<p> This spectacular 14,928-hectare park, 24km from the city centre, forms Sydney’s northern boundary. It’s a classic mix of sandstone, bushland and water vistas, taking in over 100km of coastline along the southern edge of Broken Bay, where it heads into the Hawkesbury River.
About 7km west of the city centre, Mt Coot-tha Reserve is a 220-hectare bush reserve that’s teeming with wildlife (mostly of the possum and bush-turkey variety). Aside from the chunk of wilderness, the big attractions here are a massive planetarium and the spectacular lookout.
Twenty-four kilometres west of Sydney, Parramatta (population 145,000), a Daruag Aboriginal name meaning ‘the place where eels lie down’, was Australia’s second European settlement. Sydney’s sandy soils were lousy for growing carrots – Parramatta’s river plains were chosen instead.
The 458-hectare national park straddles the heads of Botany Bay , 15km south of Sydney Harbour. Captain Cook landed here in 1770, naming the bay after the botanical specimens his naturalist Joseph Banks found here.