From the moment you enter Hallstrom Park, you see children everywhere laughing and playing together on the fantastic playground equipment. The animal statues and zoo-themed climbing frames are irresistible for cheeky monkeys keen to burn of some energy clambering over the swings and slides.
Sir Edward Hallstrom (1886-1970), donated the land for the park to be built, and the animal magic is a nod to his fascination with animals. He was a supporter and donated much to Taronga Zoo, and ran his own private zoo locally in Northbridge.
The park is designed to be a mini version of Taronga Zoo, although at Hallstrom Park, the animals are mainly of the play-equipment variety. Kids love exploring the oversized turtle with cutouts in his shell (perfect for climbing!) and weaving between sandstone statues of animals like elephants, gorillas and geckos. They’re equipped with sensor-activated sound elements and an interactive “musicosaurus”. There’s even a stone crocodile hidden in the drainage channel, camouflaged by rocks!
There’s also the classic playground equipment of two slippery dips, swings, climbing ropes and a sandpit. A continuous accessible path links the playground areas, including the mound slide (no steps), and water pump. They also have a track within the grounds of the park complete with street signs which is perfect for little munchkins riding their bikes.
When it comes to food and drink, there’s plenty of fresh water (and bathrooms on site) plus BBQ areas and a shaded gazebo. If you wan something more substantial (or don’t want to BYO!), adjacent to Hallstrom Park is a the well-known and family-friendly cafe The Incinerator (which in 1934 actually was an incinerator!) with The Incinerator Art Space below. Kick back at the cafe and try the famous Tim Tam Milkshake ($8.50) or a chargrilled beef sandwich on sourdough with rocket and caramelised onion ($22).
Opposite Hallstrom Park is Bicentennial Oval and many self guided tours are available around the outskirts of the park (and dogs are welcome). You can learn a lot about the history of Willoughby and surrounding suburbs while listening to the beautiful sounds of the wildlife that live within the bushlands on these tours. Note that not all of the tours are completely accessible so you might want to have a look at the website to find a tour that’s right for you.
The parking area is right out the front of the park, so it’s easy for the elderly, mums juggling kids with prams, or the differently-abled (there’s two disabled parking spots).
- What: Hallstrom Park Willoughby
- Where: 13 Small St, Willoughby NSW 2068. The Bicentennial Reserve entrance is 60m from the bus stop in Willoughby Road.
- Parking: There is off street parking next to the Willoughby Leisure Centre and netball courts (entrance from Small Street). There is onstreet parking adjacent to the playground and outside the Leisure Centre. Two carspaces reserved for people with disabilities on Small Street, next to the playground
- Facility Info:
- Nearest coffee: The Incinerator, Willoughy
Want more Places to Go, Eating Out, Events, Parks & Playgrounds? Browse our dedicated section in Out & About.