TROPICAL PLAY


Vibrant and organic structures set among verdant foliage form a nature-based playscape that entices players of all ages and abilities.

Located in the subtropical region of Bundaberg, the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens is a popular recreation destination for locals and visitors travelling through Queensland. A lush lifestyle precinct sprawled over 27 hectares, the gardens feature 10,000 varieties of trees and shrubs, while a picturesque lake offers an inviting habitat for a range of wildlife. Featuring a wedding chapel, picnic areas, Japanese gardens and pedestrian boardwalks, the Botanic Gardens has something for everyone, including pint-sized explorers. Set within the grounds of this verdant landscape is a nature-based playspace expertly crafted by Austek Play.

Appealing to users of all ages and abilities, the award-winning Bundaberg Botanic Gardens playground is an innovative and considered design that complements the natural setting. Its layout was consciously created to ensure inclusivity and accessibility, with all the features needed to make it a fun and, most importantly, safe space for adventuring tykes.

A primary focus of the project was ensuring the overall aesthetics of the play area would be sympathetic to the existing landscape of the Botanic Gardens. As head contractor on the project, providing supply and installation of all play structures, surfacing, edging and softfall, Austek Play utilised a mixed material palette of timber, plastic, metal, rope, sand, stone, synthetic grass and rubber surfacing to complete the playspace. The use of both natural and manmade materials helped Austek Play to achieve harmony with the surrounding landscape, as well as creating a bright, highly tactile environment.

Designed to inspire and motivate users of all ages and abilities, significant care was taken to create a diverse array of sensory experiences for users. The combination of assorted raw materials used provided a wealth of tangible, textural opportunities for little hands and feet that not only feels good but offers up different levels of play challenges — and looks great!

Focusing on the design principles of functionality, inclusivity and visual appeal from start to finish, while faithfully addressing Council’s vision, Austek Play was able to successfully deliver a brief-met end product that inspires users. Boasting four distinct play areas, the Gardens playground has got it all.

The Senior Adventure play zone includes a 4.95m Hags Uniplay Lycce Tower that caters to the daring 5-12 year age group — though younger users also feel the pull of its attractive design and ground-level activities.

A Junior Adventure space features a custom cubby and manmade mound that works well for those up to five years. A faux creekbed with hand-operated water pump also appeals to players of all ages and abilities. Who doesn’t love to splash on a hot day — especially in the tropics!

Catering to all abilities, the inclusive play area includes a Hags Uniplay Burridos. This unique play unit is comprised of interactive hand-pulley sand buckets and assorted tactile rope play activities that stimulate the imagination.

Junior slides cater to those aged 2-5 years, and a wide variety of physically challenging activities are on offer for those aged 5-12 years, including a Spinmee inclusive roundabout, which is accessible to those with mobility impairment and wheelchair users. Set flush with the surrounding safety surfacing, the roundabout offers an easy on/off transition and accommodates both seated and standing users, with two locations to securely accommodate wheelchairs.

Finally, the Nature ropes equipment offers something to all ages. Providing a wealth of options in informal play, the ropes area is designed to encourage children to use their creative skills, allowing them to dictate how the equipment is used in accordance with their individual physical ability and confidence level.

Rounding out the usability of this dedicated playscape is a shelter with picnic tables and barbecue amenities. Set within the fenced arena of the playground, the facilities make it easy for parents and carers to keep an eye on littlies while staying shaded and comfortable.

Working collaboratively with Council to meet the specific needs of the region, Austek Play has hit upon a winning combination in the Botanic Gardens playground that has resulted in a unique, durable and attractive public space that will continue to delight the community for years to come.

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PROJECT PARTICULARS
Client Bundaberg Regional Council
Location Bundaberg, Queensland
Design, Supply & Install Austek Play



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