Hi, my name is Maria Holt and I’ve been kindly asked by Amanda to write a guest piece for her blog for an out of town perspective.
Firstly, allow me to introduce myself.
I’m a 34 year old mummy & a teacher, hence my Instagram handle ateachermummy.
With over a decade of experience as a dual qualified primary and early childhood teacher, a passion for play based learning and a keen interest in both my local community up here in Cairns and expressing myself creatively, it was only a matter of time before our learning at home ideas and regular visits to parks & playgrounds around our hometown became… well, a bit of a thing! I started reviewing playgrounds on my page, showcasing the lesser known suburban playgrounds to provide alternatives to the crowded inner-city facilities that we’ve all visited one too many times. It’s been a hit with local families and visitors alike and even saw my 3 year old son and I featured on the front page of The Cairns Post recently. Naturally, when we have the opportunity to travel to other towns, our 3-year-old is eager to check out new, different playgrounds (and so am I!). When we visited Townsville recently for a wedding, we booked our stay for a few extra days to give us time to catch up with family and friends and to scope out the best playgrounds. We visited 4 and I’ll let you know what happened below…
In the language of the traditional owners of the land on which we played, the phrase WADDA MOOLI means WELCOME!! We felt very welcome indeed. It turns out that this playground is a Livvy’s Place play space; one created with love & care with support by the Touched by Olivia Foundation. It is an all-abilities playground that is one of the most truly inclusive spaces I’ve come across. I’m incredibly sad that there aren’t more playgrounds like this around (we don’t have anything genuinely comparable to this in Cairns at present).
It is evident that there is a need and a desire for more inclusive spaces to make play accessible for all. There’s a wheelchair friendly roundabout carousel at ground level, a whopping SIX swings at the perfect parental pushing height for this tall mama, multiple rockers, musical instruments, a climbing obstacle course and several slides more suited to younger children including a sensory slide and much more. The real highlight at this playground, though, is the whopping big tower with huge slides and climbing nets all through the inside which is totally enclosed.
On first inspection, one might assume that this tower was made only with the big kids in mind but it quickly becomes clear that even some toddlers can manage to climb it as they’ve created it in such a way that it’s both simple and challenging. My only regret is that I didn’t climb up there myself to check it out thoroughly but if my Mr 3, who up until recently baulked at tower slides in general let alone this giant one, took to it first go then they must have done something right! There’s a bike skills area across the carpark which incorporates real road signs. This is perfect for scooters & balance bikes! Apparently, there are also sporting fields, a dog park and even a mountain bike trail nearby. Also, and I know this is important to a lot of parents, particularly those with toilet-training toddlers in tow, there are toilets on site. This park is well worth the drive out to Elliott Springs.
*UPDATE – Local Foodie experts, Essentially Fresh will soon be opening a cafe on site*
Named after a species of butterfly, Birdwing Park in Rasmussen is – you guessed it – a butterfly themed playground.
This playground also featured a large slide tower though this one was not quite as toddler-friendly or inclusive as the similar looking structure at Wadda Mooli Park. My Mr 3 did however manage to climb it, with a lot of encouragement and reminders about where to put his hands & feet to pull himself up so it is doable, for sure. The tower slides are just as, if not more, striking to look at as the structure at Wadda Mooli with their blue and pink colour theme it’s sure to appeal to all. There’s also a butterfly shaped climbing net, swings & a nest swing here. There’s exercise equipment nearby too making for a fun outing for the whole family.
This would have to be Townsville’s answer to Cairns’ Fig Tree Playground. Ours is better. There, I said it. This is still quite a charming playground featuring a wooden play structure built around large trees and set just back from the riverway within a fenced enclosure that stretches parallel to the footpath and includes various sensory experiences and plenty of space for children’s parties and get togethers.
These are just three of the amazing playgrounds you lucky Townsville locals (and visitors alike) are blessed with in your Town of Towns. I’ve also had playgrounds at the Jezzine Barracks, Mount Low and The Strand recommended to me but ran out of time this visit. We are looking forward to coming down again soon and testing out some more playgrounds. Thanks for having us Townsville!
If you’d like to learn more about my play & learning ideas at home with my little boy or are interested in checking out some Cairns Playgrounds next time you’re up my way, follow along on Instagram .
It’s all free because I just genuinely want to help parents plan their next park dates, promote outdoor adventures and learning through play and most of all encourage family fun within our great region.
*A big thank you to Maria for guest blogging for us, you can check out these and more local playgrounds inside our Townsville Family Life Playgrounds Guide,
which will soon be getting newly upgraded local playgrounds added in time for school holidays thanks to some mums and dads from our Townsville Parent Community