I'm a freelance writer living on the Sunshine Coast.
Published January 12th 2016
The Hinterland's Best Kept Secret
Being a family with three young kids, we know what makes a good park. In fact some playgrounds are so poorly planned that a child gets bored after less than 15 minutes. Every now and then we find a really cool park - and then one day we found Kenilworth Town Park. My kids played there for hours. Now it's our favourite.
Kenilworth Town Park is situated directly opposite the Kenilworth Cheese Factory, corner Charles and Elizabeth Sts. The park has excellent facilities including a large central toilet block, gas barbeques, garbage bins, drinking bubbler, picnic tables, and a fantastic range of playground equipment for kids of all ages.
The hanging see-saw, similar to the one at Tin Can Bay park.
We visited in January and the kids were happy to play even in the sweltering heat. The pedal swings were an unusual sight. Kids have to be a certain height to reach the pedals to make it go. When it's going at full speed it looks like a carnival ride.
Pedal power spins you around for some great sensory input.
The long flying fox reminded me of the one at Gympie park. My kids loved going on the flying fox as we don't have one of these near Coolum. The fact that the ground is covered by sand and not sharp bits of bark is a bonus.
Hold on tight for this one!
There are also plenty of climbing structures including a rope pyramid similar to the one at Coolum Park. I also like the way taller trees provided much needed shade for parents, which is sadly lacking at some other parks.
Climbing strengthens hands and the upper body.
If your kids love to spin, then they will definitely appreciate the other five spinners at this park.
Watch out - metal objects in the sun are extremely hot.
In other smaller parks, you'll be lucky to find just one spinner!
Kenilworth Town Park is a spinner paradise.
The act of spinning helps the vestibular system of a child which in turn helps them to learn how to balance. Three of the spinners here are vertical whilst the other two are angled. The large circle spinner is similar to the one at Gympie park.
Thrills and spills on this one.
One of the more unusual things we saw was a digger. The only other time we saw one of these was a coin operated one at The Ginger Factory in Yandina. My son quickly figured out the controls and had an absolute blast with it!
The digger is great for developing hand-eye co-ordination.
Within the playground itself is another smaller fenced play area which has play equipment specifically designed for very young children including swings, a slide, a pretend helicopter, a sandpit boat, and a 4-person rocking see-saw.
The fenced playground for younger kids.
When we got too sweaty from having too much fun in the sun, we headed over to the Cheese Factory across the road for ice-cream and cold drinks. We sat at the picnic table under the shadecloth and admired the pretty flowers in the garden.
Garden flowers at the Cheese Factory.
If you want to buy something more substantial for lunch, try the cafe bakery at 8 Elizabeth St which is still within walking distance from the park. They even sell local honey! The oversized cinnamon donuts looked very tempting but I settled for a vegetable pastie instead.
The convenience of having everything so close to the park makes Kenilworth Town Park the best park in the hinterland ... for us at least! There are plenty of other shops to explore too, including an Op shop (4 Charles St) and Art Gallery (6 Elizabeth St) with the Information Centre/Craft shop close by (9 Elizabeth St).
After we had our fill of eating and shopping, we drove to the nearby Charlie Moreland Camping area to swim in the waterhole. The energy of the place is so tranquil and relaxing and the perfect way to cool off. The Kenilworth State Forest is a popular destination for camping and the day we were there it was almost full with 4WDs and tents everywhere. Interestingly, the ground inside and around the waterhole sparkled with tiny specks of pyrite (fools gold) and we saw some people panning the dirt looking for gold, but they didn't find any. For all you history buffs, there used to be a gold mine in the area which is now closed. Read more about it here.
Next we stopped over at the general store and bought a box of icy poles to devour on the 50 minute drive back home. So ended our day trip to Kenilworth. Maybe one day we'll attempt the forest walks throughout the national park to catch a glimpse of some of the spectacular and rare wildlife known to live in the forest.