The Inner West’s Best … Parks and Playgrounds for Older Children

It is fantastic to see more parks and playgrounds being developed with older children specifically in mind, and we are fortunate to have a few excellent ones in the Inner West. Here’s our rundown of some great local park and playground options for older kids.

 

Blaxland Riverside Park

Jamieson Street, Sydney Olympic Park

Blaxland Riverside Park has so much to offer: a beautiful riverside setting, wide open green space, winding paths for walking and bike riding, exciting play equipment to challenge young and older kids alike, picnic tables, shelters, umbrellas, barbecues, toilet facilities, bike hire and, importantly, a cafe!

The play equipment includes a huge swing set, numerous climbing nets and walls, a tunnel system and slides, a spinning dish, a double flying fox, a tree house climbing structure and the ever popular water play area (open from 10 am to 4 pm). There is not a lot of shade at this park unfortunately, so be sure to bring hats and sun protection as well as swimmers and towels for the water play area.

Blaxland Riverside Park gets very busy at weekends and during holidays, so do try to arrive early. There are two parking lots, one close to the play equipment, and another on the far side of the grassy area.

For our full review of Blaxland Riverside Park, see here.

 

Petersham Park

Station Street, Petersham

Petersham Park is one of the most attractive and iconic parks of the Inner West. It’s always vibrant, with playground equipment that suits a wide span of ages, parties and picnics, sports on the oval and Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre (open from October to March each year), which is adjacent to the playground.

The playground features a large climbing structure, a spinning disc, a tall slide and balancing equipment to engage older kids. There’s plenty for younger children too, including a much smaller climbing structure with a slide, as well as a spring rocker and swings. Shade cloths were recently installed over the playground area. When sporting matches are not taking place, older kids enjoy use of the oval.

Petersham Park is a popular choice for social gatherings, with ample grassy areas, tables, barbecue facilities and a rotunda. A cafe, Bread and Stone, and toilets are located within the aquatic centre building; these facilities are open all year round. Another favourite local cafe, The Pig and Pastry, at 1 Station Street, is just across the park.

 

Strathfield Park

Homebush Road, Strathfield

The recently redeveloped adventure playground at Strathfield Park is one of the most engaging playgrounds in the area, with an excellent range of high-quality equipment for various ages and abilities.

The play area for older children features an enormous play tower with three giant tube slides. There are several climbing nets and a climbing wall too. A highlight of this section is the triple flying fox, which goes very fast! Another favourite piece of equipment for older children is the multidirectional nest swing suspended from a large arching pole over on the far side of the playground, next to the sensory maze and saucer.

There’s loads of equipment for younger children too. In the part of the playground adjacent to the flying fox, there’s a spinning disc, a see-saw, a smaller climbing structure, wooden teepees, stepping and balancing structures, a drum and a musical sculpture. And in the far corner of the playground there’s a selection of swings, smaller climbing structures and slides, a carousel, a rocker, a sensory maze and a saucer.

The landscaping makes this playground a very pleasant setting. It does get quite busy though, particularly at weekends, so we suggest arriving early or later in the day. The playground area has small shelters suitable for children’s parties and family gatherings and BBQ facilities.

Beyond the playground there’s plenty of wide-open space to run around, explore and ride scooters. Toilets are located in the middle of the park. There is also an equal access playground on the Chalmers Road side of the park.

For our full review of the playground at Strathfield Park, see here.

 

Sydney Park

Princes Highway, St Peters

Widely recognised for the historic brick kilns on site, Sydney Park offers numerous opportunities for younger and older children alike to burn off steam and explore nature, at the innovative playground, the bike and scooter track, the ample wide open grassy space and rolling hills and the recently restored wetlands area with water features, bridges and stepping stones.

The playground has a selection of slides of varying gradients built into a hill. There are also several climbing nets to engage older kids. Another favourite among older children is the suspended bridge. Younger kids love the shorter slides as well as the meandering paths with sculptures and interactive features, swings and sandpit. There is a picnic shelter within the playground area. Sydney Park Kiosk and toilet facilities are located right next to the playground.

 

Wulaba Park, Waterloo

Tucked away amongst extensive high-rise residential development in Waterloo is Wulaba Park, with a very cool playground particularly for older children. In addition to the playground there’s open grassy space, pleasant landscaping, a picnic and barbecue area, bike racks and handball and table tennis courts.

Opened in 2016, this multicoloured adventure playground has a range of enticing equipment, including a large concrete and wooden climbing structure and varying swings, climbing nets and tunnels. But undoubtedly the highlight is the huge climbing tower and giant tube slide, suited to children aged 5 and older. There are several access points to the climbing tower with different degrees of difficulty.

There are a few downsides to this park, particularly for families with younger children. First, there seem to be a couple of unresolved landscaping issues. Additionally, there was an open side of the concrete structure with a decent drop below. The playground is not fenced, so parents need to be watchful. Also there is only one small shade cloth.

Wulaba Park is accessible via Amelia Street off O’Dea Avenue. Note: parking is very limited. Be prepared to need to walk several blocks to the playground.

For our full review of Wulaba Park, see here.

 

FURTHER AFIELD

Fairfield Adventure Park                               

Vine Street, Fairfield

Fairfield Adventure Park has been specifically designed to appeal to older children. The playground features an 11-metre high climbing frame, sky bridge and three tube slides. It also has a thrilling 33-metre-long double flying fox. There is much equipment to engage younger children too, including various swings, spinning wheels, a trampoline and a sandpit. Moving on from the play area, there’s plenty of space to roam too, with natural parklands and sporting fields.

 

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