We love a visit to a water play area on a warm day! Here is a wrap-up of seven of our favourite free water play areas in and around Sydney’s Inner West. For any water play visit, be sure to bring sun protection, swimmers, swimming nappies for any children who are not toilet trained, towels and spare clothes.
Blaxland Riverside Park
Jamieson Street, Sydney Olympic Park
The water play area is a real highlight at the stunning Blaxland Riverside Park, set on three hectares. There are a variety of jets in the expansive water play area, which is open from 10 am to 4 pm daily. Beyond the water play section, the equipment includes a treehouse climbing structure, a huge swing set, numerous climbing nets and walls, a tunnel system and slides, a spinning dish and flying fox. The park also boasts a glistening riverside setting, wide open space, winding paths, picnic tables, shelters, umbrellas, barbecues, toilet facilities, bike hire and, importantly, a cafe, so it’s a great spot for social gatherings.
When planning a visit to Blaxland Riverside Park, be sure to pack sun protection – as shade is scant! Be sure to keep a close eye on your children at all times at this large unfenced waterfront park. Finally, try to arrive early as the park and parking lots do get very busy at peak times on weekends and during holidays.
Read our full review of Blaxland Riverside Park.
1–25 Harbour Street, Sydney
There’s so much to do at Darling Quarter playground, situated within the popular Darling Harbour precinct. The water play area boasts 26 jets that encourage kids to interact and experiment with the water in different ways. There’s a pumping station, water gates, a water wheel and water screw. Beyond the water play area you’ll find an excellent range of play equipment, including an enormous climbing net called the Octanet, balance ropes, a flying fox, a slide hill, traditional and multidirectional swings and sand diggers. The Shade Zone, with tiered seating, offers a protected area for a rest and a snack; however, the water play area is not shaded. Fair warning: the entire play area becomes very busy at peak times so we suggest arriving earlier in the day and keeping close watch of your children. Toilet facilities are available.
Mary O’Brien Reserve
Joynton Avenue and Tilford Street, Zetland
The little-known Mary O’Brien Reserve in Zetland, has a small water play area. The park offers not one but two children’s playgrounds, seating, picnic facilities and lush grassy space. The middle playground, intended for children aged three years and up, has a slide, a corkscrew-style spinner, numerous climbing and balancing features and monkey bars. The water play area, located in this middle section, includes six jets. The second playground, on the western side of the park, is suited to babies and toddlers. There is a gentle slide, low climbing and balancing equipment and two fun interactive displays. Two large shade sails offer some sun protection in both playground areas. The park is only partially fenced, so keep a watchful eye on your child’s whereabouts. Parking can be found in the surrounding streets.
Read our full review of Mary O’Brien Reserve.
Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
This harbourside park ticks a lot of boxes: engaging playground, bike and scooter paths, grassy space, picnic and toilet facilities and, you guessed it, a water play area! The water play area, which is of course a massive hit on warm days, has a variety of jets spurting water. The playground also features a huge climbing net, castle with slide, an equal-access spinner, swings and a large sandpit. A highlight for parents and carers is the cafe, Jack Bodice, situated within the park next to the toilet block! Please note: if you have a child who tends to stray, then Pirrama Park is not the park for you, as it is just a short distance from the playground to the unfenced water’s edge.
Read our full review of Pirrama Park.
Pellisier Road, Putney
Set on the Parramatta River, Putney Park has a large water play area at the northern end of the park. This includes two shallow splash pools, one with a shade sail, linked by a small creek. In addition there is a large climbing structure and a thrilling tube slide for older children. The landscaping, which features a series of brightly coloured spheres, cubes and pyramids, is attractive. Sailcloths provide shade in part of the splash areas, as do some of the surrounding established trees. Further along, there is a rope climbing structure set over sand and another play gym with a slide and tunnel. A second playground, which features equipment for young children including a play structure, swings, a spinning wheel and rockers, is situated at the southern end of the park. With a pleasant waterfront outlook, two playgrounds, open grassed areas, barbecue and picnic facilities, toilets and off-road parking, Putney Park is a popular spot for get-togethers with family and friends. Needless to say, close supervision is needed at the splash pools and the river’s edge, which is not fenced off.
531–565 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
Steel Park’s waterplay area, which operates between 10 am and 6 pm from early October until late March each year, is well suited to young children. The water play area has an eco-friendly design, with three main parts representing different geographical elements. Shadecloth covers much of the water play area and one part is fully fenced to help contain littlies. Toilet facilities, including a baby change station, are right next to the water play area. The park also has an engaging playground with a huge flying fox, large climbing net, two slides, swings and spring rockers. Much of the playground receives excellent shade from the surrounding trees. With a pleasant setting alongside the Cooks River, Steel Park is a popular location for picnics and parties. The park is not fenced, so do keep a watchful eye on your children, especially near the car park and also by the river.
Read our full review of Steel Park.
Grand Drive, Centennial Park
The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden at Centennial Park was developed to encourage children to get sandy, dirty and wet! This 6000-square-metre garden has a fantastic range of natural and built features, including a tree house, a giant slide, dry creek beds, a bamboo forest, a palm grove, tunnels, mounds and an Artesian water play area – which is the main drawcard on warm days. While the Wild Play Garden is fully fenced, parental supervision is required at all times. Much of it is unshaded, so be sure to bring your hats and suncream. Insect repellent is a good idea also. Wild Play is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily and entrance is free. Wild Play does of course get very busy at peak times so we recommend arriving earlier or later in the day if possible. A mobile kiosk, Bar Coco, is situated towards the bottom end of the garden. An amenities block can also be accessed from the garden. Wild Play is located within the Education Precinct of Centennial Parklands, adjacent to the Discovery/Learning Centre, just off Grand Drive.
Read our full review of Wild Play.
Cover image: Sasi Ponchaisang/123rf.com
Putney Park images © Anita Vitanova. Wild Play water play image © Sam Hayes. All other images © Ginny Grant.
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