To help you plan your next adventure in the City of Maribyrnong, we’ve listed eleven great outdoor playgrounds for you to explore and recommended some nearby cafes for when you need a well-earned pit stop after all the fun.
Enjoy a break with the family at these awesome playground and cafe combos.
1. Footscray Park, Footscray
Footscray Park’s all-abilities play space is located on the banks of the Maribyrnong River and the large playground has cemented the Edwardian-style historic park as a destination for families.
The play equipment includes flying foxes, swings, climbing equipment, water play (bring a towel!), a sandpit and some lovely outdoor metal musical instruments, all within a full-fenced area.
There are also public toilets, water taps, a barbecue, natural shade from trees and bike loops. The park also has Free WiFi available, and there is a ‘Footscray Park Web App‘ which has information about flora & fauna, as well as some interactive activities to explore.
Once it’s time for coffee, snacks or lunch, take the family for a relaxing stroll along the scenic Maribyrnong River, past Heavenly Queen Temple, until you reach Myrtle Wine Cafe. It’s located at the historic Henderson House on the grounds of Footscray Community Arts Centre.
At Myrtle, you’ll find pram access inside, a large outdoor space with beanbags, high chairs and a change table.
Footscray Park, Ballarat Rd, Footscray
Myrtle Wine Cafe, 45 Moreland St, Footscray, 03 9362 8888
2. Fordham Reserve, Footscray
Got a little train fan? Then tootle along to Fordham Reserve, a popular local playground near Footscray station.
Peek into the railway cutting to watch the passing trains then clamber all over the extensive play equipment that’s suitable for toddlers right up to older kids.
The park is dotted with shady trees, there’s an expanse of springy grass for a game of tag and a smooth path that’s perfect for scooting and skating.
If you’re coming to or from Fordham Reserve from the train station, pop into Little Common for a coffee and a quick bite. This pint-sized cafe (from the team behind Seddon cafe Common Galaxia) serves coffee using A Plus Coffee beans, bagels, sandwiches and cold-pressed juices on the Irving Street side of Footscray Market. There are a few barstools inside and some small tables outside where you can park a pram, but mainly the setup is geared for takeaway.
For a more substantial sit-down meal, visit Small Graces in the heart of Footscray CBD. This award-winning daytime cafe focuses on healthy, seasonal and creative all-day meals, with an occasional taste of Colombia thanks to co-owner and chef Diego’s culinary background. The delicious arepas are highly recommended!
You’ll be able to squeeze in a pram inside the cosy cafe, or park your pram outside and enjoy the sunshine at the outdoor tables. For the little ones, they have high chairs, toys, books and games and a healthy kids menu – there’s not a deep-fried morsel in sight.
And the perfect end to a perfect day? How about a scoop of your favourite ice cream flavour from the Footscray Ice Cream Co?
Footscray Ice Cream Co’s ice creams and sorbets are hand-churned in Woodend daily using locally sourced ingredients, then ferried down the Calder Highway to Footscray. Why not try their best-selling flavours: mascarpone caramelised fig and chocolate cheesecake brownie!
The store has easy pram accessibility and you can sit outside at small tables on the turfed area at the front of the store. There is also access to a disabled bathroom with a change table through the beer garden of the bar next door.
Fordham Reserve, Corner Cowper and Ryan Streets, Footscray
Little Common, 228 Irving Street Footscray, no phone number
Small Graces, 57 Byron Street Footscray (03) 9912 6429
Footscray Ice Cream Co., 28 Hopkins Street Footscray 0431 796 698
3. Harris Reserve, Seddon
In the heart of Seddon you’ll find Harris Reserve, a quiet and leafy park with pockets of shade and a cute playground that’s particularly suited for kids under five.
It’s just a hop, skip and jump from Seddon Village, which means that it’s the perfect space for relaxation, conversation and a play before or after your errands.
Most of the play equipment sits under shade sails and includes a little ‘crooked house’ with a scrambling wall, fireman’s pole and slide. There’s also a toddler level swing, a spinning cup and some animal springers.
You’ll also notice a barbecue, lots of seating and a water tap for thirsty kids and pups.
When the hunger pangs strike, head down Gamon Street to Advieh, home of Seddon’s best falafels, and their famous halloumi fries drizzled with pomegranate molasses and adorned with pomegranate seeds. The greenery-filled outdoor courtyard is a haven for pram-pushing families and there are high chairs available.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly dinner option then try Superchido, slinging excellent tacos and a fun vibe on Charles Street. They have high chairs available and the back entrance on Vigo Street leads to a covered outdoor beer garden that is ideal for families.There is no kids menu because the menu of antojitos (snacks) and tacos do the job to fill little tummies – just ask them to hold the spice if necessary.
Harris Reserve, 31-37 Gamon Street, Seddon
Advieh, 71B Gamon Street, Seddon 03 9396 1803
Superchido, 82 Charles Street 0403 135 090
4. Bristow Reserve, Seddon
Bristow Reserve is a quiet, understated local playground, tucked away from the main shopping streets of Seddon.
The playground is divided into two sections – a fun structure for smaller children and a more challenging, higher structure for older children. Other facilities include a rotunda, picnic tables and a barbecue.
Just a short stroll away, on Victoria Street in Seddon Village, are Little Man Cafe and Alfa Bakehouse.
Little Man Cafe has a calming, pared-back feel to it and the menu offers cafe staples with a contemporary twist. Owner Christina Morgan is a parent herself, so she’s designed the cafe to be as comfortable as possible for families – facilities include a handy pram ramp, high chairs, change facilities and a small kids menu.
Across the road is the big and bold European-inspired bakery cafe Alfa Bakehouse. It’s the place to go if you’re after a freshly-made sandwich or a decadent cake, while they’re also famous for their pastries, pies, pasties, sausage rolls and spinach and cheese filos.
There’s plenty of room to park a pram, high chairs are available.
Bristow Reserve, 136 Pilgrim Street, Seddon
Little Man Cafe, 158 Victoria Street Seddon, (03) 9687 8881
Alfa Bakehouse, 97 Victoria St, Seddon, (03) 9687 3357
5. Coulson Gardens, Maribyrnong
Walk, bike or scoot your way along the scenic Maribyrnong River and you’ll reach Coulson Gardens, a charming open space with an awesome playground, barbecue and picnic facilities in Maribyrnong.
An upgrade in 2016 means that the park is equipped with a variety of play equipment, designed for children of various ages and abilities.
For older kids, there is a large, colourful domed metal climbing frame, wood and rope parkour-style pieces and a log balance course.
There is a fun cubby-house style play structure for younger kids, with a slide, activity panels, bridge, sandpit with a digger, spinners, a beetle-shaped springer, and musical instruments.
Kids of all ages will enjoy the swings, hammock and carousel.
There’s also lots of green space to throw a ball, a basketball/netball court, toilets, barbecue, water taps and accessible toilets. Plus there are glorious, sweeping trees for tree-climbing!
If you are not organised with BYO then dive into a TexMex feast by the river cooked by the folks at the amusingly named Dingo Ate My Taco. The food truck sets up at Coulson Gardens every Sunday.
Coulson Gardens, 35-55 Chifley Drive, Maribyrnong
Dingo Ate My Taco, 35-55 Chifley Drive, Maribyrnong, 0413 513 977
6. Pipemakers Park, Maribyrnong
Pipemakers Park, named after the pipe-making industry that once thrived there, is a place of historical significance for Melbourne’s industrial west as well as being a site rich in indigenous history.
Within the large open space, you’ll come across a magnificent nature-inspired playground, a pretty landscaped garden and the Living Museum of the West.
The playground is split into different sections, each designated by a colourful totem or wayfinding sign that explains the Aboriginal name of the country as well as explaining the meaning and story behind the name.
Huge climbing forts rise amongst towering gums, twisting down into a couple of speedy slides. Back at ground level, big kids hit the bank of swings and the challenging wooden and rope obstacle course, while little kids love the water play, sand play and the teeny-tiny slide.
Make sure you take some time to appreciate the large scale mosaics and thoughtful landscaping that help tell the history of the site.
When it’s time to eat, just head up the hill to Highpoint Shopping Centre, one of Australia’s largest shopping centres. Inside you’ll encounter every cuisine for every palate, plus comfortable seating and family-friendly facilities such as the parent’s rooms equipped with microwave ovens, play areas, nappy dispensers and private feeding areas.
Pipemakers Park, 2 Van Ness Avenue, Maribyrnong
Highpoint Shopping Centre, 120-200 Rosamond Road, Maribyrnong, 03 9318 1699
7. McIvor Reserve, Yarraville
McIvor Reserve is a haven for sports lovers!
See if you can spot them all: a sports pavilion with a hockey field, a soccer field, a baseball field, football oval, cricket wickets, practice nets, baseball batting cage, baseball diamond and three lawn bowl greens. There’s also an off-leash dog park.
McIvor Reserve also boasts a playground split into three sections, featuring equipment such as a flying fox, swings and pyramid climbing frame. There is also a shelter with tables, a barbecue and a water tap.
All those games are guaranteed to make the whole family hungry, so make your way towards the strip of shops on Wembley Avenue and visit local eateries Coe & Coe and Frank and Kenny’s.
Coe & Coe specialise in coffee, juice, smoothies and salads. The menu is geared towards takeaway although you can still sit in. Families will love the high chairs, disabled toilet, cute fluffy dinosaur and koala stools, colouring pens, drawing paper and even a classic arcade game table that’s guaranteed to keep kids amused.
You can also feel extra good about purchasing from Coe & Coe, as the cafe is part of the global initiative called Buy1Give1. That means that it donates a percentage of its sales to selected projects and your coffee or lunch could become the gift of clean drinking water, provide medical aid to children or enable a family to grow crops.
Frank and Kenny’s is a cafe by day that morphs into a wood-fired pizzeria with wine and beer by night, run by two Yarraville locals Greg McDonald (Frank) and Tim Edgar (Kenny).
Families have lots of seating options at Frank and Kenny’s – there’s the front parklet of wooden picnic tables, the indoor dining room overlooked by a black and white photograph of the nearby Bradmill Factory (you can spot it from McIvor Reserve), the turf-covered back courtyard and even an undercover lounge room with a TV connected to Netflix and YouTube.
McIvor Reserve, 339A-339C Francis St, Yarraville
Coe & Coe, 16A Wembley Avenue Yarraville, (03) 9041 9020
Frank & Kenny’s, 20 Wembley Ave, Yarraville, 61 415 121 871
8. McNish Reserve, Yarraville
Meet Mimi the Muttaburrasaurus at McNish Reserve!
This quirky playground will spark the imagination of all mini-paleontologists as they climb into the dinosaur’s belly, slide down the tail and hide inside some dino eggs for a round of prehistoric peek-a-boo.
The dinosaur playground is located next to Stony Creek, which has a path next to it that is great for scooting, walking and biking. It’s also a scenic location for a picnic.
Speaking of picnics – if you’re after delicious provisions, head to Italian-inspired deli Antipasti Deli & Cafe in Yarraville Square Shopping Centre. Load up on antipasti, cured meats, cheese, freshly made dips, their famous housemade lasagne or gnocchi and maybe a sneaky cannoli and you’re well set for a mouth-watering feast.
You can also choose to dine in, with a floral bower and festoon lights brightening their undercover outdoor seating area. If you need a high chair just ask one of the friendly staff and and within the shopping centre, you’ll find a disabled toilet and nappy change facilities.
Dinosaur Park McNish Reserve, 5 Court Street, Yarraville, Yarraville
Antipasti Deli Cafe, Shop 5A, 1 High Street, Yarraville, +61 3 9318 0103
9. Braybrook Park, Braybrook
Did you know that Braybrook was a former RAAF base? That’s why the Lance Reichstein playground at Braybrook Park features a large aeroplane structure and is fondly known as the ‘Aeroplane Playground’.
The bulk of the plane offers lots of opportunities for climbing, while swings, flying foxes and smaller elements like seesaws surround the aircraft. A second structure, akin to an aircraft control tower, leads down to a long, fast slide.
Just across the road from the playground check out TP Coffee House, a bright cafe offering fresh and healthy food options and barista-made coffee. Prams can fit inside the space or outside in the umbrella-shaded parklet, high chairs are available and the little ones will especially enjoy the adorable kids’ corner filled with books and toys. On your way out, grab a Noisette loaf to take home.
Braybrook Park, Churchill Ave, Braybrook
TP Coffee House, 154 Churchill Avenue, Braybrook, 03 9078 7396
10. Johnson Reserve, West Footscray
Bring your wheels to Johnson Reserve, a popular neighbourhood open space with a playground, skate park, public tennis court, basketball half-court and sports fields in West Footscray.
The playground offers something for all ages, with a spinning rope pyramid, nest swing, flying fox, swings, see-saws and a climbing wall. The skate park is modest, with gentle slopes for little children just finding their balance.
Other facilities include undercover picnic tables and barbecues.
Need a latte? Dumbo and Brother Nancy are just a short stroll away.
At Dumbo make use of the handy takeaway window if you don’t want to park your pram when grabbing a coffee, fresh pastry, or sandwich – or settle down in the shady outdoor parklet for some of the most Instagrammable brunches in the west.
The cafe offers high chairs, a disabled toilet with change facilities and a small but pleasing kids menu.
Hidden deep inside residential West Footscray is Brother Nancy, a friendly and relaxed cafe located in a former butcher, fish and chip shop and lately, a tax office. While the space is petite they’ve done their best to accommodate families by offering high chairs and a very reasonably priced kids menu.
Johnson Reserve,160 Essex Street, West Footscray
Brother Nancy, 182 Essex Street West Footscray, +61 422 318 883
Dumbo, 11 Argyle Street, West Footscray, (03) 9078 2645
11. Scovell Reserve, Maidstone
Scovell Reserve is nestled in quiet residential Maidstone and boasts sports fields, picnic and public barbecue facilities, an off-lead dog park and a recently refurbished playground.
Highlights include a red fire truck and sandpit digger for imaginative play, a high climbing frame demanding nerves of steel, a multi-level wooden fort structure with slides and bridges and musical chimes.
There are also undercover picnic tables, seating and a barbecue.
Time for a break? Trot down the road to cafe Jack B Nimble, a local favourite with a Scandi-chic interior and a relaxed feel.
The front room is rather snug so families often prefer to hang out in the back courtyard where you’ll find a chalkboard for drawing fun and ride-on toys. There are high chairs available, a change table squeezed inside the bathroom, paper and pencils for drawing, a book swap shelf with a good collection of children’s stories and a short kids menu.
Scovell Reserve, 31 Scovell Grove, Maidstone 3012
Jack B Nimble, 132 Mitchell St, Maidstone, 431 229 372 / 03 9317 9792