Berkeley Marina Adventure Playground. Photo by Sally Mason/Mummy Nearest.
If you’re looking for a pristine playground to take your pristine children, one where they can go down primary-coloured plastic slides and land onto a cushioned surface, this post may not be for you.
Today, we’re talking about adventure playgrounds, where you’re more likely to find kids hammering nails into scrap wood, climbing into abandoned boats, rafting in muddy ponds or making musical instruments out of old cans and bottles. Some of the spaces look like literal junkyards. You have been warned.
Unstructured play is good for children. Essential, even. It’s how they learn to take risks, deal with the unexpected and utilise the resources in front of them. And you can’t deny the simple thrills of balancing on a rope bridge or making mud pies out of real mud.
Ready to get dirty? Here’s a list of adventure playgrounds around the country. Put down the iPad, grab your rattiest sneakers and have some free-range fun.
Here are just some of the adventure playgrounds you can find across Australia:
Grant Reserve, Coogee
Strathfield Park Playground
Lizard Log, Western Sydney Parklands
Carrs Bush Park & Playground
Wulaba Park, Waterloo
Blaxland Riverside Park & Playground
Ian Potter’s WILD Play Garden, Centennail Parklands
The Pod playground, Canberra
Braithwaite park nature play, Mount Hawthorn
Saltwater Coast crocodile playground, Point Cook
There are also several pop-up adventure play sites around the country, and other adventure playgrounds that are in the works.