Nature Play SA: SA’s 10 best adventure and nature playgrounds
We all know how important nature play is for our kids, and we are so lucky in South Australia to be spoilt for choice when it comes to adventure and nature playgrounds.
With so many opportunities for our kids to get outdoors and explore environments that have been tailor made for their little hands to touch and feel the textures of the world around them; sticks, sand, mud, wet grass, there’s no excuse not to go!
With many of SA’s best playspaces set in national parks and natural reserves, a simple trip to the playground quickly catalyses curiosity and free play in a wilder world.
Nature Play SA have compiled a list of SA’s best adventure and nature playgrounds, to make it easy for you to get out and get exploring!
1. WILFRED TAYLOR RESERVE (ADELAIDE)
Southern Adelaide can rejoice with the opening of this new $2.2 million playspace, offering adventurous and inclusive play to all ages and abilities. Kaurna culture, the site’s farming history, and Hills-to-Beach themes feature as key design elements, with Junior and Older kids play areas providing abundant active, imaginative, and sensory play opportunities.
Where: Wheatsheaf Road, Morphett Vale
Distance from Adelaide: 26 km south
Parking and amenities: Parking, sheltered picnics, toilets, BBQs, fenced Junior play area
Accessibility: Inclusive elements include basket swings, a bucket-seat flying fox, raised sensory gardens and sand play, a vertical xylophone, and a wheel-chair accessible carousel
More things to do: Explore the broader Wilfred Taylor Reserve along walking and riding paths. Follow Christies Creek, taking in ancient Red Gums and birdlife like Lorikeets and New Holland Honeyeaters. Play ball sports on grassed areas. Experience a family train ride two Sundays a month (when re-opened following COVID-19 restrictions).
2. BOWMAN PARK PLAYSPACE (MID NORTH)
Nestled next to a creek, River Red Gums, and bushland, this Crystal Brook playspace is a captivating new creation for children, local community, and visitors to cherish. Wooden climbing and balancing structures, stone tunnel, bee hotel, carvings, and rustic farming treasures celebrate local place and encourage curiosity, active and imaginative play.
Where: Bowman Park Road, Crystal Brook
Distance from Adelaide: 200km north
Parking and amenities: Picnic and BBQ facilities, public toilets available
Accessibility: Circulating wheelchair accessible path
More things to do: Stop for a play on the family camping drive to Mount Remarkable or Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Visit the local town of Crystal Brook. Investigate the Bowman Park Gardens to smell Yellow-scented Gums and admire local flora. Explore the Heysen Trail. Camp in RV at Bowman Park (donations appreciated for Park maintenance).
3. MUKANTHI PLAYGROUND (ADELAIDE)
Mukanthi (meaning ‘celebrate and play’ in Kaurna language) is a multi-award-winning playspace featuring physical challenge, Kaurna culture, sustainability, and connections to local place. Five areas – Frog Island, Eagles Perch, Great Snake, Birds Nest, climbing boulders and trees – invite children to explore the landscape and connect with nature.
Where: Morialta Conservation Park (Stradbroke Rd, Woodforde)
Distance from Adelaide: 10 km northeast
Parking and amenities: Parking, toilets, BBQs, shaded tables and benches available
Accessibility: Accessible car parks are located at the Stradbroke Road parking area, along with two accessible toilets at the playspace
More things to do: Morialta is a much-loved spot for creek adventures, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. In winter, walk to three iconic waterfalls or find shelter in Giants Cave. Listen for frogs and spot wildlife like kangaroos, koalas, tadpoles, yabbies, and birds like Honeyeaters and Thornbills. Find more Morialta nature play ideas here.
4. BRISTOW-SMITH RESERVE (FLEURIEU PENINSULA)
Located by the banks of the Murray River, this Goolwa playspace inspires connection with local history and the environment through elements like a 10-metre fishing boat, creek and water play, hand-carved wooden native animals, logs, and an upgraded local beach (suitable for swimming and splashing).
Where: Barrage Road, Goolwa
Distance from Adelaide: 85 km south
Parking and amenities: Parking, picnic spots, shelters, BBQ facilities, toilets
Accessibility: An accessible swing is available for wheelchair users
More things to do: Lengthy lawns at Bristow-Smith make it ideal for kite flying. Ride the Encounter Bike Way to Tokuremoar Reserve, an environmental site of significance to the Ramindjeri/Ngarrindjeri people. Visit the local townships of Goolwa, Middleton, or Port Elliot. Discover landscapes and sites featured in Storm Boy in the Coorong National Park.
5. RAILWAY LANDS NATURE PLAY AREA (SOUTH EAST)
Inspired by local heritage, this Mount Gambier playspace is part of an award-winning project transforming a historic railway area into a thriving community hub. Old railway tracks and items form key design features, with play elements including climbing structures, large rocks, a creek bed, sandpit, limestone animal carvings, and a giant stumpy-tailed lizard.
Where: Railway Terrace, Mount Gambier
Distance from Adelaide: 435 km southeast
Parking and amenities: Parking, BBQs, picnic area, public toilets
Accessibility: Accessible paths and sealed Rail Trail, accessible toilets
More things to do: Pack a picnic or visit markets and events in the Railway Lands precinct. Ride or walk the Rail Trail. Visit regional gems like Blue Lake, Cave Garden, Valley Lake and Centenary Tower, and Umpherston Sinkhole. Discover a cave and underwater themed area in the Mount Gambier library (named the best small public library in the world).
6. GEORGE T FISHER NATURE PLAYGROUND (FLEURIEU PENINSULA)
Set by the foreshore and Norfolk Island pines, Victor Harbor’s Nature Playground invites adventurous and imaginative play with tree trunks and ropes for climbing, large granite boulders and rocks, a giant sandpit, rope balancing bridge, and sculptures of locally iconic animals like the Australian Pelican and Little Penguin.
Where: Flinders Parade Victor Harbor
Distance from Adelaide: 83 km
Parking and amenities: Street parking, toilets, BBQs, picnic tables, one fenced play area
Accessibility: Access ramp for wheelchairs and prams
More things to do: Discover the cafes and local shops of Victor Harbor. Stroll over the causeway to Granite Island and marvel at giant boulders, the home of Little Penguins, and views from the clifftop sculptural trail. Watch for whales along the Encounter Marine Park Whale Trail from May to October. Climb the Bluff for sweeping coastal and island views.
7. FOSSIL HUNTERS PLAYGROUND (SOUTH EAST)
Located at the World Heritage Naracoorte Caves, this playspace connects children with the region’s geological and Aboriginal history through features like caverns, tunnels, dig pits, fossils, and giant Wonambi Rainbow Snake. Other natural play elements include balancing logs, climbing structures, limestone boulders, and a serene bushland setting.
Where: 89 Wonambi Road, Joanna
Distance from Adelaide: 330 km southeast
Parking and amenities: BBQs, picnic tables, toilets, and parking
Accessibility: Accessible playground featuring 360-degree access path, wheelchair accessible fossil and sand play table, picnic tables allowing for wheelchair clearance
More things to do: Learn how the 800,000-year-old Naracoorte Caves acted as pitfall traps and predator dens. Discover Australia’s ancient megafauna and fossil remains. Step back in time at the Wonambi Fossil Centre or Cave tours. See the rare Southern Bent-winged Bat via infrared red camera and learn about its plight for survival.
8. ST KILDA ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND (ADELAIDE)
Epic adventures and imagination call at this award-winning playground on Adelaide’s northern coastline. A $3.5 million revamp has transformed this iconic SA destination with elements like a towering hill-top castle, wooden pirate ship by the water, giant slides, thrill-seeking flying foxes, rope obstacle courses, climbing frames, swings and much more.
Where: 470 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda
Distance from Adelaide: 28 km north
Parking and amenities: BBQs, shaded picnic tables, large lawns, toilets, ample parking
Accessibility: Liberty swing and wheelchair accessible slide
More things to do: Look for resident and migratory shorebirds like the Red-capped Plover and Curlew Sandpiper at the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary- Winaityinaityi Pangkara. Discover Adelaide’s old trams at the nearby St Kilda Tramway Museum. Explore Barker Inlet mangrove forests along the St Kilda Mangrove Trail boardwalk and Interpretive Centre.
9. BELAIR NATIONAL PARK ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND (ADELAIDE)
Generations of memories have been made at Belair National Park’s Adventure Playground, cherished for its vast tunnels, a giant wooden fort, curious wildlife, creek, and bushland. A culture of cubby building has grown in recent years with the annual Cubby Town event by Nature Play SA and National Parks and Wildlife Service SA attracting thousands of families.
Distance from Adelaide: 13 km
Parking and amenities: Public toilets, parking, kiosk in peak periods. Park entry fees can be paid at the gate or online
Accessibility: Accessible carparks and toilets. Learn more via the Park’s Accessibility Map
More things to do: Build a cubby using long fallen sticks on site. Look for geocaches near the Playground and throughout the Park. Choose from the many biking or bushwalking trails, including the Waterfall hike to Belair’s Lower and Upper Falls. Look for kangaroos, emus, koalas, kookaburras, and echidnas. Find more nature play ideas here.
10. MARSHMALLOW PARK (ADELAIDE)
Located in the greenery of the Adelaide Parklands, this playspace engages children with multiple water play features, climbing frames, Boulder Island, metal jellyfish sculptures, and traditional play equipment like slides, swings, and other apparatus. Expansive Moreton Bay figs, lawn, and fencing make this an ideal place to picnic with family and friends.
Where: Glen Osmond Rd, Adelaide
Distance from Adelaide: In CBD
Parking and amenities: Toilets, seating, shelters and BBQs, parking on Glen Osmond Road (note time restrictions apply)
Accessibility: Accessible BBQs and toilet
More things to do: Hop across rocks in the nearby creek bed and Oxbow playspace. Pack a basketball or tennis rackets for use on the Park courts. Explore the Adelaide Parklands by bike on the Parklands Trail. Take a short stroll to reflect on the beauty of nature in the Japanese-style Adelaide Himeji Garden.
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