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Carindale Recreation Reserve

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by Rob Rimmer (subscribe)
A freelance writer and father of two, I am interested in almost anything the ever-changing city of Brisbane has to offer. When I am not seeking the kid-friendly and affordable, I am tracking the home-grown and the unique... Come and discover with me!
Published February 14th 2012
Carindale Recreation Reserve is a particularly bright jewel in an emerald chain of parklands, recreation reserves and picnic grounds which graces the banks of Bulimba Creek as it threads through the Inner Southern suburbs of Brisbane. To confess that for several years I did not even know the official name of the Reserve, and simply referred to it by the nickname which my two children bestowed upon it as toddlers—"The Space Park"—should give the reader an indication of just how enduringly popular a destination this has been, and continues to be, with His Nibs and Her Ladyship; the playground, however, is only one of the attractions of this beautiful place.

With its superbly-landscaped multi-level and multi-use design, Carindale Recreation Reserve is effectively five parks in one, and features a range of fresh-air options for all ages and physical capacities. You needn't simply take my word for this though, dear reader, as the following article contains still images and 360-degree video shots taken on a recent tour through these five parks-within-a-park. As you follow me zone by zone through Carindale Recreation Reserve, I hope that you will be as refreshed by this wonderful suburban space as my family consistently has been over the past decade, and perhaps inspired to make this your next sunny-day destination.

Space Park

To Infinity - and beyond!

If, like me, you regard your little ones as the brightest stars in the firmament, then you will find much in this delightful playground which reflects their true nature. As well as offering a great deal of space-themed fun in the form of Rocketships,

Martian Rovers,

Spinning Satellites,

and Moon-rocks,

the Space Park exemplifies the cultural and educational focus which the Brisbane City Council increasingly builds into both new and recently up-graded parks. Eye-catching and easy-to-read plaques built into the playground's surface not only honour traditional Indigenous custodianship of the Bulimba Creek catchment,

provide interesting information about local wildlife and history,

and even quote the poet Kate Carina Thorne after whom the suburbs of Carina (and later Carindale) were named,

but trace, to scale, a star-map of the Carina constellation which is sure to prove fascinating to young and less-young stargazers alike.

The presence nearby of two generous shelters, complete with electric barbecues, also makes this a perfect place for childrens' parties. His Nibs and Her Ladyship both joyfully celebrated several birthdays here, and it is rare to arrive on a weekend without seeing at least one of these shelters festooned with streamers, balloons and excited youngsters. After the customary doses of hi-octane sugar have been administered, parents can then kick back and watch their little darlings zoom around imaginary galaxies in safety.

A Video Journey through the Interior of The Rocketship:

Dog Off-leash Area

The addition of Faithful Hound to our family provided yet another very good reason to visit Carindale Recreation Reserve. Although the area often provides socialising opportunities for both canine and human alike, I have also enjoyed lengthy intervals of picturesque solitude here, taking in views of nearby Bulimba Creek as well as of the forested slopes of Mount Petrie Mount Petrie in the distance.

360-degree view from the Dog Off-leash Area:

Sports and Fitness Area

Carindale Recreation Reserve has long been popular with lovers of outdoor exercise due to its large open spaces, basketball half-court and tennis rebound wall. However, since the arrival in mid-2011 of the Norwell Fitness exercise installations (examples pictured below), the Reserve has become the adult playground of choice for sweat-junkies throughout the surrounding suburbs.

While this five-station circuit-training track offers serious workout potential to fitness fanatics of every description, these installations and their surrounding soft-fall areas are easy and safe enough for use by younger trainers, those whose exercise needs tend towards the low-impact end of the spectrum, or just gasping wannabes like myself.

The Reserve's location directly on the path of the Bulimba Creek Bikeway also makes it a favoured destination for joggers and cyclists seeking an anaerobic interval to their training routines, or simply a drink of water and a rest in the shade. This Bikeway connection has also added to the high esteem in which His Nibs and Her Ladyship hold The Space Park, which was the happy reward at the end of their first-ever "big-kid" bike treks from the far-away starting point of Minippi Parklands.

360-degree view of the Sports and Fitness Area:

Picnic Grounds

If your preference for the day involves acquiring rather than burning calories, there could be few more pleasant places in which to do so. Boasting no less than half-a-dozen picnic tables, five of which are sheltered, the Reserve offers ample space for a comfortable outdoor gathering at any time of day; and the presence of three electric barbecues ensures no more than a brief wait for sizzled sausages even at the busiest times.

Well-established native trees provide shade, attract wildlife and lend the Reserve a quiet bushland ambience even though Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre and one of the busiest stretches of Old Cleveland Road are less than a kilometre away. In addition, the Carindale Recreation Reserve has ample parking, a modern (and usually remarkably salubrious) amenities block, and wheelchair access to the majority of landscaped areas.

360-degree view of Carindale Recreation Reserve from the Cadogan Street End (near street entrance):

Green Space – As the images and footage in this article show, the sheer amount of open space at Carindale Recreation Reserve is one of its most attractive features. Large swathes of this lush green area are also flat, making it a perfect place for ball-kicking, frisbee-throwing, kite-flying, touch footy or a range of Active Parks events such as the Archery sessions scheduled for this coming Saturday morning (February 18th at 9am – cost is free, but bookings are essential).

At the lower end of the Reserve, the soul-refreshing qualities of these grassy expanses are further enhanced by the sight of the dense vegetation lining Bulimba Creek. As in other areas of the catchment, the banks of the creek at this location have been the site of intensive revegetation projects by such groups as B4C (Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee), who continue to invite volunteers to join them in their many efforts to maintain and restore this vital Brisbane waterway and its eco-systems. Even if your environmental knowledge is limited to a love of pretty trees, the cool dark stretch of Bulimba Creek running through the Reserve amounts to an invitation to explore this unique natural adventure-playground, which seems all the more fascinating because of its proximity to extensively developed areas.

This combination of high-quality facilities, high natural heritage value and accessibility ensures Carindale Recreation Reserve's continuing appeal as a site for a diverse range of outdoor activities and gatherings both public and private—an appeal which will only be enhanced from mid-2012 as the Brisbane City Council establishes one of their free Wi-Fi hot-spots there.

In 2011 the Reserve hosted such events as The Brisbane Billycart Championships—slated again for August of this year—as well as The Camp Hill State Infants and Primary School Community Fun Run Walk; and as mentioned above, is a regular site for Council Active Parks activities. However, His Nibs, Her Ladyship and I have rarely needed a special reason to pay yet another visit to this favourite among parks. Most of the time, we simply bundle scooters, ball, Faithful Hound, and maybe a snack or two into the car, and go.

Star Avenue

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Why? For a broad range of fresh-air options in a beautiful big park, featuring high-quality facilities, high natural heritage value and accessibility for all ages and physical capacities.
When: Any time
Where: Cnr Cadogan and Bedivere Streets, Carindale, 4152
Cost: Free
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