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 informations about each of the locations we would like you to know about. Each one of this places has its own charm and should be visited and enjoyed at least once.
Ringwood Lake Playground, Whitehorse Road, Ringwood
The playground has the advantage of a lovely setting amongst the trees next to Ringwood Lake and has some real excitement factor.
A tall tower, which is accessible from the platform below by steps, stands high among the treetops with a big straight tunnel slide dropping down to earth. At a lower level are two more, less heart-thumping, tunnel slides curving down to the ground.
The platform which the tower sits on has access via a ramp, steps, rope bridge and a rigid frame ladder – having so many choices may not be ideal for kids who can’t make up their mind.
Around the base is a little flying fox, fireman’s pole, area of suspended ropes with wobbly rubber steps, stand on the carousel, poles with sculptures of an owl, ladybugs and frog, sit-in spinning cup and wooden carvings of a duck, fish, pelican and kangaroo on the ground.
Across the path is a climbing cube with a climbing wall, ladders and rope net roof.
Close to this area are two shelters with BBQs, two tables, a water tap and two circular unshaded tables. At the bottom end of the playground, there are toilets.
Further up the hill is a climbing area with poles with climbing holds, stand-on spinner and monkey bars. Fall down here and you’ll come face to face with a giant gecko.
Across the path is an even bigger lizard which has a water tap with a hand wheel to pump water which travels down the back of the lizard, through a sluice gate into a large sandpit that is surrounded by more giant lizards, snakes and worm.
Keep an eye open for precious gems along the path of the water. Have a time out and play a tune on the large metal turtle drum. I’m sure the parents will enjoy the melodious tunes.
Go a little higher up the hill to find six swings in a row including one with a harness and another face-to-face swing for parent and child. There is also a Liberty Swing for those in a wheelchair, see-saw and fun musical instrument.
The only negative is that it is so close to Ringwood Lake and the busy Maroondah Highway so you need to be very vigilant.
St Kilda Penguins (St Kilda)
The St Kilda Breakwater which protects the harbor is home to a colony of around 1200 Little Penguins.
If you go to St. Kilda Pier just before dusk you’ll see the Fairy penguins swimming in at the end of the day and climbing the breakwater rocks into their nests. At the breakwater, walk along the gravel and then go down the wooden stairs.
It seems amazing that there is a penguin colony in the middle of Melbourne but I have confirmed it with my own eyes. The number of penguins that you get a chance to see varies each night. Typically there might be 10 – 20 penguins that return to the nesting area accessible by visitors but the number could be much less.
At the end of the St Kilda past, the cafe is a rocky breakwater that leads down to a wooden jetty where people (mainly tourists) waited expectantly for the penguins to arrive. As it was becoming dark, some rangers came and found a few baby penguins in the rocks. The rangers were a rich source of information about the colony and penguins.
The penguins tend to wait until it is dark before coming in from the water and so there is a limited advantage to coming early and waiting. Flash photography is banned since the penguins don’t have any eyelids and flash can cause epileptic fits. It is possible to bring a torch with red light or use an infrared light on your camera, however.
Even though we managed to see some penguins, it is quite a difficult activity for kids since it needs a lot of patience (we stayed many hours to see a small number of penguins) and the viewing area can get very crowded as people rush to the areas where penguins have been spotted.
Isabella Williams Memorial Reserve, Opie Road, Deer Park
Good news. You don’t need to pay for an expensive trip to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius to experience the history of volcanic eruptions. This playground design references Melbourne’s western plains past volcanic activities.
Tall climbing walls, nets and three long slides, including a yellow-covered twisted slide, emerge out of the volcano. Colorful play surfaces ‘ooze’ like lava down the sides of the volcano and around the sandpit. Other children’s play equipment includes a large red ride-on tractor, a bird’s nest swing and a bright-blue spinning ‘super nova’. There is also a fitness circuit with outdoor gym equipment.
The playground has shade shelters, barbeques and display gardens featuring indigenous flora.
1000 steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk
1000 steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk in Upper Ferntree Gully celebrates the physical effort taken by the Australian soldiers during 1942 on the real Kokoda Trail. Can you reach the top? If you can manage to count the number of steps along the way, let us know because we have a feeling that there are not exactly 1000 steps. I guess 926 steps Kokoda Track just doesn’t sound as good.
The 1000-step Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is set in the Dandenongs and has a series of memorial plaques. The 5 km takes around two hours to walk and the track is very steep. It begins at the Ferntree Gully Rangers’ Office and finishes at One Tree Hill Picnic Ground.
The steps are quite narrow and you need to be careful that you’re not bowled over by athletes running up and down the steps.
While visiting the 1000 steps, you will get a glimpse of the physical effort taken by the Australian soldiers during 1942 on the real Kokoda Trail.
At the start of the walk is a nice playground.
The historical significance makes the 1000 steps a very worthwhile experience as well as the chance to get the heart rate up and do some exercise. Overall the walk to the top was not as difficult as we expected and took about 45 minutes. Any person of moderate fitness will be able to make it to the top.
There are even a few bench seats along the way to have a short rest. However, on a wet day, I could imagine it is very muddy and slippery.
The first challenge is to find a place to park the car since the area is generally very busy. We parked along the side of the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road but make sure you avoid the No Standing areas. There is an information board and playground at the start of the walk.
The One Tree Hill picnic ground is located at the top which has a shelter with tables, BBQ, unshaded tables, toilets and a water tap. The picnic ground is also accessible by car.
Tenterfield Park, Tenterfield Drive, Burnside Heights
Forget shopping at Chadstone, Highpoint or Southland. Take the kids to Tenterfield Park and visit the lovely little shops including a florist, bakery, hair-dresser, greengrocer and service station.
A super playground with a “town” theme stacked full of interesting, colorful elements. The main structure is a big ramp with different fun panels on the sides, tunnel slide, curved slide, tunnel, cubby area, spiral ladder, climbing wall, musical instruments, steep wide wave slide, escape chute down to the ground and shop fronts.
There are also birdhouses on top of poles, see-saw, swings, wooden carvings of cars and trucks with steering wheels, cups to sit in and spin around, two bike springers and a wooden structure with a walkway.
A shelter with a table, unshaded seats, BBQs and a water tap. The playground has lovely murals. Located next to a long lake with plenty of water birds.
Coburg Lake Reserve
Coburg Lake Reserve is a popular picnic spot on Merri Creek. The land was purchased in 1912 and a weir was constructed in 1915 to form a lake. The reserve was popular with diving boards, wading pools, kiosks and gardens and continues to be a favorite picnic spot.
The reserve is accessible by the Merri Creek Trail and the Reserve is close to public transport and has car parking available (the main car park is in Lake Grove).
The Coburg Lake Reserve has a lake, three playgrounds, BBQ facilities, a weir plus walking and bike paths. It is located opposite the old Pentridge Prison.
The main playground with a huge tower slide is beside the lake on the south side (Murray Road), there is a beautifully created Outdoor Lounge playspace on the upper side and another playground on the west side at Carr Street.
Read more about this topic at https://www.melbourneplaygrounds.com.au/
Navan Park, Centenary Avenue, Melton
The playground was upgraded to include a spectacular high tower with two massive tunnel slides and a high fireman’s pole. Other additions included a huge hammock and funky carousel where kids can sit down and let the parents or older kids swing it around.
The best and most original part is a large sandpit with a castle and lots of equipment for handling the sand such as scoops and conveyors. The remainder of the large playground includes a very good range of equipment.
In one corner of the playground is a “Sky Surfer” for teenagers (stand up and surf on the suspended surfboard and with practice, a circular loop can be achieved), a circular bar which twists and turns around, “Mountain Trek” (sit on or climb across hanging disks – it is harder than it looks), sit on a spinner and “Trick Skate” (revolving skateboard rockers).
There is an extensive structure that has the bow of a ship with panels and a ramp leading to the structure from a bank. It has a tunnel slide, scrambling wall, high balance beam, chain bridge, flexible fireman’s pole, monkey rungs, hanging disks, flying fox, climbing wall, alphabet panel, steps, fireman’s pole, steering wheel and shop front.
Another structure has a tunnel and wave slide, steps, walkway, tunnel, chain bridges, chain traverse, spiral ladder, inclined climbing mat and fireman’s pole. There is a little toddler area with a shop front complete with calculator, tunnel, abacus and tic-tac-toe and another hut with panels and drive-through counter.
The playground area has toilets, a shelter with BBQ and table plus another shelter with tables. Plenty of grassy areas for ball games. 100m away is a big lake with more shelters, water tap and BBQ.
Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary (Beaumaris)
With its rockpools close to shore, Ricketts Point is the perfect place to introduce kids to the wonder of Victoria’s underwater marine life. Sandstone platforms are home to an array of marine creatures and are excellent for rockpool exploration. During summer the beach is patrolled by the life-saving club, making it a great option for a summer family outing.
Located just near Beaumaris in Melbourne’s southeast, this sanctuary is 115ha. Bordered by jutting cliffs of sandstone which have been worn down into a series of platforms, sea caves and offshore reefs, this site is easily accessible for all. There is a range of habitats to explore including rocky sandstone intertidal and subtidal habitats, sandy beaches and subtidal soft substrates.
Within the diverse range of habitats at this site, there are many plants and animals which can be found. Nearshore, the rocks are covered with green and red algae which shelters a range of invertebrates including brittle stars, bristle worms and crustaceans.
The surrounding sandy bottoms are covered by patches of seagrass which attract a range of fish species. In deeper waters, rock bommies are carpeted in either green Caulerpa or brown Sargassum, which hides many small animals.
These rocks also attract fish species including Southern Hulafish, scalyfin and morwong. If you look carefully, you may be able to uncover one of the masters of disguise, a cuttlefish. These animals are experts at changing their color and skin texture to conceal themselves.
Read more about this topic at https://www.melbourneplaygrounds.com.au/
Brimbank Park Play Space, Brimbank Road, Keilor East
A beautifully crafted Play Space with natural elements most suited for younger kids with a few exciting elements for the older kids. At the top of the hill overlooking the playground area is a huge artificial hollow tree stump which you can climb up inside and emerge out via a broken eggshell to survey the playground below.
Keep your eyes open and spot all the abundant mini-beasts on the stump (conveniently high enough to stop little kids from grabbing them off the stump and taking them home for their bug collection).
The main part of the Play Space is a maze of pebbled paths which lead to round areas with interesting mosaics – the most interesting being one with a bird theme and a sculpture of three cawing crows. This area has boards showing sign language for each letter of the alphabet.
In the middle of the maze area is a shady tree with rock seats underneath and a fun black and white cow (it seems like a Friesian to me but cow fanciers may be able to correct me if I am wrong). Look out for the giant cheese, pea and tomatoes – kids could easily re-enact a scene from the classic film “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”.
Across the path is a HUGE bird’s nest swing (if you can convince Andre the Giant to push the kids, it will be a ride to remember. Although I’m sure, in a pinch, Uncle Bob could do an adequate job of pushing). There is a vertical circle that kids can lay inside and be spun around.
Forward and backflips are the order of the day here (as well as dizzy kids staggering around). There is also a stand-on spinner, hammock (surely Mum and Dad deserve a rest after finding this Play Space for the kids), a huge bee springer for two people, a smallish rope cone which spins around and four swings including one with a harness. Soft paths are leading to all the play areas.
Across a road is a giant platypus (so big that it could easily eat all the worms in the nearby Maribyrnong River in one breakfast sitting), a V-shaped play hut with branches for walls, a beautifully crafted frog, a musical instrument which makes various sounds when you turn a handle and a big elevated sandpit reached by steps.
There are various unshaded seats scattered about the Play Space area and a water tap. The landscaping has been done beautifully with many natural features. Located next to the Leaping Lizard cafe which has toilets. Plenty of shelters, BBQs, tables and water taps nearby plus a big grassy area.