We found out about this hidden gem only through attending Gumnut Toddle in May, a free activity for preschoolers organised by City of Parramatta Council. While the playground is only small, the combination of interesting play equipment, bushwalk nearby and open space set back from the road makes it a fun place to visit with young kids.
To reach Hazel Ryan Oval, you need to drive down the end of Whitbread Place. And it feels like a private drive way until you get to the car park and see the oval.
The playground sits in between the car park and oval. It has a synthetic ground and some natural shade in the morning. A number of deciduous trees have recently been planted along the west side of the playground. Hopefully they will provide shade in the afternoon soon.
Within the playground, there is:
- interesting climbing play gym with slide and cubby house
- mini rope merry-go-round
- disc swing
Now this is no ordinary climbing play gym. And we definitely haven’t seen one like it before. There are magnetic discs and marbles for the kids (and us parents) to play with. It’s a very cool way to include some science elements into the kids play.
The sports field is a great spot to fly a kite. And has a fence around the outside on the opposite side to the playground.
There is a toilet block but unfortunately they require a key to open them. And we guess are only open during a sports game at the moment.
Keep in mind that the playground is just in front of the car park, with only a low log and seat barrier, which is not ideal. But thankfully there aren’t a lot of people visiting during the weekend. I imagine it would be a different story on the weekend when there is a sports game on.
Bushwalk – Murri Yanna Track
Hazel Ryan Oval is the start of an 8km bushwalk going up to Heidi Place, West Pennant Hills.
Thankfully there’s a great little loop walk that goes along the concrete path behind the toilets, down to Darling Mills Creek (following the bushwalk sign post to the right) and then back (turn right) along a fire trail to the car park at Hazel Ryan Oval.
The walk is about 900m along. And it usually takes us about 30-45mins to complete the loop, with stops along the way. There is a little rock clamber near the beginning.
The path is two person wide near the creek but wide when you reach the fire trail. We have gone on the walk with kids as young as 2yrs old and they enjoyed it.
Remember, to go right once you reach the fire trail to come back to the car park. Going left will take you further along the Murri Yanna Track to the North Rocks flood retarding wall.
Finding Hazel Ryan Oval
Hazel Ryan Oval and playground is accessed at the end of Whitbread Place in North Rocks. You can also access the park via Speers Road along a concrete path. There is on-site parking at the Whitbread Place entrance. And buses run along the nearby North Rocks Road.