75-77 Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda

Since it opened on the old golf course site in 2019 Olinda Playspace has become a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. Less than an hour from the Melbourne CBD it is the perfect spot to visit on a a daytrip to the Dandenongs. Situated on the hilltop just east of Olinda township the playground has sweeping views north across the Yarra Valley. One standout of the space is the array of public art including statues of owls and wombats carved from wood and a giant gecko and frog which littles can clamber up and over. The playground is surrounded by established trees, with several within the space having been retained, providing ample shade on hot days. This has been combined with plenty of new plantings giving the park a lush feel.

As you enter and go to the left there is a zone for the littlest littles with sweet cubbies, toddler sized slides and swings. Over the bridge which spans the dry creek bed and the frog is on your left before you can to the triple inground mini-trampolines. A little further on you are guided to a large public art display and super wide slide on the right and the epic twin flying fox on the left. Then comes the play space for bigger kids with a roundabout, ropes course, larger swings and big slides. As you circle back towards the entrance is the huge sandpit which includes several waterplay elements and if your children are like mine they may never make it beyond this spot.

As an advocate of nature play I am impressed with the way natural elements have been incorporated throughout the park. The positioning of logs, rocks and embankments encourages children to engaged not only with manmade structures but these more natural ones as well. They are ideal for encouraging the development of balance and other gross motor skills.

It feels like this spot has been designed with safety in mind. There are plenty of areas with rubber fall mats to cushion falls. These are also perfect for crawlers or those littles who otherwise put tanbark in their mouths. In the center of the space is a large undercover pavilion with picnic tables. It is the perfect spot to position yourself if you have multiple children of different ages to watch over. What I really like about this park, over others, is the array of seating spots (including large flat rocks) so you can be nearby and engaged with your children without having to just stand around.

For practicalities Oscar Vintage Coffee Van is onsite regularly (Wednesday-Sunday) to fuel mum or dad and there are toilets and bbqs available. I recommend bringing plenty of snacks because you could conceivably spend hours here. The hilltop location does mean it can be chilly, especially on winter days, so pack warm layers. Don't forget the hills can be up to 5 degrees cooler than Melbourne.

If you are up for more outdoor adventures be sure to check out these nature play spots and nearby Pirianda Gardens. If you love parks be sure to check out the recently refurbished Belgrave Lake Park.

Sand pits and water play at Olinda Playspace
Fair haired boy in blue top engaged in water play at Olinda Playspace
Swings and toddler cubby houses amongst the trees and shrubs of Olinda Playspace.
Brown haired girl in yellow dress in the cubby at Olinda Playspace.
The Autumn foliage and natural setting of the swings at Olinda Playspace.
Young girl in yellow dress jumping on the mini trampoline at Olinda Playspace.
Mosaic public artwork at Olinda Playspace.
Public artwork and colorful slides beneath the Autumn tress at Olinda Playspace.
Children on basket swing being pushed by their father at Olinda Playspace.
Little girl in yellow dress on the flying fox at Olinda Playspace.
The toddler area at Olina Playspace with swings, slides and cubby houses.
Young boy in jeans and a blue top jumping on the mini trampoline at Olinda Playspace.
Oscar's vintage coffee van at the entrance to Olinda Playspace.
Gecko public art installation at Olinda Playspace.
Fair haired boy in blue top engaged in water play at Olinda Playspace

Kate Cashin is a family photographer based in the Dandenong Ranges outside of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

She specialises in nature sessions and forest adventures with the motto "Play. Move. Explore.".