By Melissa Meehan
Our masks are off (outside), playgrounds are open and the sun is shining.
Summer is the perfect time to get outside – even more so after Melbourne’s epic lockdown.
So we’ve tested some old favourites and new playgrounds in the Yarra Ranges that tick all the boxes.
We all know the favourites including Olinda Play Space, the train park in Healesville and the water park at Seville.
But we may have uncovered some awesome spaces that you haven’t heard of – some at the entry to the Yarra Ranges.
Warburton Water Park
This brand new free water park, playspace and recreation area for people of all ages is brilliant. It’s so good it’s hard to believe it’s free. Built on the former local outdoor pool and located right beside the caravan park, this is promised to be a summer favourite.
There is also a fabulous picnic and barbecue area, new toilet facilities and amazing water features, including a drenching bucket. And don’t forget the two playgrounds that sit around the water park. Its layout is really well thought out – with the younger kids on one side and the bigger kids on the other. Do yourself a favour and head up the mountain – you won’t be disappointed.
20 Woods Point Road, Warburton
*BBQ *Playground *Picnic Tables *Seating *Toilets * Water Play Park
Always a summer time favourite, Lillydale Lake playground is a popular one at the best of times, but in summer it really steps into its own.
The Splash Pad has water jets and sprays perfect for younger kids, but you are sure to find the older kids cooling themselves down too.
It’s even more fabulous when you realise they have an array of food trucks every day including an ice cream truck – which really means you can spend the whole day there.
Our tip – get there early.
Lillydale Lake Splash Pad, 435 Swansea Road, Lillydale
*BBQ *Grass Areas *Lake *Playground *Picnic Tables *Seating *Shade Areas *Water Play Park
Castle Hill Reserve
Before we even go into this dramatic and fantastic design – we must talk about the views from this playground. They are beautiful and surprising when you are in the relative flatlands of the Yarra Ranges council area.
But this relatively newly renovated play space is a family favourite.
The castle themed combination unit features slides, climbing nets, flying fox and hidden surprises under the towers. The playspace also has a swing set with two sling seats and a junior seat.
129 Partridge Way, Mooroolbark
* Accessible *BBQ *Bicycle Paths *Grass Areas *Playground *Picnic Tables *Seating *Shade Areas *Undercover areas *Walking Trails Paved
Yarra Glen Adventure Playground
It’s an oldie but a goodie – Yarra Glen Adventure Playground has something for everyone. The award winning, fully landscaped playground has a huge variety of activities suitable for all ages and abilities.
McKenzie Reserve also has a skate park and plenty of shade and lawn areas to play and have a picnic.
Cnr Anzac Avenue & Bell Street, Yarra Glen
*BBQ *Grass Areas *Playground *Picnic Tables *Seating *Shade Areas
Rolling Hills Reserve
Hidden in the middle of a residential estate, this is a fun find. Plenty of green space surrounds this playground that has a slide, flying fox and a climbing net. While it’s a great space, the playground is probably best suited to kids five and up as little ones could find the flying fox and birds nest climbing net a bit overwhelming and difficult to use.
Churchill Drive, Mooroolbark
*Flying fox *Picnic Tables *Drink tap
Summerhill Reserve, Mooroolbark
One of two reserves, the east side has a newly upgraded playspace which is perfect for very young kids including a wide junior slide, spinner, trampolines and swings.
The playspace is to south of the reserve by the exisiting trees allowing for shade over the equipment and nature play opportunties.
The West Reserve contains a dog off leash area.
19A Summerhill Park Drive, Mooroolbark
*All Abilities Playground *Accessible *Dog Off Lead Area *Grass Areas *Playground *Picnic Tables *Seating