Daddy Ickle needed to head up north and suggested he drop Icklegen and me at the playground in Speers Point Park for the morning. I’ve been meaning to take Ickle there for ages, so leapt at the chance. The playground comes with top credentials, having been voted ‘Best Playspace in Australia’ in 2011 by Parks and Leisure Australia, and picking up the Design Award for Excellence at the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects awards the same year.
The playground is well-screened at the main entrance; in fact, despite the sign, we questioned whether we were in the right place as we drove in. But, a wonderland of discovery awaits as you venture in, and oodles of space – some two hectares of it. After some initial hesitation, Icklegen was in the mood to explore. She was particularly taken with the Cockle Creek Ferry which comprises wooden walkways, slides, ladders and a climbing net.
A little less so with the giant 9-metre slide. She was intrigued by it but, once she and Daddy Ickle had made it to the top, she got cold feet and decided not to launch herself into the scary darkness of the tunnel heading down. Hardly surprising – take a look at it for yourselves!
The playground is a real feast for the senses. As well as traditional equipment, there are music-making features, giant metal listening dishes and an area dedicated to water play (this last proving a big hit with Ickle). And the whole place is alive with pockets of vibrant colour.
A café, Sal’s by the Lake, is handily located on site for essential refreshments. And non-essential options too, such as pretty-iced cupcakes and milkshakes (including child-sized ones). All profits go towards the Salvos* so we made our little contribution in the form of some naughty-but-nice treats.
Step outside the main enclosure and you find yourself in an expanse of beautiful parkland leading down to the lake’s edge. And a reminder for me of autumn in Europe, with orange, red and gold leaves ablaze in the trees, and crunchy underfoot. We enjoyed a quiet picnic lunch by the water, where we wound down gently after a morning full of activity.
*Salvos is an affectionate Australian diminutive for The Salvation Army.