A brand new playground is helping bring Tathra Headland back to life after the destruction caused by the March bushfire.
The big thing about it is the kids don’t ever have any input into parks. A lot of parks these days are built without even asking them.Musician Sam Martin
With the design selected by children, and with a focus on allowing them to explore boundaries, the brains behind the park, and owner of the Tathra Hotel Cliff Wallis said his aim was to create a “challenging playground”.
Made almost entirely from wood, the park was shipped from Western Australia after being manufactured by Nature Play Solutions.
“It was always my plan to build something for the kids,” Mr Wallis said.
“I spoke to some parents about where good playgrounds are, and I thought I would get kids to suggest some ideas.”
Designs for the new playground were selected by Candelo sisters, and park “consultants”, Mabel and Elsa Martin.
Eight-year-old Mabel said “climbing” is a large feature of the park, and she selected elements which “looked fun” and that “kids would enjoy”.
Five-year-old Elsa also said climbing was an important part of the design, along with a rope bridge to allow for balance practice.
Their father and musician Sam Martin said the fact children were involved in the design process sets it apart from other playgrounds in the area.
“The big thing about it is the kids don’t ever have any input into parks. A lot of parks these days are built without even asking them,” he said.
“Here there’s monkey bars and kids love them but you don’t see them in parks any more.”
The hotel’s iconic Winky the Whale will also eventually make an appearance in the new playground design, to the delight of many locals.
Hotel manager Michael Drew said there has been excitement around town ahead of the opening, which coincides with much post-bushfire renewal work along the iconic headland.
“Everything Cliff does here is a little different. It’s pretty amazing,” he said.
“The fact it’s all natural fits in with the headland’s natural environment.
“There is a nervous buzz around now with summer coming.”
Mr Wallis and his wife Sayaka Mihara made national news headlines when the couple removed poker machines after taking over ownership in 2015.
“The playground looks great. It is hopefully one of the best playgrounds in the area,” Ms Mihara said.
Mr Wallis said his aim since then has been to make the entire customer experience “challenging”, in that it differs greatly from the traditional Australian pub and offers the unexpected.
With a microbrewery and cinema on the way the couple are quickly transforming the coastal town’s cultural landscape.