Newington Armory is a great heritage site within Sydney hidden near Sydney Olympic Park. Known for being home to a sprawling naval storage depot, today there are so many things to do including free exhibitions, heritage railway train and fun for the kids!
A precinct full of history
A section of the original Naval explosives depot has been retained for visitors to explore. Known as the Newington Armory, a highlight of the heritage precinct along the scenic Parramatta River is the Heritage Railway Discovery Tour, which is held every Sunday from 9.30am to 10.45am. Visitors to Newington Armory can also Ride the Rails of the historic railway that was once used to transport missiles and torpedoes around the Armament Depot. The Ride the Rails' experience is also held every Sunday, on the half hour, between 11am and 1pm. The Armory Gallery, theatre, amphitheatre and studios are also worth checking out.
Arm yourself with a map
The Armory Wharf Café at the edge of Newington Nature Reserve is a top place to perch before or after exploring the surrounding parklands and precinct. The licensed venue has striking 270-degree views across the Parramatta River to mangroves and the post-industrial working wharf landscape. The boardwalk café is popular with families and active types who want to refuel on lunch options such as crispy battered flathead fillets and chunky chips or grilled Atlantic salmon with a corn, tomato and coriander salsa verde on the side.
Birdlife Discovery Centre
Budding birdwatchers should prepare for their visit to the Birdlife Discovery Centre by training their eagle eye on the Sea-Eagle Cam set up to observe the resident pair of white-bellied sea eagles in their nest. After viewing the feed of the nesting birds remotely, you can then explore their habitat in the Armory where you might be lucky enough to spot them soaring overhead on up-swept wings in the Newington Nature Reserve. Free guided bird walks led by knowledgeable guides around the Newington Armory are held on the last Sunday of the month from 10am. Note: The Birdlife Discovery Centre is not open on weekdays.
Blaxland Riverside Park
Western Sydneysiders unite at Blaxland Riverside Park, the spectacular waterside park located along the Parramatta River. Keen cyclists can either BYO bike or hire bicycles from the historic gatehouse in the Armory, which leads to shared cycle paths and paved roads that loop around the picturesque precinct. After you're done walking, cycling or running along the riverside encourage the kids to get their wiggles out at the biggest playground in Sydney, where you will find free barbecues and a multitude of pretty picnic spots. The park is spread over 3 hectares and includes double flying fox, mega swing, tunnel slides, multi-level treehouse and water play area. Nature lovers note the Narawang Wetland and Badu Mangroves are also nearby.
Explore an arts hub
Newington Armory has evolved from its military-industrial origins into a unique arts precinct, including a theatre, outdoor amphitheatre, artist studios and an exhibition space, which features the longest continuous gallery wall in Australia. The Armory has free exhibitions throughout the year, plus film festivals, public art, cultural activities and kids activities. You can even meet resident artists for a behind-the-scenes tour of the visual arts studios and to speak with them about their works and see the works in progress.