By Yvette O’Dowd
It can be hard to find a destination with activities to entertain children of different age groups. So we were thrilled to discover a family day out which engaged all three children, aged 9, 6 and 2 years old.
Travelling up the winding road to the top of Arthur’s Seat on a glorious spring day, we arrived at the Enchanted Adventure at 55 Purves Rd, not far from the lookout and nearby Eagle cable car. We were happy to find accessible parking close to the entrance and there was ample car parking available.
We were welcomed by friendly staff who explained what was available and where to scan a QR code to get a site map. (I love having a paperless option!). Through the gate, we entered a wonderland of gardens, mazes and activities to be explored. Pram access was excellent throughout and people using wheelchairs and other mobility aids could access most areas easily. Toilets and baby care facilities were clean and located close to the cafe and entrance. The site is on the side of the mountain and some pathways are on a steep incline. However, as a grandmother with limited mobility I was able to negotiate most areas.
We decided to explore the mazes first, delighting the toddler and challenging the older children (and adults!). The Children’s Maze included unique play spaces throughout, while the traditional hedge maze featured zen-like spaces culminating in the restful centre garden.
The medieval-inspired labyrinth is a peaceful garden with a lawn in-laid with red brick pathway.
At the bottom of the property is a beautiful lake highlighted by a fountain and encircled by an accessible board walk. A lookout in the centre of another hedge maze gives a view up the hill and across the whole property. Landscaped gardens featuring succulents and native plantings complement more traditional gardens laid out up the hill in traditional designs.
As we continued along the pathway, we encountered some large interactive puzzles which were not as straightforward as they might seem! Solutions are discreetly nearby if you are stuck! And then it was time to hit the tube slides nearby!
Children and adults over 135cm can select from two courses and our little one was thrilled to discover another dedicated slide for smaller bodies. Staff were great at explaining and guiding everyone and wait times were minimal on the Sunday we visited.
Tummies needed filling after all this activity, so it was time for a pit-stop. There is an abundance of choice for idyllic picnic sites but we headed up to the Balcony Cafe with spectacular outlooks at the top of the hill. Everyone found something to suit their tastes – including hot chips and ice-creams, salads, wraps and sandwiches and hot pies and pastries. Hot and cold drinks are available.
Suitably restored, we headed over to the Sky Scramble, an extraordinary play space set among the gum trees and natural bush setting. We walked beneath the tree surfers above, both adults and the children exploring the Nippers course. Additional to the general entry, these guided experiences brought sounds of joy from the trees, intriguing the two year old who is used to humans at ground level!
Our nine year old was very interested and we have promised a return visit for her to participate in the Nippers course.
The Sky Scramble is an aerial playground intended for children and is a network of net-enclosed walkways, wooden structures and climbing frames. Nestled under the tree canopy, this peaceful space kept the children engaged – with even the littlest confidently negotiating his way above our heads! Then we all headed for the Canopy Walk, a pram-friendly accessible series of connected swing bridges allowing everyone the experience of being up amongst the natural forest.
Our family spent about four hours altogether at the Enchanted Adventure and could easily have filled the whole day. We finished with a visit to the lookout and ride on the Eagle afterwards.
Enchanted Adventure is open every day from 9am to 5pm, except Christmas Day and is about 20 minutes drive from Frankston down Peninsula Link. For all information and bookings, visit their website.