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.
Bollygum Adventure Playground, Whittlesea-Kinglake Rd, Kinglake
A magical playground with a theme based around the book 'Bollygum' by Garry Fleming. Both parents and children can enjoy this wonderfully crafted Play Space.
Wander along the shady paths and dry watercourse and explore each enchanting element. Start at the Bower Bird's nest with its shiny blue trinkets, then past a large shady sandpit and cross one of the bridges to Platypus's House and make a pretend fire in the huge hearth. Be careful not to scare platypus with the screeching from the music cylinder next to his house.
Wander down the shady path, past the log bridges and massive log seat to Wombat's House which has beautifully carved murals on the walls, tunnel slide, spiral slide, distorting mirrors, speak and listen system and lots of unusual equipment to make sounds (not too loud though because Wombat might be snuggled up and sleeping).
Stop for a while at the dry creek for a spot of fishing with rods and reels provided. Have a play with the mechanical digger in the big sandpit and then head to an area with lots of traversing elements such as a chain traverse, flying fox, bridge, monkey bars and hanging disks.
Head back up the hill to the main structure with Frogmouth's House and a climbing wall, ladders, walkways, wave slide, abacus, rope ladders, thin balance walkway, long high rope bridge for the daring kids, fireman's pole, dual metal slides (with shade sails above) and various fun musical instruments.
There are five swings including two birds nest swings and a swing with a seat.
Plenty of shady seats including many shaped from logs, unshaded tables, water tap, toilets and BBQ. A limited grassy area which is not suitable for ball games. Next to an excellent Skate Park. A visit to this playground is something to be treasured.
The William Ricketts Sanctuary covers four acres of beautiful fern gully land with 92 ceramic sculptures, near the top of Mt Dandenong.
Situated in the Dandenongs in a ferny glade, William Ricketts Sanctuary is a place of beauty and tranquillity, due both to the natural setting and the mystical sculptures half hidden among ferns along the pathways. It is a place for quiet reflection and contemplation of the essence of the vision of William Ricketts. Many travels across the world to visit this place time and time again.
Things to Do
Kiln-fired clay sculptures of Aboriginal figures are discreetly set among rocks, fern trees and Mountain Ash. These sculptures are an expression of Rickett's philosophy - that all people need to act as custodians of the natural environment in the same way as Aborigines, the inspiration for much of his work.
Stroll through the gardens and explore the 92 ceramic sculptures of people and animals which merge with the natural surroundings. Enjoy the audio-visual display featuring William Ricketts where visitors can see for themselves the vision and passion that live in his art.
In the 1930s, William Rickets bought a four-acre bush block on Mount Dandenong and called it Potter's Sanctuary. Word spread about the extraordinary sculptures that began to adorn the property. In time, the Victorian Government heard about his work and, in the early 1960s, the land and adjoining blocks were bought for the people. William Ricketts lived on at the Sanctuary into his nineties and continued to create his sculptures until he died in 1993.
The kids had fun finding all the sculptures in the Sanctuary. There are well-defined paths to follow with cross-connections and branches. There are huge Mountain Ash trees and growth over the paths which makes it very shady and cool on a hot day.
There are also some shaded seats scattered about and toilets. No food or drink is allowed but there is a cafe near the entrance. Be careful when going from the car park to the entrance because the path crosses a busy road.
Read more about this topic at https://www.melbourneplaygrounds.com.au/
Tim Neville Arboretum, Dorset Road, Ferntree Gully
A fully fenced adventure playground which is well worth visiting Knight or day since it includes a castle-themed area with stocks (especially for bad parents who won't take their kids to great playgrounds) and a rock where you try and extract Excalibur's sword. There are lots of other interesting elements and the area is interspersed with concrete paths and the play areas have a soft base.
On one side are two long zip lines with ski lift type disk seats, Loch Ness monster writhing in and out of the ground for climbing, three small metal slides on the side of a small hill, four swings (one with a big plastic seat), an interesting carousel with seating and standing room, birds nest swing, hammock, large rope pyramid climbing frame, distorting mirror, lots of stepping stones, a square area of suspended disks which you can step across, big sandpit area and two stands on spinners.
There is a trail of alphabet signs with sign language weaving through the playground. There are various shaded and unshaded seats. Outside the fenced area are toilets, BBQs, unshaded tables, grassy areas and a pond with an elevated walkway and ducks not far away.
Werribee Gorge (Ingliston)
Fancy some rock climbing? If you want to watch rather than do, visit Falcons Lookout at Werribee Gorge near Ingliston where you will generally find some brave rock climbers scaling the cliffs. If you would rather do that watch then head off to the Burnley Bouldering Wall in Burnley where there are three different climbing walls of increasing difficulty under shelter.
Go for a Walk
The park offers a variety of walking experiences to suit all ages, abilities and aspirations.
Circuit Walk - 10km - 4.5 hrs Grade - Medium - Hard
Start at the Quarry or Meikles Point Picnic Area and walk in an anti-clockwise direction. Excellent views along the gorge rim, steep in places with some rock scrambling along the river section of the track. The track along the river may become impassable after heavy rain.
River Walk - 3km return - 1.2 hrs return Grade - Medium
Start at Meikles Point Picnic Area and follow the old aqueduct upstream to a point where you need to climb around the base of a cliff. This is the end of the River Walk. A wire rope attached to the rock wall assists navigation of this section for those wanting to continue further along the gorge.
Falcons Lookout - 3km return - 2 hr return Grade - Medium
Panoramic views of the gorge and beyond. Walk-in from the Ballan-Ingliston Road through the picturesque Ironbark Gorge. Falcons Lookout offers a fantastic rock climbing experience. It is currently the only area in the park available for rock climbing.
Centenary Walk - 4km return - 2.5 hrs return Grade - Medium - Hard
Start at Quarry Picnic Area and follow Circuit Track before diverging and passing through open woodland to the bridge across Myrniong Creek. After crossing the creek there is a very steep climb to the top of the James Whyte Island Reserve with panoramic views over Werribee Gorge and beyond.
Have a Picnic
Enjoy a picnic with family and friends at Meikles Point or Quarry Picnic Areas. Fireplaces, picnic tables and toilets are provided.
How to get there
Werribee Gorge State Park is approximately 8km west of Bacchus Marsh via the Western Freeway and Pentland Hills Road to Myers Road (steep in places), or via Ironbark Road (Ballan-Ingliston Road) from Bacchus Marsh-Balliang Road.
There is a 1 hour (or longer with smaller kids) walk to the Falcons Lookout rock climbing wall which looks down on the gorge below. The track which can be a little slippery start with a steepish descent and then follows some valleys before ascending.
There is a section of the scree that has to be traversed near the climbing area. The path is well defined for the whole walk. If it is not raining you are almost guaranteed to see some rock climbers at the cliff.
Eltham North Reserve Playground, Wattletree Road, Eltham North
The playground was burnt down in December 2017 but has risen again from the ashes to be even better than the previous version. It has stayed true to the style of the previous playground by retaining a huge roofed structure as the centerpiece of the play space.
This large area under cover makes it ideal for times of poor weather (which you are guaranteed in Melbourne). The main building has a tunnel slide which can be reached by a big slanting rope net or steps, climbing and scrambling walls on the sides, a big green tractor embedded into the floor with two steering wheels, a wave slide and a fireman's pole.
Overhead, there is a corridor with a rope net and saggy bridge to negotiate past. There are a few creepy crawlies in the barn - can you find them high up on the walls?
Outside there are two flying foxes, one with a disk seat and the other with a harness, metal pipes to hit a clanger against to make either noise or music (depending on whether your family has the music gene or not), Liberty swing (for wheelchairs), drums, standard swings, birds nest swing, spinning donut, hammock, swing with a harness, dry creek bed which you can either cross via a bridge or a log which has fallen across the creek (depending on how daring you are), a town center comprised of several colorful shops with blackboards to write the specials for the day, a big sandpit which is partly shaded which has a digger and a water trough with a tap.
There are some smallish grassy areas where parents get together and chat, a row of shelters with tables and BBQs plus water taps and toilets. Next door is a fenced oval which is a Magical Park augmented reality location.
Mount Donna Buang (Warburton)
If you want to visit a mountain it is best to wait for summer when entrance fees are free and there are plenty of trails to explore. Mount Donna Buang near Warburton has a 21 meter high tower and gives panoramic views across the park and way beyond.
Under 20 minutes drive from Warburton is Mount Donna Buang. Rising to a height of 1,245 meters, it is the closest snowfield to Melbourne. Attractions at the summit include BBQs, walking tracks, toboggan runs, and a 21 meter tall lookout tower.
The summit features a lookout tower that is 21 meters high and gives panoramic views across the park and way beyond. It is also a popular picnic area and starting point for walks on the mountain.
In winter the summit area turns to snow play and three toboggan runs are open. Toboggan hire and hot food available at the summit gate during the snow season.
The lookout tower at the summit of Donna Buang is very tall and can be scary for kids. If you want to have great views then make sure it is a nice sunny day to ensure that fog or cloud doesn't obstruct the view at the summit. Call into the Rainforest Gallery Skywalk which is 10km before the summit. There are some walks from the summit.
Olinda Play Space, Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda
A fantastic regional playspace nestled in a lovely location with great views across to Silvan Reservoir and bordered by trees and huge grassy areas.
There is a large shelter with four tables sitting in an elevated position in the centre of the playground which provides a vantage point across the whole playground. The huge play space has a large sandpit, surrounding paths and several areas with a soft, colourful base which makes it easy to recreate the feeling of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.
The huge sandpit has two water play areas with a water pump and balancing beam. The dry creek bed meanders down under a bridge to a massively sized frog. Don't forget to explore under the bridge to find some colourful creatures. Speaking of massively sized creatures, a huge gecko is lolling around next to the sandpit. Let's hope little kids don't get mistaken for a juicy fly by the gecko, or you may go home with one less offspring.
There is a range of different swings spread across the playground - take your pick from tyre swings, swings with a harness seat or some more traditional style swings. The perfect compliment to a swing is a slide and the playground has two nice tunnel slides at the end of a long ramp.
There is a large area with rope climbing obstacles. There is so much rope here that Houdini might have trouble extricating himself from this area.
Other fun areas include two flying foxes with disk seats, a large spinning carousel, three in-ground trampolines, a metal slide on the side of a little hill and two beautiful cubbies surrounded by toadstools.
Throughout the area, there are wonderful carvings of native animals and birds and other interesting artwork. Our favourites were the owls and cute wombats. There are several unshaded tables and seats scattered about the playground and near the carpark (which can be muddy when the weather is unfavourable) there are toilets and a shelter with BBQs but without tables.
Read more about this topic at https://www.melbourneplaygrounds.com.au/
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