Some children are born to run … right out of the playground – eek! If you have a little escape artist, chances are you’ve already sought out the fenced playgrounds in your area. Here’s a selection of the Inner West Mums’ favourite fully fenced local playgrounds.
McKell Playground (Alexandria Park), Park Road
McKell Playground offers separate fenced areas for toddlers and older children. The small area for toddlers, which is shaded by large surrounding trees, includes a seesaw, rocker and climbing structure with a slide. The more expansive playground for older kids has swings, monkey bars and a larger climbing fort. Sailcloth provides shade in the section for older kids. Both play areas have a rubber soft-fall surface. The park has toilet facilities.
Ashfield Park, Parramatta Road and Ormond Street
The fully enclosed, shaded playground at Ashfield Park – one of the iconic parks of the inner west – is a favourite among the Inner West Mums. The playground area is spacious and offers a good mix of equipment and amenities to suit littlies and older kids alike. There are swings, slides, spring riders, various climbing structures, and scooter paths too. There are toilet facilities and a drinking fountain just outside the playground.
Ann Cashman Reserve, Beattie and Elliot Streets
Ann Cashman Reserve, a lovely neighbourhood park, has a fully fenced playground with an appealing range of equipment for young children and a soft-fall surface.
Elkington Park, White Street
Within the stunning setting of Elkington Park, which offers sparkling harbour views, is a fully fenced small playground that is well suited to young children. The equipment includes a large play structure with two slides, monkey bars, a roundabout and a popular frog seesaw. The playground has a synthetic grass surface and receives ample shade from a magnificent fig tree. Some additional equipment – swings and a climbing frame – is situated just outside the fenced area. Toilet facilities are available.
Birchgrove Park, Grove Street
This playground, set at the top of the picturesque waterfront Birchgrove Park, is completely enclosed. It has plenty of equipment to occupy busy little people: a play structure, wobbly bridges, monkey bars, swings and a slide. The playground is well shaded by sails and a large overarching fig tree. Soft synthetic grass is used. Toilet facilities are available. The playground is directly across the road from the popular local cafe, the Gladstone Store.
Burwood Park, Park Avenue
The picturesque historic Burwood Park has a fantastic shaded, fully fenced playground. There is a selection of equipment, including a large play structure with a twisting slide, swings, rockers, a wobbly walker and a flying fox, that will entertain a variety of ages. Toilets are available. There is a great cafe located at the park, The Picnic.
Edwards Park, Corner of Wellbank Street and Ian Parade
The playground at Edwards Park has been recently upgraded to include fencing and partial shading. A highlight for young children is the play fire engine. It’s a great choice for little climbers, with a climbing fort featuring a rock climbing wall and a spider’s web, as well as a rope climbing frame. There is a range of swings, including a baby swing and basket-style swing. A concrete path suitable for scooter or bike riding is located within the enclosed area. The park has toilet facilities.
Harry Noble Reserve, Fox Avenue
Set well back from the adjoining busy Swanson Street, the fully fenced playground at Harry Noble Reserve has much to interest the littlies, including various climbing structures, spring riders, a seesaw and swings. The playground has a soft-fall surface. Sails provide ample shade. Directly across the road is the excellent Bitton Cafe and Grocer for takeaway coffee and nibbles.
Livvi’s Place, Timbrell Park, Henley Marine Drive
Livvi’s Place is a much-loved award-winning playground that encourages children of all abilities to play side by side. A joint initiative of the Touched by Olivia Foundation, the City of Canada Bay and Leighton Contractors, the fenced playground was upgraded and expanded in 2016. The inclusive playground offers a range of seriously fun equipment. A highlight is the dual all-abilities flying fox. Another popular piece of equipment for young children is the spinning teacup. The customised merry-go-round was out of action on the day we visited (and has apparently not been working for a long time). It’s an attractive setting with winding paths, native vegetation, tactile artwork and musical sculptures. There are also two sandpit areas and a water play feature. Shade is provided by a series of sailcloths and established trees. Barbecues and sheltered picnic tables are located within the fenced area. Toilet facilities are located directly outside the playground. Livvi’s Cafe is situated directly outside the gates of the playground.
For our full review of Livvi’s Place, see here.
Robyn Kemmis Reserve, Franklyn Street
Formerly known as Franklyn Street Reserve, this completely enclosed children’s playground, surrounded by lush greenery, is a lovely setting in which to while away a morning or afternoon outdoors with the kids. There are swings, slides and a climbing frame set on a rubber soft-fall surface. Shade is offered by large overhanging trees.
Wangal Nura Park, Corner of Flood and Myrtle Streets
The playground at the fully fenced Wangal Nura Park, a short stroll from Leichhardt Marketplace, is well suited to young children. The play equipment consists of swings, a climbing fort, seesaw and spinner. In addition to the play equipment, there is a grassed area and basketball half-court and soccer goal.
‘Hippo Park’ (Leichhardt Park), Glover Street
The playground area at Leichhardt Park, nestled on the waterfront between Callan Park, Leichhardt Oval and Le Montage, is known to locals as ‘Hippo Park’. The fully fenced playground is shaded and offers a range of appealing equipment, including a popular blue hippo. Toilet facilities are available right next to the playground.
Amy Street Playground, Amy Street
This well-landscaped small playground is fully fenced and shaded by sails. There is a selection of brightly coloured play equipment, including a slide, swings, seesaw, rocker and climbing fort, that will keep young children busy. The play area has both woodchips and rubber soft-fall surfaces. A concrete path, suitable for scooters, winds through the playground.
Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Australia Street
Thoughtfully landscaped and expansive, the fully fenced playground within Camperdown Memorial Rest Park is a favourite destination for local families. There is an excellent selection of play equipment that will engage a range of ages. The playground is well shaded by established trees and sailcloths. Each Wednesday the council-run free local playgroup, the Magic Yellow Bus, appears directly outside the playground. Grab a coffee and pastry from one of the outstanding cafes on Australia Street and settle in for the morning or afternoon!
Hollis Park, Wilson Street
Hollis Park is an attractive, sloped neighbourhood park with a fully fenced playground. The fully enclosed playground was upgraded in early 2021 with equipment to suit a range of ages. There’s a fantastic domed climbing frame, slides set into an artificial hill which can be reached from the bouldering wall, plus swings and rockers for the little ones. As for the yellow boat on springs, fans of Hollis Park will be pleased to know it lives to sail another day. There’s also shade over the swings and slides and some grassy nooks for playground picnics. A good number of bins for the resulting rubbish. And decent seating.
Bridgewater Park, Margaret Street
Located at the site of the Old Balmain Power Station, Bridgewater Park has a water frontage with glistening views across Iron Cove. Importantly, the playground is fully fenced and shaded with a sailcloth. The facilities consist of swings, a climbing fort and a boat set amongst sand.
Bain Playground, Corner of Salisbury Road and Lincoln Street
This small, fully fenced park surrounding a substation received an upgrade from Inner West Council in 2021. The beautiful wrought iron lamp posts were removed in the process, but the resulting layout is thoughtful and will appeal to primary aged children. There are monkey bars, a nest swing and small slide. Stepping stones and small boulders add a nature play element. There’s a nice grassy spot for a picnic too. Special mention of cafe/coffee roastery Brighter a little further down Salisbury Rd. Go for their top notch coffee and come back with a kimchi toastie. You won’t be disappointed!
Carrington Park, Carrington Street
This sweet, little-known fenced playground in Summer Hill deserves a mention. The playground has a train theme that is sure to inspire young transportation fans. In addition to the play train, there are also swings, a slide, roundabout and spring rider. The equipment is set over woodchips for soft landings. There is also a path circling the play area for scooter riding. The playground does not have sailcloths but trees provide adequate shade in the afternoon.
Darrell Jackson Gardens, Smith Street
Situated in the heart of the Summer Hill village, Darrell Jackson Gardens includes a fully fenced, shaded playground with some interesting equipment, including a slide built into the hillside and a tunnel slide, which appeals to a range of ages. Better still, the playground is a stone’s throw from the very popular local cafe Envy Deli Cafe.
Tillman Park, Unwins Bridge Road
The fully enclosed Tillman Park, on the border of Tempe and Sydenham, is a popular destination for local families. The playground facilities are extensive, with swings, slides and a climbing net. The play area is shaded by sails. Toilets are available. Each Tuesday morning the Magic Yellow Bus mobile playgroup visits Tillman Park. For coffee and snacks, across the road is local favourite, The Innocent Kitchen.
Cover image: Livvi’s Place, Five Dock. Images © Ginny Grant
This piece was published in July 2017 and updated in October 2021.