Barangaroo Reserve, a Modern Urban Oasis

Last updated: September 8, 2020

Conveniently located on the western side of the CBD, Barangaroo Reserve is a modern Sydney Harbour foreshore park, part of a huge transformation project that is changing an old and ugly industrial site into a thriving business, entertainment and leisure precinct.

Let’s have a closer look at this beautiful new park in Sydney Harbour.

Barangaroo Reserve Walk
Distance:Approx. 2 km
Time:1-2 hours
Grade:Very easy
Dogs:On a lead

The History of Barangaroo Reserve

The Barangaroo area used to be part of the territory of the Gadigal people, the original 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 took control of the area, rebuilding the wharves as trade further intensified.

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.

Historical photo of Barangaroo South
Historical photo of Barangaroo South (Credit:

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.

Shared path for cyclists and pedestrians on Barangaroo Reserve
Shared path for cyclists and pedestrians

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 quite a significant event because the area had been closed to the public for more than 100 years.

And we are happy to say that Barangaroo Reserve is indeed a great spot for a picnic and a little walk with million dollar views all around.

Scenic Harbour views from Barangaroo Reserve
Scenic Harbour views from Barangaroo Reserve

The New Barangaroo Reserve

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.

Sandstone blocks in Barangaroo Reserve
Lots of sandstone used in Barangaroo Rserve

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.

Signpost with directions on Barangaroo Reserve
Signpost with directions

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.

Barangaroo Reserve as seen from the water

Goat Island, Harbour Bridge, Balls Head Reserve, Pyrmont, lots of great landmarks and destinations to see from Barangaroo Reserve.

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.

Stairs to a higher level in Barangaroo Reserve

The Wulugul walk is the main walking path that goes all around Barangaroo Reserve, and will eventually connect to Darling Harbour. Interestingly, the path 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!

The Cutaway

Right beneath the hill that forms Barangaroo Reserve, 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 in Barangaroo Reserve
The Cutaway

The Cutaway is a unique cultural venue that will be hosting all sorts of events such as art exhibitions and food events throughout the year.

Nearby Barangaroo Reserve

There are lots of great things to see and do around Barangaroo Reserve. When visiting Barangaroo Reserve, you can walk back to Circular Quay via Walsh Bay and see places you would otherwise perhaps never visit.

Walking along the wharves with its many restaurants and cafes, and right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is a pleasant 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 a lovely place to just wander around.

Walking through Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay and King Street wharf to or from Barangaroo Reserve is another great way to explore the city while on your way to the reserve.

Grassy area in Barangaroo 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.

Harbour Bridge views from Barangaroo Reserve
Harbour Bridge views from Barangaroo Reserve


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.

Map of Barangaroo Reserve

You can get into Barangaroo Reserve at various entry points. The walk from Circular Quay to the reserve along Walsh 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.

Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney

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