HOT: Carlton Gardens, Carlton


One of the biggest playgrounds in the City of Melbourne is right near one of our favourite kid-friendly Melbourne sites – the Melbourne Museum. The Carlton Gardens playground is also handy for the World Heritage listed tourist attraction Royal Exhibition Building and surrounding Carlton Gardens (and the CBD) making it a great place to stop if you’re a kid-toting tourist.


It is wide-spreading and unfenced and is loosely based on a traditional labyrinth, a reference to the Victorian history of the site. The bright colours reflect the exterior patchwork wall of nearby Melbourne Museum.

The series of low concrete walls have holes, tunnels and slides cut into them, making them great fun for hiding and exploring.


The ground undulates gently and paths run through the maze, with a wooden deck in the middle that hides musical bells that chime when you step on them.


Bigger kids will enjoy the two tall towers housing slides, monkey bars, fireman’s pole, ladders and a climbing wall. Just note in after school the playground becomes very busy with kids pouring out from the primary school across Rathdowne Street, so Lady AB was a little bowled over by all the action.


On the higher ground is more traditional playground equipment suitable for toddlers with toddler swings, a cubby house with a slide, sandpit, a climbing frame and seesaw. The great thing about this equipment was that Lady AB could access the slide herself by racing up the sloping path so she happily looped round and round for quite some time.

Find Hotels and Airbnbs near Carlton Gardens, Carlton


Next to this is yet another play area (more suitable for older kids) with bars, flying fox and more swings.


The playground is set amongst some large Moreton Bay figs and is actually quite well hidden from the Nicholson St side of the park. Even if you never make it to the playground there’s lots of space to run and explore!


About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

Discover Melbourne's top family fun in 5 minutes, for free

Our weekly newsletter brings busy parents and carers the best activities for kids in Melbourne + Victoria. It's your best 5-minute read for creating quality family time!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.