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Published December 30th 2019
Take the ferry to this colourful playground
South Stockton Active Hub & Playground is located in Griffith Park by the Hunter River, in the Newcastle suburb of Stockton. It is conveniently located near the wharf for the Stockton to Queen's Wharf Ferry, so families can catch the ferry from Newcastle and have a play in this $2 million dollar playground. The "hub" which comprises of the playground and skate park, opened in April 2019 and was funded, in part, by a $450,000 grant from the state government's Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund. The playground is one of the biggest in the area and has something for all ages, with a rubber soft fall surface underneath it, to prevent scrapes and grazes.
Our family happened to visit it on the day that it opened, as we came off the ferry and realised that the construction had finished. It was just a fleeting visit on that first occasion, but our daughter never forgot it, so several months later we went back to explore it further...
The South Stockton Active Hub - opening day, with blue skies
When we went back the second time, the skies were grey, however, the brightly-coloured red tower stood out like a beacon to the kids of the area. This tall tower had everyone climbing up it - from small kids to adults, who then squeezed down the tunnel to get to the very bottom. When you get off the bottom, your "rear end" hits the floor, so it is lucky that there is a soft, spongy landing underneath!
Behind the tower, there was a climbing net and toddler area, with sand play, swings, roundabout, slides and a large turning apparatus, which had ropes that the kids could sit on and the whole apparatus moved around. We weren't sure how you were meant to use this piece of playground equipment, but the kids had fun trying!
Climb the ropes to the playground for smaller children
Behind this was one of the most popular sections of the playground - the flying fox. There were two flying foxes right next to each other, with small platforms at one end for the kids to stand on and hop on. The rope that the kids sit on, with small rubber circular seat, was located quite high up the rope, so smaller children needed a hand from Mum or Dad to hop on. After squealing down the flying fox, it was then quite hard to pull it back up to the platform for the next child, so you needed an adult there to help. There's no relaxing Mum and Dad - you will be all over this playground!
Next to the entire length of the playground was the skate park, which had smaller kids on scooters riding on some sections, whilst teenagers were flipping their boards and showing off their tricks on others. This impressive skate park was packed for the school holidays, but some kids had taken music to play and there was a sense of school holiday excitement in the air.
As it was summer, there were a couple of signs on the skate park and the playground to look out for snakes. Don't let this put you off however, as the playground is so busy that any form of wildlife will be long gone within minutes of the crowds arriving. The only thing you will have to worry about is how many turns your kids will want on the flying fox...and how you're ever going to get them to leave!