Skate-parks and street art to duck-ponds and luscious grass
Hidden behind the Northcote Plaza lies a hidden gem of the northside, All Nations Park. I'm really not sure why this park is not better known, you should be thankful I'm letting you in on the secret before it's made too public. I suspect that in a few years as the population of Northcote continues to grow this park will be as popular as its Fitzroy counterpart, the Edinborough Gardens. So get down there now and enjoy the tranquility.
All Nations Park is a large, diverse space that has looks as if it was designed by a committee, meaning it has everything you could ever want but not in the places or with the flow that you might expect from a public space. This is a trivial criticism however, and the facilities that the park provides make it well worth the trip from wherever you are to scope out your next summer picnic space.
The park is very child friendly and boasts two different playgrounds, basketball hoops and a skate-park. There are also working BBQ's that seem to only be used for children's birthday parties – I plan to change this as the weather warms up. The skate-park is always full of a mixture of small children and teens and all seem to respect each other's space and co-exist peacefully. For the older kids, parents and local community, All Nations Park has a series of running paths that weave around and up the man-made mountain in the middle of the park, as well as circling the duck pond. I know, a duck pond – I told you this place has everything!
There are also mass expanses of grassed areas, some for human use and some are designated 'dogs off leash' areas. Humans are also welcome to use these areas; I would just suggest that it's not the best spot to set up your Sunday afternoon picnic.
The park is only relatively new, opening in 2002 and the facilities reflect this. Where in other parks in Melbourne the toilets are in a less than desirable condition and the play equipment has seen better years, All Nations Park is comparatively sparkly. A quick bit of research tells me that it was built on top of the old Northcote Landfill. This little tidbit just makes me love the park more. What a great way to reclaim space that cannot be used to build on.
Darebin City Council are the only group who I have seen use this park to anywhere near its full capacity with events such as Carols by Candlelight and the Darebin Community and Kite Festival. The council also runs free exercise programs in the summer, making use of small amount of outdoor exercise equipment that has been oddly located in the park next to the Anzac memorial. Keep an eye on the Darebin website for outdoor fitness schedules as they change seasonally (see link below).
I personally enjoy the walk up to the 'mountain' to take in the view, then a stroll around the duck pond. It's a nice way to stretch my legs in between glasses of wine as I laze the away in picnic-mode with friends under the olive trees. Join me this summer, at All Nations Park.