There’s always a green space to spread out a picnic blanket, read a book in the sun or take some time out in Sydney. But one of the most ‘park centred’ suburbs is a surprising one. When you envision Paddington you don’t necessarily think ‘space’. But if you look past the famous Oxford Street shopping strip and side lane boutiques you’ll realise there are two particularly important open-air locations. Think Paddington Resevoir Gardens and Centennial Park…
Paddington Reservoir Gardens
It’s a new addition to the Paddington street and landscape but after being officially opened in March 2009 it has become a popular outdoor space that embodies an important part of Sydney’s history. For years the reservoir, which played a crucial role in Sydney’s early water supplies, stood disused and derelict. These days, you’ll see children playing, families picnicking and people spread out in the sun with their weekend newspapers. It’s a park (sitting on the roof of the reservoir) that has been completely reconstructed. What’s more, there’s even a sunken garden in the western chamber.
If you’re after visible ‘historical’ remnants you’ll find some vibrant graffiti in the eastern chamber, which is now also used as space for community and cultural activities. For the rustic architectural lovers amongst us other features to look out for are the timber and stonework.
The gentrification of this historic space on the corner of Oxford Street and Oatley Road has brought the key elements of the original designer, Edward Bell, back to life.
So for anyone in and around Paddington, the Walter Read Reserve is a must do and see ‘relaxing’ location. It’s got some big names to live up to after being described as a combination of the Baths of Caracalla and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon so this is something you’ll have to pass judgment on and check out for yourself!
Sydney is lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of natural space but Centennial Park could almost be described as the ‘lungs’ of the city. Entering through the gates you leave the busy streets and traffic behind. Whether you’re sitting back or getting some exercise, it’s a good place to be. For those seeking some down time, find a spot by the water, under a beautiful Morton Bay Fig, or in one of the many quiet corners of the park. Otherwise, get your roller blades and bikes out, take a run, walk or horse ride.
Apart from being a space loved by many, it’s one of the most historic parklands in Australia. Not many would believe it was originally a swamp. Luckily for Sir Henry Parkes vision, it didn’t remain so. His wanted to create a “People’s Park” in which the public could “take in the air” away from the city centre. He certainly achieved it.
If you’re set on making the most of these two open spaces and experiencing a different side of Paddington why not treat yourself to a hotel? Paddington is a stone’s throw from both the city, and the beaches – another kettle of ‘open space’ fish. So for your next trip to Sydney consider the range of Paddington accommodation on offer and it could be you walking to the Paddington Reservoir Gardens or Centennial Park with your weekend paper to lie in the sun.