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 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:
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 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.
Big path to cycle around, big sweeping bush land views. The area has plenty of parking and is completely accesible with a pram making it perfect for a pram walk and trike / scooter ride.
It is referred to by the Ku-ring-fai Council as a “sport and recreation spot” which is a strange way to describe such a big piece of land that houses soccer fields, one or more baseball diamonds, a playground, a mountain bike training area, a model aeroplane club, off-leash dog walking, playground and an rural emergency service.
I’ll just call this whole area “The Field” throughout in an attempt to stick to its title but really it’s made up of fields but I’m getting sidetracked and want to avoid confusion.
So, to get to The Field put Esk Street, Wahroonga into your GPS or Golden Jubilee Field, Wahroonga (or North Wahroonga) may work too.
Initially what you will see is a massive field which is either set up for soccer or baseball. To get to the walking / trike track or the Mountain Bike track you’ve got to head to the field at the back. Below is an aerial view to help you follow me. The blue dot is where you park and the ‘sandpit’ looking thing to the right is actually a field which is the main baseball field. It makes no sense to me that it looks like that when it is actually lovely and green (you’ll see from the pics I took on out bike ride / pram walk).
The second ‘sandpit’ looking thing is very much like a sandpit. As it is the Mountain Bike Course. It is huge fun for a 3 year old boy. I will get to this a bit later in the post. The buildings in the picture are the Emergency Services’ buildings.
Starting out from the parking (where the blue dot is) you’ll need to go up onto the field level, there are plenty of entry points. You’ll either see the model aeroplane grandads in action (such fun) or there will be a soccer game or baseball game in action. On the days we’ve been there we’ve not seen a sports game in action. You’ll then have plenty of track to cycle / pram round and round.
The views out over the bushland are impressive and it’s all fenced so you don’t have to worry when the little ones go off track.
You’ll find a spot in the track where you can go right past the emergency services buildings and can ride to the other baseball field. You’ll know you’ve found the right turn when you get to the sign that says “dogs must be on leash from this point”.
On this occasion we didn’t visit the playground, we decide to keep left and make our way round the trike track again and then onto the mountain bike training park, Jubes Mountain Bike Park.
Had this been the weekend or anytime when there were actual mountain bikers on the circuit I wouldn’t have let my son on but as there was no one else there (like the other times we’ve been) we had free reign.
There are three areas according to the web (KMC – Jubes Mountain Bike Park website): “Skill development – Designed to help riders improve off-road cycling with rock, wood and narrow sections. Pump track – Easy, medium and difficult levels to encourage the rider to use their upper body to ‘pump’ through the course.Single track -800 metres of track that meanders up and down the hillside.”
I’m not sure which sections we were on but my son rode over some mud mounds, rocks, paths, wooden ramps and then moved on from the bike and together with my daughter “practiced their running”.
A word to the wise: if there is mud, even a little bit rather avoid it. I know it’s meant to be fun and probably is huge amounts of fun but the mud is thick and sticks to the wheels and feet, shoes, legs, clothes and everything that comes into contact with it.
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 also stop with the kids to:
1. spare some change for the Melanoma Society, University of Sydney for Cancer research.
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.
I had booked my little girl in for a professional photograph session, second child means we don’t have a lot of photos of her alone, and she woke up in the morning with a few red dots around her mouth. She’s teething and sucking a dummy so I didn’t think much of the dots until we got to the photographer.
The photographer asked me to take her dummy out her mouth and when I did I saw that there were a few more dots around her mouth. The photographer took a closer look and suggested it could be Hand Foot and Mouth (HFAM) she also told me she knew it was circulating Sydney at the moment 😦
We rescheduled the appointment and off I went to the pharmacy for a second take on the situation. In the last year, everytime I’ve taken the kids to doctors I’ve had the same stock standard response “give it 24 hours” so I thought I’ll give it the mandatory 24 hours and keep her and her brother in quarantine.
The pharmacist took one look and said ‘whoever told you it was HFAM was an idiot, it’s just a fungus which is extremely common in small kids with dummies’. The pharmacist gave us some anti-fungal and off we went.
The dots didn’t progress, haven’t progressed but next morning she had some faint red dots on her hands. Panic began to set it. Took her temperature, because that’s what the Google machine indicated I should do and there was no temp.
We set off to a secluded field so her brother could ride his bike without us risking infecting anyone if she wasn’t well. That afternoon her little finger had a blister on it so I made an urgent doctors appointment.
Doctor looked in her throat and confirmed it was Hand, Foot and Mouth. Cue massive panic on my part – is she in pain and I haven’t noticed, is she not eating and I had convinced myself she was, had we infected other children, would the whole family be rendered useless as a result of painful blisters????
The doctor said that HFAM is very common internationally and we had probably got it as children in South Africa when we were little. My mom said we handn’t had it as children so now we wait… Although it is unusual for adults to get it there are cases of adults getting it.
There is no cure for HFAM in kids, you’ve just got to treat the symptoms unless there is a complication which would in any event make you go to hospital on its own (dehydration)
The doctor also said of the children she’s seen over the years, she has seen three different categories of kids:
- Kids who get it but show limited symptoms
- Kids who get it and show mild symptoms. Our little one is in this category. She is still eating, doesn’t have a temperature and is relatively happy.
- Kids who get lots of spots, high temp and don’t want to eat because the spots in their throats and mouth make them to sore.
In response to my panic about having infected other kids, the doctor reiterated that it is very very common. If a child has had HFAM before it’s unlikely that child would get it again but there are ‘sub-strains which means there is a chance the child would get it again. The doctor also said to maybe let mom’s whose kids we had seen the day before the spots know, any longer before that wasn’t necessary.
We were sent home with a fact sheet and told:
- spots can also appear on her legs and in her nappy area
- to give panadol or nurofen for pain relief and if she gets a temperature
- keep her hydrated
- maintain quarantine for at least a week
- wash hands, especially after nappy changes, and don’t use same eating and drinking vessels
- there is some research to suggest that the virus can stay in the stool for a while after the spots but it doesn’t cling to surfaces so a handwash would eliminate that worry
A day later and there is nothing that has changed, she is still eating, still doesn’t have a temperature, has little red spots on her hands, feet and mouth but only two (on the outside of her hands) have blisters around them.
Unfortunately one of the children we saw the day before she got her spots has started exhibiting spots 😦 (I’m waiting for my award for ‘world’s worst mom friend’). So my daughter must have been contagious the day before she got the spots.
The following information is from the fact sheet I got from the doctor (source: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/infectious/factsheets/pages/handfootmouth.aspx)
- Usually occurs in children under 10 years old.
- Can occur in older children and adults.
- NOT related to Foot and Mouth which affects cattle (somehow this makes me feel much better).
- May cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
- Blisters start as small red dots which later become ulcers.
- In addition to hands and feet, blisters can appear on the inside of cheeks, gums and sides of the tongue.
- In infants blisters can appear in nappy region.
- Blisters usually last 7 – 10 days.
- Children can experience low fever, irritability, sore throat, tiredness and may not want to eat.
- Very rarely it can develop into viral meningitis.
- HFAM is spread through saliva, sputum, nasal mucus or faecal contamination (nappy / toilet without washing hands).
- HFAM is also spread from the mouth or nose and direct fluid from the blisters.
- HFAM is also spread through the sharing of toys that have been in a sick child’s mouth.
- It usually takes 3 to 5 days from infection before blisters appear.
- Virus can remain in poo for weeks.
Below are pics of what our daughter looks like on day 3 of spots.
The best sandwhich have eaten in so long I don’t even remember what I thought was better before I ate this 🙂 pulled lamb with hollumi and crisp sweet potato on sourdough. Wow wow wow.
The address is 15 Stanley Street St Ives but the entrance is through the carpark situated on Stanley Lane. To get to the parking I would rather put Stanley Lane into your GPS. Just be careful entering Stanley Lane as it is very narrow.
What the map below doesn’t show is that you can get through to Stanley Lane by entering the YMCA parking lot off Porters Lane. Driving through that carpark will take you into Stanley Lane. Another note on the map – that McDonalds is not the fast food chain it is a pharmacy.
The vibe is not really child friendly, as you’ll see from the pictures and you have to be careful with the tables with their sharp metal edges. However, the menu did have kids food, there are babychinos and I did spot some high chairs. Also in favour of kids, the staff and other patrons were quite chilled when I visited with my daughter, even when she played peekaboo in between the chairs.
I dropped in for a coffee and stayed for lunch because the Pulled Lamb Sandwhich special on the chalkboard looked too good to miss. I’m so glad I tried it but now I need more, I’m definitely going to have to go back and go back soon! The AllPress Coffee is also good. Check out some pics of the cafe and their food on their Facebook page here. Below are two (not-so-great) pictures of the menu. As I go back I’ll update with what we eat.
Stanley Street Cafe is open 7 days a week from 6:30am, until 4pm Monday to Friday and 3pm on the weekends.
The only downsides are that the outside area is right in the parking area and I’m not sure that there are bathrooms close by but I’ll also check on this next time we visit.
We were stuck in Manly around dinner time and knew if the kids didn’t eat soon we’d have some serious problems. I did some googling and found Ironbark Pizza Restuarant and Cafe where kids eat free if you order before 6:30pm.
The address for your GPS is 208 Pittwater Road, Manly, 2095. There is on street parking, we got parking along Rolfe Street as we were coming from the East Esplanade.
Ironbark Pizza Restuarant and Cafe is open from 5pm every day of the week. Bookings can be made online by clicking here. They also offer take away and delivery to some suburbs.
The decor yells Italian Pizzeria, the red checkered table clothes, waxed covered candles and wooden tables. You can sit outside (it was covered up when we visited in Autumn) or sit inside alongside the warm pizza oven.
As soon as we arrived we were shown a table and offered a high chair or booster seat and our pick of colouring-in sheets. Of course we chose Batman, Lightening McQueen and Sophia The First. The service was super quick and we were able to eat, colour and pay all before the kids got too worn out. You can tell that it’s loved amongst the locals because of how quickly it gets full of families around 6pm.
Naturally, the good choices are pizza but there are pastas and some other options. My husband had the pizza which he said was good and I had the ravioli which was good. You can access the menu here. We paid $64 for an adult pizza, adult pasta, Cole, decaf cuppachino, kids juice and kid’s icecream. The kids’ meals would have cost about $15 each but were free because we ordered within the time frame. The kids had the smiley face pizza (which was loved) and the chicken and chips (also devoured).
One thing I loved about the place was the hostess, she was absolutely divine with the kids and completely attentive to us and them without being overbearing.