Spend a day in Lane Cove National Park
Laze a day away by the river at Lane Cove National Park
Lane Cove National Park is a super awesome spot to spend a day. Stretching across 3.7 square kilometres this huge metro park is a welcome spot for local and visitors to relax and recharge. Being only 10 kilometres from the Sydney CBD, this park is a popular spot.
Lane Cove National Park is great on so many levels – playgrounds, walking trails, cafe, fishing spots and wood BBQs! It appeals to families, couples and singles with so many things to do.
The main part of Lane Cove National Park is located along the Lane Cove River on Riverside Drive in North Ryde (in Sydney’s north west). This article is focused primarily on this area.
Here are my favourite things to do in Lane Cove National Park.
1. Find a secret Lane Cove National Park Picnic Spot
Some beautiful and secluded picnic spots to enjoy
The coolest thing about this park is the amount of picnic spots it has! The picnic spots are spread far and wide and along both sides of the river so you can choose to be as near or far from your closest neighbours as you wish. There are spots all along the river and some (such as Scribbly Gum above) that are pure serenity.
With more than 35 areas all up, the best way to pick a spot is by looking at the National Park website or the summary below (apologies for the terrible photography!).
If winging it is your game then a good way to do find a spot is to meander along Riverside Drive until you happen upon an area you like.
If you want to be sure you get a certain spot then you can book some sites via the National Parks website.
Plenty of picnic spots to choose from
2. Enjoy a wood fire BBQ
Don’t forget to bring your wood
So I don’t exactly know why humans love fires so much but it appears that we do. And awesomely you will find scattered throughout Lane Cove National Park open wood BBQs that are great not only for some old fashioned charcoal lunch or dinner but also for some winter warmth and some marshmallow cooking.
Now of course it goes without saying that fires are only allowed if conditions are appropriate and fires should be monitored at all times. And please don’t pilfer the park for wood – please bring your own and extinguish your fire after use.
You can find the location of picnic spots via the National Parks website under the ‘Getting there and Parking‘ section.
3. Drop into the Visitors Centre
Check out the Lane Cove National Park Visitors Centre
A good place to start your day is by dropping into the Visitors Centre. Here you will find a park map, a Herbarium and also some animal specimens and flora.
The Visitors Centre is located off Lady Game Drive, near the cafe and playground.
4. Take the kids to the playground
A perfect playground for some outdoor play
If the kidlets are with you for the day then you will be happy to know there is a playground in the park. The playground consists of a large sandy area with slides and swings. Bring along some buckets and spades and you’ll have happy kids. You’ll also find some picnic tables and toilets close by.
You will find the Playground near the Cafe and Jenkins Hill picnic area, just off Lady Game Drive.
Make sure to have a look at the other play area behind the main area
Behind the main Jenkins Hill playground there is another play area for kids which is worth a look. You will enter via a small, wooden ‘house’ and will come to an enclosed bush play area. The over all feel of the area is that it is a bit unfinished, but even so kids will enjoy the extra play equipment, giant wooden teepee and little walking track. Make sure to look out for the native bee hive on your way in.
5. Soak up some history
Jenkins Cottage is thought to be the oldest structure in the Municipality of Ku-ring-gai
If history if your thing then Lane Cove National Park Heritage walk is an excellent way to find out about the history of this area. The walk starts at Jenkins Cottage which is located near the Visitors Centre and Cafe (off Lady Game Drive, Chatswood).
Winding its way from Jenkins Cottage to Fiddens Wharf Reserve the walk takes you past historic sites including Bakers Cottage (which dates back to 1865), Schwartz Homestead (which dates back to 1917) and Fiddens Wharf. You will also see native vegetation, dry stone wall terraces and old stone blocks.
The walk is detailed in full on the Friends of Lane Cove National Park website.
6. Throw a line in
Thrown a line in, but make sure to throw your catch back
If you are looking to fish, but happy to catch and release then there are spots in Lane Cove National Park that allows this. Of course, you must have a current NSW Fisheries Fishing Licence and the welfare of the fish needs to be considered.
Before heading off for a day of fishing make sure to read the fishing guidelines for Lane Cove National Park.
7. Take the kids on one of the Lane Cove National Park Walks
The Riverside Walking Track is great for kids
Lane Cove National Park is a great place to get the kids out and walking. The easiest track for kids to do is the Riverside Walking Track which runs along the river from near the weir. The track is short and level and a lot of it is a timber boardwalk. Look out for the ducks, fish and water dragons.
You may also like to consider the Fairyland Pleasure Gardens which has a short easy walk for kids. These now defunct gardens can be found on Quebec Road, Chatswood.
8. Go for a bushwalk or bike ride
Enjoy an easy walking trail or try the Great North Walk
Lane Cove National Park has many short walking trails for visitors to try. The main trail in the park is the Great North Walk which passes through the park.
Visitors can enjoy riding the Pennant Hills to West Pymble Fire Trail. The upper valley and sealed roads in the lower part of the park also provide great cycling opportunities. Please note that bicycles are not permitted on designated walking tracks in the park.
Check out the map at the Visitors Centre for further walking trail information.
9. Visit the Cafe
Drop in for a coffee or an ice cream
The Lane Cove National Park cafe is a good place to stock up on drinks or ice creams if needed. Visitors can sit in or take away.
You will find it off Lady Game Drive near Jenkins Hill picnic ground.
10. Stay for the night in the Lane Cove National Park Accommodation
Why not stay the night at Lane Cove Holiday Park? Image courtesy of NSW National Parks
If camping is your thing then why not consider staying the night at the Lane Cove Holiday Park which is situated within Lane Cove National Park.
With sites that cater for tents, campervans, motorhomes and caravans there is something for everyone. They even have glamping sites and cabins for those of us who like a bit of luxury.
And if you have some spare change….why not hire a boat?
Spot the kayak
Being set along a river Lane Cove National Park is a popular spot for kayaking, canoeing and boating.
If you don’t have your own gear then you can hire it from Lane Cove Boatshed which is located in the park. Boat hire prices can be found on their website.
Freedays summary of Lane Cove National Park
- Entry: Free
- Toilets: Yes
- Wheelchair friendly: Yes (in parts)
- Free carparking: No, $8.00 per car per day
- Free BBQ facilities: Yes
- Time to spend here: 1 hour to all day
- Food available: Yes
- Address: Riverside Drive North Ryde NSW 2113
Riverside Drive can be accessed from Lane Cove Road or from Delhi Road (near the southern side of Fullers Bridge).
The visitor centre and northern side of the river are accessed from Lady Game Drive (just west of Fullers Bridge).