Forget climbing the Harbour Bridge, or visiting the Opera House. If you are visiting Sydney you must go to the playground at Darling Harbour. If you don’t have kids, borrow some from a friend.
We didn’t even see the whole playground (which is enormous) – we got “stuck” in the water-play area. After about an hour I suggested to Fainjin that we investigate the rope-climbing, but he tossed “No! I’m having too much fun!” over his shoulder at me as he scampered along the water-course yet again.
At the top of the slope there are pumps of several descriptions, and a little water-wheel, and some fountains from which the water runs downhill in several channels, never more than ankle-deep. Children can change the flow by opening or closing gates or lifting sluice-gates. There is an Archimedes’ Screw, which I was fascinated to see working, and Babess loved the Water Scoop, about twice as high as she is but she could still turn it.
I think if we had visited this playground on our first day here, the children would have tried to ensure we never went anywhere else. I’d like to think we could go there every day for a week and play in a different area each time (slides! swings! whirly things! sand and diggers! rope-climbing! the flying fox!) but honestly, I think we’d end up in the water every time.
One of the things I loved was seeing little kids enjoying it so much and parents not worrying about how wet they got. It was warm enough that it didn’t matter. Some kids had togs (swimsuits), some had stripped down to their undies, a few were naked, some were soaking wet in their clothes – and no-one minded a bit. And, as I heard one mother comment, “It doesn’t matter – if you get too wet we’ll just go to the markets and get you an outfit.” Indeed, we had been to the markets (5 min walk away) that morning and Babess wore her $10 outfit – t-shirt, dress, hat and matching bag – home from the water-play area.
Make sure you have plenty of sun-screen.
© UpsideBackwards 2011.