Top Reading Spots: Sydney

If your home desk has become too trite, perhaps it’s high time to find a reading spot outside. 

Sometimes even a café doesn’t cut it; the noise, the clattering sounds of cutlery on plates and the scraping of chair legs upon hardwood floors are just not ideal for immersive reading (nor if you’re attempting to study a banal textbook). Which means the only option is to find a peaceful spot in your local metropolitan area. Somewhere with a picturesque view to gaze upon when you’re deep in thought or as an incentive to completing another chapter.

No matter your reading choice, there’s bound to be something here for you.

Observatory Hill Park

Observatory Hill. Image: Jennifer Morrow [flickr]
When you want to be far enough away from it all – but not too far – your best option is Observatory Hill Park. A spot along the north end will give you a sweeping view of the Harbour Bridge and North Sydney, while a spot on the western side shares a view of Barangaroo and beyond. Sit up against a tree or bask in the sun; wherever you sit, you’ll get a good view to match. And if you just want to enjoy the view, head up to the gazebo.


Lavender Bay

Wendy’s Secret Garden, Lavender Bay. Image: Martin7d2 [Flickr
Lavender Bay is laden with plenty of picturesque spots to get lost within. Perhaps take a stroll through Wendy’s Secret Garden; a mini jungle, shrouded by trees and filled with ornaments of all sorts. Or head down to the water and pick a spot beside the wharf featurinh views of Luna Park and the famous arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Or even pick a pier to sit on and listen to the splashing waves beneath.


Milsons Point

Milsons Point. Image: Chris Hood

If you’re the kind of reader who enjoys being in and amongst it all, who doesn’t mind the sounds of amicable gatherings, playful dogs and the occasional boat horn, then Milson’s Point is your next best reading spot. Sit under the bridge and enjoy the family gatherings, sit along the shore with fisherman and photographers, or walk up past Jeffrey Street Wharf for a more secluded view. Check out the shops nearby for some nibbles and drinks with your reading.


Neilsen Park

Nielsen Park. Image: Martin7d2 [Flickr]
Nielsen Park may take a while to get to, whether by bus or car, but it’s worth the trip. The park itself is wonderful to walk through, but if you keep your eyes peeled and your curiosity perked, you’ll find some wonderful reading spots. Take a sit on the beach or up on the stairs behind, take a stroll along the northern peak for a few benches to choose from, or if it’s low tide you could clamber down to the rocky shore – with careful stepping, of course.


Camperdown Cemetery

Woman walking dog at Camperdown Cemetery. Image: Christopher Kelly

A cemetery, you ask? Well, yes; what better place is there? But don’t fret about pissing off the locals, since most of them walk their dogs through here and – you guessed it! – some use it for reading and studying. Camperdown Cemetery is a peaceful jungle of headstones and sprawling trees, adding the perfect ambience for thriller or horror novels and a wonderful backdrop for poring over those measly textbooks. For a lovely break from reading, check out the scenery.


Centennial Park

Centennial Park. Image: Michael Woodhead

Parks are the go-to for reading spots because there is never any shortage of trees and the scenery is enticing. There is non better place than Sydney’s largest park, Centennial Park. If you do your searching right, you can find a place that’s not overrun by boisterous crowds, and that offers a view that captivates your attention and affords wild thoughts. I recommend to perch yourself aside one of Centennial Park’s ponds.


Royal Botanic Gardens

Sydney Botanic Gardens. Image: David Baron

It would be silly to write up a list of great reading spots in Sydney and not put in the Royal Botanical Gardens. There’s so much space to choose from! If you’re like me and want a nice view under a shady tree, head down to the foreshore. Not only do you get two of Sydney’s greatest landmarks in view, but you even get a theatrical display of pedestrians walking past to keep your senses perked. If you’ve got a keen sense of smell, though, try your luck in the deep jungle of the gardens.


Hyde Park

Hyde Park. Image: Philip Terry Graham

Hyde Park is a safe location, really, filled with various possibilities for your reading habits. Find a bench along the wide pathway that courses through the park between the large Archibald Fountain in the north and the ANZAC Memorial in the south. Or park yourself on the lawns that sprawl on either side of the main passageway. If you’re looking for a more tranquil spot, try the Sandringham Memorial Garden, complete with a dancing fountain.


Barangaroo Reserve

Barangaroo Reserve. Image: Beau Giles

It’s a fairly new addition to the collection of community parks within Sydney, offering the widest view of the western side of the harbour. Barangaroo Reserve is a tiered park, looking much like a topographic map where walkways line the steady slope of the western side. A beauty of this place, and possibly for your reading, is the rocky shore where you can get close and personal with the rippling water. Or head up top for a great view.


Mrs Macquarie’s Point

Mrs Macquaries Point. Image: Jason Tong

It boasts one of the greatest views of Sydney Harbour, and half the fun is getting there. Take a stroll from The Domain, past the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and end up on the mini-peninsula of Mrs Macquarie’s Point. I recommend getting here in the afternoon so you get be gifted with a view like the one above. It’s the perfect spot for any novella or textbook, just beware that it can get touristy during the summer, so pick your spot wisely.

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