A mum who uses adventures and outings around town as an excuse to avoid the housework.
Published March 13th 2014
Have you explored this brand new super park/water park yet?
Darlington Parklands is the latest 'super park' to open in the south-east corner. Located half way between Brisbane and the Gold Coast in the master-planned community of Yarrabilba, Darlington Parklands provides entertainment for the whole family. With so much to offer including a water park, fitness zone, adventurous play equipment and expansive green community space, Darlington Parklands is sure to become a favourite with locals and visitors alike.
Darlington Parklands Water Park
When word was out that there was a new park with a water play area we were keen to try it out before summer ended. Thankfully though we chose an overcast day to visit as all of the picnic shelters were occupied by the time we arrived. The water play section of the parklands is reminiscent of a stream-fed rock pool. Sprinklers at the top of the zone allow water to flow down terraced steps, winding through "streams", around tree-planted "islands", finishing in shallow water pools. Large rocks are strategically placed to alter water flow and to provide a place to sit and relax. Kids can create their own "streams " by blocking off water channels with their hands and feet, splash about, or explore the twists and turns of the water park. Sun shades provide some sun protection in this area, but parents watching on could easily become sun affected.
There are two large playgrounds – one for older children and one for toddlers. Both incorporate similar designs utilising plenty of natural materials such as stone walls and timber forts. The toddler playground has a slide, sand pit, tunnels and a musical wall (although it was broken when we visited). The playground for older children has a larger slide and a rock climbing wall reaching up to the fort. Thankfully for parents these two playgrounds are located close together making to easier to supervise both toddlers and children.
Playground Tunnels & Sandpit
Even more large play structures can be found throughout the parklands. The classic swing set has been given a makeover and has been multiplied by six. Each swing faces inwards, but be careful as small children seem to slip off these swings easily. The 30m twin flying fox proved to be very popular with kids and adults as judged by the constant line up to ride.
The large climbing dome entertained kids in a variety of ways. Not only was there the challenge of reaching the top, or climbing from one side to the other, but there was also the challenge of mastering each type of climbing structure within the dome. After shimmying up the external arm, crossing the rope ladder, and sliding down the fireman's pole, kids could take some time out on the hanging glider swing.
One of my favourite areas in this park is the balance beam area. Kids can chose between mastering the suspended rope bridge or navigating the raised timber beams. The added bonus to this area is the lemon myrtle trees that provide a wonderful aroma and sensory experience. While these are still small at the moment, once grown they will create a maze effect around the balance beams.
Balance Beams Amongst the Lemon Myrtle Trees
Older kids, teens and adults will appreciate the fitness zone. There are a number of fitness stations including a treadmill, cross-trainer and pull-up bars, in the outdoor gym which would be perfect for an early morning exercise routine. It's never too young to start training here thanks to the mini equipment for small fry.
There is a half-court adjoining the outdoor gym. Primarily used for basketball on the day of our visit, these courts are also set up for soccer and cricket.
When you're ready to escape the play areas indulge in some open green space games or relaxation. There were plenty of kids enjoying the pathways with bikes and scooters. The boardwalk and wetlands area was partially finished. In the future I imagine that this space would probably be used for community events and markets.
Parklands Green Space
An unexpected pleasure for us was the drive from Brisbane to Yarrabilba via the Mount Lindsay Highway. The Gold Coast hinterland mountains provide the perfect backdrop to the park, plus the picturesque bushland and rural properties with animals were exciting for the kids to see.
Darlington Parklands is certainly worthy of its 'super park' label. The facilities (including car parks, toilets, barbecues, picnic tables, bench seats, shelters and rubbish bins) have been well-planned providing the perfect balance between convenience, activity, adventure and relaxation. My advice would be to arrive early, particularly on weekends, to claim a barbecue or shelter. At present, the shrubs and trees are still young, providing limited shade, but it will look completely different after a few years of growth.
The Yarrabilba community is still developing, so it feels as though you are in the middle of nowhere. The down side to this though is limited opportunities to pick up supplies when you reach the parklands destination. Even though you might have to drive out of your way from Brisbane this 'super park in the bush' is definitely worth spending the day to explore.