Ballast Point Park

Four great inner west walks…for lockdown exercise

Lockdown restrictions might be putting a dampener on how far we can roam in Sydney, but there’s still a lot to explore on our daily exercise outings in the inner west.

The Bay Run is a local favourite, but it can get very busy, especially during lockdown. So we’ve been out discovering other parts of the LGA for some alternatives.

Pop a mask in your bag, and consider going at quieter parts of the day. Some of these places can get a little busy.  Remember the revelation last year about the lack of greenspace in the inner west compared to other parts of of Sydney? Well, nothing brings that into sharper focus than lockdown, sadly.

Still, we do have some interesting options, so pack the scooters, bikes or balls for the kids, and have some fun!

These places are in the Inner West LGA. This piece from Canada Bay Club highlights walks in other parts of the inner west.

Ballast Point Park, Birchgrove

With stunning views of Sydney Harbour, lots of nooks and crannies to explore and some striking art installations (one of which is pictured at top), spend a morning at Ballast Point Park and you might even forget we’re in the middle of a pandemic (except for the fellow exercisers in masks, I guess!). The 2.6 hectare park is on the site of an old Caltex storage and distribution plant, which closed in 2002. Some of the old storage tanks have been retained, giving a sense of the site’s industrial past.

Good for: Exploring, natural beauty and a dose of sea air

Pro tip: There are lots of stairs, so keep the kids’ scooters at home (although we saw lot of cyclists hopping on and off). It’s a dog on-leash park, so consider bringing the fur-kid too!

Make it longer: Do the walk from Ballast Point Park around to Mort Bay. There’s a nice little kids’ playground there.

Whites Creek Valley Park, Annandale

Whites Creek Annandale

This low key suburban park has something for everyone. There are two playgrounds, a skate park, wetlands with resident turtles, a food forest, community garden and historic buildings. Plus a dog off-leash area. For the history buffs, it’s the site of the White’s Creek estuary, a natural waterway that was concreted into a more sanitary stormwater channel in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It also houses a sewer aqueduct (pictured above) from that time.

Good for: Letting the kids scooter/skateboard/play off some energy.

Pro tip: Keep an eye out for wildlife. As well as turtles the park is home to a blue tongue lizard. We spotted waterbirds too.

Make it longer: Follow the bike path and head for Cohen Park.

Callan Park, Rozelle

Callan Park Rozelle

This heritage-listed park is the site of the old Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital, which closed in 2008. It is home to an odd mix of sporting grounds, empty buildings and not-for-profit, government and education organisations. But the space! There’s a lot of it. It’s a 61-hectare site, with 38 of them looked after by Greater Sydney Parklands. There’s no worries about social distancing here. Bring a ball and have a good kick around with the kids. Or have a wander – there are some historic buildings on site and interesting trees and curios for the kids to discover.

Good for: A socially distanced ramble or a family training session.

Pro tip: Check the map before you go and choose a starting point. It’s a big park.

Make it longer: Join up with the Bay Run at the bottom of the soccer fields near the Wharf Rd carpark. Or wander over to King George Park and visit Constellation Playground.

Cook’s River, Tempe

A sculpture on the banks of Cook's River in Tempe

An urban river is never going to win in the glam stakes, but all the work that’s gone into rehabilitating this polluted waterway is really paying off. We spotted a number of egrets and ducks during our scooter ride. We started at the Kendrick Park playground and followed the paved track. There was plenty of space either side of it to meander away from a pedestrian or cyclist bottleneck. And a walk by a river is pretty relaxing, even in a built up environment! There are lots of other places to begin a visit to the Cook’s River – the trail is more than 20km long. Last lockdown we explored the section near Ewen Park.

Good for: Bird spotting, cycling and scootering.

Pro tip: There are bridges along the river, so you can cross from side-to-side.

Make it longer: This write-up from Sydney Cycle Paths gives the low-down on the whole cycleway, from Rhodes to Brighton-le-Sands.

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