15 Sydney playgrounds
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.
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.
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.