A NSW Government website

The Greater Sydney Outdoors Study

From picnicking in the park to swimming, visiting local playspaces or hiking through bushland, Sydney’s communities love to spend their free time outdoors.

The Department of Planning and Environment conducted the Greater Sydney Outdoors Study (PDF, 1.2 MB) to discover what Sydneysiders love to do during their recreation time. The results will inform how we improve the planning of Greater Sydney recreation spaces, so they enrich the lives of everyone who lives in and visits Greater Sydney.

In 2019, thousands of Greater Sydney residents completed the Greater Sydney Outdoors Survey and told us how they use our great outdoors. We received more than 6,800 survey responses so we now have a better understanding of what people like to do for outdoor recreation.

Community feedback is important to us and we are already working on providing more opportunities for recreation.

Summary of study results

A summary of the study results are broken down across the five Districts – Western City District, Central City District, Eastern City District, North District, South District – to help us plan for a greater, more liveable Greater Sydney.

Each district has its own unique attributes, which impact requirements for open space and recreation.

Read the study

What Sydney loves about outdoor spaces

Through the study we’ve learnt what Sydneysiders like to do outdoors:

  • They love experiencing the outdoors on foot, going for runs, enjoying long hikes and taking in the view on leisurely strolls.
  • Water is important to everyone, whether it's swimming at the beach or picnicking by a river you really love being around it.
  • Connections matter, a lot of Sydneysiders spend time in Sydney's open spaces together with friends, family and your dogs.

We learnt that Sydneysiders would like to see:

  • more high quality, open spaces supported by good facilities
  • more opportunities for swimming and water-based activities in the local area
  • larger open spaces, to provide greater opportunity for diverse, outdoor recreation activities
  • open spaces that assist in building a greater sense of community
  • improvements to walking and cycling networks, to help get to outdoor recreation areas without a car
  • improvements to existing parks, to ensure they’re being well utilised
  • protection of existing open spaces and recreational areas for future communities
  • open spaces that feel safe and provide for multiple uses.

Here's what Sydney loves about their outdoor spaces

Learn more about what Sydneysiders love to do outdoors.

What were the goals of the study?

  • To understand how Sydneysiders use and value open spaces for recreation.
  • To identify which recreation activities Sydneysiders would like local open spaces to provide.
  • To understand the different requirements communities have for current and future recreation needs.
  • To develop a clear picture of what Sydneysiders would like to see, to ensure recreation needs are met across Greater Sydney.

Next steps

The results and findings from the Greater Sydney Outdoors Study will be used for future work in the provision of outdoor recreation areas. This study will be shared with local councils to help inform their recreation planning, as well as with other government bodies to assist with policy and guideline development.

The Greater Sydney Recreation Report combines the study findings with literature reviews, stakeholder engagement and detailed data mapping to understand the ways local open spaces are being used, what the emerging trends mean for recreation. It provides a consolidated evidence base to support decision making by the NSW Government regarding planning and delivering public open space that will meet the recreation needs of the Greater Sydney community.

This will help ensure Greater Sydney’s outdoor recreation areas respond to the needs of those who use them.

Greater Sydney Districts map