We have reviewed many playgrounds and things to do in Melbourne and Geelong and these are the pick of the crop. Read above to get more information about each of the locations we would like you to know about. Each one of these places has its charm and should be visited and enjoyed at least once.
Packer Park, Leila Road, Carnegie
The playground has been designed around the lifecycle of a frog theme. There is a vast expanse of colorful ramps joined by walkways, chain bridges, and various ladders. Scattered amongst the structure are climbing mats, fireman’s pole, cubbies, tunnels, mirrors, a variety of games, tunnel slides, steps, scrambling walls, disks on vertical poles, and curved slides.
There are also colorful tables and mushroom seats, a huge gecko to scramble over, a family-size see-saw (unless you happen to have quintuplets), swings and a huge rope structure that supports three large metals disks and a large wooden snake that makes sounds as you wall along with it.
Next to the playground is a wetland area with ponds to explore. Some shade is afforded by a large gum tree in the middle of the playground. BBQs, tables under shelter, water tap, rubbish bins, and toilets are provided. Also basketball ring, tennis practice wall, synthetic surfaced velodrome and golf practice net (birdie cages) in the general area.
View Cruise Ships and Spirit of Tasmania at Station Pier
Port Melbourne is a popular port of call for some of the world’s most prestigious cruise liners between November to March each year. Go to the Station Pier area and have a view of these massive ships. It is also the berthing location for the Spirit of Tasmania.
Originally called Railway Pier, it was officially opened on 12 September 1854. The pier played a pivotal role in Victorians’ lives from the time it was opened, particularly for the arrival of gold seekers and settlers throughout the mid to late 1800s.
In 1861, the original pier was extended, to more than 661 meters. Eventually, the original pier could not accommodate the increasingly large and more powerful steamships of the early twentieth century so it was realigned, extended further and renamed Station Pier. The pier is heritage listed and the gatehouse at the entrance is of significant heritage and cultural importance.
It’s interesting to visit Station Pier when you are in the Port Melbourne area. The Spirit of Tasmania is huge and it is impressive to view when it is berthed at the dock. You’ll need to check the timetable or call to ensure that it is not at sea. You can enter the pier any time provided a massive cruise ship is not berthed. In that case, you will be able to get a more distant view from Princes Pier.
There is very limited free parking (2P) in the surrounding streets and 3P ticketed parking in front of the pier (8 am to midnight).
South West Melbourne
A beautifully crafted Play Space decked out in the nautical themed colors of blue and white. The design of the playground drew on the Roald Dahl children’s story ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ where a crocodile lives in a playground pretending to be a friendly see-saw before quickly gobbling children for dinner. It is worth being cautious just in case the ‘Saltwater Crocodile’ has read this story.
There is a wide soft blue path crossing through large areas of sand throughout the playground. Lying in the center is a large metal crocodile obligingly spouting out a stream of water into an elevated shallow trough which overflows into a wide channel with large stepping stones to jump across (assuming you want to stay dry).
The 50m long channel meanders down a slight slope to a circular pad with water spouts of varying heights which presents another enticement to get wet.
Overlooking all the water mayhem are two large embankments with slithery tunnel slides – one a straight tunnel slide for the speed demons and the other a curved tunnel slide for those wanting a (slightly) more sedate ride down.
Set amongst the sand are Chomp Towers which are elevated platforms reached by either a steep rope ladder, sloping monkey bars or ladders. Once up, you can move between the towers via a rope net bridge or balance beam bridge.
A fireman’s pole is a fun way to get down. Underneath is a shady hammock and 16 bells with a rope attached to each bell. You can make more music than the Point Cook Symphonic Orchestra.
At one end of the playground is another long sandy section with two bird nest swings and a sea-themed see-saw (or is that a sea-saw?). For the adventurous (or foolhardy) there is another elevated platform reached by a ladder but exited by a single rope using a reverse scrambling wall technique. If the exit goes wrong take solace in the fact that the sand is nice and soft.
The whole area is very nicely landscaped with areas of grass and set along the wetlands with multiple bridges crossing the water. Set at one end is a shelter with two tables and a BBQ. About 100m along the water is a shelter with a shaded table and BBQ with an unshaded table and three-person springer in a sandpit. There is a toilet about 100m away.
It’s increasingly hard to imagine Melbourne without Federation Square. Home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism experiences and an exceptional array of restaurants, bars and specialty stores, this modern piazza has become the city’s meeting place.
Looking for things to do in Melbourne? Host to more than 2,000 events a year, Federation Square buzzes with cultural festivals, exhibitions, event launches, performances, forums, films, concerts and fashion shows – most of which are free.
Almost all of the major Melbourne festivals hold at least one event at the site and watching sporting events on Federation Square’s Big Screen has become a Melbourne tradition. From wine tasting nights to free tai chi, life at Federation Square is so rich that there’s sure to be something exciting going on whenever you visit.
Buckingham Reserve, Buckingham Crescent
Bravo to Brimbank! A super playground with some great elements. The highlight is a huge tower with a high twisting tunnel slide and a long chain bridge on the side which leads to a steep metal slide.
There is a huge horizontal rope climbing frame, stand-on carousel, huge grasshopper springer, two-person bee springer, bird nest swing, two long flying foxes with disk seats, a large sandpit with some shade and a lovely water play area with pumps, water channels, reservoirs and an augur.
Big shelter with huge communal table and BBQs plus unshaded tables and seats. Water taps, toilets and big grassy area.
McNish Reserve Playground, Court Street, Yarraville
The dinosaurs are roaring in Melbourne and there are plenty of opportunities to interact with them without paying a cent.
Check out, with some fear and trepidation, the huge interactive dinosaur ‘Muttaburrasaurus’ at the McNish Reserve in Yarraville and a range of prehistoric creatures at Megasaurus Playground in Cranbourne East.
Gardenworld in Braeside has so many dinosaurs that they have even escaped into the car park. There are also a lot of displays and sculptures inside including a hippo and giraffe.
A huge interactive dinosaur ‘Muttaburrasaurus’ based on a species that lived in Australia around 100 million years ago dominates the Reserve.
Kids can climb up into the cavernous belly using a rope net and look out through the rib cage. Some play activities are integrated into the character such as a tunnel slide in the tail and climbing grips.
There are also drums and a voice tube from inside the neck which comes out through the mouth to enhance the imaginative experience. Scattered around the dinosaur are some broken eggshells and intact eggs – the experience will go up a few notches on the fear scale if one of those eggs manages to hatch.
There is no other play equipment in the Reserve which is a pity since there is a limit to how long you can spend with an extinct animal, even one as captivating as this.
The Yarraville Community Garden is nearby and there is a shelter with a table and water tap.
Read more about this topic at https://www.melbourneplaygrounds.com.au/
Braybrook Park Aeroplane Playground
The iconic airplane playground which was destroyed by a fire in December 2015 has been magnificently reborn. The new rope frame airplane now thunders down the runway overlooked by a tall control tower stationed at the end of the runway.
The fuselage of the plane is divided into two sections, with different heights which cater to the differing ages of budding pilots. Emergency evacuations couldn’t be easier with metal slides conveniently located for a fast exit.
If you need to find the closest exit just ask one of the friendly attendants. The wings of the plane are also a fun zone with lots of swings of various types hanging from both wings.
The control tower has steps for the air traffic controller to reach the top of the tower for a view across the airfield.
For the more energetic air traffic controllers, there is a wooden climbing wall, rope net climbing wall, dual wave slides, fireman’s pole and a huge red twisting tunnel slide on the side of the control tower.
Beside the tower are two four-square courts (which every good airport should have but sadly Tullamarine airport doesn’t), two see-saws, two stand-on spinners and two flying foxes with disk seats. This place seems to cut out for twins considering there are two of everything.
On the other side of the plane is a wind direction indicator on a pole (if the wind flag is there then the weather is fine for playing but if the flag has been torn off then it is too windy to play). There are also musical bridges, a carousel with seats, a fun cup to sit in and spin around and three super cute airplane springers.
There are two shelters with a total of three shaded tables, four BBQs and a water tap with a bowl. To the back is a grassy area for ball games.
Eastern Beach Reserve Swimming Enclosure (Geelong)
On the east side of Geelong on Corio bay is the magnificent Art Deco masterpiece, Eastern Beach. It has been a favorite destination for families since opening in the late 1930s. Eastern Beach was fully restored during the 1990s as the first part of the Waterfront precinct rejuvenation.
The swimming enclosure is one of Geelong’s most known icons, this huge double platform wooden structure complete with shark gate sweeps in a half-circle around 8 1/2 acres of seawater. The enclosure has a diving board and floating islands and can hold thousands of swimmers, with a nice sandy beach backing onto the children’s pool.
The children’s pool is a shallow cement pool that includes a magnificent fountain in the center. The pool has been important learn to swim center for the city for decades and is very busy on warm days.
Eastern Beach has a beautiful red brick art deco kiosk building which is home to one of the city’s finest dining experiences, and a large alfresco dining area out the front. The kiosk also sells plenty of ice-cold drinks and ice creams for visitors to the beach.
The paved area is also home to a lovely lifesaver and change pavilion with red terracotta tiles. A huge playground for the young is on the east side in the parkland and is a favorite all year round.
Rising to the Eastern Beach road above is one of Geelong’s most striking architectural features, A white Spanish staircase, they are a quiet spectacular and offer amazing views of the Eastern Beach promenade and Corio Bay. At the halfway point, there is a large fountain with crane and tortoise statues.
These are replicas of the originals that now live in the Botanical Gardens for safekeeping.
Portsea Ocean Beach and London Bridge Rockpools
The London Bridge area is the most northern beach in the Mornington Peninsula National Park and borders Point Nepean National Park. This famous landform is composed of sandstone and has been formed through weathering action of thousands of years of wind, rain and waves.
A lookout only a short walk from the car park provides stunning views of London Bridge, the beach and the rock platforms below. Views east towards Portsea and northwest towards Point Nepean National Park.
Beach access is via a steep ramp. A large rock platform provides for great snorkeling and exploring the rock pools at low tide
The Farnsworth track (2 km return loop) to the east links London Bridge and Portsea Ocean Beach along the cliff tops via two spectacular lookouts. Alternate return route along the beach.
The Wilson Folly Track leads directly into neighboring Point Nepean National Park and provides a scenic walk through Moonah woodlands and grassy bowls alive with unique wildlife (to Quarantine Station 2.5 km and Point Nepean 6 km).
On the way to London Bridge, stop at Portsea Ocean (Back) Beach which also has some nice rock pools. Other areas on the Mornington Peninsula to beachcomb and find rockpools are Sorrento Ocean Beach which has some large pools (Map: 156 Ref: H9), Flinders Ocean Beach (Map: 261 Ref: J10) and Mushroom Reef near Flinders (Map: 261 Ref: K11)
It is important to look at the tide times since the rock pools are covered by the sea at high tide.
A short walk from the carpark is several lookouts, one overlooks London Bridge rock formation and the others have views over the beach. You can take the set of steps down to the beach and play along the beach, walk to London Bridge or walk along the beach to Portsea Ocean Beach, which is 1.5km away. Alternatively, take The Farnsworth trackback to Portsea.
An interesting element is a glider launch area next to the car park. It would be thrilling to see hang gliders take off here.
Dogs are prohibited due to the nesting area of the hooded plover.
Wilsons Folly Track leads into the Port Nepean National Park to the Visitor Centre (1.7km), Quarantine Station (2.5km), Gunners Cottage (3.5km) and Point Nepean (6km).
Read more about this topic at https://www.melbourneplaygrounds.com.au/