This was one of the first fenced playgrounds I took my little ones to when we moved to the Parra area (when we didn’t know about the fenced playgrounds actually in Parramatta!). And we have been coming back regularly ever since. My boys now enjoy all three playgrounds, while I get to soak up the sun and gorgeous views of Parramatta River.
I only recently worked out that the fenced toddler playground and sand pit playground next to it, are in McIlwaine Park. And that the Kokoda Memorial Walkway and cafe are in Brays Bay Reserve. I thought it was all Brays Bay Reserve! Doubt it really matters – Google Maps takes you to the same area for both anyway. 🙂
Within McIlwaine Park and Brays Bay Reserve, you will find:
- Fenced toddler playground
- Open playground
- Oliveto Restaurant
- Kokoda Memorial Walkway
- Kokoda Cafe
- Fenced playground next to the cafe
- Toilets, BBQs and picnic facilities
Fenced Toddler Playground
Near to the water is a fully enclosed, medium sized playground. It has a softfall ground and is great for kids under 5. All the play equipment is at a low level, making it easy for little ones to hold onto and move around on. There is a long climbing play gym with slide, swings, rocks, a spinning tea cup and a little ground level boat.
Within the fenced area, there are also some seats and plenty of room for prams. Plus it has nice views out over the water.
The only downside is the lack of shade cloths. There is more natural shade now then when we first starting coming. But it is still best avoided on hot, really sunny days. Or just time your visit for early in the morning or later afternoon in summer.
Shaded Sand Pit and Open Playground
Next to the fenced playground, is a larger, shaded playground with a sand ground. It is best suited to preschoolers through to primary school kids. Aside from the massive sand pit, there is:
- a tall climbing play gym with twisting and double slide
- rope climbing tower
- hand-held, vertical merry-go-round
- monkey bars
- climbing rope wall
- climbing poles
The big downside to this playground for young children is how close it is to the busy Concord Road. So it is best to keep any little runners in the fenced playground or close by in the sandpit.
Around both playgrounds there is lots of grass to spread picnic rugs out on, as well as park benches. The toilets are about 50m away, heading north towards Ryde Bridge. Closer towards the water, are picnic shelters and tables.
The Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway is a living memorial for those who fought for Australia during World War II. It is a lovely, peaceful walkway, with gorgeous views over Parramatta River, and a great mini history lesson.
I must confess that I thought the cafe was a LOT further away from McIlwaine Park than it actually is. The sign in the carpark, that I hadn’t noticed before, says 100m. Until recently, we have always packed a picnic and had lunch by the water. Unfortunately we chose the wrong day to check out the cafe, as it is closed on Mondays. Thanks to Little Munch, you can find out more about the cafe here.
Fenced Playground Next to Cafe
Finding this fenced playground next to Kokoda Cafe was a pleasant surprise – I had no idea it was there! There was a fair amount of natural shade when we were there, but I imagine it will get hot in summer.
Throughout McIlwaine Park and Brays Bay Reserve, there are small and large picnic shelters as well as BBQs and toilets.
Getting to McIlwaine Park
McIlwaine Park is located along Parramatta River, right near Rhodes train station and Ryde Bridge. There is on-site parking ranging from 1-3hrs so make sure to check how long you can park in your spot.