Looking for a new spot to play this Spring? Market Garden Park is named for the market garden that used to stand on its ground, which has now been repurposed for an amazing, green park that boasts state-of-the-art climbing equipment for your adventurous little ones to clamber over for hours. Laura Loveridge pays a visit to the gorgeous new park.
This newly renovated playground at Willoughby was once home to a market garden that was farmed by a group of Chinese gardeners, who regularly carried vegetables in baskets around local streets to sell to residents. Now, it is home to a playground, bike/scooter track, picnic area and outdoor gym. In keeping with its history, there is also a small community market garden next to the playground. The easy parking and new facilities make this a lovely park for those budding garden enthusiasts.
The playground has a great range of equipment, including:
- Swings (with a baby seat included)
- A roundabout
- A climbing structure
- A slide
The softfall rubber in the playground is much cleaner (and much more toddler-friendly) than the bark found at a lot of parks, so it’s a great option for toddlers and pre-schoolers alike.
The roundabout has a pod in the middle in which you could sit in (which my three-year-old LOVED), as well as the additional elements to the climbing structure, such as the drum. The slide was a big hit as he said it resembled a castle and the sandpit was ample in size.
The picnic tables are situated right next to the sandpit and slide, and offer shade for those hot sunny days!
There are carrot and bean balancing beams in the sandpit and sandstone sculptures of vegetables throughout the park, as nod to the park’s days as a garden.
There is also a large grass area suitable for older siblings to play ball games or just to run around and burn off some energy.
Bike and Scooter Track
There is a bike and scooter track in the park. However, the park is not fenced and at one edge, the track runs adjacent to the busy Eastern Valley Way road with just a small grass verge separating the two, so not ideal for learner riders! Whilst we didn’t venture outside of the park, the track appears to continue out into the surrounding neighbourhood for those older children who want to ride on a bit further.
Enjoy a bit of outdoor exercise? There is an outdoor gym on the opposite side of the park, across the grassy area, approximately 50m away from the playground. It consists of some basic equipment to enable the exercise enthusiast to have a core and strength training work out. There isn’t any shade, so don’t forget your hat, sun cream, water and a towel or two!
Community Market Garden
Behind the playground is a small community garden in which various vegetables and herbs have been planted and some already growing.
My 3-year-old and I found beetroot, capsicums and chillies growing, as well as lavender and rosemary which he enjoyed smelling. Considering I am not green fingered in the slightest, it was lovely to enjoy the garden together and show my son how some vegetables and herbs grow.
This park offers something for everyone with the gym and community garden on site. There is ample free parking next to the park and whilst the closest entrance to the playground has steps, there are pram friendly entrances on the opposite two corners of the park.
Unfortunately, there are no toilets or cafes on site, so we grabbed coffees from Willoughby on the way. Alternatively bring a flask of your own along with a picnic!
Whilst the playground is well suited to toddlers and younger children, I was quite relieved my 20-month-old was asleep in the car with Grandma during our visit as she is what I would call “a runner” and I would have been on edge the whole time because of how close the park was to the busy road. It would be really great to get it fenced to make it safer for everyone.
- Address: Corner of Kingsmeadow Close and Mowbray Place, Willoughby
- Parking: Free parking on Kingsmeadow Close and Mowbray Place
- Toilets: None
- Coffee: None within walking distance, but plenty of options in Willoughby or of course, bring your own
- Don’t forget: Sandpit toys, bikes and scooters and water for those game for the gym!
For more ideas of things to do on and around the North Shore, browse our Out & About section.