Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kalinga Park - aka "Friend Park"

Kalinga Park (known to CK as "Friend Park") is located at the end of Park Avenue in Wooloowin - pretty easy to find and lots of parking/walk from public transport. Map is here.

We'd read that this was the big deal in terms of parks in Brisbane and made a special effort to hunt and play - and it was most worth it. Quite reminiscent of New Farm Park in that you make a grand entrance through gates on to a vast array of grassy hills which stretch as far as the eye can see.

Grassy hills are great sure, but lets get down to the serious business of what it's packing.

Greeting you upon arrival is a really cool sandpit with a bridge running across it. I love parks with sandpits as CK loves them beyond belief and is petitioning to get a sandpit at home. This of course would turn into a massive cat dirtbox once that cats see it, so we are deflecting the "can I get a sandpit" question by taking her to parks with sandpits. This is a nice, clean almost shiny sandpit - nothing like the sort of grotty pit you see at some other parks.

The park itself is a series of cabins connected by ladders, bridges and walkways. It's from that older school of park - the old wooden style - but it really works in this context. Unlike New Farm Park - which I find rather worrying because the walkways are so small and it only takes a few other older kids to come bustling along and there is your precious Susie cracking her skull on the ground - the walkways are wide and the platforms accommodate lots of kids. It feels a thousand times safer here.

This park is all about exploring and climbing. There is one set of swings and a few slides littered about the place but its really a park to get a few kids together and let them act out scenarios of pirates and lost islands and buried treasures. I took CK by herself and quickly she'd found a couple of kids to play hide and seek and buried treasure.

Clearly its a park where mothers groups hang. If you can get past that (I should say that I don't find mothers groups very welcoming to people if you aren't part of it - I have a strict "say hello" policy to parents at parks and often feel very, very excluded from mothers groups who don't even return the hello) then bring a blanket and park yourself on it and let the chil'en run wild. It was secure enough that as a parent you don't have to hover (I wouldn't dream of letting CK more than five metres away from me at New Farm Park but here it was fine) and the park handled masses of kids really well.

So why "friend park" - we figure out a name for each park after we visit so that we can refer to it from then on (I wanna go to "helicopter park" or "boat park"). CK decided on "Friend Park" because she made a really nice friend there. This is a very interesting point not to be taken lightly - the caliber of kids at Kalinga Park was pretty awesome. There are some parks where CK - a confident girl, happy to walk up to kids and say hello - gets "kid blocked" (the child equivalent of cock block - where she either gets outright ignored or some other fancier kid swoops in and steals the friend). As a parent, this is pretty horrible to see. At "Friend Park" each of the groups she approached accepted her and allowed her to join the game. The sandpit girl went a step further and allowed CK to contribute new ideas and take the play in a different direction. Good kids at this park.

CK and I both rate this park a 9. I agree its probably one of the best in Brisbane for sure.


Age Groups: works best for 3-5 year olds but really good for under 3 also (lots of little kids were plonked down in the sandpit and having a ball)
Kid Friendliness: really friendly
Parent Friendliness: met one super nice lady and everyone else seemed cool
Shadiness: held up really well in the middle of the day - lots of shady places for blankets
Tricked Out: not flashy but packed with cool fun things for the kids to find
Picnic/BBQ: plenty of spots, a few BBQs
Shabbiness: really clean, no pointless graff (so no teenagers come down at night to smoke pot and write "call darlene for a good time" on the equipment). Also lots of bins - surprisingly some parks fail to provide these!
Toilets: Yes, and they were not gross either!
Hovering Required: No, let them run wild. It's very safe
Bring Yr Bike: Yeah, some nice pathways for riding
Crowded: It handles lots of kids really well - I can see this would be huge on the weekends but with maybe fifty kids there on the week day there were enough different spots that no one area was out of control.
Wow: Lots of wow. Different things tucked away that it would take a few trips to uncover them all.

1 comment:

  1. That's a must check out Park, thanks for the tip!

    A couple of favourites Ryley and I have encountered:
    Shorncliffe Pier Parklands, Park Pde, Shorncliffe - also an older wooden labyrinth of bridges and cabins, and set by the sea so it has that washed up on the beach feel.
    Grinstead Park, Kedron Brook - not very far from you guys, this gigantic fort has a looong tube slide thats a couple of staircases high, and some neat hidden hatches for climbing in and out from underneath.

    Thanks for making this effort! A thought or two to take it to the next level:
    1) Open this up to a fully social site with user submissions and ratings accepted. You could still have a curated corner for your personal favourites. I'm willing to help with this, could convert this to a Wordpress blog in an hour or so.
    2) Dupe some of the best info and photos from here into Google Maps to reach a wider audience.