I count myself lucky to be born in Australia's coffee capital of Melbourne and love to write about what's on in my home town.
Published June 2nd 2012
There are plenty of suburban parks scattered around Melbourne, but few are so exceptional that that non-locals might seek them out. Markham Reserve playground in Ashburton is not only an exception to the norm, but a secret well kept by residents since its opening in 2010.
Located alongside the Gardiners Creek bike path and only a couple of streets back from the thriving Ashburton Shopping Village on High Street, Markham Reserve playground is a superb place to let the kids really break loose, and provides well for all ages from toddler upwards.
Flanked on both sides by huge expanses of grassland, just perfect for playing footy or giving your dog some off leash time, the playground is fully fenced and has lots of young trees planted around the perimeter, which will eventually provide some welcome shade.
Park the car kerbside or your pushbike in the stands provided out front and make your way to the entrance, which is protected by a childproof gate. It is at this point you will realise just how popular the playground really is.
Older children hurl from one end of a huge timber boardwalk to the other, exiting via stairs, slides, fireman's poles, rope ladders and rock-climbing walls, before grabbing their bikes, scooters and skateboards to hit the purpose built skate area and basketball court at the rear of the playground.
At one end of the playground is an interesting walk-through area, with a tall circular 'forest' of tree trunks and an arch of steel 'cheese sticks', which could be a fun space for playing tag/chasey or hide and seek .
The well dispersed equipment throughout the playground means that Mums and Dads can easily supervise up close or from the comfort one of several undercover seating areas, perhaps even firing up one of the barbeques. There are also a number of drink fountains available, and an automated toilet, positioned at the entrance.