Last Thursday, unlike my husband, I had an extra day off work thanks to the Australia Day Public Holiday. I made the most of it by taking Mr 11 for a milkshake, walk and swim in the beautiful bushland surrounds of Lake Parramatta Reserve, or as we like to call it, Western Sydney's Beach.

 Lake Parramatta Reserve

When we first found out about this spot four years ago, we were amazed! The area is an important part of Parramatta's history. Back in 1856 the lake was created  by damming Hunts Creek to provide a water reservoir for the growing needs of the Parramatta region. The dam wall was the first engineered masonry arch dam to be built in Australia. In more recent years the dam has received recognition with a heritage listing for both it’s historical and engineering significance. The dam was decommissioned 1909 but thankfully the lake and surrounding bushland were retained for public recreation.

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We kicked off our Australia Day with brunch in the Lake Parramatta Cafe. The decor and service isn’t as trendy as the popular destination cafes in downtown Parra, but you don’t need that here. The lengthy water views from the big open verandah, a good hot coffee and the company of Mr 11 made it perfect. I relaxed with the cafe’s healthy breakfast of poached eggs, mushrooms, smoked salmon, spinach, ricotta and wholemeal toast. Mr 11 had already scoffed the leftovers from last night's dinner so he was content to just to sip on a sweet icy caramel milkshake.

Lake Parramatta Cafe  Lake Parramatta Cafe  Lake Parramatta Reserve

After a tasty brunch we set off through the park for a walk by the lake. The public holiday had enticed a crowd of families and friends into the reserve for barbecues, picnics, cricket and water activities. This type of fun is the ultimate way to enjoy Australia Day. The atmosphere was festive with decorated picnic marquees, inflatable thongs (flip flops) and Aussie flags flying as far as the eye could see. I was glad we ate before our walk because the air was filled with the mouth watering aromas from the scores of barbecues sizzling across the park.

Lake Parramatta Reserve  Lake Parramatta Reserve  Lake Parramatta Reserve

We had three lakeside walking tracks to choose from. The longest is the Lake Circuit, a 4.2 kilometre trek that takes 2 hours to complete. Mr 11 wasn’t keen on a two hour walk so we took the much shorter She Oaks track instead. This walk is only 1500 metres return but gives some amazing Lake views along the way. It's hard to believe you're just a stones throw from the Parramatta CBD with an outlook this pretty.

Lake Parramatta Reserve


Lake Parramatta Reserve  Lake Parramatta Reserve Lake Parramatta Reserve

We noticed the reserve is “on leash” dog friendly. The dogs we passed seemed to enjoy the walk as much as their owners. We met Leo the Jack Russell when his owner stopped nearby to give him a drink, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this cute little guy.

Lake Parramatta Reserve  Lake Parramatta Reserve  lake Parramatta Reserve 

After our walk we rested in the shade and watched the kayaks and ducks drift through the waterlilies, before deciding to take the plunge into the cool inviting water ourselves.

lake Parramatta Reserve  Lake Parramatta Reserve  lake Parramatta Reserve    


Lake Parramatta Reserve  Lake Parramatta Reserve  Lake Parramatta Reserve

Thanks to Parramatta Council, the designated swimming area is tested and monitored by lifeguards during the swimming season each weekend.

Lake Parramatta Reserve  Lake Parramatta Reserve  lake Parramatta Reserve

Unlike the real beach, it’s the perfect spot to lie back on a big air filled floatie and soak up the tranquiliy of the surrounding nature.

Lake Parramatta Reserve

I really must get back here more often. Lake Parramatta is one of my favourite parts of Western Sydney. Maybe next time I’ll even make use of the barbecues.


Lake Parramatta

Entry: Free

Location: Enter from Lackey Stree via Bourke St North Parramatta

Hours: 7 days per week 6.30 - 5.30 (7.30 in daylight saving)

Swimming and walking track Information: swimming / walking