Barangaroo Reserve, a New Urban Oasis
Barangaroo Reserve is a brand new Sydney Harbour foreshore park, part of a huge transformation project that will change an old and ugly industrial site into a thriving business, entertainment and leisure precinct.
– Distance: approx. 2 km
– Time: 1-2 hours
– Grade: very easy
– Kid friendly: yes
– Good for running: yes
– Dogs: on a leash
– Beautifully landscaped gardens
– Native trees, palms and ferns
– Panoramic Sydney Harbour views
– Picnic and park areas
– Walking, running and cycling
– Visit other attractions nearby
Barangaroo Reserve History
The Barangaroo area used to be part of the territory of the Gadigal people, the original Aboriginal inhabitants of Sydney. The area was a very important hunting and fishing region for the local aboriginal people.
Sydney developed into a major port in the first half of the 19th century and many wharves were built along the shore. At the beginning of the 20th century, the NSW Government tool control of the area, rebuilding the wharves as trade increased.
In the second half of the 20th century, Sydney became increasingly less suitable as a modern and sustainable port facility. Ships were getting larger and Sydney’s freight rail infrastructure could not cope with the increased demand. With the construction of Port Botany as the new major port in Sydney, the Barangaroo and Darling Harbour areas became redundant as industrial shipping sites.
In 2003, the NSW government decided to redevelop Barangaroo and organised an international design competition to generate ideas and concepts. One of the demands of the government was that Barangaroo had to incorporate the 14km public foreshore walkway from Woolloomooloo to Anzac Bridge.
In 2007, the area was officially named after Barangaroo, a Cammeraygal woman, who was an important figure in the Sydney Aboriginal community at the time of early white settlement.
At the time of writing, Barangaroo is still under construction, but the Reserve at the northern end of Barangaroo was officially opened to the public in August 2015. The opening was unique because the area had been closed to the public for more than 100 years.
And we can assure you that Barangaroo Reserve is an excellent place to go for a decent walk.
Barangaroo Reserve Now
After years of design and development, Barangaroo Reserve is now a 6-hectare waterfront park with a large man-made hill right in the middle. It is home to more than 75,000 planted trees, palms, ferns, shrubs and other plants. The different species have all been native to the Sydney region since the last 200 years.
The first impression of the park is quite overwhelming, with so many beautifully designed terraced gardens and different walking paths winding around the hill. The abundant use of sandstone fits perfectly in the design of the park.
The Reserve consists of several walking paths, spread over multiple levels. There is no set start and end point, so you can just wander around and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and Harbour views. To travel between the different levels, you can use the lift at The Cutaway (see below) or use the many different sets of stairs spread out over the park.
What’s great is that Barangaroo Reserve has introduced 18 official new place and road names, with 40% of these names referencing Aboriginal culture or people. The Wulugul walk is the main walking path that goes all around Barangaroo Reserve, and will eventually connect to Darling Harbour, and follows the reclaimed shoreline from 1836. Wulugul is the Sydney Aboriginal word for Kingfish.
The wide paths in Barangaroo Reserve are shared paths to be used by hikers, cyclists and joggers. Feel free to bring your scooter or roller blades too!
Right beneath the hill that Barangaroo Reserve is, you will find an interesting venue, named “The Cutaway”. This engineering masterpiece has a roof that is constructed like a bridge and a massive sandstone wall that opens up to the sky. The Cutaway is a unique cultural venue that will be hosting all sorts of events such as art exhibitions and food events.
Around Barangaroo Reserve
There are lots of great things to see and do around Barangaroo Reserve. When I visited Barangaroo Reserve, I walked back to Circular Quay via Walsh Bay and got to see places I hadn’t visited before. Walking along the wharves with its many restaurants and cafes, and right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is a great experience. Especially on a warm summer day with the sun setting.
You can also travel to or from Barangaroo Reserve via The Rocks. This tourist precinct and historic area is one of the top attractions in Sydney and it’s lovely to just wander around.
Walking along Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay and King Street wharf to or from Barangaroo Reserve is another pleasant way to explore the city while on your way to the reserve.
Getting to Barangaroo
Getting to Barangaroo Reserve is easy. You can catch a train, bus or ferry, or you can go by car and park right at the reserve.
The two closest train stations are Circular Quay and Wynyard, both around 1km away from the reserve. It’s a good idea to arrive at one of the stations and to leave from the other. The reason is that the walk to and from both train stations is an attraction by itself.
Numerous buses travel to the city. The following buses have a direct connection to Barangaroo Reserve from Town Hall, Watsons Bay and Millers Point: 311, 324 and 325.
The closest ferry wharves are at Circular Quay and Darling Harbour (King Street wharf), all within walking distance.
Barangaroo Reserve has an underground car park available that is open 7 days per week from 6AM til midnight. Visit Wilson Parking for more information. Flat $10 weekend rates.
The Barangaroo Reserve is a very welcome addition to the city of Sydney. At the time of writing, Barangaroo is shaping up to become a top-notch destination for business, leisure and entertainment. The Reserve is a beautifully designed piece of parkland right at the edge of the CBD and is a good reason to head to the city to just relax. With Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour, The Rocks and Circular Quay literally just around the corner, a visit to the reserve should be part of your next visit to the city.
Just a little warning:
Because the Reserve is still very new, the many trees are also still very young and haven’t grown to great heights yet. Shade is therefore hard to find, so on a warm sunny day it’s best to bring a hat, a water bottle and sunscreen.
Barangaroo Reserve Map
You can enter Barangaroo Reserve at various entry points. The walk from Circular Quay to the reserve along Walks Bay is beautiful. You can also make your way to reserve via The Rocks and the Sydney Observatory. Coming from Wynyard train station, it’s best to go to King Street wharf and walk northbound.