Millars Landing Case Study: How do you turn your amazing play tower ideas into reality?

And, how do you build a historical timber playground that is on budget and easy to maintain?

Answer – you contract top Australian playground design and installation experts, adventure+ to handle the project.

The Steamrail Adventure Playground at Millars Landing is part of a large residential development in North Baldivis, WA. Created with growing families in mind, the development includes numerous playgrounds, parks and family areas all based around the theme of steam trains, water towers and timber milling. The outdoor play equipment boasts two flying foxes, a 12-metre slide, swing sets, a climb-on steam train structure, picnic facilities, kickabout turf areas, robust timber furniture and railway sleepers.


Action-packed Millars Landing Playground in North Baldivis, WA


adventure+ took the idea of the landscape architect, which was a simple sketch, and turned it into a practical result. Her idea provided the foundation of the playground design, and the adventure+ team were able to reflect this idea in a way that was economical, standards compliant and required minimal design and installation time. The client’s greatest challenge was finding a company that could accurately make the structure, something adventure+ was able to do.

adventure+ playground consultant John Kelsey says, “We have a very streamlined process that is backed by awesome organisation and project management processes. Extensive systematisation and local manufacturing mean we can supply high quality playground equipment that kids love, anywhere in Australia.”

Jo Olive of PLAN E Landscape Architects, the key designer working on the Millars Landing project said, “The ability to customise standard structures enabled us to create a play item purpose-built for the site within a reasonable budget and construction time frame.”


Initial pen sketches by the landscape architect
The Millars Landing Play Tower with a 12 metre slide


One of those play items was a tower with a 12m tube slide. However, the tower wasn’t sufficiently tall to be seen from the surrounding neighbourhood, which the developer had also specified to add historical character and flavour. The problem was solved by placing the tower on a gentle, easy-access mound which also incorporated a flying fox take-off point.

Jo Olive says, “adventure+ has a great range of tall tower structures which we were able to customise to reflect the old steam train water stop concept and continue the locomotive theme for the playground.”


The play tower makes a great statement in the estate


Issues like height constraints and construction materials are not uncommon on a project of this scope. Problems can also occur as a result of the underlying soil structure that might be boggy, sandy or atop landfill; council requirements or regulations can differ between locations; and last-minute changes to design plans can cause delays.

But experience counts in these situations and adventure+ has been building funky, innovative, iconic playgrounds all over Australia for more than 35 years.

On the Millars Landing project, the developer had envisaged a rustic look and feel with historically accurate timber. However, when the design was sent to the local council for approval, it was turned down on maintenance grounds.

adventure+ then suggested an alternative – composite, recycled material that looked like wood. It was balanced with natural timber and low maintenance materials in areas which are difficult to access.

Because adventure+ playground components are locally manufactured, problems like this are easily solved. Had they been imported, changes such as these could have delayed the project for a long time.

Replacing the construction material was also possible because adventure+ playgrounds are modular. While customised to suit each specific project, the pieces are like a giant Lego® set that can fit together in myriad ways.


Train and sleepers by others, multi-directional Gyro swing by adventure+
Customised playground tower by adventure+

But resolving problems, which others on the project may not have noticed, is also part of the adventure+ point of difference.

adventure+ playground consultant John Kelsey says, “When designing a project for children of all ages, such as Millars Landing, it’s important to consider what happens when, for instance, a youngster gets to the top of the tower, becomes frightened and can’t get down. They need rescuing by a parent, so the structure must be built with adults in mind, too. As well, every component on the playground, right down to the gaps in guardrails, needs to be compliant with Australian Standards.  Because of our experience in building playground structures, we can take such issues into consideration at the beginning, rather than part-way through the project.”

The adventure+ modular playground system has one other major advantage – speed of installation. The time it takes to put a playground in can be reduced to between two and four days which is less disruptive, especially for schools.

Customisation, local manufacture, modular design and swift installation all combine to make adventure+ the playground company of choice.