Park Love

Bicentennial Park – Glebe has a few good parks but Bicentennial is our fav in this hood. It’s part of the Glebe Foreshore Walk which we’re yet to fully explore. We just keep getting stuck around this park’s great picnic area with views that surround, and a pretty fine playground. Here’s how City of Sydney describes Bicentennial Park: “It runs the length of Rozelle Bay from the end of Glebe Point Road to Chapman Road in the west. The park contains a large enclosed and shaded featuring playground adventure play equipment including a rope climber, roller slides, sand pits and extensive climbing structures with elevated decks”.    …Ahhh yes, we know it well.

 

Pirrama Park This is Caitlin and Kirra’s favourite:  “It has a great café, awesome playground with water play, plenty of room for my son to ride his bike, and clean toilets!”

We give it a big thumbs up too. We’ve played there many times for a run though the water feature. The sandpit and climbing structures are good too. I like this end of town. Harris St from beginning to end or at least the bits off it are – Chinatown, Powerhouse, Ian’s pool, Darling Harbour which has some good play points too and then down to Pyrmont which has some good eateries, the growers markets (the first Saturday of the month), and sitting at the end then around a bit is the park.

Pirrama Park is also good for more grown up play. It’s on the water, has well maintained BBQ areas and ample parking – but bring your coins to avoid the vigilant parking officers.

See you there next sun shiny day!

Zoe’s It’s too hard to have Park Love when the parks have been more like puddles. So I offer you Zoe’s House – a great wet weather option for those with little ones. Actually the Powerhouse is a good rainy day option for all ages. Zoe’s House however is a kid section of the PM. It’s all about construction and the kids can put together a building using huge soft walls – Great for the boys of course but girls get into it too. http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/

Clifton Gardens: I have to tell you about my Clifton Gardens story. It was a Saturday and I gathered up the guys for a picnic and play at Clifton Gardens. I’d been there before but for them it was a new park to explore.

So we arrived and found ourselves a spot under a tree. Sharing our shade was a woman who had been kayaking and was waiting for her husband to bring the car around. We got talking and discovered she had been my nephew’s teacher for the past seven years (she is a Steiner teacher and they stay with the same class through primary school), plus she knew our great friends who we hadn’t seen in a long time. I couldn’t help it; I had to take a photo which I promptly sent out to our mutual connections. It resulted in lunch at our friend’s house with their other guests – all great women – one being Kate Clere who has been profiled this month. Don’t you love that stuff??

As for Clifton Gardens, well I guess the first thing I would say about this beautiful park is that anything is possible here.   

Next is that it is set against the beautiful backdrop of Sydney harbour and you can take a dip in the bay. The playground is good for 4 years and up and there is a lot of sand pit opportunity for smaller. Great picnic areas, a café with good coffee (but a cranky owner), there’s loads of run around space, clean toilets, and a Liberty Swing. Parking is a bit expensive ($7 for two hours) but worth at least one visit.

To get there simply head toward Taronga zoo and you’ll see the signs to turn off. More on Clifton Gardens.

Edie and her mum enjoy the many playgrounds along the Cooks River: “The Cooks River winds through Canterbury, Earlwood, Dulwich Hill, and Marrickville with a million and one play grounds to enjoy along the way. It’s surrounded by native vegetation and native birds plus you can bring your pooches for the walk – it’s beautiful”.  Check out: Cooks River

  

Melissa Barber and her gals love their local – Memorial Park in Canowindra. “There are really lovely swings sets and gardens there with shade and park benches for lazy mummies. Everyone in town with kids goes there. Being a small town just that in itself has loads of advantages”.

Here’s a bit more on Canowindra  (aka the ballooning capital of Australia) …it’s a beautiful country town, close to my heart. It’s where husband grew up and where we were married.

Ilja and Anabel are loving: Long Reef “I’ve just discovered Long Reef area. It has beautiful beaches, walking tracks, a lagoon, surf, even a ‘secret beach’ and a cute little cafe with super friendly staff. What more can  you ask for?” Read more about Ilja and her new discoveries…

  

Hyde Park For various reasons we’ve spent a bit of time in Hyde Park recently. Yesterday was particularly special. First, I found the best parking spot on Stanley St (free and two hours) then with chaps in the double pram aka Tuk Tuk I begin my quest for a book only found at Dymocks, George St.

We go on a pleasant and easy stroll through Cook + Phillip Park, up to Macquarie St and down to Martin Place, to see the big tree. (Although it was the big clock that made the lasting impression). Pick up the book and head round the bend toward Hyde Park, spending some quality time first in front of DJ’s window display.

Then we get to the centre fountain at Hyde Park. We didn’t stay for long due to the heat but headed up through the “tree tunnel” -magnificent figs meeting each other over a wide pedestrian avenue. It is just so beautiful and the gardens either side are great for exploring. We then turned off a path that lead up to what I could only describe as my oasis on that hot, sticky day – a fountain that was big, round and flat, and held the perfect amount of water for a splash. It was an invitation we couldn’t refuse. It was sooooo much fun. We were dry by the time we got back and Ididn’t have a parking ticket! I grabbed some yummy sushi rolls from the shop where we’d parked, then loaded up the buddies and headed home. They fell asleep in the car and even transferred well so I got some rest time too – Talk about a perfect adventure. Willdefinitely be investigating more of Hyde Park really soon. Won’t however be feeding my children sushi rolls in the car again.

Also! This link will take you to a list of Carols by Candlelight and Other Xmas Events Near You  Singing is so good for the soul that I just had to pass this on…

  This Park Story is About Many Parks

I love watching children play. Running, jumping, rolling about, laughing, being imaginative, playful and free. I’m really enjoying Reed’s (my littlest guy) first experiences at playgrounds. On a swing he puts his head right back, loving the sense of freedom. It’s just gorgeous.  

But not all kids get to experience this feeling, like children with limited mobility, and that’s something most of us don’t think about because let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a wheelchair bound kid at the park?

Variety, the Children’s Charity is trying to change this situation with the Liberty Swing. It’s a wheelchair swing that is being put into parks all over Australia. They aren’t cheap but Variety works with sponsors and councils to contribute to their own fundraising to cover the 25k+ costs – and if you ever get to see one in action as I have, you know it is worth every penny. It’s simply magical. See for yourself:

Park Life – October Long Weekend  Despite the rain, we enjoyed park life on the October long weekend but we weren’t getting down and dirty at Centennial Park just a bit muddy down at the Bra with the boys.

The park at Maroubra Beach is our local and it’s great. Big, enclosed, shady, no swings to fight over or to run into but good things to play on and close to good coffee, fish and chips, a great skate park and of course a swim! Just pull in to the car park at the beach and you can’t miss it. The stretch between Maroubra beach and South Maroubra beach is also a goodie for picnics and BBQs. There’s a number of sheltered areas with ample tables and seating for bigger gatherings. We love the Bra.

The bigger kiddies playing up the road at Parklife Festival had Groove Armada play the closing song. It’s a favourite of mine and fitting end to this entry. 

Top Stops: Sydney to Snow    I’m sure whoever said “it’s not destination but the journey” wasn’t talking about the drive from Sydney to Jindabyne with their children. There are however many great places to stop along the way to make the journey a holiday highlight.  Here’s our recent itinerary:     

1st Stop, Goulbourn: We leave home bang on afternoon sleep time and enjoy a rather relaxing two hour drive to the town of the Big Merino.  Goulbourn is much more than a great drive through but for those who do then the main drag has it all. We unload out the front of the Paragon Café, a huge old diner serving brekkie, lunch and dinner including all sorts of desserts and anything with hot chips. We fill up and then run it off across the road at Belmore Park. This park features a sprawling and beautiful garden with a glasshouse, a fountain, a rotunda, and a nice little playground. The toilets are clean but loo wherever you dine as it is chilly this time of year.  If you’re passing by in September you might bump into one of the many festivals of the month.              

Canberra: Just one more hour and we pull up to a serviced apartment for the night. We like to stay at the Bentley Suites. Easy to find, good service, good beds and lots of other home comforts, plus it is on the road heading out. The trendy burb of Manuka is also a few minutes up the road for good coffee in the morning.            

Jindabyne: 2.5 hours later and the kids have just about had it with confinement. We pull in for lunch at the Tourist Centre and grab a few supplies at the supermarket before making the last 30 minute drive to our snowy week – which was great but that’s another story.            

 Cooma: On the way back we bypass “Jindi” and head for Cooma. Nicknamed by locals as the ‘Gateway to the Snowy Mountains’, you’ll know when you’re getting close for all the snowmen signs waving you in. For our travelling purposes it has plenty of food outlets (eat in/drive through) surrounding Centennial Park which has a good, enclosed playground, seating and clean toilets. Markets are held there on the third Sunday of every month.            

Canberra: Sleep, sleeps in the The Capital again. It was election night and we joked about being right in the action but really apart from our children, Canberra seemed pretty quiet.            

Last  stop, Berrima: Part of the Southern Highlands and situated neatly between Canberra and Sydney is this sweet historical village that has, among other tourist attractions, several parks with good picnic areas. We like the first we see entering the village and it’s great – playground, toilets, food across the road.  It’s really a lovely place to stop but we are keen to get home so don’t go exploring. Berrima is however on our list of weekend places in the future.

Author: Sharon Quill

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