Braithwaite Park in Mt Hawthorn was always great for little kids, being fully gated with lots of space and beautifully shaded lawns, but ever since the new Nature Play area opened in 2015, it is now brilliant for older kids as well.
Braithwaite Park is now probably one of the largest gated playgrounds in the metro area, with the entire block fully fenced and multiple gates providing access on four different street frontages. There is parking on three sides of the park, and gas BBQs, picnic tables and public access toilets that are centrally located and easy to observe.
While the younger play area hasn't changed, and provides swings, slides and a large climbing structure surrounded by softplay, the new Nature Play space is what really attracts the crowds. Designed with 10 to 14 year olds in mind, a demographic often overlooked in playground design, the new area has foliage covered pods, a high spider web and a brilliant set of wooden platforms built around trees that are reminiscent of Ewok Village (for those of us of a certain vintage).
There is not one, but two huge flying foxes, starting off a decent height which means that not only do kids have a long run to the bottom, but gather a decent speed and satisfying and sudden stop at the other end.
The bamboo pods are large, teepee-like structures made from steel, which over time are gradually being covered with vines as it grows in and around the metal rods. Set amongst the playground, the pods provide a space for older kids to meet and chill out, and even though the signs ask kids not to climb on them, few could seem to resist the urge.
The entire park is very serene and beautiful, with immaculate lawns and mature trees. As well as the major components, there are lots of other eye-catching elements, such as stepping stones of varying height, that evoke the thrombolites of Lake Clifton, and the large boulders, like giant red gravel, that form a hill, and through which a tunnel runs.