Being Sunday the motorway was pretty quiet and we made it to the Gurtenpark car park in one and a half hours (amazingly without getting lost once) I was very impressed to see chargers for electric cars and a bicycle wash for cyclists. It was a three minute walk to the Gurtenbahn (every 15 minutes) a funky funicular train to the top of the hill.
We then made a beeline for the Spielplatz which was peeking tantalisingly out through the trees, dashing first to a little pond, complete with a miniature raft with which kiddies can traverse the pond by rope, then to an exciting looking Rube Goldberg contraption with gears to push, pull and twizzle to make the balls go round (a few were disappointingly not working but it didn't spoil the overall enjoyment for the girls) and then a wonderful wooden climbing structure from which to rule the park. There is also a gorgeous little train (the Kleineisenbahn) which takes you around the playpark and of course the essential ice cream stop.
The park is very large, with plenty of space for the children to run free and enjoy a picnic (with lots of shady spots from the trees) There are also two restaurants - one self service - a snack bar and a hotel for longer stays. It's also a cracking venue for concerts and theatre productions.
Well marked hiking trails run around the park, with stunning views of the Bernese Alps. Route 4 takes you back down to the car park in less than an hour.
A great day out - and the perfect place to catch up with old friends :)