As a major urban city, you could be forgiven for forgetting that Sydney is home to a great number of superb parks. As the summer approaches, you'll no doubt want to get out into the sunshine and by hiring a vehicle from East Coast Car Rentals, it's never been easier to explore the city at your leisure and discover some of those luscious green spots.

Banjo Paterson Park

The Banjo Paterson Park is an excellent choice if you have little ones with you. Aside from the vast expanses of greenery that offer good picnic opportunities and space enough to kick a ball around, you'll find a big adventure playground that has everything any child could ever dream of. Four slides, climbing nets, a fireman's pole, a sizeable sandpit and that perennial park favourite, the see-saw, all make an appearance here, among a raft of other playthings. Banjo Paterson Park also features a number of barbecues and a large, deep lake nearby, home to a family of ducks and pelicans. Additionally, a basketball court and a BMX track can be used for the more sporty types, making this park an all-round excellent choice for family fun.

Carrs Bush Park

Carrs Bush Park is known for its huge array of recreational facilities that see it rival even Banjo Peterson for things to see and do. Unlike a lot of parks, Carrs Bush features a a restaurant, the Carrs Park Cafe and Grill, so if you forget to pack your picnic there is little chance that you'll go hungry. If it's warm enough (and in the summer, it will be) why not take a dip in the Kogarah War Memorial Olympic Swimming Pool? It's clean, well-maintained, rarely crowded and the changing rooms offer an old-fashioned Victorian appeal. Away from the water, you'll find a variety of sports fields, playground areas and bushland areas for the rambler in you.    

The Basin

The Basin is a fine choice if you enjoy spending an evening under the stars. Catering for campers, there is a vast expanse of unspoilt land for up to 400. The Basin has it all for the outdoorsman – bushwalking trails, fishing spots and even indigenous engravings can be found here. You'll also find plentiful wildlife as you enjoy your time outdoors – a number of goannas, kangaroos, koalas and wallabies call The Basin home. A deep water swimming lagoon is also present, making the Basin the perfect destination if you're looking to get away from the stresses and strains of big-city life.

Parsley Bay Reserve

Parsley Bay Reserve is a family park awash in natural beauty. Alongside the usual picnic facilities and children's playground, there's a swimming area and a bushland circuit that takes you out into the wilds of Australian nature. It's stunning in its scenic beauty, as you'll come across a spectacular waterfall at the head of the gully. In the summer months, you may even be lucky enough to spot Eastern Water Dragons frolicking in the water.

Chinese Garden of Friendship

Found just a short walk from Sydney's Chinatown, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is a like a little piece of rural Asia. A tribute to all aspects of traditional China, you'll come across mature weeping willows, colourful lotus flowers and and array of exotic fish sunning themselves in the lagoons. Carved sculptures and a number of animals, including koi carp, water dragons, turtles and birds make their home in the Chinese Garden of Friendship and you can event take time to reflect in the natural beauty with a cup of Chinese tea from the traditional Chinese Teahouse.