When we heard the news that Western Sydney would have a man-made beach this summer I was really pleased. Summer temperatures are on the rise and residents in Sydney’s west suffer through the searing heat with no nearby beaches for relief. In recent years councils have created some wonderfully accessible water parks at Dawson Damer and Curry Reserve but it’s not quite the same as being able to swim, paddle board and play in the sand. Penrith Beach is sure to be popular with locals in Western Sydney this summer so we popped out there to check out the beach and share our thoughts.
Penrith Beach review
Locals have nicknamed Penrith Beach ‘Pondi’, a combination of Penrith and Bondi as the beach is said to be the same length as Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach. That is where the comparisons end.
Update – I’ve been contacted by the organisers and the matting will be installed Monday 1 January and a portable Changing Places style of bathroom is coming 5 January. The beach wheelchair is available to borrow. The matting was held up on a wharf which resulted in a delayed delivery.
It feels like the opening of Penrith Beach has been rushed and finishing touches are still to be made. Unfortunately, and disappointingly, beach access for people with a disability is one of the areas that is not finalised.
Here’s hoping the beach matting makes it off the pallet soon so it can be used by anyone needing it to access the water. Speaking to the young lifesaver at Penrith Beach he had no idea how soon it would be installed and there was no sign of the promised beach wheelchair either. To say I was disappointed that this wasn’t a priority would be an understatement.
Fortunately we had our own beach wheelchair to use.
Even on an overcast day Penrith Beach was proving popular with locals.
Access at Penrith Beach – what you need to know
The car park’s capacity is 700 vehicles and there is a small number of accessible parking spaces. Without proper road marking for the spaces I fear cars won’t park at an appropriate distance from each other making access difficult. We had no issues on the day we visited. Parking needs to be booked via the website. Bookings for car spaces are released three days in advance.
Hubby estimates it is about 450m winding down a gentle pathway to the beach. A couple of sections are a little steeper than the rest but he didn’t find it too difficult, it’s just a long way if you are self-propelling.
Change rooms are provided but there is a step up to the general use ones.
The accessible bathroom is labelled as a toilet and change room. If possible I’d suggest coming ready in your swimmers as the bathroom isn’t ideal for changing. I had thought there may be a mobile Changing Places bathroom with the investment in matting and a beach wheelchair but unfortunately that’s not the case.
A kiosk is onsite offering a variety of food and drink options and happily for a pop-up food stand the counter is at a good height for wheelchair users. Food prices are fairly standard with a cheese toastie priced at $8.50, veggie quiche $8.50, hot chips $4/$7 and a beef pie at $9.90. We had packed a picnic so I can’t vouch for the quality of the food.
While I am very disappointed that the accessible facilities have not been prioritised I am assuming that they will be installed soon and that this will be a cooling haven for locals. Penrith Beach lacks shade so I recommend taking some shade cover if you are planning a day at the beach.
Penrith Beach is open 7am to 7pm daily from 19 December 2023 to 3 March 2024
Please let me know if you visit in the coming weeks and find the accessible facilities have been installed. I’d love to be able to update this blog with a more accessible Penrith Beach review.
Here’s our review of other accessible Sydney beaches if you are keen to explore more.