- Large parkland
- Wetlands with plenty of birdlife
- Open spaces and facilities
- Amazing slides
- Large playground with plenty of interesting equipment
- Battle Sydney traffic
Today’s adventure was to Sydney Park, on the fringe of Sydney City.
I must have driven past the chimneys a thousand times. They are hard to miss, after all. I had often wondered what they were used for, back in another age, when heavy industry was more common place around the city. What I had never realised was that there was an expansive park sitting in behind the smoke stacks.
And what a park it is! Sydney Park is exactly the kind of park that built-up areas need. A space large enough that, when deep enough in, you find yourself surrounded by nature with little to remind you of your urban surroundings. It is the kind of place that makes the argument for inner city family living more compelling.
The Playground – Sydney Park
I’ll cut to the chase, because by the time we navigated through post-peak-hour Sydney traffic, Hannah was well-and-truly only interested in one thing. The walk through the park would have to wait – the playground beckoned!
At first glance, it didn’t look like there was a whole lot to the playground at Sydney Park. But, as we walked further into the area, the full extent of the equipment revealed its self.
The playground contained the ubiquitous robe-climbing equipment, although several different versions provided some uniqueness to what is found elsewhere. Swings were present too, another mandatory component of a quality playground. In a fenced-off area was a substantial sandpit. It looked like fun, but we didn’t use it on this occasion.
There were other fun-looking pieces of equipment – things that bounced and things that twirled around – but we really didn’t get to explore those too much as Sydney Park’s crowning glory captivated Hannah’s attention almost immediately – the slide hill.
The Slide Hill – Sydney Park
The slide hill consisted of four slides of varying size, all accessed by climbing a soft-fall covered hill. The slides came in varying sizes and could be accessed the easy way (by climbing the stairs) or the hard way (by climbing the ‘rocks’). I placed Hannah at the bottom of the stairs, and she was off!
Hannah explored the little slides for a few minutes. She embarked on her trademarked belly-slide a few times. This was, of course, accompanied by a mandatory squeal of delight. Then it was time to move up in the world. Hannah crawled across to the rock wall between the two large slides. Slowly, methodically and without any hint of fear, she climbed her way up. Some parts were particularly tricky, but Hannah is not one to give in easily, and before I knew it she had conquered the wall.
I was reluctant to let her on to the big slides all by herself. I had watched a young boy pick up considerable speed as he slid down, and I had visions of Hannah sliding down on her belly at the speed of light, then shooting off the end, all while I scrambled back down the rather steep hill like a mad man. So, I did what any good father would do. I used Hannah as an excuse to slide down myself, with her in my lap.
The accompanying squeal of delight echoed across the park as we reached the bottom. It told me that there was no way we were going to get away with only doing that once. Back up we went (too many times to count). Each time, Hannah squealed and giggled in delight. If you do take your kids here, make sure you wear your sliding pants – you really don’t want to miss out on the fun!
The Parklands -Sydney Park
Finally I coaxed Hannah away from the incredible slides, with the promise of something to eat. I strapped her in the pram and we headed off into the depths of the park to find a nice spot. A platform overlooking the top of the wetlands served that purpose nicely. Hannah ate her grapes while we both sat and enjoyed the peaceful sound of the water feature. It was an incredibly relaxing place – the kind of spot I would visit regularly for some quiet time if I lived close enough.
After the snack was completed, we continued our walk. It soon became clear to me how large a space Sydney Park is. It has an expansive wetland area and large, open fields for play. I imagine that even at its busiest, Sydney Park would still offer a space for everyone to enjoy comfortably.
At the bottom of the park we came across a pond with a substantial amount of birdlife in it. I wished that I had brought a telephoto lens at that point, as I quite enjoy photographing birds. We did get close enough to two beautiful black swans for Hannah to be interested, so we stayed and watched them for a while.
Getting There – Sydney Park
Sydney park is fairly accessible. It is across the road from St Peters train station, for those who like to use public transport. There are also four carparks, which appeared to provide ample parking for day-to-day use. It may become hard to find a spot during peak times. Beware Sydney traffic – peak hour is best avoided, if possible.
Sydney Park is one of those urban oases that are so sorely needed. It is located in a fairly densely built area, on the fringe of the CBD, and a quick scan of the skyline revealed it is rapidly becoming more developed. For those families who live in the area, it is an invaluable escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, and a vitally important place for kids to re-connect with nature.
For those of you, like me, who are thinking of making the journey from the suburbs, I think it’s worth the trip. The playground offers interesting equipment (especially the slides) and the rest of the park is a great place to explore.