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’ve listed my top 10 favourite summer water fun picks for 2020. I’ve made a few changes from our 2019 list, due to the ongoing bushfire emergency and fact that Northbridge Baths has an Aqua Park this summer.

The 10 water fun places listed are my families go to ones on a hot day – with two young kids – and we want to keep costs low. You can get to all of them in under an hour from Parramatta and they’re generally not stress inducing outings. There’s a mixture of outdoor pools, tidal baths, water playgrounds and natural swimming spots.

Dundas Park

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’m 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, go to the museum or watch a movie in Junior Class.

Kids pool at Epping Aquatic Centre, with 50m pool in background

When we want somewhere where we can all cool off, Epping Aquatic Centre is the place! It’s got three lovely outdoor pools in a tranquil bush setting. The kids pool is great for families with kids still learning to swim (naturally shaded in the afternoon). Plus a shaded baby pool and 50m pool. There’s 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 is our local water playground. And go to spot for a quick cool off, for all of us. Yes. I’ve been known to run through the misty tunnel on a hot day! 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. We usually combine a visit with lunch or dinner, with Daisy’s By The Park, Vulcano Pizza and Vikings Sports Club a short walk away.

3Putney Park | Putney

Putney Park is a fantastic park along Parramatta River. There’s a great, free water play area suitable for young children – 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.

4Lake Parramatta Reserve | North Parramatta

There’s 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 April.

5Greenwich Baths | Greenwich

The picturesque Greenwich Baths on Sydney Harbour is a great way to experience the beach in a safe environment, without the long drive and parking fees. There’s a shark proof net and gate to enter. Plus toys are provided on the beach for building sandcastles and playing. And we love sitting under the shade of the lovely huge tree, while relaxing on a beach deck chair (for a few minutes!). There’s a small entry fee and it’s a bit challenging getting down with a pram (though you can get one down with some assistance).

We absolutely love the water slide at Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre… we all usually spend ages going up and down, up and down. It’s part of an outdoor water playground, with some shaded seating spots around the outside. And we also really like the mix of indoor and outdoor heated pools.

7Clontarf Beach | Middle Harbour

Clontarf Beach ticks so many boxes for families with young kids! Calm, netted swim area, shade on the grassed area just behind the sand, shaded playground, cafe, amenities and a gorgeous spot over looking the Spit Bridge. You’ve just got to get there early in the school holidays and weekends to get a free parking spot (otherwise it definitely won’t be a cheap day out!).

8Francis Park | Blacktown Showground

Blacktown Showground is another spot that ticks a lot of boxes for families with young kids! All of the water splash area and most of the play equipment is under shade sails, there’s a yummy cafe and lots of room for family picnics.

  • Address: 49 Richmond Road, Blacktown
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9Kyeemagh Beach | Near Sydney Airport

For something a bit different, we love heading to Kyeemagh Beach overlooking Sydney Airport. There’s a large netted area on the beach and we all enjoying watching the planes take off and land while building sand castles, splashing in the water and devouring some yummy fish and chips from C-Side. There’s also a shaded fenced playground and toilets, plus free on-site parking. Only downside is you need to bring a beach tent as there’s no shade on the beach.

  • Address: Cook Park, General Homes Drive, Kyeemagh
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10James Ruse Reserve | Parramatta

This is the largest water playground in the City of Parramatta and should keep both little and big kids happy for a while. The park contains seating, picnic tables and BBQ, a skate park and metered off street parking. There’s also a playground (not shaded) with swings, slides, rockers and rope climbing tower. Unfortunately there are only temporary toilets set up.

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