Adventure, baby!

Playgrounds

Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia

Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia

Nestled in the heart of Sydney’s Centennial Park, the newly opened Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden is designed to connect children with nature and engage all five of their senses.

Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, AustraliaInside the Garden, children can indeed run wild and explore the environment which includes around 12,000 plants, a water play area featuring 11 water jets and mist machines, a 7-metre tall treehouse with a bridge leading to it and slide leading down, a 10-metre tunnel, a bamboo forest, a sand pit, and, our favourite, a wide open space with logs and rocks for climbing and branches for building teepees or cubby houses.

Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia

The Garden was created for children aged 2 – 12, of all abilities. Within each of the “spaces” of the garden there are plenty of ways for kids to engage with their surroundings regardless of their age or background. Every section of the Garden has been created in a way that it is a blank canvas that is open to interpretation by the child to project their own imagination onto, and create their own world and games inside.

Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia

We visited the Garden on its opening weekend and it was absolutely packed, which is understandable. It’s a delightful place with a lot of attention to small details such as trails for kids to run down and a forest of bamboo that they can disappear into.

While the garden is a decent size it’s not massive and it wasn’t big enough to cope with the amount of people who visited when we were there. Plants were getting trampled and even ripped out by kids (where were their parents???? I have no idea!!), and the line to get up into the treehouse and slide back down again was so crowded it looked unsafe for littles to get involved.

Hopefully when its newness has worn off the Garden will have less less people there on a regular basis so it’s able to be a safe and enjoyable environment for the little kids it was designed for.

Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia

We spent the majority of our time in the garden building a cubby house made out of the big sticks that are provided and decorating it with rocks, bark and ferns we found lying around. Unfortunately the greenery had been ripped off plants by other kids before we arrived – we used it to decorate since it was already on the ground, but did tell Cheese that we don’t rip branches off trees.

Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia

Entry to the Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden is free. There is a van serving coffee, drinks and snacks inside the garden plus excellent bathroom facilities.

Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden
Centennial Park
Hours: The Garden is open daily, 10am-5pm. 
Where to find the Garden: Located in Centennial Park, off Grand Drive and adjacent to the Education Precinct.

Sydney Playgrounds: Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park

Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park

The Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park is a great spot to run off steam with kids if you’re taking in a show at the nearby Riverside Theatre or grabbing lunch at one of the restaurants on Church street.

Built into the slope of the hill on the river’s foreshore, it’s got some really cool features like a 4 metre slide and rock climbing. In summer, water features are turned on near the sand play area.

Be aware that the playground is not fenced, not does it have any shade cover or bathrooms.

Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park

Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park
Elizabeth St Footbridge Parramatta NSW

Cathy Freeman Park + Olympic Cauldron, Olympic Park, Homebush

Cathy Freeman Park & Olympic Cauldron, Sydney Olympic Park

Have you ever wondered where the famous caldron from the 2000 Sydney Olympics ended up once the games were over? The answer is it didn’t go very far at all.

After the magical opening and closing ceremonies (who can forget Cathy Freeman lighting the cauldron and it rising through the air simultaneously dripping with fire and water?) the cauldron was taken down and moved just a few hundred metres to its permanent home – in the appropriately named Cathy Freeman Park.

Cathy Freeman Park & Olympic Cauldron, Sydney Olympic Park

Located very conveniently next to the Allphones Arena, Cathy Freeman Park has 2 playgrounds – one for young kids and one for older – huge shady trees and easy access to bathrooms and cafes.

Cathy Freeman Park & Olympic Cauldron, Sydney Olympic Park

Cathy Freeman Park & Olympic Cauldron, Sydney Olympic Park

Cathy Freeman Park & Olympic Cauldron, Sydney Olympic Park

We often end up in the park when attending a show at the Allphones Arena – it’s great to burn off energy after a long drive before needing to sit still for a long time while watching a show.

The cauldron is a popular feature for tourists and kids, who particularly love running underneath it in the puddles, and trying to judge when the fountain is about to turn on. There’s always one kid who times it poorly and gets absolutely soaked. Bring extra clothes in case this is your kid!

Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park

Also in the area:

Check out nearby Brickpit Ring Walk, Wentworth Common, nearby Bicentennial Park, Blaxland Riverside Playground and the Olympic Cauldron in Cathy Freeman Park. Or, take a dip in the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

 

Cathy Freeman Park
Online: sydneyolympicpark.com.au
Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127
Get Directions

The Central Gardens Nature Reserve Merrylands: Southwest Sydney with Kids

Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me
We have been exploring a lot of southwest Sydney lately, looking for parks and playgrounds in particular. I was recently re-introduced to the Central Gardens Nature Reserve in Merrylands, where I spent a lot of my childhood while my parents played their weekly tennis game with friends. At the time, the gardens were closed so I never was past the tennis court. It was amazing to see the park in daylight, and open! I remember in my errant youth scaling the tennis court bathroom walls in an attempt to see the closed off garden at night – so to see it during the day brought back memories of our night time stealth mission that ultimately failed and left us somewhat in trouble as a result.

Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me

The Central Gardens Nature Reserve, also called the Central Gardens, is a nature reserve in the southwest Sydney suburb of Merrylands. The 12 hectare park features two playgrounds, animal enclosures, BBQ areas, a flat path perfect for scooters and bikes, plus a small waterfall feature.

Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me

The playground we found was fantastic, with the biggest shade cloth I’ve ever seen over a playground. It was so wonderful to visit in the middle of the day and not worry about sunburn.

Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me

Behind the playground lies the animal enclosures. It’s free to wander through them and see the very well cared for animals, including birds, particularly scary emus, wallabies with babies in their pouches, and kangaroos.

Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me

Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me

We didn’t find the waterfall this visit, but will be back to find it next time.

Do you know of any more great southwest Sydney parks for us to discover?

The Central Gardens Nature Reserve
Cumberland Hwy, Merrylands West
Bathrooms: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes
Shade cover: Yes
Cafe: No
Skatepark: No
Off-street parking: Yes
Children’s playground: Yes
Water features: No
Get Directions

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Plough and Harrow Park: The Best of Southwest Sydney for Families

Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me

Southwest Sydney really has some fantastic places for families to enjoy the great outdoors. One of our faves is the Plough and Harrow Park in Abbotsbury. The park is part of the massive Western Sydney Parklands that spans across the suburbs of Abbotsbury, Eastern Creek, Prospect and Horsley Park. The entire parklands covers 5,280 hectares, and includes several playgrounds, events centres and sporting venues.

Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me

We end up at the Plough and Harrow in Western Sydney Parklands East a fair bit. It has a fantastic playground, 22 electric BBQs, parking for over 200 cars, 24 picnic shelters, a pond with ducks and other water birds, public bathrooms and a cafe/restaurant: Amoretti’s.

Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me

The big draw for us is the playground. It’s spread out across a large area, interspersed with trees and other Australian bush pants. The playground features include a hamster wheel, flying fox, sand pit, little kid play area, large climbing spiderweb, basket swing, big kid swings and a water pump feature. The park has play equipment for all different ages, so it’s a suitable venue for families with kids of all ages.

Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me

The only downside to this playground is the lack of shade. It could do with some shade cloth!

Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me

Make a day of your visit to the park by booking into Treetop Adventure Park too, which is located in this part of Western Sydney Parklands, too.

Plough and Harrow Park
Western Sydney Parklands,
Elizabeth Drive, Abbotsbury
Bathrooms: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes
Shade cover: No
Cafe: Yes
Skatepark: No
Off-street parking: Yes
Children’s playground: Yes
Water features: Yes
Get Directions

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park: The Best of Southwest Sydney for Families

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park: The best of southwest Sydney for families

Parramatta Park is one of Sydney’s most historic places. In the centre of the park is Old Government House, which, along with the surrounding pack, is one of 11 sites that form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. The park is also notable for its Aboriginal heritage: Evidence of Aboriginal occupation from over 200,000 years ago has been found there.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

Sydney-siders have been enjoying Parramatta Park for recreation for a long time – it became a public park in 1858 – making it one of the earliest designated public parks in the world.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

We particularly love the recently renovated Domain Creek Playground in Parramatta Park – it’s located on the Westmead side of the park, opposite the Queens Road Gatehouse.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

The playground features activities for all ages and abilities, including flying foxes, swings, slides, trampolines, water pumps, sand pits, small trampolines built into the ground and spinning carousels.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

Each section is connected by ramps and walkways, making it easy for strollers and wheelchairs to get between each area.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

The double flying fox is a particularly popular feature of the new park, with one of the flying foxes adapted to be used by people with disabilities. The seatbelt feature makes it popular with young children too, who are a bit scared to use the regular one.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

Adventurous kids will also enjoy the slide, which requires thrill-seekers to climb up a rope ladder to the top, and then scoot along to the top of the slide. Getting up was a bit scary for little Cheese due to the lack of handholds to pull herself up at the top of the rope ladder, but she had no problem climbing it, or going down the slide, either.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

Other sections of the playground worth noting include water pumps that flow into a sand pit, a climbing net that looks like a spider’s web, a second sand pit with equipment for bigger kids like sand diggers, swings, and one last sandpit in the shade that was ideal for small kids.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

The playground is beautifully designed to blend into the bush surrounding it, with plenty of fun surprise activities to discover. In the bush section in the middle of the playground few discovered a bush xylophone and cubby house, and there are also small metal sculptures of native Australian animals and a few roses dotted around the park.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

The playground doesn’t have a shade cloth over it and there are very few sections with tree coverage, making it a bit of a scorcher on a hot day – particularly the metal play equipment. I would suggest this playground for milder to cold weather!

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

Bathrooms are also scarce – the nearest ones are a good 10 mins walk away at the Parramatta park Cafes, near the Queen Gate Entrance.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

Near the playground is the river and lake, which is home to many birds such as ducks and ibis. Watching the birds is also an excellent way to entertain the little ones.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park:  The best of southwest Sydney for families

 

 

Hungry? Grab breakfast, lunch or a coffee to go from Parramatta Park Cafe.

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park
Pitt St & Macquarie St, Parramatta
Bathrooms: No – nearest one is a few mins walk away at nearby Parramatta Park Cafe.
Picnic tables: Yes
Shade cover: No
Cafe/Kiosk: No
Skatepark: No
Off-street parking: Yes
Children’s playground: Yes
Water features: Yes (but minimal)
Get Directions

Sydney’s Best Playgrounds: James Ruse Reserve Playground

James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me

Super hot Sydney days call for playgrounds with water features! The James Ruse Reserve Playground is almost brand-spanking new (it was built in 2014), and has a fantastic water play area, which is under cover. You can’t beat that! Taking into consideration how important shade cloth is in summer, this could be my favourite playground in Sydney right now.

The playground was named after James Ruse (1760-1837) who arrived on the first fleet and was said to be one of the first convicts to be sent to Rosehill (now Parramatta) who had an understanding of agriculture. After his time as a convict was up, he became a self-sufficient farmer. James Ruse Reserve now occupies part of where is property, which he called Experiment Farm, used to be.

James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me

James Ruse Reserve Playground
Harris St, Parramatta
Bathrooms: One portable only
Picnic tables: Yes
Shade cover: Yes
Cafe: No
Skatepark: Yes
Off-street parking: Yes
Children’s playground: Yes
Water features: Yes
Water park hours: September – May: 9am-8pm, June – August: CLOSED
Get Directions

Darling Quarter Playground + Lindt Cafe

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

The sparkly new Darling Quarter playground is one of the most amazing playgrounds I’ve ever seen. Ever. I remember visiting the area when I was a kid and it was a bit of a waste land. After a huge renovation of the entire Darling Quarter area, Darling Harbour is now a fun destination for local families to enjoy year-round. The playground is the big feature that families will love. With a huge water play area, climbing ropes for big and little kids, swings, slides, and a flying fox, there’s enough to entertain (and wear out) kids of all ages for an entire day.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

Water scoop: turn the wheel, get wet!

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

Lots of shade over rest and play areas.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

An Archimedes water screw!

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

Three-metre high giant slide and supanova wheel.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

Sand diggers!

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

3D ring swing.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

10-metre high octanet.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

Baby ropes.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

21-metre long flying fox.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

Little E spotted a carousel and so we took a spin. $4 per person to ride. Adults can accompany 3-year-olds for free as long as they are standing beside them and not on a horse.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

After playing it was time for lunch. Just around the corner is the Lindt Cafe, where I have indulged in many a chocolate shake over the years.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

While you’re waiting on your order, stock up on Lindt balls and and bars. The cafe also serves cakes, chocolates and ice cream, making it pure chocolate heaven.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

For a light lunch, the cafe is perfect with its location and menu. I ordered the milk chocolate shake, a vegetarian quiche and sourdough toast for Missy E. Alec ordered a roast beef sandwich. The order took a while to arrive, so we entertained E in the meantime by giving her a Lindt ball.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

On a lovely day, sitting in the outdoor area is really a relaxing experience. The cafe sits on the waterfront in Cockle Bay, giving it a gorgeous view.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #lindtcafe #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

Our last stop in Darling Harbour is the fountain area. These fountains have been here for as long as I remember. When I was a kid I loved playing in them, so I thought E might as well. The big water arcs are a favourite with kids of now two generations, who dance in and out of them trying to get wet just enough to cool down, but not so much as to get soaked. Ahh memories!

Darling Quarter Playground
1-25 Harbour Street, Sydney
Bathrooms: Several very clean bathrooms with change facilities.
Picnic tables: No
Shade cover: Partial (not over the water area)
Cafe: Yes
Skatepark: No
Off-street parking: No (Use the Darling Quarter Wilson car park)
Children’s playground: Yes
Water features: Yes
Get Directions

Lindt Cafe
104-105 Cockle Bay Wharf
Darling Harbour, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9267 8064
Hours: Sun-Thur 10am-10pm Fri & Sat 10am-12am

Highchairs: Not that I saw.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

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