I'm a 43 year old Family Day Carer with a beautiful teenage girl and a balance bike obsessed three year old boy.
Published February 24th 2016
A Park with a View
What is it: A recently renovated hidden playground in Bulli, fifteen minutes North of Wollongong with a stunning view, a nearby café and access to a cycle path.
Why you should go: I've always loved this park because the view is simply breath taking. The play equipment on the other hand was jaw dropping for other reasons. With a couple of sad looking swings and an old slide there was no reason to stop, when just along the road is the well-equipped Bulli Beach Park. So I was interested to read that Wollongong council renovated this park in February 2016. We went for a look and it didn't disappoint. The play equipment looked freshly minted and the view, as ever, was fantastic.
I jumped in the car with my three year old son and fourteen year old daughter and we drove along to Bulli and turned off on to O'Brien Street, which is a loop with both ends coming back to the Point Street.
Apart from the park there's nothing here but houses however there were cars parked along the length of the road. There's no car park for the playground but we were able to park on the street directly adjacent to the play area.
O'Brien Street is two way and cars are allowed to park on both sides of the road. Where this happens it's too narrow for cars going in opposite directions to pass, so you could find yourself having to reverse to allow another vehicle to pass. However, it's only a minute's round O'Brien Street back to Point Street so if you drive around the loop and it's busy you could easily go back to Point Street and park there.
We jumped out of the car and the first thing that struck me wasn't the brand new play park, it was the view. Looking North I could see over the roofs of the architect designed homes at the Sandon Point housing estate. I always feel a sense of peace looking out over the far away headlands and I could watch the sparkling waves rolling against these cliffs all day.
Meantime my boy was exploring the park with the encouragement of his big sister. There are still only two swings but my teen pointed out that the baby one was a fully enclosed bucket style seat, perfect for even the littlest of bubs. There are steps leading to a platform and an open slide and a tunnel slide for whizzing back down, all in the current fashion of natural looking wooden struts with colourful plastic structures attached. The council have also added a large round net swing which was fun for two or more children to play on at once. The whole thing is situated on rubber soft fall.
There's one picnic bench and a few trees. Looking around I noted that the road, downhill slope, vegetation and trees formed a natural boundary on all four sides. The park is compact and children would be visible from a picnic rug placed under the trees, where Mums could supervise while chatting without having to shadow their children. The play equipment is low and well thought out in terms of safety. This would make a great meet up place for friends with young children. It would also be good on a hot day when Bulli Beach Park is busy with visitors to the area or a windy day when the beach parks are too exposed.
After the park had been explored we spotted a father and daughter walking up the slope towards us from a road which came to the bottom of the hill which the playground is placed on. He helpfully told me that we could get down to the cycle path this way. The cycle path runs south from Thirroul next to the beach all the way to Wollongong.
Grabbing Jake's bike from the car we headed down the slope on to Aragan Circuit and from there on to the cycle path and then took a walk southwards to Sandon Point. This took about five minutes. We used the toilets at the surf club then headed down the path at the North side of Sandon point to explore the Sandon Point Boatsheds.
While the children played on the beach I took a ten minute walk back up Point Street to fetch the car. A pavement has been built on Point Street running from Sandon Point about a third of the way back towards the Princes Highway but it doesn't go as far as O'Brien street. The grass verge is uneven and not suitable for a buggy or bikes and I wouldn't choose to walk it with a little kid. We could have walked back again the way we had come and walking along the cycle path is a much pleasanter walk that taking the main road anyway.
I re-parked at Sandon Point Car park on Point street, collected the children and we headed home satisfied that we had re-discovered one of the best parks in Bulli.
Who should go: Families or anyone looking for a less busy park on a hot day.
When to go: I went in February on a cooler day.
Where it is: Take the Princes Highway north out of Wollongong. Turn right on to Point Street at the traffic lights just before the church. Take a left when you see the sign for O'Brien Street. Follow the loop round and watch out for the park on your left, you can't miss it.
What to bring: Food, drinks, picnic rug.
Facilities: Picnic bench, Food and drinks available nearby at the Point Café on Point Street, Nearest public toilets at Sandon Point Surf Club.
Extend your visit with: A walk along the cycle path, rock pooling at Sandon Point Boat Sheds, a swim on Sandon Point Beach, coffee at the Point Café on Point Street, Lunch at Bulli Beach Café on Trinity Row.