The best gated playgrounds in the Illawarra...
We’ve all been there. Desperate to get the kids out of the house (and even more so, desperate for a caffeine hit) but full of fear at the potential of releasing your tribe into the great outdoors. Whether you’ve got ‘a runner’ or just a kid who likes to roam, playgrounds can prove tricky territory, especially when you’re juggling more than one.
That is where the real beauty of the gated playground lies. A contained space where parents can switch off at least one small part of their brain, safe in the knowledge that, short of scaling a fence, the kids won’t be able to escape. Ahhhh that’s #mumbliss for you!
Because the gated playground can be a rare and elusive beast, we’ve rounded up the pick of the crop so that you too can enjoy a hot coffee and some outside time, sans stress.
Luke’s Place, Princes Hwy, Corrimal
Luke’s Place playground, located right next to the Corrimal Park Mall, is an all-inclusive play space that ticks all the boxes. Fully fenced and featuring play equipment to suit toddlers through to older kids, the playground is a hit all year round but especially in summer when the water table starts pumping (taking a change of clothes is a good idea!).
Little loves will adore the climbable ‘choo choo’ train while the older ones usually gravitate towards the spinning round-about and basket swing. It’s also right near a number of cafes (we love Hevan Espresso across the road!). Very sadly, this park was badly vandalised mid 2017, maybe the perpetrators never got the chance to really appreciate or respect the joys of parks as they grew up...
Austinmer Beach Playground, Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Austinmer
If you like your playground with a side of sea and salt, Austi Beach Playground is sure to hit the spot. Recently renovated to include brand new play equipment and, most importantly, a completely child proof fence, this is a great spot to kick back during the warmer months. There’s climbing equipment, slides and swings galore as well as plenty of space for a picnic lunch.
There’s also the Austi Beach Café directly across the road for that all important hot drink. Local tip: Watch where you park! The local birdlife seems to have developed a vendetta against cars and have a reputation for pooing ALL over them. Try parking on the beach side of the carpark as opposed to right up next to the park. Trust us, you’ll be grateful we warned you!
Wollongong Botanic Gardens, Murphys Ave, Gwynneville
The award for the gated playground with the most scenic surrounds would have to go to the Wollongong Botanic Gardens. Situated at the Murphy Street entrance to the gardens, the all abilities playground is not only completely fenced but HUGE.
Featuring plenty of space to run around, a large climbing frame, sand pit, swings, cubby houses, slides and even a maze, the Botanic Gardens playground is a fantastic choice for the littlest bubs to older kids who can conveniently ‘lose’ their parents in one of the nooks and crannies of the space.
Only downside? No café but the picnic spaces more than make up for it! Pack lunch and a thermos and spend the morning taking in the playground, checking out the ducks and going for a wander. It’s the perfect cheap and kid friendly outing.
Gymea Glade Park, 53 Old Quarry Circuit, Helensburgh
This toddler friendly, nature inspired playground has plenty of space for running around, along with a kids bike track, climbing equipment, swings and picnic benches. There’s also a full sized bike track and duck pond outside of the fenced area.
No café on site but plenty en-route to the park.
Gahans Lane Park, 17 High Street, Woonona
Tucked away behind the hustle and bustle of the main street in Woonona is the compact but fun Gahans Lane Park. Fully fenced and complete with climbing equipment, slides and swings, as well as a picnic table, it’s a great spot to stop if you’re a local or happen to be driving through the area.
We hope this guide helps, what gated parks did we miss, we struggled to find any gated parks South of Wollongong but we would love to update this guide if you know of any? Any updates gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org - thanks for your help!