Birdwood Nature Playground and Sunset
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
While visiting the Jo Wheatley All Abilities Play Space we thought we would also explore Birdwood Nature Playground as it sits just up the hill and within a few minutes walk from Jo Wheatley. Being explorers though we set out to do a loop from Jo Wheatley to Matilda Bay up to Mason Gardens to see the turtles and then back via Birdwood Nature Playground. Our loop took us 3 hours and was 13km long and although the 10 and 7 years olds didn't complain we were lucky it was a rather cool summer's day and the draw of the turtles kept them motivated. As Dalkeith is built on a grid system there are plenty of ways to include a visit to the playground (one or more) with a short walk. Either to Matilda Bay and back (or not even that far - just a 30 minute walk along the river each way)....up to Mason Gardens and back or around Point Resolution to Bishop Road Reserve and back or any combination of the above. The idea is to get the kids out walking as you notice so many interesting things along the way.
Our adventure so far had brought us to Mason Gardens to check out the turtles. From here we headed down Adelma Road coming across a church set amidst suburban houses. Later research revealed this to be the Carmelite Monastery. Our next discovery was Dalkeith Primary School and as the gates were open we had a wander through the fantastic nature playground under the shade of their magnificent trees. Admiring the magnificent tall trees lining the streets and the beautiful homes we soon hit Jutland Parade where we turned left for two blocks coming to Iris Avenue. We turned here after admiring the mansion being constructed on the corner and found ourselves at the Sunset Heritage Precinct.
We ventured in as it is open to the public and discovered ramshackle old buildings built as the Claremont Old Men's Home in 1904 before being converted into the Sunset Hospital in the 1960's. The precinct is now under the care of the National Trust and will be transformed into a creative arts and cultural precinct. The buildings are in such a state of disrepair they are all fenced off but there are magnificent fig trees, gorgeous tables and commemorative plaques to discover. At the far end is the old chapel and beyond that the Birdwood Nature Playground. There is parking on Birdwood Parade and there are toilet facilities here.
From the playground you can follow a short path down the scarp directly into the car park at Jo Wheatley Play Space, literally a few minutes away.
Sunset Heritage Precinct was a complete surprise and a delightful discovery. Although it is a long way from being restored it will be a true gem once it is. If you want to discover this area more check out the City of Nedlands Walking Trails guide. For a small loop walk you could walk from Jo Wheatley via Birdwood Nature Playground through the Sunset Heritage Precinct and then down Iris Avenue to the riverfront and back along the river to Jo Wheatley.
See also separate blogs on the Jo Wheatley All Abilities Play Space and the Birdwood Nature Playground and Sunset Heritage Precinct.