New South Wales
Children love playgrounds… but most mums probably agree, it’s that little bit more enjoyable when you’ve got a cappuccino in one hand as you push them on the swings. Unfortunately, the logistics of getting in and out of the car with kids in tow to buy a hot beverage verges on the impossible, so it’s handy to know what playgrounds have a cafe within a two-minute walk. We’ll start on the Lower North Shore and head north.
The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
This playground is right by the netted swimming at Balmoral, and just a few steps from take-away coffee and toilets. You can easily get free side-street parking during the week, but it’s definitely a lot busier at the weekend.
Corner Cowles & Wogler Road, Mosman
Counting Sheep Corner Cafe does coffee, and is a one-minute walk to Memory Park with a great playground. No loos though.
Grab a hot beverage from Jagos On Miller, then head across the road to the park. Lots of grass for the kids to run wild and a lovely playground. One of North Sydney’s largest and best-loved parks, St Leonards Park has a distinctive Victorian landscape character and is rich in history and heritage. The Park is a great place to play, relax and socialise, and it is next to North Sydney Oval.
Tambourine Bay Road, Riverview
A foreshore park on the edge of Tambourine Bay with a gentle sloping grassed area and children’s play equipment, BBQ facilities, picnic tables, benches and toilets.
Park Road, Naremburn
This is a very popular family spot. The facilities are excellent – a sandpit, swings, slippery dips and a water play pump for young ones. And basketball/netball courts and a bocce area for the older kids. A short stroll down Herbert Street will find you coffee and treats.
13 Small Street, Willoughby
Hallstrom Park is just one minute’s walk from the super child-friendly Incinerator Cafe – so you can easily dine in or take away. The playground is almost 20 years old (built in 1998) and the design is based on the layout of Taronga Park Zoo. Artistic features of the playground include sandstone animals, sense activated sound elements and an interactive “musicosaurus”. A stone crocodile lies in the drainage channel, camouflaged by rocks lining the channel. A continuous accessible path (flat to gently undulating) links the playground elements, including a mound slide (no steps), sandpit and water pump. Very charming, indeed!
McLelland Street, Willoughby
Grab a coffee from High Street, and walk a few blocks to Willoughby Park. There’s something for children of all ages, such as swings, double slide, mound slide, tunnel, balance beam, musical type, spinners, roundabout, speaking tubes, sandpit, 6m high climbing net and loop trike track. There’s also nearby toilets, picnic tables, bubbler, BBQ facilities and parking.
Stuart Street, Manly
This is a lovely shaded playground perfect for summer play dates. It’s close to Little Manly Beach which has a netted swimming area and a cafe that serves good coffee, ice-creams and sandwiches.
Lane Cove West
This gorgeous suburban playground is fully fenced and great for kids of all ages. The Figtree Plaza is just a quick walk. Here, you’ll find two cafes to grab a coffee, drink or lunch.
Blenheim Road, North Ryde
This is a beautiful park for the whole family, and as an added bonus we have seen mobile coffee and ice-cream trucks come and go throughout the day on weekends, so if you really need that coffee or extra treat for the kids…
60 Clanville Road, Roseville
Roseville Park features a great fenced toddler playground, as it is right next to a fabulous French cafe called Sous Le Soleil (if you’re feeling peckish, they bake their own croissants which are delicious!). Plenty of free parking.
Condamine St, Balgowlah
With a shaded playground for small children, a half basketball court and a skateboard, scooter, bike track, too, this is a top hangout for the family. It has amazing water views, and straight across the road is a kiosk for coffee and snacks.
11 Wellington Road, East Lindfield
Grab your coffee from Deli In The Park, and then walk 10 seconds across the grass to the fenced playground, ideal for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Otherwise, relax at one of the outdoor tables and watch your children run around on the grass nearby.
Bradfield Road, West Lindfield
A fabulous playground for kids of all ages, next to a sports ground and coffee a block away at Cafe Frendz.
307 Lane Cove Road, Macquarie Park
Eden Gardens may be a garden centre, but it is certainly no ordinary one. To one side of the nursery is a gorgeous garden accented with an interesting kids’ playground. There is even a tunnel slide from the pathway at the top level down to the playground itself. It might be small, and there isn’t a swing in sight, but there is a great cafe onsite that will satisfy all.
Philip Mall, Kendall Street, West Pymble
It’s a small playground at the end of this small suburban Philip Mall, but it’s fenced on the two sides that face the back road and it’s mere steps from two cafes. Very convenient.
Corner Balmaringa Avenue and Aulubla Road, South Turramurra
This is a newly renovated fenced playground, behind the South Turramurra shops. There is lots of natural shade, and a bike path around the perimeter for children to practice on their bikes, scooters and trikes! Grab a coffee from the bakery.
Birdwood Avenue, Collaroy Beach
This gorgeous playground has just undergone a fabulous revamp and there is lots of fort fun to be had for younger kids. It’s just a quick walk along the beach to the cafes on Pittwater Road.
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
The playground at Bobbin Head is huge! There are so many things for the kids to play with. Bring the buckets and spades too, as it is all within a fenced area with sand on the ground. The Bobbin Inn Cafe is only a 1-minute walks away (but closed on Tuesdays). Access is via Bobbin Head Road through North Turramurra, or Ku-ring-gai Chase Road, Mount Colah.
Coonanbarra Road, Wahroonga
Cafe Patina is right across the road from the playground at Wahroonga Park, which was redone in 2015 and is quite possibly one of the best playgrounds on the Upper North Shore. There’s lots for toddlers (swings, train, experiential musical games, tiny slide) and some more exciting equipment for older children, like a round-a-bout and flying fox. Wahroonga Park is right next to the train station (warning: no lift), and has three free hours parking around the perimeter too. Read our playground review.
Arcadia Road, Galston
Take a drive through the stunning countryside around Galston, and explore the beautiful Fagan Park. There’s a huge playground and a large bike track around the perimeter, and lots of beautiful gardens to explore. Next to the kids’ playground is a coffee cart, which is open on weekends and every day over the school holidays. It sells coffee, soft drinks, light snacks and ice-creams. Pack a picnic, it’s a lovely spot to spend a few hours!
Have we missed any? Please add them to the list by commenting below.
And if you have any nice photos of playgrounds without a pic, please email them to us here!