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Published August 2nd 2010
Do you want to escape from the polluted hussle and bussle of the city? Only 5 kilometres from the city of Sydney the Centennial Parklands haven awaits.
You can relax, unwind and lose yourself in over 189 hectares of parklands consisting of open fields, forests, sporting fields, ponds, wildlife, cycling and walking tracks.
The "People's park" caters to all - from picnickers, birdwatchers, fitness fanatics, families, equestrians, diners and dogs.
Federation Valley is a popular dog meeting place, owners meet in the mornings and afternoons to watch their pets play and discuss all things doggy. There is even a dog wash located there in case your mutt decides to have a mud bath.
Dogs can roam off the lead except within 10 metres of Federation Pavilion. The pavilion marks the start of the Australian nation, the site of the inauguration of Australian Federation on 1 January 1901.
Dogs can be off-leash outside Grand Drive, but must be kept under control at all times. If your pouch needs some obedience training and tips the Eastern Suburbs Dog Training takes place on Sunday mornings, from puppy school to agility superstars.
There is a 3.7 km circular walking track that is often frequented with joggers, dogs, walkers and mums with prams.
For a more challenging workout the perimeter of the park has a range of cross country, hilly terrain for joggers and the Grand Drive has a marked bike track. There is also an array of soccer and football fields for team sports players to compete in.
For the bird watches there is a network of ponds and islands with nesting places for migratory, nomadic and resident birds species. Each breeding season you can view swans and their cygents, but make sure not to get too close to disturb them nor feed them.
If you have built up an appetite there is a restaurant, cafe and kiosk where you can tie your dog up outside with water bowls provided. Inside you will often see mums and children enjoying a coffee and baby frapachino.
You can even take a horse riding lesson. park ride or take a stroll over to the Equestrian Centre to take a peek at the well kept ponies.
The last Sunday of each season is a dedicated Car Free Day with internal roads closed to cars. To ensure an undisturbed cycling or jogging experience that is ideal for younger cyclists without any car traffic.
The ideal safe space for kids to learn to ride a bike is the Learners Cycleway, a one-way surfaced loop track with an adjoining amenities block, barbecue and children's playground.
If you would just like to get back to nature and sit under a tree there are about 15,000 to choose from.