It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed an accessible and inclusive playground and that’s simply because I’ve not been impressed by many. When I look for a good accessible and inclusive playground to share with our readers, I’m looking for one that does more than tick a box with one or two accessible pieces of equipment. I am even more excited to share the upgrades to Wentworth Lakes Park because it has been the location where many happy memories have been made for us. We’ve been regulars to the park because it is located in one of my fave destinations, the Blue Mountains, around 90-minute drive from Sydney. The combination of fresh mountain air, a peaceful location and a wonderful pie shop (Mountain High Pies – also accessible) just a short drive away, makes Wentworth Falls Lake Park and its inclusive playground a winner with our family.
Wentworth Falls Lake Park and inclusive playground – accessible Blue Mountains
As many of you may remember, I was on a panel assisting the NSW Government to develop the Everyone Can Play guidelines. As a result, councils were able to apply for grants to develop accessible and inclusive playgrounds and I’m thrilled Blue Mountains Council was successful in not only receiving a grant, but also using it well, creating an accessible and inclusive playground at Wentworth Falls Lake Park.
While Braeden has long outgrown playgrounds, we still look for places to meet friends and family where accessibility means he can join in with the kids or at least access the area so he can watch on.
Wentworth Falls Lake Park offers a fenced playground with beautiful views of the lake, barbecue facilities and a unisex stand-alone accessible bathroom. I was beyond thrilled to see that a picture communication board has been included, inside the fence, at the entry to the playground. I’ve often said I would have loved to have had these in playgrounds when Braeden was little and we were introducing picture communication to him. What a motivating environment to use speech pathology skills outside of the therapy room. The communication boards also provide a good opportunity for other children to learn about the role picture communication can play in assisting children who are non-verbal.
The playground includes an accessible carousel with room for a wheelchair user and a seat for anyone who needs one. I spotted an older lady sitting on the carousel with a young child on her lap which how accessible and inclusive equipment caters to the wider community. How lovely to see that lady participate in play with what I assume was her grandchild.
Soft fall ground covering makes accessing the equipment easy and ramp access has been provided to the slippery dip.
A variety of equipment has been provided including fun mirrors and other activities which allows someone remaining in their wheelchair to participate. I’m always conscious that some wheelchair users require a hoist to transfer to and from their wheelchair and therefore may not be able to access equipment like the slippery dip or the swings. It’s important that there is a range of activities they can access too.
A variety of swings sit side by side including a basket swing, Jenn Swing (the pictured orange swing. Note there is no belt for this) and standard swing seats.
Games and musical instruments are well placed for children of various ages and wheelchair users to reach them.
Shade sails provide cover over the carousel and swings and once the chill of winter lifts, the trees surrounding the playground will offer a lovely spot to retreat from the heat of summer.
Within the fenced playground there is a picnic bench with a space for a wheelchair user to wheel up to the table.
And if a playground isn’t of interest to you, don’t discount Wentworth Falls Lake Park because it is still a beautiful location for a picnic for all ages. A level concrete pathway allows visitors to wander along the lake front and check out the sculpture trail.
Several accessible parking spots are located within easy reach of the playground and park.
As mentioned earlier in the review, a stand-alone unisex accessible bathroom is available in Wentworth Falls Lake Park.
For anyone that has visited the park in the past and wondering if the famous pirate ship is still there, I’m happy to say it is.
If you’re planning a trip to the Blue Mountains in the future, you may also find our accessible guide to the Blue Mountains useful.
If you know of a great accessible and inclusive playground, make sure you tell us about it either in the comments below or over on Facebook.
You might also like to read about other accessible and inclusive playgrounds around the world in this review.