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Playground Picks: places to play southside

Shelley Eldridge

The sun is finally here (for now anyway!) This is the time that Canberrans make the most of the sun and get out into all our wonderful and beautiful playgrounds and parks.

Why not make the most of the BBQs, open spaces and beautiful flora and fauna that makes Canberra so great!

If you have children then you will know the importance of a good playground.  Sunshine has actually been proven to lighten moods and getting out of the house, away from all the chores, can be relaxing.

Physical activity is also one of those things that we are told to give our children (at least 1 hour of moderate exercise each day).  These are all good reasons to pack up the family and head to the playground.

Check out your local playground.

Just grab a hat, sunscreen and some water, it’s usually only a hop, skip and a jump and you are there.   The great thing is that if you need to change a nappy, your child gets hungry or they get a scraped knee, you are not too far from the comforts of home.

Make sure you don’t rush to get to the park, children love the stroll on the way, as much as the park itself.  Making free time to walk together gives children a chance to talk and relax.

If you find broken equipment or lots of rubbish at your local park, contact Canberra Connect, (that’s why we pay our rates).

Got itchy feet and feel like going further from home? If you want to shake it up a bit and explore the rest of the city, here’s a list of what else is on offer.

Weston Park, Pescott Lane, Yarraluma

All children who love adventure and/or science will love this ‘water play’ park.  Yes, there is water, so pack a spare change of clothes for the kids.

This playground is well shaded and has lots of water and concrete to make you feel cool on a hot day.   Features of the ‘water play’ include; an old fashion pump to push out water, a fountain, a bridge with a clank sound when you walk on it, stepping stones  across the water and blocks to stop and start the water flowing.

In the park there is a slide, some swings, two toy diggers in a sandpit (with clean sand), a spinner and a big climbing spider net.  There are also paths for bikes and walking and a beach area on the lake (so I am told, I was too scared to go near the lake area with more children than adults!)

My little scientists tested what could and couldn’t float using sticks and stones; there were also some triangles and metal fish to make music with (I needed to hold up my kids as it was too tall off the ground).  Next time I would pack a toy boat or a rubber duck to push through the water area.

There is parking, toilets, BBQs and plenty of shade.  I did see a bird try and steal a whole loaf of sweet bread off someone’s table, so beware of the birds.

What makes this park so great is that it is next door to the Miniature train ride and Cafe – for $4 per person per ride, you and your little person can have a train ride. The Café was under construction when we went and my kids were disappointed that it was not up and running but we still had heaps of fun exploring the playground.

Queanbeyan- Barracks Flat Drive, Karabar

My second favorite park is the Barracks Flat Drive Park in Queanbeyan.  It is one of the few parks I can relax in and is suitable for young and old children.

It has swings, a slide, climbers and spinners for the young children in a safety gate area, so the little ones can’t escape.   The play equipment is also shaded.

For the older children, there is a half basketball court, a green grass area for kicking a ball and a bike track with lots of dirt mounds for jumping and stunts.

There are toilets, BBQ and picnic tables.  The only parking is off-street parking but I have been there many times and never had any parking problems.

It is my favorite because with four children it is hard to keep an eye on them all and this park makes it a bit easier than any other park that I know of.  The secure fence for me is worth more than flying foxes and slides as big as mountains.

Don’t forget your bike or your scooter, when you head to this park.

Information on all parks in the Queanbeyan region can be found if you click here. 

Gordon Adventure Park – Point Hut Pond Park.  McGilvray Close

Gordon Park has areas for older and younger children.  There is a cute little slide that my 18month old could climb and slide down (by herself) with glee. There is a baby swing and 5 giant snake sculptures for children to climb on (that my five year old loved).

There are also four swings, two diggers in a sandpit area (the sand has lots of cigarette butts in it but is OK for the scooping but not for building sand- castles), and a yellow spinning cup that is the most popular piece of equipment in the park.

For the older kids, there is a big tower with a bridge to walk between, half a basket ball court, two big flying foxes and a climbing net.

For the adults, there are toilets, car parking spaces, shaded table areas and BBQs.  The pond is great for children who love birds, so bring some old bread to feed them with.  The birds will try and steal your food and you have to be extra careful when near the water and the roads.  Dogs are welcome.

I went during the week and it was relaxed and enjoyable but I’m not sure how you would keep an eye on more than one child if it was busy.

Kambah Adventure Park, Springbett St, Kambah

There is limited stuff on offer for children under three;  a couple of baby swings, a climbing wall that they can run around, a lizard sculpture they can sit on and the HUGE open space everywhere.

For the children aged three to six there is two slides which the kids love, a small climbing wall, a spinner, lots of pine wood structures to climb and ropes to balance across.  There is a big spider net for the climbers.

There is also play equipment that is up the hill and on the other side from the car park – so I confess I haven’t ventured there.

The older children will love the flying fox.  The adults like all the trees and shady spots, the picnic tables, BBQs and toilet facilities.  It is complete mayhem on a hot weekend and hard to keep your eye on more than a couple of children, so be warned that you will get your own workout keeping an eye on the kids.

Honorable Mentions go to

Queanbeyan Park has a Jeep Rocker (for the kids to pretend to drive), swings, slide, climbing equipment, BBQ, toilets, picnic tables, an oval and areas for kids to ride bikes. (This information is by word of mouth, I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.)

Bonython ‘fire engine’ Park, is home to a little red fire engine, swings, a spiders net, a slide, circle seesaw, picnic tables, BBQs, half a basketball court and paths for bikes and scooters.   It has no toilets and shading only at the picnic tables but all can be forgiven when your son is wearing his fireman’s costume and can play there all day.  There is lots of construction happening there as well at the moment and we love to watch the builders build a house across the road.

There are heaps of great playgrounds throughout Canberra, this is only a small taste of some of the places I’ve been to and enjoyed.    What’s your favorite playground? Why do you love it?

Shelley Eldridge

Shelley is a mother of four young children, two dogs and seven chickens; she is a stay at home mum and a feminist housewife. She enjoys reading, eating chocolate, writing and spending time with friends. She may or may not be the secret identity of ‘Super Ninja Styling Mum’ (a book she one day hopes to write). More about the Author