An afternoon at the Bridgewater Reserve Playground and an adventure along the Heysen Trail
If you are looking for a free, enjoyable activity which gets the kids outdoors exploring for a couple of hours in the Adelaide Hills, then stop at the Bridgewater Mill.
The Bridgewater Playground
The playground has just undergone a transformation which was completed in late 2016. The new playground has something to cater for all ages.
There is a small tower that can be reached by stepping stones. The tower also features a slippery dip which is just right for the smaller children. It is metal and care may need to be taken on a hot day if the slide is not in shade.
There are swings, climbing ropes and a nest swing which are great for kids 5 and up.
Best of all, for the older kids, there is a fantastic flying fox which will definitely keep them busy.
The playground is dotted with lovely trees and surrounded by large rocks which are great for parents to sit on and kids to climb!
There is also a freestanding shelter located next to the creek which provides shade for picnic time, lovely lush lawn for kids to run on and a path which encircles the playground which would be great for the kids to ride on.
There are also steps leading down into the creek, which makes a great place for kids to engage in some lovely supervised nature play: fossicking, having leaf races or jumping across the stepping stones.
One of the great things about this playground is that it is easy to keep an eye on kids at all times. However, sections of the creek are not fenced off and care will have to be taken with little kids around. There is a fenced off section near the elevated embankment next to the creek and the shelter and the playground is fully fenced off from the road and carpark.
There are public toilets located just east of the Bridgewater mill off Mill Rd or at the adjacent Bridgewater oval and parking is conveniently located next to the playground. Dedicated signage has been created for the Bridgewater Mill and playground users.
The setting is glorious at any time of year, particularly in Autumn surrounded by picturesque golden leafed trees. The Bridgewater Mill was a flour mill built by John Dunn in 1859. The charming stone mill currently houses the well-known Bridgewater Mill restaurant and wine lounge. The impressive backshot water wheel can be examined close up and it will intrigue the engineering types who will wonder exactly it works and how deep the water is.
Note: parts of the Bridgewater Mill are undergoing redevelopment.
If the kids are adventurous and like to explore, then take them past the Bridgewater mill, along the stepping stone path beside the creek for a wander along the Heysen Trail. There are stepping stone tree trunks to jump on, little families of birds to see and pretty views of the creek. If you follow the walking trail past the historic Bridgewater Inn which is on the other side the creek, eventually you will reach a little pool of water and a tunnel. Here, you can wander through the “spooky” tunnel to the other side where there is a little rock pool where the kids can play with leaves and sticks in the water. This tunnel is directly underneath the train line, so if you have your timing right, you can watch, hear and feel the freight trains, screech and rumble past.
The trail becomes part of Arbury Park Outdoor school, but you can keep walking the trail beside the creek until you get to the Bridgewater Fairy Garden where the kids can explore, climb huge fallen gums or you can keep walking and explore more of the Heysen Trail.
See our review of the Bridgewater Fairy Garden but note that parts of this special little place has been vandalised. Maybe a little fairy gift of your own could help rebuild this lovely spot.
This is a very relaxing way of spending some time with the kids, enjoying the beauty of nature, and exploring the history of this charming place.
What: Bridgewater Reserve Playground & Heysen Trail
Where: Corner Bridgewater Rd & Mount Barker Rd, Bridgewater
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
All images by Play & Go
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