New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published December 19th 2016
Update August 27th 2017
Queen Elizabeth II Park will have shade sails installed over the playground equipment by the first week of September , 2017.
A new Queanbeyan Park - where swimsuits are required
Queen Elizabeth II Park is located by the Queanbeyan River, 20 minutes from Canberra's CBD. This area of the river has recently been given a multi-million dollar upgrade, with perfectly manicured lawns, new playground, tiered seating down to the river and the highlight for all kids - a water play area. This upgrade has been years in the planning, with construction works disrupting traffic for a year - but also exciting kids and adults all around the region. On December 3rd 2016, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove officially opened the park to the public and with so many excited kids in Queanbeyan, it has rarely been empty since.
When my daughter and I visited this park two weeks after it opened, I realised that I should have been more prepared. As we walked towards the park, other kids were walking along in their rash vests and full swimming gear, carrying blow up balls that they could kick through the water jets. Thankfully I had packed a towel for the way home at least, however a swimming costume and rash vest is definitely required. After some sun cream and a flick of the shoes, she was off enjoying the water park with the local kids, all skipping and jumping through the multiple jets and sprays.
As this area is newly built, I am assuming (and hoping) that the council has more plans for shade over the playground and for the Mums, Dads and carers who stand around to watch and wait. Unfortunately, there are only three benches out in the full sun and the only shade is under a tree next to the toilet block - which had a wafting smell on the hot, windy 30 degree day of our visit. From what I understand from the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council however, this playground is just one part of the multi-million dollar upgrade, with BBQ's and more to come in this popular area.
The playground itself is large and colourful, with almost everything made of plastic so the kids can go easily from the water play to the playground. There is even a permanent table tennis table, so if you have some paddles and ping pong balls at home, bring them along.
If you have kids, Queanbeyan has many colourful and creative playgrounds around the area, however this Queen Elizabeth II Park would now have to be the number one pick for all ages. It is also going to be enjoyable for adults with concerts, markets and community events also planned for this riverside area. If you take a walk down to the river, the view is impressive over to the Riverbank Café on the other side. There is also amphitheatre style of seating leading down to the water, so locals can get the best view of the concerts planned for the future. The first concert to perform here will be the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in March 2017.
Queen Elizabeth II Park is now an enjoyable place to visit with kids, or to take a walk along the river and into the city centre. It has also made the difference to the historical café across the road, Millhouse Café, which has been looking at fencing for the last year and now the café is even more popular than before. Summer is obviously the best time to visit this park, so take a towel and some spare clothes and have some fun at Queen Elizabeth II Park this weekend. It's a great way to cool off on hot Summer days - for free!
The popular Millhouse Cafe, opposite Queen Elizabeth II Park