If you’re keen on exploring or find yourself on the lower north shore, Wadanggari Park at St Leonards is a unique and vibrant play space that’s well worth a visit.
This park opened in the September 2023 and is just off the Pacific Highway. We’d describe it as an urban play space, situated at the bottom of high rise buildings. We imagine this is quite common in many cities around the world, but it’s the first time we’ve seen it in action in Sydney and it’s very very cool – as adults it was really interesting to view. Now, we’re not town planners or architects or anything along those lines but we think they’ve done a seriously amazing job of this space – it’s fun, unique, vibrant, green, asthetically pleasing, spacious and works incredibly well in the space.
A few things stood out to us so we’ll run you through them.
It’s designed for a range of ages. There were babies of only a few months old right through to tweens and early teens playing in this space which we think means they’ve got it just right. It’s big enough that the small kiddies can play while the older kids cast a slightly wider net and explore and climb. This is predominantly what tweens would do here and it lends itself well to imaginary play as, aside from the large structures, slides and climbing frames, the space isn’t inundated with every piece of play equipment under the sun – good we say!
They’ve also thought about adults. Yay! There’s a lot of seating by the play space that’s shaded too, so you can grab a coffee or a bite to eat and sit. The landscaping is also just gorgeous with lots of lush greenery, so it’s a very pleasant spot to be! Wadanggari means ‘banksia’ in Sydney Indigenous language and the park’s cool yellow version is a striking addition. The name of the park was chosen by the local community.
It works well with the surrounds. The play space is bordered by a larger green space and then also by a number of casual eateries – this is great for parents and families, day or night. We can picture it on a summer’s evening being a very popular spot for outdoor dining and if you lived in the apartments above, it would be so awesome to have at your disposal if you have kids.
The equipment is a little different. As we mentioned, the space isn’t flooded with every playground bell and whistle and it’s a refreshing change. There are a couple of swings, a couple of very large slides for older kids, and a tiny slide for babies and toddlers. Then the focus turns to the large climbing structure and the surrounding space which can form the basis of more creative games for kids. We like this! Note – there are big metal slides though. We know this triggers some parents! While we were there, all the kids seemed to be managing on these.
More details an getting there
The address is 564 Pacific Highway St Leonards. It is on the right hand side of the highway if you’re heading towards Crows Nest. Nearest cross street is Christie St – this street crosses the highway so don’t get confused by this. But even if you parked on the other side of the highway it’s just a couple of minutes away.
We visited by accident so we were driving and parked in a side street a few minutes walk away. It was a Sunday so parking was free and untimed. Other times, if you park on the street there may be time limits of a couple of hours and metered spots.
There is also free parking for two hours under the development where the park sits (Mall 88). Enter via Christie Lane.
You can catch the train to St Leonards station and the park is an easy walk via the underpass. If required, there is a lift up to the park from the underpass.
The park sits in Mall 88 which offers a number of casual dining options such as a cafe, sushi, noodles and chargrill chicken. There are also toilets.