The colourful and artist inspired Phoenix Park was opened at the beginning of the year as part of the ongoing re-development of Rhodes.
It is an open space for the surrounding new apartment buildings and features a wonderful medium sized district playground as well as plenty of bbq and picnic spaces, iconic artwork and walkways, which are fantastic for kids on scooters and bikes.
We arrived at Phoenix Park via the new Bennelong Bridge, with my little ones riding their scooters across the 300 metre dedicated walk/ cycleway and a further 5mins to the park.
When entering the park from Shoreline Drive, like we did, you will be greeted with an open grassed and landscaped space. To find the playground and picnic areas, make your way up the stairs or walkways (and passed the toilets).
The gorgeously colourful, fun and artistic play equipment is inspired by the mullet feast that was held in Homebush Bay by local indigenous tribes every three to five years. The mullet feast coincided with the mullet gathering in the bay to mate and many regional tribes used to gather to celebrate the feast as well as arrange marriages, settle disputes and socialise. It only when you see the view of Phoenix Park from above (like in the photo below) that you can truly appreciate the integration of the indigenous mullet feast into its design.
The centre-piece of the playground is a large rope fishing net great for climbing or hiding in – or in our case, enjoying our picnic lunch in out of the wind as it was very windy when we visited. It would definitely keep the older kids entertained trying to climb over or along and my little ones had a great time chasing each other through, again and again.
The Phoenix Park playground also has:
- a birds nest swing;
- slide, covered with a shade cloth;
- dual rock formation to climb or play in the mini ‘cave’ where they meet; and
- plenty of nature based play elements.
Other than the shade cloth over the metal slide (thank goodness), there is no shade over the playground. I imagine though at certain times of the day, the surrounding apartment buildings may cast shadows.
The indigenous mullet feast theme is continued throughout the park with a number of artworks by Jason Wing, a well-known public artist in the inner west of Sydney who strongly identifies with his Chinese and Aboriginal heritage. He also used corten steel to acknowledge the industrial heritage of the Peninsula post white settlement.
There are a number of BBQs and picnic tables near the playground as well as seating throughout the park. The toliets (which unfortunately don’t have a baby change table) are located at the bottom of the ramps and stairs connecting the playground, near Walker Street, to the open space along Shoreline Drive. My boys had a lot of fun travelling down these walkways on their scooters.
At the top of Phoenix Park, near the playground, there are two restaurants that are open for lunch – we have it on good authority that the Chinese restaurant serves a yummy yum cha . There is also the yummy Bare Witness cafe at The Connection near the entrance to Bennelong Bridge.
There is plenty of open grassed space at the top and bottom of the park for the kids to run around, put a picnic rug out on, kick a ball around or even fly a kite – it definitely can get windy enough here.
Finding Phoenix Park
The park is walking distance from Rhodes train station, Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre and Bennelong Bridge. If coming by car, there is on-street parking available in the streets surrounding the park or undercover parking at the shopping centre up the road.