Chances are you’re looking for ways to cool down with your kids thanks to this hot weather. While in Western Sydney we can’t easily pop down to a beach, there’s still PLENTY of FREE water fun to be had!
Because some days call for a full water experience and other days just a little splash, we’ve pulled together all the FREE water play options in this one guide. It’s divided into 7 sections. And there’s bound to be something that appeals to your family!
- Local parks with water playgrounds
- Free swimming spots
- Local parks with water play
- Local shopping and community centres with water fountains
- Beaches near Parramatta
- Other parks with water playgrounds and water play further away
- Not free but worth mentioning
And here’s a map of the free water fun options to help you decide which one you want to enjoy.
A water playground is a great way for kids of all ages, and parents, to cool down on a warm day. They normally have fountains, tipping buckets, water jets and sprays, plus other interactive water features. And kids don’t need to know how to swim! There are 8 water playgrounds in and around the City of Parramatta so you can visit a different one each day of the week! And most operate from 9am to 7/8pm.
1Philip Ruddock Water Playground, Dundas Park | Dundas Valley
While one of the smallest local water playgrounds, it’ll still keep kids of all ages happy and cool for a while. There are toilets at this park (about a 5min walk away), bbqs, sheltered picnic tables and a small, shaded playground with swings, slide and things to climb. Plus this water playground has three food options within easy walking distance – Daisy’s by the Park, Vulcano Pizza and Vikings Sports Club.
2Putney Park | Putney
Putney Park is a fantastic park, along Parramatta River. There’s two shallow pools connected by a pebble creek bed. Plus, two other playgrounds in the park, two large slides, toilets, on-site parking and BBQs.
3James Ruse Reserve | Parramatta
This is the largest water playground in the Parramatta area. There’s seating, picnic tables, BBQs, a skate park and playground. Unfortunately there are only portaloos at the moment. But a water refill station has recently been added. Keep in mind that parking can be difficult to find.
4Ollie Webb Reserve | Parramatta
Ollie Webb Reserve is now home to Parramatta’s first Livvi’s Place – a fenced, inclusive playground. And it has two water play areas – one a splash pad and the other a water pump and channels (though unfortunately the water here isn’t working).
- Address: Glebe Street, Parramatta
- More Info
5Livvi’s Place, Bernie Mullane Reserve | Kellyville
This is the first and only water playground in the Hills. And thankfully there are now shade sails covering nearly the whole playground, including the water area. This water playground is only one of two that are within a fenced playground. There are also BBQs, grassed area for picnics and toilets. Plus, a variety of play equipment for kids of all abilities.
6Francis Park [Currently Not Operating] | Blacktown Showground Precinct
This large, popular park has every from traditional play equipment and a fully shaded water playground to a flying fox, nature based play elements, plenty of grass to play on and bush to explore. Thankfully most of the play equipment has a shade cloth over it. The park is within walking distance from Blacktown Train Station and free parking is available. The Grounds Keeper Cafe is right near the playground and open everyday except Tuesday.
7Blaxland Riverside Park | Sydney Olympic Park
A large and awesome park, Blaxland Riverside Park is best suited for kids 4+. It has a fun water playground section as well, but sadly there’s no shade over it. There are toilets, bbqs, a kiosk and shaded sitting areas nearby, plus a sand pit for the little ones. Parking can be an issue on weekends and school holidays.
8Granville Park [CLOSED until Mid-2021] | Merrylands
The water playground at Granville Park is temporary closed while the sports ground is upgraded.
Free Swimming Spots
Below are 6 of our favourite free swimming spots within 50mins of Parramatta. And for more inspiration, see our list of the 20 closest beaches to Parramatta or our list of 7 natural swimming spots in Western Sydney.
9Lake Parramatta Reserve | North Parramatta
Lake Parramatta Reserve is popular for picnicking, bushwalking, swimming, canoeing and paddle boating. There are BBQs, toilets, a playground and cafe as well. Lifeguards are on duty every weekend from late October until early April. Plus, every day of the summer school holidays.
10Northbridge Baths | Northbridge
The Northbridge Baths are unpatrolled tidal baths, set within the stunning Sydney Harbour foreshore. The popular baths have a sandy beach at low tide. Plus, swimming lanes and a pontoon that is fun to jump off. There are also BBQ, picnic area, change rooms, toilets and hot showers. And on-site parking (about 50 spots), plus street parking.
11Yarramundi Reserve | Richmond Area
Only about 40mins north-west of Parramatta, you will find a great, gorgeous natural swimming spot along the Grose River at Yarramundi Reserve. With shallow water, sand and bushland, it is an awesome spot to take the kids.
- Address: Springwood Road, Yarramundi
12Cabarita Beach | Cabarita Park
This is the closest, swimmable ‘beach’ to Parramatta. We even saw a pod of dolphins one summer, which is a great sign. But 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. There are a few shady spots on the beach and our favourite spot is at the opposite end to the ferry wharf.
- Address: Cabarita Park, Cabarita Road, Cabarita
- More Info
13Berry Reserve | Narrabeen Lakes
This is a recent find for us and we’ve been three times in two weeks these summer holidays! We love the combo of a yummy, family-friendly cafe, awesome fenced playground and lake swimming. And there’s on-site parking – free or $10 all day on weekends.
14Jellybean Pool | Glenbrook
Jellybean Pool is along the Glenbrook Creek in the Blue Mountains National Park. From the carpark, it’s a 100m walk down stairs. Being in a National Park, there is a parking fee of $8 per day (unless you have a National Parks Annual Pass). There is a ‘sandy’ beach area and the water is shallow before going deeper. Depending on when you visit, there will be more or less natural shade on the beach and over the water.
Local Parks With Water Play
If you aren’t after the full water experience of a water playground, then these parks are for you! They have some sort of water play, such as a water pump, fountain or spouts. And are in or around City of Parramatta.
15Paperbark Playground | Parramatta Park
While the smaller of the two playgrounds in Parramatta Park, Paperbark Playground is the newer one and has a fun, shaded water and sand play area. Plus, there’s now toilets a short walk away and Georgie Boy cafe at the George Street Gatehouse.
16Domain Creek Playground | Parramatta Park
This is a great park in the heart of Parramatta! Domain Creek playground is located on the Westmead side of Parramatta Park. There’s a good variety of play equipment that should keep most kids entertained for a while. Plus, there’s a water play area with two pumps and channels running to a sand pit. Shade can be an issue in summer but the surrounding trees are slowly providing some protection in the early morning and afternoon.
17Bay Park [Currently Not Operating] | Wentworth Point
The playground at Bay Park is the first playground in Wentworth Point. And it has a little water play area, with four water fountains operated by a button.
- Address: Amalfi Drive, Wentworth Point
- More Info
18ELS Hall Park | North Ryde
The large nature inspired playground at ELS Hall Park has a water pump and channels, under the shade of some surrounding trees. Plus there’s a flying fox, shaded toddler play area, swings, cubby house pods, slides and tunnels.
19Jubilee Park | Parramatta
Not too far from Parramatta Library, a few cafes and the Parramatta Interchange, is Jubilee Park. It’s a nice, open nature based playground with a maze and water play area. Unfortunately, there’s very little shade.
20Northmead Reserve | Northmead
The playground at Northmead Reserve is a lovely medium sized one, with some natural shade. It’s great for toddler through to primary school. There’s a colourful water table with a maze for the kids to play with.
21Central Gardens Reserve | Merrylands
The main playground at Central Gardens Reserve now has a water and sand table/ area with a water pump.
- Address: Paton Ave, Merrylands
- More Info
22Melrose Park Playground | Melrose Park
This lovely playground is along the Parramatta River, just down from the Ermington boat ramp. The play equipment is mostly made from wooden and there’s a great little water play area, with a water pump going onto carved sandstone.
23Anzac Park | West Ryde
This is the newest playground with water play, consisting of a pump and stone channel. Nestled mostly under large mature trees, this playground is great for toddlers through to primary school kids.
- Address: Corner of Wattle Street and Anzac Ave, West Ryde
- More Info
24Memorial 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 and picnic areas with a playground, war memorial and bushland areas. The playground has a water pump with creek bed.
25Yamble Reserve (Livvi’s Place) | Ryde
Yamble Reserve is a large, fenced playground that’s amazing for toddlers and preschoolers. In the shaded sandpit, there’s a water pump.
26Bicentennial Park | Sydney Olympic Park
This is a fantastic large park that’s great for family picnics, bike rides and playing. There are two shaded playgrounds – Village Green playground near one near the WaterView cafe and Concord West playground on the eastern side of the park. There is also a series of water fountains, located in between the two playgrounds near the tower, which children love to run through for hours. Keep in mind the ground can be slippery.
27Cathy Freeman Park | Sydney Olympic Park
Cathy Freeman Park has huge shady trees and easy access to many Sydney Olympic Park facilities. There are 2 playgrounds that the children can enjoy. And the Cauldron is a favourite among kids to run under and splash about.
Local Shopping and Community Centres with Water Play
Most of us probably have memories of running through a water fountain in a public place when we were kids. And your kids can do the same at these five shopping and community centres nearby.
28Centenary Square | Parramatta CBD
Just a short stroll from Westfield Parramatta, the Parramatta station and Church Street cafes and restaurants, is Centenary Square. Within the square, there are a wonderful series of water spouts that the kids will love running through and splashing in. Around the water feature are a number of shade umbrellas and seating. The square is home to weekly Farmers Markets on Fridays.
29Top Ryde City Shopping Centre | Ryde
If you find yourself needing to go shopping and entertaining the kids on a hot day, Top Ryde City is a great one. Not only can you shop, you can also visit the local library. Just outside in the La Strada restaurant section, you’ll find the water feature.
30The Connection Rhodes
- Address: 30 Shoreline Dr, Rhodes
- More Info
Outside the shops, in the centre of Auburn Redyard, are water fountains.
- Address: 100 Parramatta Rd, Auburn
32Rouse Hill Town Centre
You’ll find a fun series of water fountains at Rouse Hill Town Centre, along Market Lane.
- Address: Market Lane, Rouse Hill
Other Parks with Water Playgrounds and Play Further Away
Here are some other free water fun options across Western and central Sydney.
33Nurragingy Reserve [Currently Not Operating] | Doonside
Nurragingy Reserve is a lovely spot to visit year round. There’s picnic shelters, natural bushland, beautiful Chinese Gardens, waterfall, duck pond, a water playground and three other playgrounds.
- Address: Knox Road, Doonside
34Bigge Park | Liverpool
The water playground at Bigge Park opened in late 2017 and shade sails were installed early 2018. It has a giant soaker bucket, a water ring tunnel and water cannons.
- Address: 124 Bigge St, Liverpool
35Bungarribee Park | Western Sydney Parklands, Doonside
Bungarribee Park is the largest park in Western Sydney! And within the playground, there is a good sized water and sand play area, which is thankfully now shaded! It’s right near the main entrance and toilet block. So yes, bring a change of clothes! There are plenty of water pumps for the kids to ‘share’, plus channels carved in sandstone blocks and lots of sand. And so much other fun to be had at this great playground.
A long time in the making, this is the newest Livvi’s Place in Sydney. It’s a large fenced inclusive playground for kids of all abilities. We love the colours and layout. And there is a fun water play area under shade sails.
37Governor Phillip Park | Windsor
The newest water playground on the list and the second one to be within a fenced playground – yay! This playground is smaller than Livvi’s Place the Hills but has lovely views of the Hawkesbury River, natural shade and is short drive from Windsor cafes and shops.
38Fairfield Adventure Park | Fairfield
The awesome playground at Fairfield Adventure Park has a small water mister/ sprinkler to cool off at.
- Address: Vine Street, Fairfield
- More Info
39Fagan Park | Galston
Fagan Park is a lovely regional park, with beautiful gardens, lake, two playgrounds, large community garden and heritage buildings. Both playgrounds have water play. Though we prefer the water play at the new nature based playground on the northern end.
- Address: 38-48 Arcadia Rd, Galston
40Livvi’s Place | Five Dock
One of the new additions as part of the recent upgrade of Livvi’s Place Five Dock was a water play area. It has a few bubbler taps and a wooden water table with channels. And is right near a sand play area. This all abilities, fenced playground also has bbqs, toilets and a cafe.
- Address: 19 Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock
41Bicentennial Park | West Pymble
Not to be confused with Bicentennial Park at Sydney Olympic Park, this one is in West Pymble. The fenced playground has just received an upgrade, with an improved water play area. Plus there’s an aquatic centre and bushwalks.
42Plough and Harrow Park East | Abbotsbury
A large park is VERY popular on weekends and during school holidays. It has a great range of traditional and technology driven play equipment for school aged kids as well as lots nature based play elements and a small toddler play area with cubby house and sand pit. The water play area has two water pumps and a series of dams and turnpikes that let the kids direct the water in different ways, plus a creek bed the water can run down….makes for lots of fun and opportunity to get wet. There are also over 20 bbqs and picnic shelters scattered around and more than 200 parking spots.
43Steel Park | Marrickville
This is a lovely, bush park set by the Cook River has a wonderful, naturally shaded playground for preschoolers, flying fox, water playground and extensive bike tracks. Within the water playground there are an interesting series of water play features including a ‘source’ feature representing the water flowing from the mountains, a ‘rills’ section representing water flowing in a river across plains, and an ‘estuary’ feature which includes a collection of jets and sprays. The partially shaded water playground operates between 10am and 6pm from October to March. To start the water, press one of the buttons on the bollards and water will flow for 10 minutes.
- Address: Illawarra Road, Marrickville South
44Livvi’s Place | Jordan Springs
This large, fenced playground near Penrith opened in October 2016. Livvi’s Place at Jordan Springs is a state-of-the-art play space with several interactive spaces. These include a large water play area with 6 water jets, a sandpit, trampolines, swings, a range of play
equipment, a performance stage and picnic areas.
- Address: 1 Discovery Way, Jordan Springs
45Lizard Log | Abbotsbury
Lizard Log has a fantastic nature based playground with two flying foxes, giant swings, slide with climbing wall, water play, recycled timber balancing beams and sand diggers along with a great loop for scooters and bikes. It is a lovely area for family gatherings with plenty of bbqs, picnic shelters, toilets and on-site park. There are a number of walks to take and a nice little dam to visit. The only downside is that there is very little shade over the playground.
46The Playground | Darling Quarter
A fantastic playground in the heart of Darling Harbour. This playground consists of swings, flying fox, ropes to climb, slides, sandpit with diggers and a fantastic water play area. There is a cafe in the middle of the playground as well as restaurants surrounding it (including McDonald’s). There is a sink with soap to wash your hands and the bathrooms aren’t too far.
- Address: 1-25 Harbour St, Sydney
47Phoenix Reserve | Erskine Park, Penrith Area
The reserve boasts a new splash pad (opened mid December 2016) to help everyone keep cool this summer and is part of a broader range of improvements that includes new pathways, picnic shelters, new furniture and landscaping.
- Address: 27 Phoenix Crescent, Erskine Park
48Werrington Lakes | Werrington
This large reserve near Penrith has a gorgeous lake, cycle/ pathways, picnic facilities, exercise equipment, a shaded playground and splash pad. Opened in 2015, the small water play area has water spouts to help the kids cool off, but unfortunately is not shaded.
- Address: Burton Street, Werrington
49Pirrama Park | Pyrmont
This 1.8 hectare harbour side space in Pyrmont is located near to Star City Casino. Piramma Park includes grasslands, wide avenues great for riding a bike or scooter on, a playground with water spouts, cafe, toilets as well as picturesque harbour viewing spots for barbecues and picnics. The playground has swings, a modern rope climbing frame, nice big shaded sandpit and slides. This park is best though left until your kids wouldn’t be tempted to jump into the glistening harbour, as there is no fenced along the foreshore.
- Address: 20 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont
50Mary Obrien Reserve | Zetland
A lovely inner city park with two different (recently shaded) play areas, water sprinklers and lots of grass. One play area is best for toddlers and the other for older kids with a large climbing frame and slide. You’ll also find some BBQ facilities.
51Dawson-Damer Park | Oran Park
This is now the biggest water playground in Sydney – slightly bigger than the one at Curry Reserve. And what makes it extra special is the awesome ninja warrior course next to it.
- Address: corner of Dick Johnson Drive and O’Toole Avenue in Oran Park (opposite the Oran Park Library)
52Curry Reserve | Camden
The newest water playground in Greater Sydney, and probably the biggest and best, can be found at Curry Reserve in Camden. It takes about 50mins to drive to from Parramatta. There’s on-site parking, BBQs, picnic shelter, playground, toilets and change rooms. And a very fun water playground packed with water fountains, tipping buckets, water splash channel, tunnels and water sprayers.
- Address: 24 Camden Valley Way, Elderslie
Not Free But Worth Mentioning
Here are a favourite swimming pools, water parks and netted tidal baths that charge a fee to enter. Keep in mind that their operating hours may have changed due to covid.
53Epping Aquatic Centre | Epping
Epping Aquatic and Leisure Centre has lovely outdoor pools in a tranquil bush setting. It is great for families with a kids pool and shaded baby pool. 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.
- Address: 26 Stanley Rd, Epping
The fantastic Aquatopia is a large, affordable water park that should thrill people of all ages. It’s open from September to April each year. During the school holidays, the opening hours are 11am to 5:30pm. And we strongly recommend booking tickets online.
55Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre | Lidcombe
This aquatic centre re-opened in 2017 after extensive renovations. It features a 50m outdoor Olympic pool with grand stand, indoor 25m pool, outdoor water polo pool, family leisure and program pool, and an interactive shaded water playground. All pools are heated and feature disability access. Kids under 5yrs enter for free and adult entry is only $6.20.
- Address: Church Street, Lidcombe
56Greenwich Baths | Greenwich
If you are looking for a child friendly beach that isn’t to far, Greenwich Baths is the place for you. For a small fee (adults are $4.20, children 3+ and concessions are $3.20) your children get to have a beach like experience along Parramatta River. Find out more about Greenwich Baths, see our review.
- Address: Albert Street, Greenwich
57Cabarita Swimming Centre | Cabarita Park
Cabarita Park is an awesome place! Plenty of space to have a picnic and a BBQ and enjoy the summer. The park has 2 playgrounds and a swimming centre that faces Parramatta River. There is a shaded toddler pool, a shallow pool for the older kids as well as a larger pool for laps. The water is heated at 27 degrees and is salt water.
- Address: Cabarita Rd, Cabarita
58Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre | Homebush
Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre has an indoor leisure pool, splashers playground, water slide, rapid river, bubble beach and water volcanoes.
- Address: Olympic Blvd, Sydney Olympic Park
59Birrong Leisure Centre | Bankstown/ Auburn Area
If you love water playgrounds but also want to be able to go for a swim, then definitely check out Birrong Leisure Centre. There is a 50m heated outdoor pool, 25m heated indoor pool, fenced water playground, kiosk, a large number of shaded picnic tables and a few bbqs.
- Address: Wellington Road, Birrong
60Wentworthville Swimming Centre [CLOSED for Upgrade] | Wentworthville
Wentworthville Swimming Centre is a really lovely place for the family to have a splash, swim and play. There is a partially shaded toddler pool, fenced playground, BBQ and picnic table, 50m pool and mostly shaded program pool, plus a family change room. All pools are heated to approximately 28°C.
- Address: 115 Dunmore St, Wentworthville
61Other Swimming Pools and Leisure Centres in and around Parramatta
For more info on kid friendly swimming pools, check out our list of 18 local pools. Here are three of our indoor favourites.
- Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Centre – This is one of our favourites and we think it has the warmest water. There are three heated pools, water features for the kids, a cafe, a gym and a water slide.
- Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre – a great, family friendly swimming centre with 50m indoor Olympic pool, warm water program pool, 40m wave pool, children’s wading pool, bubble whirl pools, rapid river, 56m giant water slide and cafe.