta, Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre has an outdoor water playground plus a mix of indoor and outdoor heated pools. We absolutely love the water slide and spent ages going up and down and up again. Keep in mind that the outdoor splash and grassed area is smaller compared to Birrong and doesn’t have bbqs.
10Jellybean Pool | Glenbrook
Just up the M4, only 45min drive away, is this beautiful natural swimming spot. It’s along Glenbrook Creek in the Blue Mountains National Park. And has a sandy, pebbly beach with a shallow splash area for little ones and deeper spots further out. You get to it via a short bushwalk (100m) down stairs. There is on-site paid parking ($8 per day or free with National Parks pass) but unfortunately the toilets are back at the entrance to National Park.