OLINDA'S HILLTOP PLAYGROUND
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.