Top 5 Playgrounds
When we are on holiday, most of us love to get out and about and see the sights and experience as much as we can. The cruel truth is that our little ones usually have a whole lot more energy to burn than we do. This is where the good old trusty playground can come in handy! It is somewhere us ‘older ones’ can sit and chill while the ‘littlies’ go crazy burning whatever energy they have left to burn for the day!
On the Southern Fleurieu, we have many fantastic playgrounds and most of them have spectacular views of either the ocean or the hills. To keep it simple, we have put together a list of just five of the best (in our opinion). Our selection criteria included location (and views), play equipment (variation), play surface (personally, my pet hate is having to dig wood chips out of my children’s shoes every 3 ½ minutes and then having to do the same to mine, but unfortunately there are a lot of wood chip playground surfaces around!), fur kid friendliness (they are our kids too!), the nature factor, facilities (toilets, BBQ’s, picnic tables,water fountains etc..) and last but not least, parents ‘chill factor’ (comfortable and relaxing for us parents too). It is not always the most well known or most central playgrounds which are the best. You might just be surprised. Oh, and of course…these playgrounds are all free!
STARFISH PARK – HAYBOROUGH
This colourful playground is most certainly a hidden gem! Tucked away in the quiet back streets of Hayborough, overlooking the serene hills and only 5 minutes from Victor Harbor. Starfish Park is not only great for the little ones, it will keep the teenagers entertained and challenging each other also. Starfish Park features a giant climbing frame, flying fox, swings, sandpit and an activity zone with slide, climbing walls, fireman pole and bridge.
Families and their fur kids always have a great time here enjoying the large grassed space with plenty of room to run around or play ball games. This park has sheltered picnic areas , BBQ’s and a drinking fountain are on site as well as public toilets with disabled facilities. You could spend an entire afternoon here very easily. (MAP)
BRISTOW SMITH RESERVE NATURE PLAYSPACE – GOOLWA
Here is one of our favourites! The Nature Playspace in Goolwa which, it seems, is more popular with adults than children (from what I have heard ?). It opened only 2 years ago. It features a HUGE wooden boat to play in, which, if you know anything about Goolwa, is very much in keeping with the local culture. There is a slippery dip and all manner of swings and a huge sandpit too. There are also tunnels to play in and a water play area which features a fountain and a small creek. You will also find a sandy beach at a shallow part of the river, great for swimming and paddling.
But here’s my favorite bit – and, I suspect why so many other grownups love the place – the musical instruments and artwork. Really, they’ve thought of everything. Don’t forget to bring along the fur kids! There is a large grassed area surrounding the playground so you can finish the day with a puffed out pooch too! Finally, for those who have worked up an appetite (and bought their eski along), there are several barbeques and picnic tables for anyone who wants to use them. This is a wonderful place in which to spend a few hours with the family. (MAP)
‘MUWERANG’ KENT RESERVE – ENCOUNTER BAY
Another quiet and tidy playground is located at Kent Reserve on the foreshore between the Inman River and Kent Drive at Encounter Bay.. This playground is set amongst loads of shady trees and is situated on the beach front which is an added bonus in the warmer months (and the views are fabulous all year round). This playground area really does have everything. An excellent playground for the younger ones, a basketball hoop for the teens and an outdoor gym for the adults including disability access equipment. It has a large grassed area for the fur kids to have a play and very sheltered BBQ and picnic areas protected from any coastal winds. Beach access for a dip after a play and of course, toilets. (MAP)
HORSESHOE BAY PLAYGROUND – PORT ELLIOT
The Horseshoe Bay playground is quite small but it’s location is what has got it onto our top 5! It is situated in a grassed reserve alongside the very popular beach of Horseshoe Bay. The playground is suited to younger kids, but because of it’s location, there is no shortage of things for the older kids to do either!
The playground has a fun boat-themed activity zone as well as some swings and a huge sand-base which is great for the kids to dig in and get creative. There are several shady trees on the grassed area, perfect to sit and relax under while the kids play or perhaps spread out a picnic rug? You will also see a couple of the big trees in the park, often covered in kids who love to climb and explore! If you prefer to sit at a picnic table rather than on a rug to eat your lunch then you’re in luck. There are picnic tables located nearby, close to the playground, with toilets and a café only a short walk away. Last but certainly not least, the playground overlooks the stunning Horseshoe Bay, so when everyone is done playing, it’s time to cool off in the ocean before heading home. (MAP)
G T FISHER PLAYGROUND – VICTOR HARBOR
The main playground, in Victor Harbor and the one most people are familiar with is GT Fisher Playground. It is right in front of Warland Reserve, on the foreshore, alongside one of the safe swimming beaches in Victor Harbor. Another fantastic location with beautiful views! This playground is fully fenced with seating for parents to watch the kids and is shaded by the enormous Norfolk Pines surrounding it. There is a wide range of play equipment and several themed activity zones featuring a train, ship and castle, including motion-activated sound effects to add a bit of excitement to the experience. There is also an access-for-all ramp.
Just outside the gates of the playground is the Soldier’s Memorial Garden; a huge grassed area with BBQ’s and plenty of picnic tables to relax at and take in the busy little town of Victor Harbor. On the other side of the playground is the hub for Victor Harbor’s tourist facilities and the entrance to the Granite Island causeway. Quite often there will be a fairground in full swing on the grassed area near the Causeway and there are always places to purchase food and drinks (including hot doughnuts!). The toilets are located close by.
The entire G T Fisher playground is sitting in beach sand, so if you don’t mind getting sand in your shoes (and other places), this one is really worth a visit! (MAP)
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*Facilities icons courtesy: victor.sa.gov.au