Harmony Gardens in Dutton Park Playground
Harmony Gardens is a fun inner south neighbourhood park with a few special touches.
HARMONY GARDENS – THE FUN
The playground area at Harmony Gardens is called the Butterfly Magic Playspace and was created by the council in conjunction with local kids, parents and neighbours. Students from nearby St Ita’s Primary School and Dutton Park State School worked with local artists to make the butterflies that decorate the fence. Surrounding vegetation was rehabilitated to encourage native butterflies, and indeed we saw some flitting around on the day of our visit.
One of the best parts of the playground is a big sandpit complete with excavators, on which budding construction workers can sit and manipulate handles to pick up and move buckets of sand. The sandpit also includes a big fort armed with buckets on chains, which your Brisbane kid can use to haul up sand, then dump it back down into the sandpit via special mini slides. Apart from the sandpit, Harmony Gardens is home to a play unit with slide, three plastic sculptures on which kids can climb, a hammock-like swing, two standard swings including one with a high back suitable for babies, and exercise bars.
One of the most striking and unique features of Harmony Gardens is its sound sculpture, which was designed with the assistance of blind and visually impaired people. The metal percussion chimes and a similar wooden set of planks invite kids of all abilities to strike them and hear the different sounds made by the varying lengths of metal and wood. The instruments are surrounded by posts reminiscent of totem poles, with designs etched into their surfaces that are perfect for little hands to explore varying textures.
Harmony Gardens is just a short walk from the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, also known as the ‘Green Bridge’ due to its vehicle lanes being limited to buses and bikes. You can walk with your Brisbane kid down to see a curve of the Brisbane River and perhaps stroll across the shaded pedestrian walkway of the bridge to see the lakes at UQ.
The plastic sculptures near the sandpit look like they have been drawn from Alice in Wonderland, with a caterpillar, bug and a mushroom inspiring imaginative play and encouraging kids to climb on and in them. There is a little counter under the play unit for kids to play shop, while the fort in the sandpit could be a castle surrounded by a moat, or a building site that your Brisbane kids need to haul sand to construct. Just down the slope from the park is a stand of bushland for intrepid kids to play jungle.
SPECIAL NEEDS AT HARMONY GARDENS
There is one disabled car park with a concrete path leading to the playground and one leading to the toilets, one of which is disabled (handles only, no change table). The playground is constructed on rubber, making it easier for wheelchairs to navigate than bark, but the ground is somewhat uneven and the sandpit would be too difficult. The sound sculpture was specifically designed by and for blind and visually impaired people.
There are several public transport options for accessing Harmony Gardens. Dutton Park Train Station is a 10-15 minute walk, while there are bus stops on Gladstone Road near the park and the Dutton Park Place bus interchange further down the hill. If you don’t mind a longer walk, you could even take a CityCat to UQ, then walk across the Eleanor Schonell Bridge and up the hill.
HARMONY GARDENS – THE FACTS
- Partially fenced
- Covered with shade sails and trees but doesn’t always provide full cover from the sun
- Two toilets, one of which is for disabled access
- 3 picnic tables (2 with roofs and one shaded by trees)
- BBQ with two plates
- Water bubblers
- Exercise bars
- Rubber and cement surfaces, with grassy areas
- Swings, including infant swing
- Play unit with slide and pole
- Sandpit with fort and diggers
- Sound sculpture
- Half-court and dog off-leash area further up the hill
- Carpark with 11 spaces, including one disabled. A gravel area just down the road can also be used for parking and will fit about six cars, but there is no path to the playground. Further spots are located down the bottom of the hill, with a concrete path leading back up to the playground. All car parks are 2P from 7am to 7pm on school days.
Other great parks in the inner south are Orleigh Street Playground and Hill End Terrace Playground, both in Orleigh Park at West End, and the multiple playgrounds and parks at South Bank. You can also click here to view all the playgrounds we have reviewed in southern Brisbane. If there’s a great Brisbane playground that’s not on our list, please comment and let us know.
Harmony Gardens is located at the top of TJ Doyle Memorial Drive, Dutton Park.