When we first moved to the area in 2014, I spent a lot of time looking at Google Maps for large green spots, aka parks, that were near were we were going. I would hope had a playground that was fenced or set back from the road and where my toddler could play somewhat independently as I was heavily pregnant at the time. This is how I came across Darvall Park in Denistone, not far from West Ryde Marketplace. And it ticked the boxes, plus as an added bonus is in a tranquil bush setting with toilets and shade.
For the first two years of visiting Darvall Park, my kids were happy playing in the playground near Chatham Road. And we actually had no idea that there was another playground as it is not mentioned in any articles about the park. It wasn’t until we went exploring and did the little kid friendly bushwalk that we can across the other playground.
Chatham Road Playground
This is the main playground at Darvall Park and has a large shade sail over it. It is best suited to toddlers but there is a few things for older kids. The playground is set down and away from the road, with a ramp to access it, and the ground is a mix of softfall and bark.
The play equipment consists of:
- small climbing play gym with mini, angled rock wall and double slide
- rope climbing tower
- disc spinner
Around the play equipment is a path that is great for riding on as well as some park benches and sand stone wall to sit on. Nearby are covered picnic tables, toilets and BBQs.
Kinson Crescent Playground
On the bushwalk from the Chatham Road playground to Kinson Crescent, you will find an old school playground that is in need of some TLC (and mow last time we were there!). But the kids still had a great and it was nice to start and end the little bushwalk with a playground.
There is some natural shade depending on when you visit this playground and bark on the ground. The play equipment is mostly a climbing play gym with a slide and fire poles. Plus there are two swings. Whereas the first playground is better suited to toddlers, this one is better for preschoolers.
Darvall Park is home to a Blue Gum High Forest, which is very rare nowadays. The bushland is cared for and maintained with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers – Friends of Darvall Park. They meet on the 1st Sunday of the month at 1:30pm. They also have a YouTube Channel where you can see some great clips of the wildlife in the park.
There are two short walks in the park that we have explored:
- The Burnett Walk from the Chatham Road playground up to Denistone train station. This crosses over a narrow fenced bridge and then there are stairs to climb.
- The other way goes passed the toilets, heading north, and then cuts east to Kinson Crescent. This is more of a ‘bush’ walk and we spotted lots of birds and other wildlife, plus some gorgeous very tall trees.
The walks are very short and not pram friendly, though there are sections you can push a pram along. The bush though is teeming with wildlife so there is lots to spot and it is a great place for some nature based play.
There are toilets just a little north of the main playground, which are only open during daylight. Nearby to them are some covered picnic tables and BBQs.
South of the main playground is a large open grassed area where sports are sometimes played. And which is a dog off the leash area when there isn’t anything on.
Finding Darvall Park
Darvall Park is best accessed from Chatham Road, near the speed hump/ crossing. There is street parking. Alternatively, you can walk up from West Ryde train station or down from Denistone train station.