Gold Coast Playgrounds and Parks – Parklake Park

Gold Coast Playgrounds and Parks – Parklake Park

Parklake Park is an exciting playground on the northern Gold Coast, nestled in a tree-lined gully.

It’s an imaginative play area, including one of the largest playground slides we have ever seen and lots of different play areas.

There are a few features that make this playground special. The shade from the trees and shade cloth over the younger play area makes this one great for sun – conscious families. It would also be nice and cool in summer. There were a few mozzies and midges about, so if you are susceptible to being nibbled on, take an insect repellant. We weren’t bitten but people around us were.

The landscaping of this park is such that while it’s not fully – fenced, you can see all openings from most positions in the park and the water is fenced off from the playground. There is also parking near the swim school, and even closer if you park on the road and walk down into the playground. A public toilet block is also super handy, but is set away from the equipment and doesn’t intrude on the park.

The best thing about the park? The range of ages covered here. From the little ones playing in and around the smaller equipment and around the giant turtle, igloo house and racing car, to the flying fox and scarily high slide for the older kids. There is also plenty of swings so no one needs to wait long for a turn.

Toddler area
There is a fun adventure playground for little ones with two slides, climbing wall, fireman’s pole turning games and various steps on different levels. This area is complemented with a rope bridge, four-person seesaw and a mini seesaw

Sand pit
This area next to the toddler area is surrounded by paths and rocks making a defined area for sand play with a fun spinning disk, igloo house, giant turtle, fabulous race car, talking pipes and a little shop front. There were plenty of sand pies served up during our visit!

Main Play Area

Walking into this park of the park is awe-inspiring on your first visit. The giant slide is a sight to see, as are the faces of the kidlets flying out the other end! We made our way up the path and stairs to climb up the platform and anticipated that our 2yo would choose the smaller slide. We watched in shock as he approached the giant blue slide and promptly backed himself into it. Running back down the path expecting to see our little guy in tears, we found him clapping in joy. He may have been in shock though, as he only went down once more before he settle on some less exciting play (thank goodness – we couldn’t handle the excitement).

In this area there is also a swift flying fox,balancing/climbing net, a ring of swings plus two more swings (in total there are two toddler swings). This is all nestled under a beautiful canopy of trees,making for some fun imaginative play (Lord of the Flies?!).

There is also a big playing field for older kids or family games, and an additional climbing wall (next to swim school).

It is a brilliant park for a morning out, a family picnic or BBQ, or playdate. Pack a blanket and some insect repellant and expect to be there for a few hours.

Gold Coast Playgrounds and Parks – Parklake

LOCATION  Greenway Blvd, Maudsland

AGES Toddlers to teens

AMENITIES BBQs (v/small ones), rotunda, covered picnic benches, benches around the playground, public toilet block, on and off-street parking

HIGHLIGHTS Giant slide, beautiful setting.

Gold Coast Playgrounds and Parks – Laguna Park

Gold Coast Playgrounds and Parks – Laguna Park

Ahoy there landlubbers! Do you love a pirate-themed playground? What about a BIG playground?  And what about a playground suitable for every age from toddlers to teens?

Laguna Park in Palm Beach definitely ticks all of these boxes, making it one of our favourite Gold Coast playgrounds.

It is the sort of park that you can spend a few hours playing at (similar to Kurrawa Park in Broadbeach but about ½ the size) with grassy areas to sit, picnic benches and BBQs, making it a great choice for a children’s birthday party.

It is fully fenced (tick!) and has a bark chip base (another big tick!). It’s also has a huge variety of play equipment, shade sails and a paths that circle the play area making it a great playground to let the kids loose with their scooters or trikes (probably not suitable for bigger bikes).

Small Pirate Ship area.

This area is separate to the large playground, sitting outside of the scooter track, and is suitable for kids 2-5 years. There are nooks and crannies for little ones to explore, a wobbly plank just a few inches off the ground, a slide and ‘shop-fronts’ for imaginary play. There are also some funny faces to put together, although these are a bit hard for tiny tots.

The Fairy Ring

There is a cluster of brightly painted fairy mushrooms at the eastern side of the park for children to explore. It is the perfect spot for talking with the fairy folk who live in this part of the playground, and it is protected by shady trees.

The Main Park

The main park is a huge oval shape and is surrounded by a scooter path (complete with zebra crossings), and a two-train monorail ride for mums that want to tone their thighs!

We tried out the monorail and, be warned, it is in a constant state of friction! There is no forward momentum here, just push or pedal power – we made 2 laps and couldn’t go on (Mum challenge: how many laps can you do?). The monorail goes underneath the main play equipment – exciting!

The main slides in the playground are attached to a huge play platform that has an underwater theme, with stingrays flying across the front of it. Despite its height, it is accessible by stairs, so adventurous little tots can get up there themselves. The main tunnel is quite low though, so we didn’t follow our little one in. Once children reach the other end, there are two ways they can go – down a spiral slide or climb down a firm netted tunnel, taking them to another two slides, and chain ladder (watch the drop here for little ones) and more stairs. Underneath are various play areas for little people and next door is a climbing web, fun for all ages

The rest of the park has quite a collection of equipment including a station intended for sand, however the ground covering is now bark, so this is a bit stiff and doesn’t really function as intended.

There are also wacky mirrors to play around, space-ship shaped spinners, two sets of swings (toddler and normal), and another smaller slide set with a chain ladder to access. There is also a liberty swing for kids in wheelchairs

We spent a good morning at Laguna Park. There is ample free parking within the park, a good coffee shop in the shopping strip across the road, and plenty of grassy spots close to the playground to put out a blanket and sit with friends or bubs while you watch the kids. There is also free hot water available so you can easily heat a bottle or make your own coffee!

Laguna Park Palm Beach

LOCATION 130 Laguna Avenue, Palm Beach, QLD 4227

AGES Something to do for kids of all ages 

AMENITIES  Fully fenced playground, free parking, coffee shop across the road (1 block back), BBQ area, hot water available for bottles and coffee, shaded picnic benches, benches, pathway for scooters, pathways for walking, public toilets, off-lead area for dogs, water fountain.

HIGHLIGHTS monorail pedal-train, fully-fenced, all-ages

GET THERE Take the Palm Beach exit off the M1, turn right down Tahiti, and lefi into Laguna.

Mind Full or Mindful? Helping your child live in the moment.

Mind Full or Mindful? Helping your child live in the moment.

We live in the age of technology, of instant access, where busy seems to be the new black. Most parents are consumed by busy… living off too little sleep, on too much coffee, chauffeuring kids to and from school, play dates and the endless extra-curricular activities. As a result it can often seem that most of our day is spent on auto-pilot.

Have you ever experienced the following?

  • Driven in the car and arrived at your destination without remembering the journey
  • Asked your partner the same question four times and still don’t remember the answer
  • Eaten a whole packet of Tim Tams and wondered where they all went

We live in a constant routine without truly experiencing, our minds forever wandering to what happened yesterday, last week, last year, or focused on that never ending ‘to do’ list.

If we do this surely our children must too?

Have you ever asked your child what they did at school that day and been met with an empty response? Like adults children can also fall into the trap of running on auto-pilot … being told where to be, what to do, and how to do it.

How do we encourage our children to live in the moment and be fully present and why is this important?

The answer is teaching them to be mindful. Mindfulness is the process of ‘focusing attention to internal and external experiences in the present moment, without judgement’.

The benefits of mindfulness in children include:

  • Increase self-awareness, social awareness and self-confidence
  • Help those high energy kids to better regulate their emotions and behaviour.
  • Improve the ability to understand what another person is thinking or feeling
  • Help build positive relationships.
  • Reduce the severity of depression and anxiety
  • Build resilience by helping them to cope better with stress and engage more fully in the world.

How do I get my child to practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness is most effective when it is done regularly in short doses. It doesn’t require you getting your 6 year old to lie still for 30 minutes or meditate for hours. Children are imaginative and creative, and that is how their mindfulness practice should be. Start with mindfulness exercises of no longer than 5 minutes. As your child grows and mindfulness is practiced more regularly the duration can increase.

Here are some quick, fun and creative activities to get you started:

  1. Body Scan
  • Have your child lie down on their back on a comfortable surface and close their eyes.
  • Then, make your way through each muscle group telling them to squeeze that muscle in their body as tight as they can – squish their toes and feet, squeeze their hands into fists, make their legs and arms as hard as stone, shrug their shoulders, and scrunch up their faces.
  • After a few seconds, have them release that muscle and relax for a few moments. Repeat for each muscle group two times, before moving on to the next muscle. Encourage them to think about how their body is feeling throughout the activity.

 

  1. Awareness of breath – Balloon Breathing

Sitting in a comfortable cross-legged or lying position, ask your child to place their hands on their stomach. Tell them to imagine they have a balloon in their belly, and get your child to choose the colour of the balloon.

Instruct them to take a deep breath in through their nose, noticing their tummy rise as though they are filling up the balloon with air. Gently, blow out through their mouth, getting them to imagine the balloon is floating away in to the sky. Get them to choose a different colour balloon and repeat the process five times.

  1. Spidey Senses

For those little super heroes, instruct them to turn on their ‘Spidey senses’ – smell, sight, hearing, taste and touch. Ask your child to identify three things they can smell, see, hear, taste and touch in their environment. This activity is simple, but so effective in bringing your child to the present moment

  1. Mindfulness Walk – Safari

This activity turns an average, everyday walk outside into an exciting new adventure. Tell your child that you will be going on a safari, and their goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies, and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and they’ll need to focus all of their senses to find them, especially the little ones.

  1. Blowing bubbles

Have your kids focus on taking in a deep, slow breath, and exhaling steadily to fill the bubble. Encourage them to pay close attention to the bubbles as they form, detach, and pop or float away.

  1. Gratitude Time

Before bed, share something that you are grateful for that happened that day – something that made you happy, and have your child do the same.

On a final note, a popular application that I recommend daily to parents in my psychology practice is the Smiling Mind app. This app is free to download, and features hundreds of guided mindfulness exercises for children as young as 6 years old.

Let’s aim to be mindful instead of mind full!

Whatever you are doing, ask yourself, “What’s the state of my mind?” – Dalai Lama, 1999

 

Gold Coast Playgrounds that are Fully-Fenced.

Gold Coast Playgrounds that are Fully-Fenced.

Do you have a runner?

A fenced playground can make the difference between a relaxing trip to the park or the WORST trip to the park! That’s why we’ve put together this list of the Gold Coast’s fully-fenced playgrounds.

Find a park near you, pack a blanket and relax while your kids play safely.

Have you visited one of these neighbourhood playgrounds and have a photo we could share? We’re slowly getting to photograph each one but would love your help! Get in touch!

Ashmore

Girral Park: Kallaroo Crescent, Ashmore.

Glenmore Park, Glenmore Drive, Ashmore.

Gunyah Park, Girraween Grove, Ashmore.

Sun Valley Park, Parasol Street, Ashmore.

Sweetgum Park, 5 Parasol Street, Ashmore.

Benowa

Benowa Park, Lambros Drive, Benowa.

Sir Bruce Small Park, St Kevins Avenue, Benowa.

Broadbeach

All Abilities Playground at Kurrawa Pratten Park, Broadbeach.

Albert Park, 180 Monaco Street, Broadbeach Waters.

Hart Park, 1 Alaska Avenue, Broadbeach Waters.

Burleigh

Reg Chesters Playground, The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads.

Deodar Park, 2 Omao Avenue, Burleigh Waters.

Carrara

Alan Nielsen Park, Nielsens Road, Carrara.

Boonooroo Park Central, 6 Michelmore Road, Carrara.

Paddington Drive Reserve, 17 Paddington Drive, Carrara.

Markeri Park, Markeri Street, Clear Island Waters.

Goodwin Park, Lanham Street, Coolangatta.

Coombabah

Marsupial Park, 61 Kangaroo Avenue, Coombabah.

Nolan Park, 53a Sidney Nolan Drive, Coombabah

Possum Park, 2 Possum Crescent, Coombabah.

Viney Park, 42 Beattie Road, Coomera.

Helensvale

Helensvale Rugby Park, 239 Discovery Drive, Helensvale.

Hession Park, 145 Discovery Drive, Helensvale.

Highland Park

Fred Cass Family Park, 13 Gumbeel Court, Highland Park.

Bayview Park, Hyacinth Avenue, Hollywell.

Labrador

Chirn Park, 6 Turpin Road, Labrador.

Chris Yeomans Park, Stephenson Street, Labrador.

Harley Park, Marine Parade, Labrador.

Jim Slorach Park, 2 Bight Court, Mermaid Waters.

Stoner Family Park, 70 Merridown Drive, Merrimac.

Miami

Ernie Tebb Park, 12 Albion Avenue, Miami.

Pizzey Park, 80 Pacific Avenue, Miami.

Thorn Park, Marine Parade, Miami.

Your Park, 5 Bloodwood Crescent, Molendinar.

Nerang

Glennon Park, Leagues Club Drive, Nerang.

Nerang Tennis Centre, Southport Nerang Road, Nerang.

Swift Park, 11 Centurion Crescent, Nerang.

Highland Park

Fred Cass Family Park, 13 Gumbeel Court, Highland Park.

Bayview Park, Hyacinth Avenue, Hollywell.

Labrador

Chirn Park, 6 Turpin Road, Labrador.

Chris Yeomans Park, Stephenson Street, Labrador.

Harley Park, Marine Parade, Labrador.

Jim Slorach Park, 2 Bight Court, Mermaid Waters.

Stoner Family Park, 70 Merridown Drive, Merrimac.

Norfolk West Reserve, 15 Katunga Circuit, Ormeau.

Oxenford

Gambamora Park, 22 Riversdale Road, Oxenford.

Studio Park, 87 Village Way, Oxenford.

Pacific Pines Central Park, 149 Pacific Pines Boulevard, Pacific Pines. (gated toddler area)

Palm Beach

Laguna Park, 130 Laguna Avenue, Palm Beach.

Mallawa Drive Sports Complex, Mallawa Drive, Palm Beach.

Salk Oval Parklands, Sarawak Avenue, Palm Beach.

Boat Harbour Park, 20 Paradise Parade, Paradise Point.

 

Robina

Jack Wilson Park, 108 Cheltenham Drive, Robina.

Kuring Gai Park, 32 Beauty Point Drive, Robina.

Robina Lions Club Park, 14a Peach Drive, Robina.

Scottsdale Parklands, Scottsdale Drive, Robina.

 

Runaway Sport Complex, Morala Avenue, Runaway Bay.

Southport

Arthur Angove Park, Neville Avenue, Southport.

Lilli Pilli Park, 48 Lilli Pilli Drive, Southport.

Musgrave Sports Park, Musgrave Avenue, Southport.

Ron Short Park, 28 Alicia Street, Southport.

Surfers Paradise

Evandale Park, Ouyan Street, Surfers Paradise.

Lex Bell Park, Salerno Street, Surfers Paradise.

Vespa Park, 59 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise.

Tugan

Atkin Park, 13 Kitchener Street, Tugun.

Golden Four Playground, Gold Coast Highway, Tugun.

Toolona Park, Toolona Street, Tugun.

Upper Coomera

John Siganto Park, 639 Reserve Road, Upper Coomera.

Tallowwood Park, Rosevalley Drive, Upper Coomera.

Seafoam Park, 30a Roundelay Drive, Varsity Lakes.

Pioneer Downs Park, 21 Vince Hinde Drive, Worongary.

Gold Coast Playgrounds and Parks – Cascade Gardens

Gold Coast Playgrounds and Parks – Cascade Gardens

After a rainy week in which we checked out Cafe Tahbella and visited Doodlebugs Miami, we decided to venture somewhere old but new, Cascade Gardens.

Cascade Gardens  is one of the Gold Coast’s hidden parks and playgrounds.  It is home to the Korean War Memorial, Kokoda Memorial Walk and wall, Autism Gold Coast and an array of public facilities. Perfect for a picnic, you will find plenty of undercover bench seats, BBQs, public toilet facilities, water bubblers, lots of green open space, and of course a playground!

We made sure to grab a drive-through coffee from Broadbeach McDonald’s on the way, as we weren’t sure if there was a cafe (there isn’t), and found the Gardens only 1km north (or a km south of Isle of Capri bridge if you are coming from the north). You can see the Oracle buildings from the Gardens, so it’s not far from Broadbeach.

Enter at the lights and just one ring road leads you to the playground area which is set amongst beautiful trees and grassy areas perfect for kicking a ball. Parking is plentiful, and we grabbed a park right in front of the playground.

The playground has different features for different ages and a bark ground cover. The jewel of the playground is the old – fashioned merry-go-round, because, well, kids don’t see them that often! The novelty didn’t wear off either. Our toddler wanted to spin and spin and spin and and spin….well you get the idea! There are two see-saws  (the modern kind on springs), different animals on springs, the standard swing set (on nice long chains for a swooshing good ride!), a flying fox (too high for our little guy – Ok for our teen) and two slides on platforms – one accessible by a climbing wall and one by a chain Web – not at all friendly for our toddler. Luckily he wasn’t worried about the slides – there was still plenty to do. (There are no noughts and crosses games or anything low to the ground for toddlers to explore except for the merry-go-round and so ring animals.) There is also a liberty swing for children in wheelchairs.

After a play we walked to the riverside (Oh be careful – the playground isn’t fenced! Supervise at all times as the river is 50m away!) We were able to sit on a bench and watch some boats go by, including a Police boat – what a highlight!

We then wandered around the trees. Because of the different trees there was lots of interesting leaf litter – pods, pine cones, gum nuts, banksia flowers, sticks, pine needles, and strips of bark. We had lots of fun collecting things, looking at animals crawling on trees, poking sticks in the ground and naming the colours we could see (orange sticks (pine needles) were a hit!

There is a raised field defined by small trees perfect for a footy game or cricket game, and LOTS of birds to chase (sorry birds! We hope he’ll grow out of it soon too!) A big bunch of bamboo creaks and sways in the breeze – we did a couple of laps of that too.

After a while mumma and bub needed a rest, so we sat down on one of the many benches while our little guy ran out the last of his energy. We then grabbed a drink at the bubbler and headed for the car.

We had spent three hours playing, watching, chasing, poking and exploring – not bad considering we don’t often make that milestone (Kurrawa Park is always a winner for a solid 3 hour morning out).

Gold Coast Playgrounds and Parks Cascade Gardens

LOCATION Gold Coast Highway Broadbeach

AGES Something to do for kids of all ages

AMENITIES  New and clean toilet block, bubbler, playground  (swings, slides, flying fox, merry-go-round, see-saws, climbing walls, chain bridge), BBQ, picnic tables, undercover tables, benches, open areas.

HIGHLIGHTS merry-go-round, river and open spaces

GET THERE Light rail stop approx 150m away