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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