Playgrounds in Sydney
Parramatta Park has two playgrounds: Pavilion Flat Playground for younger children near the George Street Gatehouse and the newer Domain Creek playground on the Westmead side of the park. The second is a nature-based playground with mazes made from branches and wire and plenty of green space for running around. It also has water pumps and sand diggers for busy little engineers. The playground has been created with accessibility in mind, and so the flying fox has a sturdy seat with handles and a seat belt and there are wide pathways and lots of shade. Our favourite zone is the pod of sunken trampolines that look like they could be portals to another world.
Venture to Green Square, turn left into Amelia Street and, hidden behind several tall apartment developments, you’ll find a rainbow wonderland: slides, towers, tunnels, nets and swings, with one mega slide for adventurous youngsters. Sydney artist Nuha Saad designed the playground; she crafted a soft-surface floor that looks like a swirl of multi-coloured ice cream and a web of nets and ladders that leads to the three-storey-high metal slide – a winner for fearless five year olds and up. The park is named for the Gadigal word for Rock Wallaby, as the little critters used to be a common sight around the swamp that used to exist before European invasion. Today it’s unlikely that you’ll spot wallaby but you will find plenty of bike racks, handball and table tennis courts and barbecue areas.
Why should pre-schoolers have all the fun? This giant play area in Fairfield is specially designed for tweens and older children. It has all the soft landings and sandy surfaces of a play space for younger kids but it has gigantic slides and climbing nets that look like a futuristic spaceship – and they’re tall enough to frighten off the adults. Dare to climb the 11-metre high net, walk the sky bridge and take your pick from three exit slides. If that’s not enough to give you the giggles, try the 33-metre long double flying fox (with your eyes open). Planning a day trip? The playground is ten minutes from Fairfield Station, surrounded by sporting fields and natural parklands.
Western Sydney Parklands has a new 200-hectare park with a fantastic new playground for kids and one of the largest off-leash dog areas in Sydney. The $15-million development was completed in March 2017, with its official open date on Saturday March 25, 2017. Bungarribee Park’s playground has a giant sand pit with a colourful, geometric climbing tower that has slides and nets at various exits. Plus, there’s a flying fox, swings and balance beams in partially shaded spots that kids can clamber over and explore. The development also includes walking and cycling tracks, 20 barbecues and 13 picnic shelters, in addition to car parking and vehicle access from Doonside Road. Plus, if it’s a really hot day, you can cool off at Wet ‘n’ Wild.
This designer playground is a seriously cool outdoor adventure. Plan your attack from above after ascending the 12-metre-high tree house then race back down to scale rubber-mounded rock-climbing walls and tiptoe across a giant web. There are loads of swings, flying foxes and slides. Parents will also enjoy the lakeside vista.
Time Out may have gotten a little carried away when we first went to this spectacular playground: there’s a gigantic circular swing, a tangle of wobbly balance ropes, giant steel slides and a super-long flying fox. The centrepiece is the Octanet: cotton-wool kids need not venture up the ten-metre-tall contraption – even to us, this thing is high. “I’m the king of the castle” can be bellowed out with some serious conviction.
There’s a big see-saw and the swings face some of the city’s most interesting buildings. For fun with a sense of history, check out the giant yellow balloon structure, inspired by Thomas Gale’s 1870 balloon ride from Prince Alfred Park to Redfern. You’re also right next to Prince Alfred Park Pool, so pack your swimmers.
Sometimes the best park is the one closest to your house, and we bet kids in Alexandria have been scrambling over each other to get to the natural timber play equipment in their new community playground, which was launched in October 2016. Children can send secret messages along the speaking tubes, balance on the beams that double up as seats for tired grown-ups or climb up the slide and down the fireman’s pole. It’s a pocket-sized park but there’s fencing and gates, plus shade from nearby trees, and a handy bubbler for thirsty little tykes too busy on the swinging rope course to look for their water bottles.
Once little eyeballs see this Pyrmont park’s giant sandpit, they wont be leaving. Under a big yellow umbrella, it is like a mini fossil-excavation site. Nearby, a giant tangle net sits among slides and swings, and you’ll find plenty of those spinning-gravitational-rotators to get on. Plus there are cafés close by for parents, and food trucks often stop by on weekdays.
Sydney Park has a top-notch playground for kids with hill slides, swings, bridges and a scooter and bike path. There are sandpits and a water play zone to splash about in during the warmer summer days. And parents will love the free barbecues, shady areas and easy-access toilets.
Hey, parents: if you head up to the west end of the park – away from the pond and the huge open play areas – you'll find a playground complete with flying fox. And it's close enough to Sydney Uni that you might just be able to instill a subconcious higher education = fun message in there. Hey, it's good to start early.
Putney Park combines water activities with old-school play equipment. Kids will love splashing around the landscaped paddle pools, which are shaded, shallow and safe. A giant tube slide winds its way down the scrub-filled hillside, and over by the lakeside there’s a big climb net. There are barbecue facilities, picnic shelters and walking and cycle tracks, too.
There's not one, but two space rockets at Enmore Park playground, which makes it one of our favourite spots for playing astronauts. Race to the top of the rope rocket, run around the large grassy park or sit down for a quiet picnic in the shade. On Thursday mornings (9.30am-noon), the Magic Yellow Bus Mobile Playgroup stops by with fun games and activities for under fives. And it's close to the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre.
Swing in the treetops
TreeTop Adventure Park in Abbotsbury is one of three eco-friendly treetop obstacle courses in New South Wales, with flying foxes, climbing nets, dangling Tarzan-like liana branches, monkey bridges, rafts, trapeze bars and ladders. General manager Sandrine Gaymard led Time Out on a tour of the super-high canopy walk and told us the kids’ favourite is the flying fox: “That’s where they feel like they're really flying. But the oldest man to complete all four adult courses was 75 – so anyone can have a go.”