Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published October 30th 2015
Healthy Family Fun, Together in the Open Air
Fancy a free family day out, enjoying a picnic or BBQ, where parents and grandparents can relax and chat together and children run wild. Why not head for Jells Park, settle yourself down at the Pines Picnic area and turn the children loose on the Yabbie Hill Adventure Playground.
The Pines Picnic Area has both sheltered and open air picnic tables, electric and wood fired BBQ's, plenty of shade trees, parking and public toilets. Most importantly it has The Yabbie Hill Play Space, an adventure playground surrounded by expansive lawns.
The playground's sign is a brightly painted archway held aloft by huge yabbies, like totem poles, which open to a crazy, twisted wooden bridge. Children can pretend they are in an earthquake. The wooden bridge ends, or starts, with a low lying rope bridge.
A line of low wooden stumps of varying heights, set between platforms and curved like a snake will test balance. Children might pretend they are walking the circus high wire. Nearby wooden poles support and A-frame up and over rope net climber.
The playground has been raised on a hill with two sides cut way and supported by wooden retaining walls. From these 'cliff' sides children can enter gaps in the safety wall and descend by way of slides, a fireman's pole or down a climbing wall with cutaway foot holds. Once at the bottom a tunnel through the hill is revealed, with monkey bars suspended from the roof.
Stairs return children to the top or they can run up the hill again, it is a gentle incline. On one side a wooden ramp with a rope line can be climbed to the top. On the crest of the hill a wooden tower, or perhaps a king's castle, allows the children to survey all below them. It's not a bad lookout for the adults as well.
Down the hill past a line of balance poles and a rope line is a pair of swings, one of which is for the little tots. Then beyond the swings is space, wide open space, ideal for ball games or chasey.
Close to Yabbie Hill Play Space is the Ponds Area. To one side of the path purple swamp hens can be spied amongst the reed beds and to the other side a pond with water lilies is home to ducks. Keep an eye and ear open as there are kookaburras about. It's a great place to play 'I spy with my little eye…'.
Jells Park is on Waverley Road, Wheelers Hill, just east of the intersection with Jells Road. The Yabbie Hill Adventure Playground is next to the Pines Picnic Area immediately west of the Visitor Centre and main parking area. There is also parking and public toilets next to the playground.
The park is open every day with 24 hour pedestrian access. Vehicle gates open at different times throughout the year. Waverley Road gates open at 8am. There is a 24 hour vehicle exit to Jells Road. There is substantial onsite parking. For more information ring the Visitor Centre (Madeline's at Jells) on (03) 9561 4522 or go to the Parks Victoria website where you can download the Park Notes and a Map. Entry to the park is free.
Where:Waverley Road, Wheelers Hill (East of Jells Road). The Yabbie Hill Adventure Playground is next to the Pines Picnic Area immediately west of the Visitor Centre and main parking area. There is also parking next to the playground.