Peninsula Recreation Precinct


Recipient: Sturt Noble Associates Pty Ltd

Client: Gosford City Council

Project Team: 

  • Sturt Noble: Helen Pearce, Felicity Ratcliffe, Hao Wang & Belinda Xu
  • Architect: Paul Godsell​

Project address: Sydney Avenue & The Esplanade; Umina Beach; Umina NSW 2257

Gosford City Council engaged Sturt Noble Associates to develop a holistic recreation area within the Peninsula Recreation Precinct addressing both the active and passive recreational needs of the broader regional community. 

The demographic of the Umina area is very broad but is characterized by many low income families and as such the recreation facility was seen as an opportunity to create recreation opportunities in an area traditionally lacking in facilities. 

A full consultation process was carried out and resulted in both a wide range of facilities and a community art initiative realizing artworks in the playground and a strong sense of ownership of the space. It is interesting to note vandalism has been almost non-existent.

The design creates a series of “play zones” which are designed around a generous community building with café facilities. This has made the space hugely popular with both carers and children alike and strongly tied the space to both the beach usage, the existing skate park and the holiday park. 

The play zones provide a variety of play experiences and adventures for different age groups and various physical abilities. A sweeping back dune and planting are used to form both discrete and open areas of play, ranging from a maze featuring sound, scent and texture to broad-scale challenging climbing nets.

Off-the-shelf play items were combined with custom made features & play pieces. Children contributed to the project through a community art initiative, hand painting tiles for inclusion into maze walls. 

Generous landscaped picnic areas, BBQ shelters and a community stage complement play zones. The whole precinct is further defined by the inclusion of a circular shared path with exercise equipment and stations. The development caters to all age groups and abilities. Play spaces are designed to include accessible elements with play designs providing for the development of agility, balance, coordination & strength. All five senses; sight, sound, touch, smell & taste can be stimulated with a variety of play elements, materials, planting & artworks are incorporated into play spaces. 

Equipment and activities are positioned within a range of surfaces and spaces forming interesting and adventurous play areas. Integrated planting and level changes form and divide play spaces, creating discrete and separate areas within the playground, allowing for individual & group play activities. Paths are designed to lead children to further play opportunities, often hidden throughout the space.

Informal play opportunities are created with the use of elements such as large boulders, stepping stones & logs. Paths link play areas, with surfaces of contrasting textures adding to the play experience, with stone, concrete, sand, gravel, pebbles, bark and rubber softfall providing a variety of both surfaces and colour.

The design incorporates best-practice sustainability approaches including recycled mulches, gravels, stone and sand being used extensively throughout the project. Planting was totally endemic coastal species with low water requirements. Detailing for hard works including bridges, seating and retaining walls were in robust materials designed with long life cycles and limited maintenance.