Any time we’re in the heart of Sydney, we find ourselves returning to the exceptional playground at Tumbalong Park. It’s one of the newest playgrounds in Australia and is in Darling Quarter — the redeveloped Darling Harbour precinct that sits on the other side of the freeway overpasses.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
This playground at Darling Harbour provides a great place for children (and their parents) to cool down.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
A shallow water feature starts at one end of the playground and winds around concrete sculptures, providing a myriad of play options.

Hakima on the water pump at Tumbalong, February 2012
The water starts to flow down the channels after being manually pumped out. Somehow, there are always children (or adults) on hand who are interested enough to pump the water.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
The water flows from a number of small fountains as well, ensuring the supply is continuous.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
Children manipulate various sluice gates to direct the water down different pathways.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
Some gates act as complete dams — until someone raises the bar and lets the water through. The immediate reaction is immensely satisfying to witness.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
A water-wheel entices the girls to come and spin it, collecting and depositing water as it moves.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
Stainless-steel chutes direct the water into a shallow bowl and down a centre hole. This park makes it easy to experiment and follow the path of the water.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
A large Archimedes screw provides additional entertainment and experimentation.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
A series of irregular fountains keep children amused as they chase the water.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
A smaller water wheel spins hypnotically.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
The redeveloped playground is very new — it was opened in November 2011.

Adjacent to the water play area is a children’s playground with all the usual equipment — but with a difference. The equipment is integrated into the landscape, dominated by neutral colours and built on a large scale.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
The octanet rises over 10 metres into the air, giving children a challenge and rewarding them with a magnificent view.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
Moving in all directions, this giant ring offers plenty of room for sharing.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
A series of balance beams leads to different sections of the playground.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
The large slide is scaled by using ropes.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
This slide is also built for numerous users, although the metal surface gets very hot in the middle of the day.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
Very cushiony soft-fall is moulded with climbing grips to give access to smaller slides. This is the bounciest soft-fall material I've ever experienced — as I walk along it, I can feel myself sinking into it!

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
In the large sand-pit, stainless-steel sand diggers are sleek, functional and fun.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
Off to one side, an 18.7-metre-long course of balance ropes offers a challenge.

Even when you leave the playground, there are more opportunities for play. We’ve seen many children playing in the Darling Harbour fountains — like ours have in past visits.

Tumbalong Park, February 2012
The Darling Quarter fountains also provide swimming and cooling-off options for kids.

*Tumbalong Park is such a good playground — there’s something for all ages. And its location in the heart of Darling Harbour makes it a welcome respite for children who are tired of the tourist circuit. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by — we count it as one of our favourite playgrounds!*