Ok, so you’re following the road tripping with kids survival guide 😉 and now you need to work out where to stop?
This is a list of cool parks and play areas that I have been to on the East Coast, perfect for when you are trying to find pit stops on a long drive or you are visiting or have moved somewhere new.
I do most of our trips alone with the two kids and while I love getting into nature and finding beautiful beaches, sometimes I just need something with a fence and/or some shade where I can chill for a second without having to work too hard to keep everyone alive.
There is an interactive map below which makes it easy to work out which places are on or near your route.
You can zoom in and out and select locations on your phone or on your desktop, you can also open the map in a separate window.
I’ll keep updating the map as I find cool spots on our travels.
If you are after some more info about each place on the map, the list below goes into more detail. I have listed them in order of North to South.
There are also a couple of great apps that make it easy to find playgrounds, they are both on the handy apps for road tripping and camping post.
Parks and play areas –
Muddy’s cafe/playground – 174 Esplanade, Cairns City QLD (Cairns)
Kid heaven, mostly a giant water play area but also some great playgrounds, some of which are fenced for the little ones. A cafe right next to it, toilets and showers nearby. Street parking but a lot of it. Perfect for escaping the heat with a group of kids.
River Pirate Playground – 139/141 Gympie Terrace Noosaville QLD (Sunshine Coast)
A great park with heaps of climbing gear. There is a beach on the river within 15m of the park, which is perfect for swimming or just playing in the sand. Toilets and BBQ’s close by. Good coffee and take away food within walking distance. The Yacht Club is just across the road too if you are after a meal and a cold beer.
Tewantin Water Park -Council & Boat Ramp Carpark, 9 Pelican St, Tewantin QLD (Sunshine coast)
This place gets a bad rap with online reviews! Yet every time I go there there are bunch of people there. Look, it’s not big and it’s pretty rudimentary but it is clean, fenced, has toilets and picnic tables and there is water spurting outta the ground! I have climbed wearily out of the van with two toddlers who have been in the car all day and wanted to kiss whoever created it so I guess it depends on your needs at the time. Great for toddlers and young kids, they can run riot and cool down and you might even be able to sit down and have a cuppa while you know they can’t escape. Close to food, coffee and markets on the weekend.
Dick Caplick Park – Memorial Drive Eumundi QLD (Sunshine Coast)
This park is beautiful, really shady and surrounded by lush green gardens. It’s in the middle of town and close to all of the shops and cafes in Eumundi. There is plenty for all different ages with some great climbing structures. Toilets are nearby.
Tickle Park – David Low Way, Coolum Beach QLD (Sunshine Coast)
Right on the beach at Coolum, really close to shops, coffee, restaurants. Plenty of parking, toilets and showers for if you do head down to the beach. Not a huge park but totally cool for the little ones. There is a big grassy area next to it for kicking the ball and some great climbing trees for the older ones.
Kenilworth Town Park – 2 Anne St, Kenilworth QLD (Sunshine Coast)
This is a big park with a heap of different areas suitable for all ages. While I was there the thing getting the most love was a peddle powered helicopter type thing that spins when you sit on it and peddle, it looks like a bit of a hit. It’s also right in town so you can grab food or coffee easily.
Whites Hill Reserve Play Park – 258 Boundary Road Camp Hill QLD (Brisbane)
This place is huge! There is a flying fox, which is great for the older kids and plenty for the littles. BBQ’s and toilets mean you could totally set up for the day if you wanted to. Enough parking that I have never had a problem.
Palm Beach Pirate Treasure Island Playground – 945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach QLD (Gold Coast)
This place is awesome. Plenty of things to entertain all ages of kids, plus toilets and a Café within 20m. The best thing is that there is a little beach just around the corner (about 50m) that is perfect to set up for a picnic and a swim. I daresay parking is a bit tricky in school holidays and on weekends but I haven’t had any trouble so far.
Heritage Park – 5 Mill St, Mullumbimby NSW (Mullumbimby)
Playgrounds are pretty thin on the ground in this area and this one is by far the best. Heaps of shade, plenty to climb on and do. No toilets and it is unfenced and right by the river so beware if you have a runner! Not very close to food but there is plenty of parking. It’s a really beautiful spot to hang though, surrounded by big lovely trees. They added some new large shade sales sometime in late 2017 which is awesome for hot days.
Jubilee Park – 92 Manners St, Tenterfield NSW (Tenterfield)
Fenced and completely shaded with sales, I like this one because it is super safe, they are not going to get cooked and there is enough to keep them occupied for a while. It’s in a large park with plenty of trees and grassed areas so not a bad place to stop for a spell.
New England Highway Park – New England Highway Guyra (Guyra)
Fully fenced, right on the highway and with toilets, water and BBQ’s. There is also a flying fox which kept our crew of 2,3,7 & 14 year olds occupied. Really handy for a quick stopover.
McHattan Park – 49 Fitzroy St, Walcha NSW (Walcha)
This is a relatively new park so everything is in great condition. Right in the middle of town and close to cafes and shops. There are plenty of grassed areas, picnic tables and toilets close by. A nice little tidy park. Unfenced but in a safe position.
Grafton Jungle Gym – 1/160 North St, Grafton NSW (Grafton)
This one is an indoor play centre with big kids arcade games and a massive climbing structure. There is a babies area with soft play, a café that serves a pretty decent fruit platter and toilets with change tables. There is also plenty of parking.
Riverside Park – 1 Verge St Kempsey (Kempsey)
This one is cool in any weather but really great for those hot days. It’s on the river, has plenty of parking and heaps of shade. It’s almost bang on the halfway mark between Sydney and Byron.There is a flying fox, a small water play area, swings and lots of things to climb.
Brelsford Park – Earl St Coffs Harbour NSW (Coffs Harbour)
Great for slightly older kids as well as the little ones. Heaps of different areas for all ages, huge slide. A few things that you don’t find everywhere which are great for the novelty factor. Parking is ok but a bit busy on the weekend and after school hours.
Bilarong Reserve – Wakehurst Parkway Next to Narrabeen Lake, North Narrabeen NSW (Northern Beaches Sydney)
This place has the most amazing stone sculptures of dragons and other mythical creatures! there is a small fenced area for the little kids and another unfenced area with climbing structures, a little bridge and plenty of sandy areas to play. It’s right on the bike track that goes around the lagoon so you just have to watch that no-one gets cleaned up by one on it’s way past.
Walter Gors Park – 31 Dee Why Parade, Dee Why NSW (Northern Beaches Sydney)
This is the newer park in Dee Why. The kids love it and there are some really cool features, including a water park. Great play equipment. Only issue is it’s not fully fenced and is near a busy road. It is also easy for the kids to get out of your sight behind equipment. If you only have one it would be awesome. When my two were younger it was a bit of a struggle keeping tabs on them. In saying that, the water park is fantastic when it’s warm and I reckon it will be a lifesaver this summer. Not ideal for the really small bubs as they equipment is all pretty high.
Rocketship Playground -7 Callistemon Way, Warriewood NSW (Northern Beaches Sydney)
Great park for all ages. Has a massive rocket ship with a big slide and also some large fast slides which the older kids get into. An oval behind it for ball kicking, shady tables, toilets and water. It has a sand surface and can get pretty hot on a sunny day so maybe not ideal for middle of the day summer playing. Great park though.
The Flying Fox Cafe – 2 Mona St, Mona Vale NSW (Northern Beaches Sydney)
The best thing about this place is there is a cafe onsite which also has a separate little play area for toddlers and babies. The large playground is fully fenced and has a heap to do. Older kids can use the flying fox and the large climbing structure. Heaps of parking. Toilets, BBQ’s and water. It is also near a really cute little beach in a sheltered bay.
Michaela Howie Playground -137 Oaks Ave, Dee Why (Northern Beaches Sydney)
A pretty simple park in a beautiful spot! It looks out over Dee Why Beach and is close to food and coffee. A bit of a walk to the toilets. We spent a lot of time here when the kids were really little as it’s pretty well suited to crawlers. Parking can be tricky on weekends.
Centennial Park – Centennial Park NSW (Sydney)
This place is a wonderland for anyone of any age. There are a couple of cafes, two playgrounds, ducks to feed, horses to ride, bike paths and that is only the beginning. Jump online and see what they are up to before you go because there is always something new happening. There is a new wild play garden there now and it is amazing! Huge and really well done. Just a word of warning, it was crazy packed on a Tuesday morning when I went to check it out the other day.
Belmore Park – 173 Auburn St, Goulburn NSW (Goulburn)
This is my favourite first stop when doing the Sydney to Melbourne drive. There’s a train that my kids love, plenty of swings and climbing structures, lots of grass for ball kicking and toilets close by. It’s in the middle of town so it’s close to shops for any meals or supplies you need.
Oddies Creek Park – Wodonga Pl, South Albury NSW (Albury)
This park is awesome awesome awesome! It has everything imaginable and suits all ages of kids. It’s ginormous and has a flying fox and plenty of climbing equipment. There are toilets, picnic tables and water nearby and just a few hundred metres away is a cafe with great food. The cafe is down the hill behind the playground and sits on a lovely big river, perfect for a picnic stop. This place has saved me a couple of times on the way between Sydney and Melbourne.
Bairnsdale All Abilities Playground – 9 Main St, Bairnsdale VIC (Bairnsdale)
Another giant playground that has saved me on the drive between Melbourne and Sydney on the coast road. It has everything you could want, is fully fenced and is next to a huge skate park so the older kids will be happy. Toilets, picnic tables in shade and plenty of water and it’s big enough to keep them occupied for ages.
St Kilda Adventure Playground – Neptune St, St Kilda VIC (Melbourne)
This place is amazing! One of my favourites. It works a little differently to your average park and has opening hours so check it out online before you arrive. It’s all about nature play, natural structures and getting down and dirty if you want. There is a cool trampoline and heaps of beautiful coloured sculptures and structures.
Allnut Park – Wheatley Rd, McKinnon VIC (Melbourne)
This one is a great baby and toddler park. Everything is pretty low to the ground and there is plenty for them to do. It’s unfenced but in the middle of a large grass area so not much risk of losing them, I found it fine with two under three. Plenty of parking, toilets near by and a large park surrounding it so plenty of bike tracks and ball kicking areas.
Bob Pettit Reserve Playground – 87 Sunset Strip, Jan Juc VIC (Jan Juc/Torquay)
This is a great adventure playground that I stumbled upon by accident. I’d been checking out Bell’s Beach and it was SO hot and there was no shade anywhere and then, bingo! I found this place. Enough shade to escape the weather a bit, toilets and picnic tables and plenty for the kids to climb/swing/run on. It’s right next to an oval so plenty of room for ball kicking.
If you have a favourite near you please let me know in the comments below! I’d love new places to check out when we are next out and about…
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