In Photos: Village Green Playground, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park

     
   

   

  

  

    
 
   
    
   

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Lake Belvedere Pram Walk / Trike Ride, Sydney Olympic Park

Lake Belevedere, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park provides a great morning out with the kids. Pack the pram, trikes or scooters and a picnic and you’re set for a good morning out. 

As with anywhere we go for the first time we got lost. Sydney Olympic Park is massive and it’s easy to get lost trying to get there and then once you’re inside. 

Thankfully, Bicentennial Park is right at the main entrance of Sydney Olympic Park. Coming along Homebush Bay Drive / A3 you will see signs for Sydney Olympic Park, going around the big circle at the entrance will land you on Australia Avenue. 

  
Once on it, look out for signs to turn right into Bicentennial Park. The first right will take you into Bicentennial Park Drive. If you miss that go right into Bennelong Parkway – it’s the first big intersection with traffic lights. 

   
The best way to enter is along Bicentennial Park Drive, drive all the way around until you see the lake on your left and then find a parking because then you won’t have to push the pram and carry the trike / bike or scooter uphill.

Wheeler Park, Narrabeen 

Wheeler Park is a little playground, fully enclosed and shade overlooking the Narrabeen Lakes. We stumbled upon it but burnt off some serious energy so I’m glad we came across it. 

KWheeler Park Playground doesn’t really have an address which is weird considering there is even a car park. If you’re looking for it, you would be best served putting Lakeside, Narrabeen in your GPS. The next three pictures should give you an indication of where it is: 

Picture 1: The blue spot in the picture is the covered playground alongside Lakeside Road.  

 Picture 2: Where Lakeside Road is in relation to other roads / streets in the area (more specifically Mactier Street) and the Lakes.   

Picture 3: Where Mactier Street and the Lakes are within the greater Narrabeen area.  

The beauty about this little playground is its location

  • It’s on the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail which means you can walk around the Lakes / lagoon a bit with the kids. It’s perfect for prams and trikes. 
  • There is a cafe (walking North) called Boatshed cafe where you can pick up a coffee / babychinos / smoothie. 
  • Ducks and geese are abound.
  • There are open areas nearby where you can sit and peacefully watch the water (or the people trying their hand at various water sports).   

 

The playground itself is small but has the basics – climbing frame, slides and swings. It is all spring form and as I said above its completely enclosed. 

   

   
There are BBQ facilities (just one I think), picnic tables and a few benches inside and outside the playground. 

  
  
There is street parking all along the Narrabeen Lakes and a little parking lot near the playground. One of the down falls is that there aren’t any toilets which is a bit of a pain if you plan on spending a while there. 

In Photos: Birkenhead Point Outlet Mall, Drummoyne 

 

Entrance to upmost level from the car park
  
Play structure on upmost level next to Muffin Break on the way to Katmandu
   
 
View from the top level looking East
  

 

Second level looking West with Brookes Brothers on the left. Entrance to the wing with all the suit shops on the left

  
Indoor seating for the food court on the grocery shop level
 
 
Outside seating for the food court on the grocery shop level
 

View of the water, outside the food court. Views can also be caught through the windows of Country Road
View of Iton Cove bridge that takes you into Rozelle

Outside of the building. Must have been an old industrial space
 
First floor, not to be confused with the bottom floor. Nike on the far left hand side and Peter alexander on my right.
 
    
   

Balmoral Beach Pram Walk, Mosman 

Although it’s autumn / winter it’s still possible to enjoy the beach. I took our littelest for a stroll along Balmoral Beach in her pram and it was lovely.

Balmoral Beach is great for kids in the summer and I will definitely get to that post soon but this post is about the awesome walk you can do alongside the beach with or without pram, trikes, bikes or scooters in tow. 

There is a wide walking path all along Balmoral Beach from the South End of the Esplanade all the way up to the Bathers’ Pavillion which is perfect for mum’s with prams. There is parking the whole way along, just depends if you’re willing to pay otherwise there is parking off from the Esplanade. 

  

You can put Balmoral Beach or The Esplanade, Mosman into your GPS. I would look for parking  along the Esplanade or for cheaper rates (and some free 2 hour parking) on Lower Almora Street, Park Lane or Hunter Road.   

 

The walk is just gorgeous because of the sea view (you’re right up alongside the beach) and because of the large green areas on the other side. Your pram occupant can get out and have a run if she  gets antsy because there is enough space. 

  
You can walk and stop as and when you please with benches and cafes / kiosks dotted along the way. 

You can also stop with the kids to:

1.  spare some change for the Melanoma Society, University of Sydney for Cancer research. 

  
2. explore the Balmoral Rotunda which was built in 1930. 

  

3. Play in the playground at the South End of the Esplaned (as at June 2016 it is currently undergoing work of some sort.) 

Unfortunately most of the bathrooms along the beach are currently undergoing work.  The following bathrooms are available: balmoral oval pavilion, tram shed and bathers pavillion. 

 
If you have a hyper-active 3 year old with you, the Oval is a great inclusion to the walk. You’ll find the Oval at the South End of the Esplanade on the opposite side of the road from the playground. 

Vivid Sydney 2016 at Chatswood

Eight displays running from 27 May to 13 June. There are displays at the Chatswood Interchange, the Concourse, Westfield and Chatswood Chase. The focus is dinosaurs and the prehistoric. Some interaction activities and other visual displays. 

After having visited on a whim we thought we’d done everything  we could but we seemed  to have missed out on Chatswood Chase which is only open during the day and limitedly on Thursday night. 

Hopefully this post will help you see everything as efficiently as possible. Taking kids out at night means efficiency has to be key. Lights go on at 5:30pm and are on until 10:30pm we got there just as it started and did it all in an hour, excluding traveling time and eating time. 

Below is a map that I have managed to download, for your own copy, click here for the link on the Visit Chatswood website. 

  
We used the train from the Northernline and got out at Chatswood (obviously ;)). As soon as you come out of the terminal you walk straight into the first interactive display: The Prehistoric Avery

  
 The Avery has three dinosaur birds that are powered by three exercise machines (I am sure that’s not the way the organizers describe it). Essentially children over the age of 5 can pedal, step or cycle so that the birds can flap up and down. Our 3 year old was allowed to use the stepping machine, sit on my lap while I pedaled and sit next to the bike and use his hands to pedal the third. He absolutely loved it. Out 1 year old watched memorized at the birds going up and down, making a noise. 
  
Somewhere near here is another display: The Bridge of Illusions but we didn’t find it. Granted, we weren’t aware it existed. 

We then took the lift to Chatswood Mall (the walking strip that takes you to Westfield and the Concourse normally). Here we came across The Stomping Ground. There are projections on the Mall’s floor which is an explosion of colour with animals swimming and creeping. The kids went nuts trying to chase the fish, dragonflies and dinosaurs. The only downside here is that the kids often resort to lying down on the floor which is quite gross. 

  
We walked past the Westfield display but didn’t really notice it – Neon Dino Nights.

The next big feature is at the Chatswood Concourse which has the Gondwana Light Lab, a big installation across the theatre roof, the Primordial Pond with three dinosaur eggs and Exoskeleton Encounter which as our 3 year old said ‘it’s humans dressed up as dinosaurs’ it’s pretty cool even though it freaked out our 1 year old. The pictures below are in the same order as listed above. 

   
   
 We then ventured off to Chatswood Chase thinking we could visit the Luminarium but not having researched Vivid Chatswood I didn’t know it was only open during the day from 10pm – 12pm, 1pm – 3pm and on Thursdays from 5pm – 7pm. Now I know. Maybe I’ll take the kids down again later in the week. 

There are lots of restuarants open, a few food stalls along Chatswood Mall, Gloria Janes at the Mall and McDonals at the Interchange. 

I enjoyed it as did the kids. Just dress up warm and make sure you have some blankets in the car. 

The Boatshed Cafe and Bar, Narrabeen 

I have never walked into a restuarant with kids and felt so welcome. From the manager (maybe the owner) to the wait staff everyone smiled and greeted the kids. The atmosphere coupled with the view and the space means we will definitely return.  

The address I found on the web was 11 Narrabeen Street, NSW 2101 and this took us to a rather random spot right next to where we wanted to be though, thankfully.  Look out for the entrance to the parking for Limani (because it’s in the same building) it’ll be on your left (if you’re facing the water). 
There are two options for seating – either inside and upstairs (there is a lift at the back of the building on the left hand side of the stairs) or outside in front overlooking the water (the views are great from either). 

  
The restuarant is open for breakfast and lunch, menus are all online for you to check out beforehand and bookings can be made online on the website, just click here but we wandered up on a Sunday morning at 10am and while we couldn’t get a table outside we found one inside with no trouble. 

As soon as the waitress arrived we were presented with colouring-in sheets and crayons (a Spider-Man sheet for the boy and a frozen sheet for the girl). These kept the kids seriously entertained until the food arrived. As is becoming standard my husband had the egg and bacon roll which he said was ‘traditional’ and ‘good’, I had the pancakes which were okay as did our little boy. The coffee was awesome as was the babychino. 

  

The menu is good but the sweets on sale look better and I think I’ll give this a try rather next time. maybe we’ll go for tea next time.  There are bathrooms but not fantastic.  On the plus side, the service was very quick and thorough, the location is great, there is plenty of parking and the kids are well looked after. 

 
Even if  you don’t stay for a sit down meal, you can always grab a take-away coffee or smoothie. 

After breakfast we were able to head out for a walk along the lake which made for a perfect end to a great morning. 
 

The Potting Shed at the Grounds, Alexandria 

Mom’s day out is always a big occasion – maybe wear make up, put on child unfriendly jewellery, something dangly maybe. Love it! This time I set course for Alexandria which is slightly south of Sydney to visit the much raved about Potting Shed. 

  
The Grounds is not a football field or parkland as I had expected but rather an oasis in the middle of a factory / warehouse area, a number of dining spots on a block all themed to make you feel like you’re in a forestry garden in the country. It’s pretty cool. 

The Google address is 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria, 2015. This will take you to the main entrance of The Grounds and from there you can weave your way through to the Potting Shed which is on the South East end of the block.  

  
Parking is insane on the weekends due to The Grounds’ popularity. You could always take the train to Green Square Station and then do the 1km walk if you have the time – if you do this, make sure to take the Bourke Road exit. 

Parking Options courtsey of The Grounds website

We had a delicious lunch at the Potting Shed with most people ordering either the Cheeseburger or the Pumpkin Fatteh. (Not all items are available from 4:15 onwards) I had the pumpkin and it was really good and a massive portion – I couldn’t make it through it all and took some home for the kids to have with their dinner. The only down side is that the Potting Shed doesn’t serve coffee you have to go to another eatery and bring it back which isn’t a problem unless you don’t want to have to make the short walk (I was on a time budget). But it does serve alcohol and juice, which it says it’s famous for. 

Booking wise there are limited reservations as most tables are for walk-ins but you can try book online at http://thegrounds.com.au/reservations/
The Potting Shed is only open from 11:30 most days except for Saturday’s and Sunday’s when they are open from 11am. 

The setting is just gorgeous and makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from Sydney (bar the hundreds of Sydneysiders there). I love all the flowers and the greenery and the decor behind it all has also been carefully thought out and chosen. 

  
   
 
The service was good (just order as soon as you can because the kitchen is busy busy) and we were able to pay the bill by card (only if it’s a 4 way split) which is a help when you’ve no clue where an ATM is and you don’t carry cash. 

After eating you must take a walk around the grounds, visit Kevin Bacon the resident Pig at the petting zoo and take a few selfies against the luscious backdrop of the Grounds. 

  
I will definitely go back but during the week so I can have a proper walk around and explore. Next time will check out the Cafe or the Garden. 

McKell Park, Hawksbury River 

We set out to find ducks and didn’t see a single one, a pelican in the distance, some seagulls and dogs but no ducks. Carrying our duck food ( as I now know ducks should not eat bread).
SIDEBAR: ducks should be fed fruit and veg (click here for a link on what you can feed them). 

For starters we headed north on Pacific Highway and then onto the Pacific Motorway just aiming blindly for Brooklyn on the Hawsbury. 

I now know Brooklyn is a little town on the Hawksbury River, with a school, fire station and train station (food places and houses too). 

I also know you can’t put a town’s name in your GPS and expect to find a duck. In hindsight it was a ridiculous move. 

So, anyway, we landed up in Brooklyn, beyond the town, past the train station and marina in McKell Park. And in the words of my 3 year old ‘we went the wrong way for ducks but still had fun’. 

   
The above pin shows exactly where we landed up in relation to the M1, Brooklyn and the river. For a GPS address you could use Mckell Park, 23–25 Karoola Street, Brooklyn NSW 2083, Australia. The other alternative is to take the train from Hornsby to the Hawkesbury Station, it’s only a 25 minute trip (one way from Hornsby).

  
We wandered out from the Park carpark and found a little walkway, a short walk and we had found the Hawkesbury Baths, an enclosed swimming area. The kids both played on the sand and in the water despite it being Autumn. 

  
Right in front of the car park is a little playground with a fishing / boating theme. As we were the only people there we spent an hour playing on the slides and the climbing ropes. Against the backdrop of the river spending time at the playground was so peaceful even with two crazy kids and two bush turkeys in a tree (those things are so strange!! The turkeys not my kids). The views are magnificent and with the odd Pelican popping in for a visit, you feel like you’re in a different world. 

   
  
A little further on there are some picnic benches and bathrooms so you could really set up for a morning or afternoon and be quite comfortable. 
The town itself has a few fish and chips shops, a cafe and general store within walking distance from the station. 

We’re going back, on the train, with dad to explore a bit more. Maybe a walk to the heads, a visit to the Pelicans at Parsley Bay, who knows maybe we’ll even stumble across some ducks. 

Berry Island Reserve – Park and Bush walk

Berry Island Reserve is beautiful and has an awesome playground! Until I was invited by a friend to accompany her and her tot to Berry Island Reserve I didn’t  even know that Wollstonecraft had greenery and such good views.

Situated at the end of Shirley Road Wollstonecraft, 2065 is the reserve. There is parking on the street (it wasn’t available when we were there due to building or something) or you can take the train to Wollstonecraft Station as it is a ten minute walk. Personally I would never take the train because the hill from the reserve is enough to make you want to put up a tent on Shirley road and never leave. In the below map the pin is the reserve and the blue dot, the massive blue dot is where the playground is.

IMG_1849-1

 

The reserve has the playground which I will go into detail about in a bit but it also has a giant area for picnics and a bush walk called the Gaydan Track which shows off some of the areas Aboringinal History. There are toilets as you enter the Reserve on your left and BBQ facilities with a couple of picnic tables.

The playground is fantastic!! It has been “custom designed” and you can tell – every is perfectly set in the natural bush. The jungle gym is surrounded by trees which are perfect for hiding in or exploring from the jungle gym, there are a variety of slides and swings and plenty of rocks to walk on. There are plenty of climbing ropes and ladders too – just what my son ordered. There is just enough grass to picnic on while watching the fish in the water.

The park is well shaded and as you can see there are benches for weary mums and dads.

 

We chanced the Gaydan Track and it was really lovely except when my three year old needed to be carried which sparked the one year old running down the track because no one was holding her back. But I digress, it is a beautiful walk to the point of the Island and back around to the same starting point, it says online that it should take 20 minutes but I think its a bit longer when you’re stopping to look at mushrooms, lizards and huge rocks.

During the walk you feel a million miles away from Sydney until you spot the bridge peeking through the trees of the Westfield tower over the water or the Anzac bridge in the distance.

If you are going with more than one child I recommend you take more than 1 adult. There are lots of rocks and tree trunks to trip up on and the sides of the walk fall away to the water. The lookout is fenced but its not very well constructed – you want to hold on to your children to keep them from falling through!

 

 

I like this place a whole lot and will definitely take the husband there and visitors to Sydney. One last point, try get there before 10h00 because it seems like 10 is when all the grannies on grandchild duty arrive (aah, if only my children’s grandparents were closer – they too would be dispatched there).