4 REASONS WHY I'VE BEEN NEGLECTING BABYBRAINSYDNEY

Around a year ago I started this blog, BabyBrainSydney, as a bit of hobby; to kickstart some new ideas for career progression beyond the baby years of motherhood. For a good 6 months, it has served as my 'me time', a chance to flex my creativity and feel productive outside of mothering. But you may have noticed that it has been severely neglected in the last few month. And there are a few reason for that....

IMG_1070.jpg

1. Firstly, I started the blog once Farley was weaned off breastfeeding and when she started sleeping through the night, independently at 18months. Prior to that our nights were all about bed sharing and breastfeeding-to-sleep. At this point in time, I was also 3 months pregnant with Hallie and I always knew that starting a blog about getting out and about in Sydney with a toddler maybe be a little difficult to maintain once I also had a newborn in the mix. But to be honest, for the first 3 months of Hallie’s life, it was pretty easy to get out and about with both toddler and baby. And i was also able to find a couple of hours at night to work on the blog. Hallie was a pretty deep sleeper for those first few months, once she was asleep, she was asleep for a solid couple of hours before needing her next feed, even while in her Pavlik Harness. But that all changed around the 4 month mark... the dreaded 4 month sleep regression, which was combined with her first cold and closely followed by teething ( she now has two little bottom teeth ). The 4 month sleep regression really meant nothing with Farley... sleep was alway a challenge from birth with her. But I really noticed it with Hallie. I went back to the only way I know how to survive with a little sleep fighter... breastfeeding to sleep and then, more often than not, having my arm trapped under a sleeping baby, too scared to move it incase she wakes up again. The nights that I do manage to creep out of the bedroom, it's anyones guess when she will wake up again... 20 seconds? 20 minutes? Maybe 2 hours if I’m lucky. Some nights it’s just easier to stay put. 7:30pm is my new bedtime. It’s how we made it through Farley’s first year without to much stress or sleep deprivation ( I’m not one to attempt any sort sleep training at this stage... that topic could be a whole other blog post in and of itself ) my main focus is doing whatever it takes to make sure everyone in the family is well rested and happy, even if that does mean my creative endeavours are put on hold for a bit. 

2. The other major reason my blog has lost a bit of momentum is, well firstly, let’s face it, it is quite a challenge to even leave the house with a baby and a two year old by yourself. And Farley now, as a two year old, is a lot differently to Farley as an 18 month - 24 month old. My gosh, toddler emotions are a whole new ball game. Farley has always been a very introverted kid, in fact she was an introverted baby. She wouldn't let just anyone hold her and cried if strangers got too close. She seemed to come out of her shell a bit once she was walking but things changed again at the age of two. Admittedly it was when Hallie arrived in her life so things were definitely shaken up. I was really ambitious about getting out and trying all sorts of new mothers groups and playgroups, I had even compiled a list off the toddler playgroups and sessions that are hosted by museums and art galleries in Sydney, with the intention of attending and reviewing each one for the blog. But Farley had other plans, and those plans were to just stay home. Any new activity seemed to send her into meltdown mode, other kids coming within her personal space seemd to be just too much. And this was on top of all the medical appointments that were required to monitor Hallie’s hip dysplasia. I quickly realized that I was over scheduling our lives and needed to re-prioritise. We still go to the local playgroup twice a week that we’ve always gone to since moving to Sydney, it’s familiar and friendly, and to be honest.. it’s my main form of social interaction. We also still go out as a family on weekends but other than that, I have embraced keeping it simple and staying at home most weekdays. It’s kind of ironic that a Mum who wants to write about exploring Sydney with a toddler; has a toddler who would much prefer to stay home . 

IMG_1027.jpg
IMG_1065.jpg

3. When I started blogging, it’s was mainly a creative outlet, a place to continue using the skills I had acquired over the course of my career, but also a way to teach myself new skills and explore new career paths, like writing and generating an income through blogging; with things like affiliate links and sponsored posts and ads banners. I quickly realised that it would be a hard slog before anyone was going to pay me to write articles for them or generate a following worthy of sponsored posts. I thought to myself, how can I work smarter, not harder? So then I started looking into e-commerce and online stores. One thing that kept coming up was, well two things actually, were doTERRA and network marketing. I kept seeing doTERRA essential oils popping up everywhere and I didn’t quite get how all these people could have a doTERRA business. I had also come across a few people who had created a lot of wealth through network marketing and I was like ‘what does that even mean?!’ Then, as if the universe was literally guiding me down a new path, one of my good friends in Sydney, Miranda, invited me to a doTERRA class. I had a very basic knowledge of essential oils and was interested in finding ways to naturally help Braino’s extreme eczema, amongst other things. So I went along, bombarded poor Emma and Liz with way too many questions, bought some oils and started on a quest to figure out how the business side of it work. I quickly figured out that doTERRA is network marketing and it’s actually pretty fascinating. I’ve also been using essential oils in every way I can. I can honestly say I love them; they have helped make some big changes to our life. Mainly when it comes to reducing the toxic load in our household cleaning and hygiene products (Braino has been loving the all natural hand cream I made him, which helps relieve the discomfort of his eczema).  So basically I’ve been dedicated a lot of time to essential oils and researching how network marketing works - so watch this space... things are evolving.  

4. Another reason for neglecting BabyBrainSydney.com, possibly the biggest reason, is.... we may actually be leaving Sydney! And moving to Melbourne. The idea has been thrown around a bit over the last few months, it was all systems go at one stage and but now it’s in a bit of a holding pattern. Basically our move to Sydney was a career opportunity for Braino, to head up a new Sydney branch of the company he works for. He’s an electrician who specialises in civil infrastructure but is now more so in a management / business development role. It's all the road / rail tunnels which are being built in Sydney that have provided the opportunity for growth and now that the Sydney branch is a thriving team of approx 40 employees across 4 major tunnels, the sights are set on duplicating the same success in Melbourne, where two more tunnels are underway. While I ave grown to love Sydney and will be so sad to leave, I also thrive on change and love a challenge plus exploring a new city is clearly something I love. Plus we also have immediate family in Melbourne so it will be nice to be surrounded by a bit of a family support network, something we have been managing without for the last 18 months. At this stage, the Melbourne move is still in planning and discussion phase, but likely to happen before the end of the year... maybe.. who knows! So that's been a pretty big factor in the fizzling out of this Sydney themed blog... perhaps I'll start afresh in Melbourne or perhaps I'll incorporate more of my health and lifestyle interests as well.

But there you have it - an in-depth update on what's been happening in our life. 

IMG_1083.jpg
IMG_1047.jpg

 

Photos from our (not so recent) visit to Q Station Manly

MOONA MOONA CREEK | JERVIS BAY'S AMAZING FAMILY FRIENDLY SWIMMING SPOT

Crystal clear turquoise water, sparkling white sand and blue skies were what we discovered when we arrived at Moona Moona Creek on Easter Sunday morning. This stunning location is the perfect place for a family with little ones to enjoy the sun, sand and water of Jervis Bay. 

The expansive tidal lagoon where Moona Moona Creek meets the ocean waters of beautiful Jervis Bay is locate between Vincentia and Huskisson, along Burril St / Elizabeth Drive. The calm shallow waters and easily accessible beach make for the perfect, safe location to splash with young ones. It's also an amazing spot for kayaking and stand up paddle boarding - hours of fun for the whole family. 

Our best investment for this weekend getaway was the incredibly easy to set up shade tent from Anaconda. Taking a baby to the beach was never going to be possible without some guaranteed shade, and as Hallie can't get in the water at all due to her Pavlik Harness, it was great to have somewhere out of the sun to sit with her. I even managed to get her to have a decent nap! Winning! 

Parking off Beach Street is super close and there is a playground, toilet block and picnic tables on the edge of the beach closest to the Beach Street entrance. Moona Moona Creek is truly spectacular! The photos speak for themselves. We'd even go as far as to say it's the best beach / swimming location we've come across with Farley and the convenience of location the made bringing Hallie to the beach no problems at all. The water was so inviting, I even got in! And it takes a lot for me to actually go in the water

To find out more about what we got up to in Jervis Bay, head over to this blog post. 

IMG_0574.jpg
IMG_0511.jpg
IMG_0509.jpg
IMG_0513.jpg
IMG_0530.jpg
IMG_0516.jpg
IMG_0520.jpg
IMG_0541.jpg
IMG_0571.jpg
IMG_0549.jpg
IMG_0568.jpg
 

FAMILY GETAWAY | JERVIS BAY, NSW SOUTH COAST

We decided to take advantage of the Easter long weekend with another family getaway. We loved our trip to Nelson Bay so much that we wanted to do something similar. This time we were keen to head south and explore the area of Jervis Bay. Joining us was Braino's sister, Lauren or as Aunty Loz as she as come to be affectionately known as, and of course, Hallie was with us in this time. Plus how could we leave home without our lazy bulldog, Costanza. 

GETTING THERE: ROAD TRIPS AND BABIES DON'T MIX

On Good Friday, we packed everything, dog included, in to our Toyota Prius V and headed to the airport to pick Loz up. it was a tight squeeze and we had to pack light. But once on the road, we were very ambitious and somewhat foolish to think a 3 hour drive was a good idea with a 3 month old baby. As a baby Farley absolutely hated the car until she was about 5 months olds. Car trips with baby Farley were limited to very short, absolutely necessary drives. However Hallie as been a bit different, some days she's ok in the car while other days she will cry. This day was one of the bad ones. She slept from our house to the airport but for the next 20 minutes after the airport she just screamed! I was sitting in the backseat between the two baby seats but I don't think that helped much. There is nothing more stressful than a crying baby in holiday traffic so we pulled over to give her a feed somewhere in the Shire but that didn't seem to settle her much and Braino quickly came up with a plan B - 'why don't you catch the train with Hallie'. At first I was like 'what?!?' but it actually made perfect sense; I'd be able to hold her, let her sleep in the ergo carrier and breastfeed whenever needed. So we hightailed it to the nearest train station; Sutherland. Farley and Lauren joined us as well, while Braino and Costanza made the drive down the coast together. The train was actually perfect for Farley too as we were able to keep her occupied with sticker books and she was free to move around bit. Usborne Books have a really great Easter themed sticker book that kept her busy and the coastal scenery from the train was surprisingly amazing! The train hugs the coastline for a large portion of the trip, so we were able to take in a lot of the stunning beaches and headlands around Woolloongong. The whole trip, including the change at Kiama took around 2 and a half hours and Braino met us at Bomaderry train station, arriving only a few minutes after we did. We then drove the last 20 minutes to the suburb of Vincentia in Jervis Bay. 

ACCOMMODATION

As we were searching for a dog friendly accommodation on a budget, we were fairly limited for choices. The holiday house we booked through AirBnB was a quintessential beach shack, the outside was pretty run down, no doubt ear-marked for demolition down the track because the block of land has water views while the inside had been recently renovated in a tasteful, comfortable way.  It was fully fenced and perfect for both our family dog and a toddler. The house was in a great location - we were only a short walk from a quiet beach and also walking distance to shops and cafes. Vincentia is a smaller, residential suburb of Jervis Bay. There is a Coles and few other cafes and shops nearby. The suburb of Huskinsson is a short drive north and is slightly more built up with a wider selection of shops, restaurants and accommodation options. I'd probably recommended staying in Huskinsson over Vincentia, just based on the amount of facilities but Vincentia is a lovely option. 

GETTING OUT AND ABOUT

On Saturday morning, we headed up to Huskinsson for the Easter Parade and Fete at the local showgrounds. It was a great way to fill in the morning, looking at market stalls, vintage cars, demonstrations from the local fire brigade. Farley loved watching the the pet parade that was sponsored by Paradise Pet Parks - she loves dogs! We then ate lunch at the The Huskinsson Hotel - great food and atmosphere but very crowded seeing as it was Easter Saturday. 

The best part about the location was that we were within walking distance to a quiet, dog friendly (but not off leash) beach - just next to the Vincentia Boat ramp on Holden Street. It was the perfect place to spend the late afternoons relaxing in the fresh ocean air. Farley loved exploring the rock pools and chasing us around. Costanza does not like getting wet so she was fine to just chill on the beach. While the water wasn't crystal clear like other beaches around Jervis Bay, the fact that it was within walking distance and very so low key was so appealing to us. It was so relaxing and easy with a baby, toddler and dog - although we couldn't have done it without Aunty Loz!

We spent Easter Sunday morning at another absolutely stunning spot Moona Moona Creek, which I'll dedicate a whole another blog post too. Jervis Bay is famous for one beach in particular - Hyams Beach. Since it's been advertised as the beach with 'Whitest Sand in the World', Hyams as fallen victim to being loved to death! I had read a few articles about how on holidays and popular weekend, the small suburb of Hyams Beach becomes a literal car park, you better have the patience of a saint to nab any sort of parking and then you'd still be walking a fair way to the beach. A drive-by while Farley was napping in the car, confirmed this - it was crazy! So we decided to forgo the Hyams Beach experience for our little local spot. Plus we really thought you couldn't get much better than Moona Moona Creek for a family friendly swimming spot. 

PLACES TO EAT

We had the chance to sample of the local cafes and resatruants in Vincentia and Huskinsson so if you are in the area and looking for somewhere to eat, here a few place we would recommend.

3 Gringos Mexican Restaurant - Vincentia

The Huskinsson Hotel - Huskinsson

Club Jervis Bay - Huskinsson

OTHER INFORMATION

Here are some amazing blogs and resources I used when planning our long weekend. 

https://www.hellosydneykids.com.au/best-things-to-do-jervis-bay-with-kids/

http://www.southcoastkids.com.au/jervis-bay-and-surrounding-beaches/

There is so much to explore in Jervis Bay, you could easily spend a week in the area and not get bored - beautiful beach, coastal walks and marine tours to name a few. But I guess the big question we kept asking over the weekend was; 'Is this better than Nelson Bay, Port Stephens?' In this round of Family Getaway Faceoff: Port Stephens vs Jervis Bay, we'd have to declare Port Stephens as the winner.

IMG_0587.jpg
IMG_0590.jpg
IMG_0395.jpg
IMG_0401.jpg
IMG_0407.jpg
IMG_0400.jpg
IMG_0445.jpg
IMG_0467.jpg
IMG_0608.jpg
IMG_0595.jpg
IMG_0626.jpg
IMG_0617.jpg
 

GETTING OUT AND ABOUT: WHERE I GO FOR INFORMATION AND INSPIRATION

Finding family friendly things to do in a new city can initially seem very overwhelming and does requires a bit of research. But since moving to Sydney, there are a number of fantastic websites, blogs and resources that I'm constantly looking to for inspiration and information.

I've compiled a comprehensive list below and while many of these cater to families with kids of all ages, they have been a great starting point to find toddler friendly activities and outings. We're based on Sydney's Upper North Shore so if you're also on the northern side of the harbour, all the information you need is in this handy directory! 

visitnsw.com

If you're visiting from interstate or overseas, a great starting point, to give you an overview of what Sydney and New South Wales has to offer, is the Visit NSW website. It's the official government tourism site and has information for family friendly sights and tourist attractions 

Website | Facebook | Instagram

ellaslist

ellaslist started out in 2010 when one mum decided to create a family friendly local guide for parents, based on things to do with her daughter. It's now grown into a huge online resource of everything that is happening for families in both Sydney and Melbourne. It's so comprehensive and jam pack with information. 

Website  | Facebook | Instagram

Hello Sydney Kids

Hello Sydney Kids is another resource that has been created by an inspiring mum who has meticulously detailed her families adventures across Sydney. It's full of great articles on beaches and playgrounds and things to do in Sydney and surrounding areas. 

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Busy City Kids

Busy City Kids is my go to place to find out about current kid friendly museum and art gallery exhibits. It's also created and curated by mums and has reviews and guides for attractions and activities in Sydney and Melbourne. 

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Kid Size Living

Kid Size Living is another local guide and directory for all things kids friendly in Sydney. It has a handy breakdown by area - ie: inner west, northern beaches, inner city

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Adventure, Baby

Adventure, Baby is a blog by travel writer Christine Knight. While she has travelled extensively around the world and shares lots of stories, guides and international travel tips, she's based in Sydney and always has a great articles on things to do in her home town with her daughter.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

The following are websites and social media accounts that focus on a specific area of Sydney. Created by local parents, they are handy resources for finding out whats on closer to home. These are the ones I refer to regularly - they are a great way to discover new playgrounds and kids friendly cafes! 

Hills District Mums Website | Facebook | Instagram

Northshore Mums Website | Facebook | Instagram

Ryde District Mums Website | Facebook | Instagram

ParraParents Website | Facebook | Instagram

Another great, free resource is Child Magazines - you can pick them up monthly at libraries, shopping centre and cafes; they have some informative articles and a list of what's on for kids that month. Plus the website has even more parenting related content - check out their mini mags! 

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Hashtags  

I'm a big fan of Instagram and recently discovered that you can follow hashtags! It's an ingenious way to see what other people are up to and perhaps even connect with like minded parents. A few of my favourite ones to get you started are #sydneywithkids #sydneykids #sydneywithbubs #sydneymums

Subscribing to Newsletters

All the websites listed above have the option to subscribe to their newsletters which is a great way to received ideas and inspo directly to your inbox! I've also signed up to the newsletters for many of the museums and art galleries around Sydney, to stay up to date with upcoming exhibits and activities. 

Good old fashioned face to face conversation

Asking other local parents what they got up to on the weekend is an obvious way to get new ideas and recommendations. It's a great conversation starter and you'll get an honest review of things. It's my go to question for small talk at playgroup and playgrounds. 

I hope this list inspires other parents to find new adventures for your little ones and create some wonderful family memories.  If you're not a Sydney local, it only takes a bit of web searching to hunt down similar online resources for your own home town. 

Have I missed anything? I'd love to hear your tips and suggestions! Feel free to leave your comments below. 

WENDY WHITELEY'S SECRET GARDEN

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay is truly a hidden sanctuary on the edge of Sydney Harbour. It is the most beautiful, tranquil maze of winding paths, towering fig trees and picnic nooks, all looking out at the world class view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I've come across a few photos of this view on instagram and it has since been on my list of places to explore. I was honestly just expecting a lookout with a view worthy of a social media tag but what I discovered so much more; a story of love, family, loss, creativity and determination.  It was the perfect afternoon for some quality family time; relaxing in nature while marvelling at still being surrounded by the hustle of Sydney Harbour.

Firstly, I’ll start with a bit of a back story to these wonderful public gardens, because it’s an astounding tale. The gardens are literally a living work of art, created over 20 years by Wendy Whiteley, wife of the late renowned artist,Brett Whiteley. After Brett’s passing in 1992, in an effort to feel more control in her life during the grieving process, Wendy started clearing the neglected, railway owned land across from their Lavender Bay home. Wendy and her daughter Arkie continued to clear the land, without gaining any formal permission and without any formal horticultural knowledge, and created the peaceful forest of towering fig trees and both native and exotic plants. Tragically, Arkie, Wendy and Brett’s only child passed away in 2001 at the age of thirty seven. The grief once again propelled Wendy to continue to design the truly magnificent masterpiece of nature that can now be enjoyed by anyone who stumbles across it. 

Now Wendy’s Secret Garden is truly a secret and kind of hard to find, although it does show up on google maps! Thank goodness for modern technology. We followed google maps to Lavender Cresent and parked our car on the top side of Watt Park. Farley had drifted off to sleep on the drive but Hallie was awake so I put Hallie in the ergo while Braino waited in the car with Farley, and set of on a bit of a location reece. I walked down to the bottom of Watt Park, through the tunnel under the train tracks, along Railway Ave and then back through another little tunnel and up a large set of stairs. A lady who was standing at the bottom of the stairs even asked me, 'Are you looking for Wendy's Secret Garden?'. 'Yes!' I replied enthusiastically, thinking to myself how it truly is a secret. After a brief conversation, I headed up the stairs and found the entrance to the right.  

It was absolute bliss to just wander and explore by myself for a while. And by 'by myself' I'm including Hallie who was strapped to me in the ergo, because, let's be honest, that is pretty much how I live my life these days. Having one kid to look after is as close to alone time as I get. There were a number of other interesting characters in the gardens too. The guy who looked like he set up his home office at a picnic table, overlooking the view; the group of young 20 somethings enjoying craft beer and cider, another group of hipsters playing uno around a picnic table, two friends catching up over wine and cheese, another couple who may have been on an awkward date, a man siting on the edge of a path drawing in his sketch book. And later on we even witnessed a marriage proposal, complete with a photographer! I nearly cried, it was so lovely! After a bit of wandering Hallie started to grizzle and squirm so I sat on a bench and breastfeed her, and just really felt so relaxed and at peace. 

We were then joined by Braino and Farley and had some afternoon snacks. There are rusted artefacts like scooters, tricycles, wheelbarrows and watering cans scattered around the gardens so Farley had fun investigating those. While we didn't see any lizards (her favourite thing to look for) we did see a bush turkey and kookaburra. We just let Farley lead the way along the paths and enjoyed looking at the different plants and flowers.  Note to parents - the gardens are set on a bit of a steep hillside so some of the paths have quite a drop off to one side. Definitely keep an eye on little ones as they don't fall. I did see one older kids having a great time running through the paths but I was actually surprised by how few families were there. 

The bonus to Wendy's Secret Garden is quite a good playground in the neighbouring Watt Park. We had a play there on our way back to car. It's well equipped with slides, swings, climbing frames, a merry-go-round and a little boat that rocks. I've included some photos at the bottom of this post. 

Overall, I loved Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden, I was really personally touched by the story behind the creation of the gardens and loved that a place like this exists for gatherings, relaxation and reflection in nature. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your little ones and best of all, it's free! 

IMG_0336.jpg
IMG_0340.jpg
IMG_0266.jpg
IMG_0302.jpg
IMG_0314.jpg
IMG_0321.jpg
IMG_0323.jpg
IMG_0326.jpg
IMG_0299.jpg
IMG_0269.jpg
IMG_0306.jpg
IMG_0369.jpg
IMG_0349.jpg
IMG_0352.jpg

TIPS & INFORMATION

  • Address: Lavender St, Lavender Bay, Sydney 2060
  • Getting there: If you are driving and using your phone for directions you should be able to enter Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden and have it show up on google maps. If not, try Lavender Cresent or Watt Park or Clark Park. The gardens are an 8 minute walk from either Milson's Point Train Station or North Sydney Train Station. There are also bus stops along Lavender Street. 
  • Pram Friendly: Nooooo! 100% not pram friendly. The gardens have lots of stairs and the paths are narrow, winding and not sealed, just dirt. I'd highly recommend wearing your baby in a baby carrier like an ergo. If you did have a pram, you could walk down via Clark Park and enjoy the view from the first picnic table you'll come across at the very start of the gardens, but you won't be able to venture much further in. 
  • Shade / Sun Protection: The gardens are quite dense, with lots of trees providing shade but sun production is always recommended. 
  • Public Toilets: The closest public toilets are located at the bottom of the stairs that lead from the entrance to the gardens down to the walkway off Railway Ave. It's just a small toilet block with combined unisex and wheelchair accessible toilet. Baby change facilities are very limited. 
  • Dining options: There isn't a cafe or kisok within the Gardens but it's the perfect place to BYO picnic and drinks. There is a near by cafe called Windy Willow Cafe, on the edge of Clark Park.
  • Head to the website for further information - www.wendyssecretgarden.org.au
 

THE CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND AT DARLING QUARTER

The Children’s Playground at Darling Quarter is an inner city oasis, full of state-of-the-art play equipment that will keep kids entertained and active for hours. And best of all, it’s absolutely free! There is everything from climbing webs, big slides, flying foxes, jumbo swings and sand pits. But we went along on a hot Saturday to take advantage of the amazing water play area. 

The splash area includes water pumps, water wheels, a water screwdriver, water spouts and a maze of shallow waterways between rocks, complete with little dam walls that kids can lift up or down to change the course of the water. It’s so fascinating to watch kids play together and explore the water courses. Farley loved just following all the little canals and climbing over the concrete blocks. There is also another really new, large, very shallow pool (like ankle depth), perfect for little ones to splash in. 

We dressed Farley in her swimsuit mainly for sun protection but also because a toddler will no doubt sit in the shallow water. Older kids could still enjoy the water play area without getting fully drenched. If you have a baby and a toddler, I recommended visiting with two adults; we took it in turns to closely follow Farley around the water and while the other sat with Hallie in the pram off to the side. 

IMG_0100.jpg
IMG_0119.jpg
IMG_0099.jpg
IMG_0105.jpg
IMG_0111.jpg
IMG_0117.jpg
IMG_0114.jpg
IMG_0124.jpg
IMG_0096.jpg
IMG_0093.jpg
IMG_0098.jpg

TIPS & INFORMATION

  • Getting there: The Darling Quarter Children’s Playground is located right in the middle of Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour. The closest car park is the Wilson car park on Harbour Street but there are many other city car parks within a short walk. The closest train station is Town Hall which is a 9 minute walk and the closet ferry stop is Pyrmont Bay which is a 15 minute walk. 
  • Sun protection: There are a few shady areas within the park but the water play area is in full sun so full sun protection for little ones is highly recommended.
  • Pram friendly: It was very crowded on this particularly hot weekend so navigating around with a pram was a tad difficult but overall achievable. . 
  • Dining: There is a small kiosk, Cafe Danieli, within the park area but the whole area of Tumbalong Park is surrounded by such a wide variety of restaurants and plenty of grassed open spaces for picnics.

For more information, head to this great website - http://www.darlingquarter.com/play/

 

LUNA PARK SYDNEY | IS IT WORTHWHILE WITH A TODDLER AND A BABY

Luna Park is Sydney’s iconic amusement park that sits on the edge of the harbour, right under the northern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The giant face has been recognisable since it was first built in 1935 and has withstood some tumultuous reincarnations over the years (think deaths, fires and demolition, oh my! the history of Luna Park is quite fascinating). Despite that, Luna Park has been a place for carnival stye family fun for many years and it’s been on my list of places to visit since we move to Sydney. But my big question was; is it toddler and baby friendly?

First and foremost, the best thing to know about Luna Park Sydney is it’s free to enter, you just pay for the rides you go on. The atmosphere of Luna Park just screams families fun; it's that old time fair ground feel - the lights, the colours, the music, the sounds of the rides. It’s a total sensory overload for a little one, so visiting Luna Park will definitely excite, even if you just go in and enjoy an ice-cream. 

As for the rides, while there is so many to choose from for kids and adults, the only two that a little two year old can go on is the carousel and the ferris wheel. We purchased 1 Unlimited Rides Pass - Red for $22 which allows a guest from 85-105cm unlimited amounts of rides all day. Technically Farley could ride with us accompanied for free so Braino went on the carousel with her and I went on the ferris wheel with her. (We were a bit sneaky and just use the one wristband between the two of us) We could have purchased individual tickets for both the rides for $10 each but Braino opted to get the unlimited pass just incase we wanted to do a ride twice.

Farley absolutely loved the carousel! As soon as she saw it, she was so excited about the ponies and just wanted to go for a ride. However, she was too little to sit on one of the ponies but could sit in the sleigh. But she still had the biggest grin on her face. I was keen to take her on the ferris wheel, and to also take photos of the spectatular view from the top. I was half expecting her to get a bit frightened, but it was actually me who had a little anxiety about being so high in the air, especially when it came to a stop at the top. Farley just peered over the edge, down at the rides below, like it was the most natural thing ever. Once we were back on solid ground, she enjoyed watching the street performers but was not too keen to do the classic clown mouth game. (But who could blame her, those things are a little creepy).

Hallie enjoyed cruising around in the pram and having a feed while we watched the street performers. We took it in turns to go on a ride with Farley so one of us could wait with Hallie, but we probably could have taken her on the ferris wheel, wearing her in the ergo carrier which we also had with us. I did see people leaving prams at the base of the ferris wheel. 

So our verdict is; Luna Park Sydney is definitely worth a visit with a toddler. You don’t need a lot of time, an hour or so is plenty to enjoy the fair ground atmosphere. Combining a visit to Luna Park with a ferry ride is a great way to fill out an afternoon on Sydney Harbour. My tip would be - bring the grandparents along so they can stay with your little ones while you enjoy more of the adult rides! 

IMG_0261.jpg
IMG_0185.jpg
IMG_1366_2.jpg
IMG_0218.jpg
IMG_0228.jpg
IMG_0233.jpg
IMG_0187.jpg
IMG_0207.jpg
IMG_0180.jpg
IMG_0236.jpg

TIPS & INFORMATION

  • Getting there: The Milson's Point ferry terminal is within meters of the front entrance, a bus stop is only a short distance away and the Milsons Point train station is only a 10 minute walk away. Although it is uphill from Luna Park to the train station. If you do want to drive, Luna Park has it's own car park. The most you will pay is $39 for any visit over four hours. More information can be found on Luna Park's website.
  • Pram friendly?: Yes, we didn't encounter any stairs and it wasn't very crowded. I would recommend that if you have a baby and a toddler - its definitely a two adult outing, however, if its just you, your toddler and your pram, it seemed pretty safe to leave your pram off to the side while on the ferris wheel and carousel.
  • Toilets & baby change facilities: There are plenty of public toilets but it was pretty lacking in parents rooms - from what we could find.
  • Address: Luna Park Sydney - 1 Olympic Drive, Milson Point, NSW, 2061

Plenty more information is available at Luna Park Sydney's website. 

 

COLLAROY BEACH | ANOTHER FAVOURITE

It may seem like every time we go to the beach, I declare 'we've discovered our new favourite' but that’s because when it comes to the the northern beaches of Sydney, we truly are spoilt for choice. This weekend we headed to Collaroy Beach and discovered yet another great family friendly location. 

Our late afternoon at Collaroy Beach was mainly to have an early dinner of fish and chips by the ocean and have a play in the playground. We weren’t planning on swimming as the weather that morning had been a little overcast however, it was a speculator afternoon with blue skies and delightfully warm autumn sunshine. 

Collaroy is similar to Dee Why Beach in that it’s a surf beach with two choices of ocean pools; one being especially designed for young children, and a fantastic playground at the southern end of the beach, along the promenade. However, Collaroy is much quieter, lacking the busy restaurant and cafe scene of Dee Why, but that almost makes it even more appealing for young families. 

The playground is fully fenced and includes a climbing fort, swings, big rope climbing web, see-saws and a merry-go-around thing that every kids wants to go on but gives all the parents heart palpitations. It’s a great playground for all ages but there is plenty to keep a little toddler occupied as well. 

The ocean pools are wonderful; only a short stroll from the playground and car park, making it very easy assessable for prams. There are also concrete steps beneath the rock wall which provide plenty of seating.  If you venture beyond the ocean pools, around the headland, you’ll find another smaller beach with some beautiful tidal rocks pools, perfect for little ones to wade in and explore. We could see ourselves spending a lot of time at these rock pools when we return for a swim. 

We finished the afternoon with fish and chip from The Reef Food Bar, enjoying the sunshine and fresh ocean air (with only a month left of day light savings, it may be our last chance for some early evening sunshine by the beach. ) 

IMG_0047.jpg
IMG_0049.jpg
IMG_0060.jpg
IMG_0061.jpg
IMG_0062.jpg
IMG_0054.jpg
IMG_0089.jpg
IMG_0065.jpg
IMG_0084.jpg
IMG_0073.jpg

TIPS AND INFORMATION

  • Getting There & Parking: Getting to the northern beaches via public transport is rather tricky as there isn't a train line that services the area. The B1 bus will take you from Sydney city to Collaroy or check out the Transport NSW website to plan your trip from another location in Sydney. Driving is the most convenient way and there is a small carpark right next to the beach, between the playground and surf life saving builiding. Parking is 'pay and display'.
  • Public Toilets: Yes - at the Surf Life Saving building - only a short walk from the playground
  • Pram Friendly: We didn't have the pram with us but it would be very easy to puch one down to the ocean pools, along the footpath and there is plenty of space within the playground. 
  • Sun Protection: There are shade cloths over sections of the playground however hats and suncream is highly recommended for the beach. 
  • Dining: There are a few cafes across the street on Pittwater Road like Stay Grounded and The Beach Club is a short walk down the beach front, We loved the fish and chips from The Reef Food Bar but it was a 2 minute drive away. 

Address: Pittwater Road, Collaroy 2097