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Top Nature Play Spaces

The hazard tape is coming off playgrounds all over WA this weekend, so we thought we'd share some of our favourite play spaces around Perth and beyond.

So, what makes a great play space?

The key to play spaces of all kinds is never to forget that the greatest piece of play equipment in the universe is your kid's imagination. Activate that, and a play world is born. Play worlds are inhabited by moving bodies, by creative thought, by sweat and giggles, and the make-believe that invites children into the characters of others, where empathy and the exploration of possibilities are performed.

Play is peak childhood. It is the workshop, the stage, the gym, the jungle, the cave, and the castle of a free and growing human being. And it is everchanging and exponential.

And great play spaces provide space and provocation for play to evolve and be sustained. They are more than the installation of swings and slides (as wonderful as swings and slides are). Great playgrounds are imagination launch pads.

Play spaces that trigger kids' imaginations tend to be:

  • Nature-rich. Think natural materials, trees that cathedral into the sky, plants, sand, dirt.
  • Sensory-rich. Think textures, smells, colours and shapes.
  • Open-ended. A log can be a spaceship, a whale, a bridge, or a kitchen. A swing tends to be just a swing (but of course swings are fun too).
  • Malleable. Kids love things they can move and use to build with. Think sandpits and cubby building.
  • Challenging. Play spaces should provide opportunities for kids to explore their competency and their courage.
  • Connected. Play spaces work best when they flow into and out of other community spaces.

Of course, those same elements can sometimes be found at the vacant block down the road, on the verge out the front of grandmas, in the bushes at the back of your garden, and at the end of the river while the old folk get the barbecue going.

The world is full of opportunities to play. Footpaths are for hopscotch. Retaining walls are for balancing, bike racks for swinging, trees for climbing, bushes for hiding, and grass for rolling, chasing, throwing, kicking, and flying kites.

And in WA, we are spoiled beyond all reason for play spaces – formal and informal.

So, without further ado, here are just some of our favourites. We have broken them into four categories (The Big Four, Hidden Treasures, Regional Rippers, and Special Mentions). They are all on the Nature Play WA app, along with maps, photos and key information.

The Big Four

Rio Tinto Naturescape, Kings Park, West Perth

While it isn't technically a play space, no list of great places to play in the southern hemisphere would be complete without Naturescape. Rio Tinto Naturescape is a world-leading inner-city nature space that encourages learning and discovery in a playful way. There are climbing structures, shallow water for wading, cubby building areas and all infused with the sense of being far away from the city.

  • Location 

    • West Perth
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 3km
  • Special Features
    • Skywalks
    • Climbing towers
    • Cubby building area
    • Water play
    • Potion making
    • The Tangle rope maze
    • Tunnels
  • Notes
    • Limited numbers
    • Environmental education focus
    • Not suitable for picnics etc
    • Lots of play (and picnic) opportunities nearby in the park

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Chevron Parkland, Optus Stadium

This sprawling nature play space hugs the bank of the Swan River in the Optus Stadium Precinct. It's 2.6 hectares are full of climbing structures, references to Noongar culture, and the landscape of WA, and to the six Noongar seasons.

  • Location

    • Burswood
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 3km
  • Special Features
    • ​Woven "Numbat Burrow"
    • Qwandong climbing towers
    • Cubby building areas
    • Dry creek bed
    • Rope climbing structures
    • Bike paths
  • Notes
    • All abilities
    • BBQ area
    • Fenced area for toddlers

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Bibra Lake Regional Playground

A large playground under shady trees with a double flying fox on the edge of a lake – what could be better? This relatively new play space is fast becoming a favourite of Perth families and connects to the broader Bibra Lake area park well.

  • Location

    • Bibra Lake
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 20km
  • Special Features
    • Treetop rope walk
    • Obstacle course
    • Yarning Circle of 'talking rocks'
    • 35m flying fox
    • Inground trampolines
    • Water play
    • Walking trails
  • Notes
    • Shaded toddler play area
    • All abilities
    • BBQ area
    • Bibra Lake itself is a great place to explore and see native birds

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Kwinana Adventure Park

An expansive play space nestled under a canopy of trees on a bank overlooking Calista oval. This play space offers a wide variety of play opportunities and is nature-rich.

  • Location

    • Calista
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 43km
  • Special Features
    • Climbing structures
    • Water play area
    • Music play
    • Sand play areas
    • Scooter trail
  • Notes
    • All abilities
    • Extended play opportunities at skatepark and oval
    • Picnic area

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Hidden Gems

Russell Brown Adventure Park, Mosman Park

Something about this low-tech play space nestled among a stand of peppermint trees ramps up kids' inner adventurer. The play space flows out into the grassed banks with a mini stream down to the river edge.

  • Location

    • ​Mosman Park
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 16km
  • Special Features
    • Rope swings and climbing
    • Logs and rocks
    • Cubby building
    • Creek for stick racing
  • Notes
    • Suitable for picnics
    • Lots of play (and picnic) opportunities nearby in the park

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Braithwaite Park, Mount Hawthorn

This urban park draws on an Ewok aesthetic to create a play oasis. Not huge, so best to have a plan B in case its crowded, but well worth the effort.

  • Location

    • Mount Hawthorn
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 5km
  • Special Features
    • Flying fox
    • Tree platforms
    • Rope bridge
    • Water play
    • Spider net climbing challenge
    • Rock tunnel
  • Notes
    • All abilities
    • BBQ areas
    • Traditional playground and park to extend play opportunities

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Woodbridge Riverside Park

A great example of play space that links into other nature-rich play opportunities. Nestled on the banks of the Swan River, visitors can choose to extend their play to swim, kayak or more. The area is also rich in birdlife.

  • Location

    • Woodbridge
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 16km
  • Special Features
    • ​Flying fox
    • Tunnels
    • Water play
    • Elevated fort
    • Rope bridge
    • Sand play
    • River access
  • Notes
    • All abilities
    • Extended water play opportunities
    • BBQ area
    • Nature-rich

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Regional Rippers

Yallingup Play Space

Yallingup is an iconic surf spot, but it is also an excellent place for kids to play. The nature play space is small, but well designed and its connection down to the beach and the reef lagoon makes it a great spot to stop and soak in the South West surf town feel.

  • Location

    • ​Yallingup
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 255km
  • Special Features
    • Rickety beach shack
    • Concrete wave
    • Sand play
    • Balancing logs under a tea tree
    • Climbing wall​
  • Notes
    • All abilities
    • Café and shop nearby
    • Shade

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Kalbarri Foreshore Nature Playground

Another beachside playground that links play and WA's coastal lifestyle. A well-designed play space that backs onto the fantastic Chinaman's Beach on one side and has a café and bakery on the other.

  • Location

    • ​Kalbarri
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 570km
  • Special Features
    • Birds nest climbing walls and ropes
    • Crows nest lookout
    • Balance logs and steppingstones
    • Sand play
    • Cycle paths
  • Notes
    • All abilities
    • BBQ area
    • Cafe

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Denham Foreshore Playground

This shaded play space is right on the edge of the clear, shallow, waters of Shark Bay. The space connects beautifully to the beach, so play and seesaw from the water's edge to the playground.

  • Location

    • ​Denham
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 3km
  • Special Features
    • Rope climbing
    • Climbing wall
    • Long tunnel slide
    • Sand play
    • Musical elements
    • Bike/scooter path
  • Notes
    • All abilities
    • Swimming and fishing opportunities
    • BBQ area
    • Proximity to great camping and nature adventure areas

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Special Mentions

Jo Wheatley All Abilities Play Spaces

A one-of-a-kind play space in Perth with a focus on making it accessible for children and adults of every ability. It is a thoughtfully designed and beautifully built play space right on the edge of the Swan River.

  • Location

    • Dalkeith
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 9km
  • Special Features
    • Timber fort with ramp access and climbing ladder
    • Water and sand play
    • Balancing logs and stumps
    • Sensory garden
  • Notes
    • All abilities
    • BBQ area
    • Proximity to the river and Beaton Park

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Manjimup Timber and Heritage Park – Manjimup Playground

This park is home to what has to be the biggest slide in WA. Standing at 17 metres, it is not for the faint-hearted. The adventure elements of the park combined with its connection to the Timber Heritage Park, make it well worth a visit.

  • Location

    • Manjimup
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 295km
  • Special Features
    • 17m viewing platform with slide
    • 7.4m climbing wall
    • Double flying fox
    • Sand play
  • Notes
    • BBQ area
    • Connection to Manjimup Timber Heritage Park

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Geraldton Foreshore Playground and Water Park

The combination of a freshwater park on the edge of a glorious beach is, well, glorious. The play space is in three parts, including a fenced toddler area, the water park, and a section for the bigger kids.

  • Location

    • Geraldton
    • Distance from Perth CBD: 415km
  • Special Features
    • Water play
    • Climbing structures
    • Sand play
    • Connection to the beach
  • Notes
    • BBQ areas
    • Proximity to beach
    • Cafes

*More info on Nature Play WA app

Download Resource

Download our TOP NATURE PLAY SPACES Resource, tick them off your list as you visit them, and be sure to share your photos and videos of your adventures to our Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtags #natureplaywa #natureasmedicine 

All of these play spaces can be found in the Play in WA section of our free Nature Play WA app. Enjoy!

We'll be sharing some other Top 5s and Faves in the coming weeks. In the meantime, get out, discover new nature spaces in our wonderful region and enjoy the sanctuary of distance.

Be sure to keep up to date with information about COVID-19 at the official Australian government website - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Alert and the Western Australian government website - Coronavirus: COVID-19

Check Regional Travel Restrictions to be sure these trails are within your travel area.

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