North Shore parks open for play from Friday 15 May, and that includes some of our favourites! If you’ve been past any parks over the last few days, you might have noticed the tape and ‘closed’ signs are coming down, and this weekend is your chance to to picnic, play or bike ride (although conditions apply!).
We’re still little way from completely easing COVID-19 restrictions in NSW, but from Friday 15 May, North Shore parks are open for play once again, much to the excitement of our kids, who love outdoor spaces to explore.
Although we have the swings and slides back, this doesn’t mean the end of social distancing. Be sure to read the new rules to comply with, and then scroll down for some suggestions of where to spend your weekends. And remember, do not go out if you’re sick and maintain physical distancing.
What is changing on Friday 15 May for outdoor play?
From Friday 15 May, the following will be allowed:
- outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
- cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at one time and provide takeaway services (like coffee!)
- outdoor playground and exercise equipment can be used with caution
- outdoor pools will be open with restrictions.
Using equipment, bubblers and playgrounds:
Can I have a picnic?
Yes, for up to 10 people in total. Remember to maintain physical distancing and stay home if you are unwell.
Can I exercise or train at the park with up to ten people?
Yes. Remember to maintain physical distancing. Get tested and stay home if you are unwell.
What are the restrictions for outdoor equipment and public pools?
You can use outdoor exercise and playground equipment, but do so with caution.
- Wash your hands before and after you use this equipment
- Assume the person who has used the equipment before you has the virus – wipe it or wash!
- Avoid using drinking fountains or bubblers
OK, got it! So where should I go?
North Shore parks open for play: Our picks for this weekend!
1. Mindaire Park, Lane Cove
18A Mindarie Street Lane Cove (Corner of Kullah Parade)
One of our fave North Shore parks open for play is this all-abilities park on the corner of Kullah Parade and Mindarie St. It’s designed for people of all walks of life and different abilities.
- Elevated walkways and ramps connecting the slides (all wheelchair accessible)
- ‘Sway Fun’ boat ride experience
- Music makers and noisemakers for sound-stimulated kids including drums and gongs
- Full-body support swings and traditional swings
- A sandpit with machine-like diggers for play
- Enclosed tunnel slides and open slides, climbing towers and tunnels
- Disabled parking area directly out front (limited space)
- Fully fenced and enclosed
- Water fountains
- BBQ area and picnic tables
- Seating areas and undercover areas
- Unisex accessible toilets (outside fenceline down a short path) with baby changing table
2. Waitara Park, Waitara
22 Waitara Avenue, Waitara
This playground is another of of the top North Shore parks open for play and it gets the tick of approval from us in all areas! There’s not only a huge range of play equipment to all ages and abilities (which means that toddlers, pre-schoolers and primary school-aged siblings can all enjoy it!), but lots more features.
- A fence the whole way around (excellent news if you have a runner who likes to explore!)
- Shade sails
- Picnic shelters, seating & BBQs
- Nearby accessible toilet
- Amazon Tower with huge slide
- Inclusive Multi-Play Unit
- Inclusive swings, spinner and roundabout
- Musical flowers
- Cubby house
- Parking: Street parking, or there is an underground car park at the PCYC with 87 parking spaces
- Nearest Station: 400m walk from Waitara station or 1km walk from Hornsby
3. Morona Avenue, Wahroonga
Last year, Ku-ring-gai Council announced plans to breathe some new life into the Morona Avenue playground. Now works are complete, and families are able to enjoy the new, improved play space, just in time for COVID restrictions to lift. The playground takes into consideration the access for people of all ages and ability, with wide paths, large ramped climbing towers and low connecting walkways. The natural shades of green and brown reflect the environment and give the space a natural, bushland feel.
- Double gazebo climbing tower
- Triple swing bay (nest swing, classic swing, toddler swing)
- Talking tubs and musical chimes
- Free play teepee tree frame made from naturally occurring existing tree
- Rubber softfall
- BBQ area and picnic tables
- Seating areas
- Water fountains
- Fully fenced playground with ramped gazebos, a swing frame
- Accessible toilets
4. Gore Hill Park, St Leonards
Corner Reserve Road and Pacific Highway, St Leonards
Gore Hill park is in a beautiful space behind Gore Hill Oval, set against the oval and overlooking the lovely greens with plenty of people watching to entertain you. It’s protected from the main road and has bush and trees surrounding the other side.
The equipment is modern, new and designed to be ‘close to nature’ in its materials and colours, with soft fall grounding, so the children are at ease and relaxed, feeling like they are playing in natural bushland. When we saw kids sitting around a collection of big logs it felt like a magical, secret meeting place within the park!
- Water feature
- Musical section
- Multiple slides
- Castle climbing
- Synthetic playing surface for AFL, cricket, summer soccer and lunch time sporting groups
- A central picnic area in the playground with wheelchair accessible tables, BBQ’s and bubblers
- Half basketball court, 3 handball courts with lighting
- Two outdoor gym stations
- Perimeter walking track of just under half a km in length with pedestrian lighting
- Two sets of bike racks
Bush walks, bike rides and picnics:
1. Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden, St Ives
Kids of all ages will love the Smith track and the playground at Lambert’s Clearing the best. It’s a perfect place for a Sunday afternoon or a catch up with friends (less than 10!) for picnics, bush walks and to see native animals.
- Address: 420 Mona Vale Road, St Ives
- Visitors Centre: Grab a map or ask a friendly ranger for any advice. Big park maps are located in many places around the gardens so you’ll never feel lost. Check out the website if you want to plan beforehand. There’s also ice blocks and cold drinks available. A good bribe for the end of the day!
- More: Bush walks, picnics & native animals at Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden, St Ives
2. Bobbin Head
When it comes to nature ‘outings’ there is no lack of choice in the North Shore region. The delights of the NSW National Parks offer a welcome change and spark a wonderful sense of adventure in our souls. With more places open, explore Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and try some of our favourite things to do, like Bobbin Head (our special fave).
Bobbin Head is in another section of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park that is well worth exploring. It is located at the end of Bobbin Head Road, North Turramurra, or you can access it from Mt Colah entrance. Again, NSW National Park fees apply.
Bobbin Head has two cafés’, a visitor centre and an excellent playground for younger children, which can be a bit of a sun trap on hotter days!
‘Gibberagong walking track’ leads to an easily accessed boardwalk with a bridge over the creek. Mangroves grow here, and many crabs can be spotted at low tide. We like to come here and bring our kayaks but paddle boats can be hired to explore beautiful Cockle Creek.
Once you’ve finished exploring the area the café near the water sells little bags of food to feed the hundreds of fish. This will entertain the children for a further 10 mins, I usually make it a rule that if they return the emptied plastic fish food bag to me they will be rewarded with an ice cream!
3. Child-friendly bushwalks in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
When it comes to nature ‘outings’ there is no lack of choice around the North Shore! The NSW National Parks offer a welcome change and spark a wonderful sense of adventure in our souls. Discover lots of Child-friendly bushwalks in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
4. Mountain Bike Riding at Golden Jubilee Park, Wahroonga
Golden Jubilee Park has an incredible range of mountain & BMX bike riding tracks, for people of all ages. BYO bikes! This mountain bike track in Wahroonga is the perfect spot for an adventurous family cycling experience. You can pedal down a race track, practice jumps or develop your off-road skills. And after the adrenaline rush, head to the nearby children’s playground to recover! Read the NSM Jubes Mountain Bike Park review
Remember, keep to social distance regulations and don’t head out in groups of more than 10.
- Address: Esk Street, North Wahroonga.
- Getting there: It’s easiest to drive. To find Jubes Mountain Bike Park turn off Esk Street and follow the signs past the local SES and RFS headquarters to a car park. The bike tracks are a short walk away. The playground is at the other end of Esk Street, closest to Huon Road, where there’s free street parking available.
Discover more outdoor spaces to explore!
- Lane Cove National Park: Stunning and something for everyone!
- Fagan Park, Galston
- Going gumnuts at Artarmon Reserve!
- Berry Island: A bushland park by the beach
- Top North Shore spots for fish & chips by the water
- North Shore parks and playgrounds near a cafe. Two minutes to take-away coffee!
- Six pretty picnic spots by the water