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Australia

Travel Guide: The Gold Coast With Kids

As a child, most summers my family made a trek to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast for our annual holiday. I have great memories of wandering up and down the boardwalk, playing in the sand and going to the theme parks. Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast in general are still great destinations for families wanting an easy beachy holiday, as we discovered when we visited for some fun in the sun.

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Getting there
We booked a cheap flight online (try Webjet or Zuji) and had a very easy, fast trip. Pros: it’s fast. Cons: if your hotel isn’t walking distance from everything you want to see, you’ll need to shell out a lot of money in expensive shuttle buses or take public transport. You can also do the traditional driving route. Pros: you have a car at your disposal when you get there. Cons: you might have to pay for parking at your hotel, and the drive up is loooooooong.

What to do on the Gold Coast with kids:

Gold Coast With Kids via christineknight.me

Beach
The number one attraction in Surfers, and it’s FREE! Take a sun shelter, sand toys and plenty of sun screen.

Sea World via christineknight.me

Sea World
Out of all the theme parks, this was the best for little kids. Lots of animals exhibits and shows like the seals pictured above, a few rides such as the carousel and the Viking Revenge Flume, and great character shows and meet and greets with Dora The Explorer and Spongebob Square Pants.

Sea World via christineknight.me Sea World via christineknight.me

Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me

Warner Bros Movie World
Movie World has a great section for younger kids with smaller rides and a splash area for hot days. Several of the rides require kids to be over 100cm still, so for kids age 3 and under the ride choices are limited. The character shows and parade however are a lot of fun for littles, and run all day long.

Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me

Aquaduck via christineknight.me

Aquaduck
For a short outing (it goes for an hour, departing from the middle of Surfers Paradise), the Aquaduck is great for for kids. The duck takes a drive along side the beach, and then takes to the water to give a tour of the glam houses on the lagoons. The best part for Cheese was getting to drive the boat.

Aquaduck via christineknight.me Aquaduck via christineknight.me

Other attractions:
Currimbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Wet ‘n’ Wild
Dreamworld

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa: Queensland’s Best Kid-Friendly Hotels

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When you have a three year old, your holidays are a little different than they were pre-kid. My needs in accommodation, for instance, have changed significantly. What I now look for is a fantastic pool, close proximity to the beach if we’re on the coast, a suite of some kind so we can close the door to our sleeping child after we put her to bed and watch some TV together while we eat, breakfast included and friendly, considerate staff. The last one obviously is pure luck. The others, I discovered through extensive research, were all features of the Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa.

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As members of the Entertainment Book, we were able to get a great deal on a 1-bedroom Executive Suite. It included a king sized bed (we asked for a rollaway bed for Cheese), 1.5 bathrooms, a corner ocean view, complimentary valet parking and access to the Elandra Retreat Club where we were treated to a complimentary continental breakfast every morning, and wine and hors d’oeuvres in the evenings.

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First impressions of the Surfers Paradise Marriot – it’s a large hotel, only one or two blocks from the beach, but also right on a lagoon, so it’s basically surrounded by water on all sides. The pool is a huge drawcard for families, probably because they have not just one pool, but two. One is a saltwater pool that has live tropical fish in it and a waterfall feature. Guests can swim among the fish – BYO snorkel or buy one at the hotel. The salt water pool is fantastic because it had a large shallow area, perfect for little kids who can’t swim yet to be able to splash and play confidently in the water.

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Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me

Every morning at 9:30am, guests can meet poolside to watch staff feed the tropical fish. Guests with snorkels can watch from the water as the fish gather in big clumps for their morning feed.

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me

The second pool is chlorinated and runs in a long, winding shape. One end features a grotto with spa – you can enter it through another waterfall. This pool also has a current that sweeps swimmers in a loop – a lot of fun for kids in floatation devices to get swept around the pool with zero effort.

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, via christineknight.me

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, via christineknight.me

Older kids will enjoy the water slide feature, too.

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me

Our room was fantastic. The view from the living room, bedroom and even bathroom was spectacular.

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The bedroom and living areas were well furnished in an elegant, minimal fashion. The bathroom was spectacularly big and featured a massive spa bath with a killer view. The bed was comfortable, pillows a little on the soft side for us, and the only bad thing I can say about the facilities was that while most of the bathroom had been renovated, the shower was a bit old and could have done with a refurbish. The living room included a little kitchenette area which was great for preparing basic meals for Cheese. A little fridge, sink and tea/coffee-making facilities – no toaster though.

Since Cheese is an uber picky eater, most nights we would return to the hotel and make her a simple dinner like a sandwich and fruit, and then, after she was put to bed, either order room service or local takeaway. The hotel was great with providing us with extra plates and cutlery to make her meals each day.

The inclusion of the Elandra Retreat Club access turned out to be one of the best parts of our stay. A lot of the guests who also had access to the club also had kids, so each morning we would arrive at breakfast and Cheese would disappear to play with other children while we ate. The food was a simple buffet, all fresh, including breads and spreads, warm pastries, bagels, meats, yoghurt and fruit, plus hot dishes like eggs, tomatoes and hash browns. Two staff members were usually on duty each morning – usually the same two – and they were just the sweetest people we could have possibly hoped for. The staff were always so kind and considerate, and really enjoyed engaging with the kids. As a result, breakfast every day was a really fun experience.

In the evenings, from 5:30pm – 7:30pm, the Elandra Retreat Club held a kind of drinks hour, with complimentary wine and snacks. While I was concerned initially that this wouldn’t be the best idea to take a rambunctious 3-year-old to, it turned out that all the families came and had a drink while their kids downed the cheese, crackers and fruit each night. It was a pretty chilled out affair, and the club had a great layout that meant adults who wanted a bit more adult time rather than toddler time could sit far enough away that they could admire the view and enjoy a drink in peace.

During the day, when we weren’t swimming we headed on down to the main area in Surfers Paradise (a 10-15 minute walk) to grab lunch or took a trip to one of the nearby theme parks for a change of scene. The location was perfect for an extended stay on the Gold Coast.

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To sum up, our stay at the Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa was just about perfect. We had such a wonderful, relaxing and fun time, and can’t wait to return for another Queensland stay.

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, via christineknight.me

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, via christineknight.me

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, via christineknight.me

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa
158 Ferny Avenue
Surfers Paradise QLD
Phone: (07) 5592 9800
Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Where To Eat And Play In Brisbane With Kids

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com While I spent a lot of my childhood summers on the Gold Coast, I’d never visited Brisbane. Absolutely no reason why, other than that the opportunity hadn’t presented itself until recently. After a blogging conference on the Gold Coast, I stopped through Brisbane on the way back to Sydney and spent two days exploring the best that Brisbane has to offer families. If you’re planning a trip to the Sunshine state, you could easily spend a couple of days enjoying Brisbane with the kids. Here are my tips on a fun family holiday in Brisbane: Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com Eat and play at Gasworks Plaza
Book a table at Buzz for lunch right next to the gasring. You’ll enjoy the delicious food (the quinoa salad was divine) and gorgeous interiors by local designer Anna Spiro of Black & Spiro, and the kids can run off steam in the adjoining park. Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

After lunch, take a stroll down to the nearby riverbank. Kids can bike or scoot along the river, and will enjoy the street art and statue of Gloria the sheep, a tribute to the Teneriffe wool stores that lined the river in the early 1900s.
76 Skyring Terrace, Newstead

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com Shop at Growing World, Emporium
This gorgeous children’s store is filled with educational toys and books from all around the world.
1000 Ann St, Fortitude Valley

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com Rock out at the Brisbane Powerhouse
The redeveloped powerhouse is a centre for art and culture. Check out the (often free) events for families, or just drop by on a Sunday to experience live music and markets (the pop-up Suitcase Rummage markets are on once a month).

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Kids can roam inside the powerhouse, spot some cool graffiti art and dance to indie-pop and rock bands. Make a day of it by enjoying an early dinner or glass of wine at Bar Alto. Grab a balcony table overlooking the river while babies are napping and older kids are playing with your iPhone or colouring in.
119 Lamington St, New Farm

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Run wild at New Farm Park
Set the kids free in 18 hectares of gardens and open green space. The attached New Farm Park playground is a local family favourite with fortress-like constructions winding through huge fig trees.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
No-fuss family dinner at Eat Street Markets
The perfect dinner option for families with no pressure for kids to sit down and behave. 60 industrial shipping containers have been converted into mini shops and restaurants. Choose your meal from local food vendors (Italian, Mexican, potato rings on sticks, sweet potatoes fries and much, much more is on offer) then camp out on astroturf covered giant blocks to enjoy live music while the sun goes down.
Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Book a free city tour with Brisbane Greeters
Our tour guide, AnneMarie White, was a local expert who showed us the best places to eat and shop in the James Street district with and without kids. A remarkable woman with a background in broadcasting, it was a pleasure to learn about Brisbane through her own experiences.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Chic shopping and dining at James St
Leave the kids with Dad for an hour or two while you check out local Australian designers and boutiques. Sass + Bide, Camilla, Zimmermann and more await your credit card.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Feeling peckish? Harvey’s Bar and Bistro is a great breakfast and lunch choice with or without kids.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth like I do, be sure to pick up a treat from the iconic Joceyln’s Provisions. While you’re deciding which delicious cake to order, poke your head inside their kitchen to see the pastry chefs hard at work.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Play time: South Bank Parklands
As well as being the cultural centre of Brisbane, the South Bank is filled with family-focussed entertainment.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Get arty at the QAGOMA
The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is a top choice for adults and children. Most of the gallery is free entry, including the Children’s Art Centre. Their current major exhibition, “Harvest” (open till Sept 21) celebrates food in art and includes interactive features for older children, as well as kid-friendly art such as large sculptures and a Shangai supermarket installation.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Take littlies to the children’s exhibition, “Pattern Bandits” (open until Nov 2), where they can explore a world of colour, shape and pattern in a completely hands-on environment. The free exhibition features craft activities that can be taken home or left to be put on display. Kids will particularly love the kaleidoscope corridor where they can see their own faces turned into bright patterns.
Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, South Bank

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Segway Tours with X-wing
Older kids will love seeing Brisbane’s South Bank on a mini-segway. Zoom along the river bank with a helpful guide to tell you all about Brisbane.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Get a bird’s-eye view
Take a spin on the Wheel of Brisbane for a panoramic view of the city.

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Streets Beach
This man-made beach with white sand and lifesavers is a summer oasis on the Brisbane river shore. It’s perfect for families, with shallow lagoons, sprinklers and crystal clear water.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Stop for a bite at South Bank Surf Club
After a swim at Streets Beach, stroll the the nearby Surf Club for a relaxed fish and chips.
30aa Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Sweet Treats at Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar
Brisbane’s first dessert and cocktail bar offers build your own fro-yo, ice cream and a range of other sugar-coma inducing desserts.
2/179 Grey Street, South Bank

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Happy Birthday To Me! A kid-free weekend in the Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley Spicers Retreats via akissgoodnight.co This year, there was only one thing I wanted for my birthday – a break. Mum and Dad very kindly agreed to watch Cheese for the weekend so Alec and I could have a few nights to relax. Our first kid-free weekend in three years!

Hunter Valley Spicers Retreats via akissgoodnight.co

We drove up to the Hunter Valley for the getaway. I booked us a room at the Spicers Vineyard Estate – a beautiful little retreat in Pokolbin. Our room was large, with a fireplace and spa. Our package included two breakfasts and a dinner in their restaurant, Botanica, and complimentary minibar.

Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co

The property is set in 25 acres of vineyard and bush, and we took a leisurely stroll around the boundary each evening at dusk. Which, by the way, is the perfect time to see the wild kangaroo families as they come out.

Hunter Valley Pokolbin Chocolate Company via akissgoodnight.co

During our stay in the Hunter we dropped by the Pokolbin Chocolate And Jam Company, the Smelly Cheese Shop, two of the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company locations and two wineries: Tempus Two and Audrey Wilkinson.

Audrey Wilkinson Winery Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co

I adore moscato, and chose these wineries based on their production of the sweet wine of my choice. The Audrey Wilkinson cellar door is a bit off the main track, but worth the extra drive. St up high on a hill, the view out over the wine country is spectacular.

Hunter Valley Muse Restaurant via akissgoodnight.co
Muse Restaurant

Since we were child-free, we indulged in a LOT of food, including two dinners out: Muse Restaurant on my birthday, and Restaurant Botanica the following night. Muse was the perfect restaurant for a fancy, special night out. It was like a fine dining establishment in the city. Delicious creative dishes (I had a kale risotto with winter vegetables), with a friendly, relaxed vibe.

Restaurant Botanica was more relaxed, and perfect for a Sunday night dinner. The food was simpler and perfectly prepared. After the previous day of rich, complicated food, the elegant and slightly more traditional fare at Botanica was exactly what our stomaches craved. Dessert was donuts and cinnamon ice cream. Absolutely a treat.

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The last mention on our food extravaganza is Sabor In The Hunter, a dessert bar that popped up while we were away. For lunch (!) one day, Alec and I indulged in the Medley Tasting Plate, which included Opera slice, Mini Lemon Curd meringue in a sweet pastry, Strawberry mousse & mixed berry compote topped with Strawberry, Mini Gianduja layers and a caramelised nut triangle tart. Indulgence complete.

Sabor In The Hunter via akissgoodnight.co

The really great thing about the weekend was being able to spend time with Alec and just take a breath. We talked more than we’ve talked in years, and had energy to focus on each other for the first time in what felt like forever.

Spicers Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co
In-room breakfast at Spicers

The three days/two nights was the longest I’ve spent away from Cheese so far. We called in regularly and spoke with her and my mum – she was absolutely happy and chirpy the whole time, running my parents off their feet while charming them simultaneously. When we arrived back home I felt like I had more energy to spend on her than I usually would, the break away really refreshing me.

So it was pretty much a perfect birthday.

Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley Muse Restaurant via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley Spicers Retreats via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley Birthday via akissgoodnight.co

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Brunch & Play at Cafe 2773; Glenbrook, Blue Mountains

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

A drive to the Blue Mountains makes a great city escape. On our most recent expedition, a friend recommended we break our journey this time at one of her favourite finds, Cafe 2773 in Glenbrook. The cafe is almost exactly halfway from where we were starting our journey in Sydney’s south-west, and our final destination (Katoomba), so it seemed like a good idea to try it.

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

2773 was everything I’d been promised. The cafe seemed like the type of place I would frequent in the Inner West, which was somewhat surprising to find in a tiny little town on the outskirts of the mountains. Despite it being an absolutely freezing day, the cafe was packed. Diners braved the outdoor tables, prevented from getting frost bite by a few heat lamps. We requested an indoor table because it was frigidly cold, and only had to wait about 15 or 20 minutes for one to finish up and be cleared. If the weather had been finer, the perfect place to dine with children is actually outside, at a table overlooking the playground area.

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

While we were waiting, E kept warm by running around the little play area like a maniac. A few steps past the play area lay some pens with piglets and chickens — another great entertainment device not unlike the famous Grounds in Alexandria.

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

The menu at 2773 focuses on use of local organic produce, with an extensive selection of local beer and wine. And, as a plus for parents like us who love great food, 2773 pride themselves on being a family-friendly venue for the local community to enjoy.

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

We ordered E the kids’ Egg On Toast (usually comes with bacon and sausage, $10), and a Babyccino, $1.60. After we ordered her food we realised we hadn’t even asked how it would be cooked, so asked our server when she came back for our orders. After we were informed it was usually fried and asking if she could have it scrambled instead, it was no problem to have our order changed, despite it being pretty much done.

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

E’s babyccino came with sprinkles and a freckle chocolate on the site. She was so delighted. Chocolate for breakfast!

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

Alec and I ordered Green Tea (China Jasmine) $4.00 and a Latte $3.90, and the same meal: the design your own breakfast option. Our choices were: Toast (sourdough 2 slices, $4), 2 Eggs (poached, fried or scrambled, $7), Spinach ($3), Roast Tomato ($3), Avocado ($3), Haloumi ($3).

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

Our food was absolutely delicious. Perfectly poached eggs, soft sourdough with crispy edges, a giant hunk of haloumi cheese. What really topped of our already fantastic experience was the staff. Our server came over multiple times just to check on how E was doing and to make sure she couldn’t bring us anything else to make our dining experience even better.

A truly wonderful breakfast, and we will make it our regular stop when driving to the mountains from now on.

Last Bite: Great food in an environment where kids can run free. 

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No but there is a low shelf/table in the ladies that could be used in a pinch.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

Cafe 2773
19 Ross Street,
Glenbrook, NSW
Phone: 02 4739 5908
Hours: Mon-Wed 7.30am-4.30pm, Thu, Fri & Sat-7.30am till late, Sun 7.30am-5pm

2773 Glenbrook Cafe on Urbanspoon

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

The Gingerbread House; Kid-Friendly Cafes, Katoomba, Blue Mountains

On our first family trip to the Blue Mountains we were looking forward to stopping in at The Gingerbread House which has gained notoriety for its whimsical fairytale setting and its attention to detail in being child-friendly. We chose the Winter Solstice to mark our journey as Katoomba is filled to the brim with people celebrating from all walks of life, a parade down the centre of town and its overall festival vibe.

All I can say is that we are lucky we chose to arrive early at The Gingerbread House because no sooner had we claimed our table in the sunny outdoor courtyard did all other vacant tables evaporate and space was a premium. Jenson and Isla had fun exploring the generous outdoor playground which was exceptionally maintained with a large cubby house and play equipment whilst we waiting for our morning tea.

The Gingerbread House - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Katoomba, #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com
Jenson playing in the cubby house, Photo by Katia Barker
The Gingerbread House - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Katoomba, #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com
Isla at play, Photo by Katia Barker

Our order of scones (choc chip with a hint of ginger with jam and fresh cream $7.50), fresh baked muffin (raspberry and white chocolate $4.50) and kid’s milkshake ($3) arrived quickly and was mouth-wateringly fresh. The food and drink were demolished quickly so Ross and Isla played outdoors whilst Jenson and I went about exploring the magical candy emporium.

The Gingerbread House - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Katoomba, #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com
Ginger & Choc Chip Scones $7.50, Raspberry & White Choc Muffin $4.50 and Kids Milkshake $3.00

Jenson was like, well, a kid in a candy shop, with eyes as big as saucers and was more than happy in helping select a treat for each of us. He proudly carried these off for take-away.

The Gingerbread House - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Katoomba, #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com
Candy! Photo by Katia Barker
The Gingerbread House - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Katoomba, #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com
Like a kid in a candy shop, heaven! Photo by Katia Barker

The Gingerbread House is perfectly situated for a long lazy cafe session with plenty of kid-friendly options from toast to sandwiches and those with a sweet tooth are well-catered for with cakes, muffins and ice-creams on offer. We barely took advantage of all the dining options, and skipped coffee this time as we already had our hit but will definitely be back again to sample the delights further.

Last Bite: The Gingerbread House ticks all the boxes for a kid-friendly cafe and should be on everyone’s must do list for a visit to the Blue Mountains.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

The Gingerbread House
56 Lurline Street (Cnr Lurline & Waratah Streets),
Katoomba NSW
Phone: (02) 4784 2031
Prices: $-$$
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
Get Directions

Katia Barker
Katia Barker is a 30-something stay-at-home mum to two beautiful (though sleep-adverse) children (Jenson 4 3/4 and Isla 22 months). Pre-baby life rendered a highly organised, efficient and calm advertising professional whose outlook on life was to absorb all of what life would throw at her. Now, all that is being thrown at her is food in its various incarnations. Katia’s new future includes educating and opening her children up to what the world has to offer, including food! and renovating her dream home (oh and getting that haircut which is seriously overdue!).

Date Night in Sydney

On our recent trip back home to Sydney (another post on that coming later) Alec and I had a special night – our first away from E. Not Alec’s first time away overnight, but definitely my first, and our first together. Monumental! And all thanks to my wonderful parents who volunteered to baby sit their granddaughter even though she had a fever that required them getting up through the night and then my mum sleeping with her the rest of the night. Bless you Mum and Dad, you’re the best!

It was so wonderful to have some time with Alec to reset our relationship and to spend a bit of time enjoying Sydney again together. I found a great deal on a hotel we stayed at for my 30th birthday in The Rocks – the Langham (it used to be called The Observatory Hotel). The hotel is a beautiful old-school place, really luxurious and comfortable at the same time.

We kicked our night off walking around The Rocks, picking up treats for later at the Guylian Chocolate Cafe, and then with dinner at Pony, a restaurant that wasn’t there last time  we were in town, and was absolutely amazing. Really delicious food (my ricotta pasta was perfect), kick-ass cocktails, and a fantastic vibe that was upscale trendy without being too try-hard.

Something that really struck me on this trip back is how much the food culture in Sydney has changed. There are lots of really hip new cafes and restaurants around town now – and all throughout the suburbs – which made for some culinary adventures that reminded me of how amazing Australia’s produce is.

After our delicious dinner and potent cocktails, we head back for an early night and rented a movie (we never get to watch movies anymore!).

The following morning, after breakfast at the hotel restaurant, we dropped by La Renaissance Cafe (the place to go for French pastries) to pick up treats for my parents, then head back on home.

One thing to be said for being back home, it’s great to have some more than willing babysitters!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Huskisson Bakery & Cafe, Kid-Friendly Cafes, Huskisson, Shoalhaven, NSW

A trip to Huskisson is not complete unless you stop at the affectionately known Husky Bakery for something delicious. The draw card is the extensive pie menu where you actually get large chunks of meat in the pie – however we stopped in for a quick morning tea in between visits to the beach and the nearby park.

Husky Bakery - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
Husky Bakery Outside, Photo by Katia Barker

On previous visits we got take-out, but today, with nothing much on the agenda we opted for dine in and were surprised at how kid-friendly the Husky Bakery really is! Whilst you can’t really go wrong with a sweets display full of fresh and fun options, the Husky Bakery has really catered towards the younger crowds. There is a long covered eat-in area out the back with several highchairs available for use, but the best bit is the full size playground set – also under cover for the kids to run riot whilst the adults enjoy a coffee or two.

Husky Bakery - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
Half of the delights available at Husky Bakery, Photo by Katia Barker

Our food choices were simple but very fresh and the coffee hot and tasty. Ross went savoury, with a Spinach and Fetta Roll ($3.60) but I could not go past the sweets and ordered a Mini Lemon Meringue Tart ($2.80). Cupcakes were right at child eye-level and it worked, Jenson ordered a bright pink Cupcake ($2.80).

Husky Bakery - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
Spinach and Fetta roll $3.60, Photo by Katia Barker
Husky Bakery - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
Lemon Meringue Tart $2.80 and Piccolo Latte $3.00, Photo by Katia Barker
Husky Bakery - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com
Jenson sat sit for just long enough to take this photo with his cupcake $2.80, Photo by Katia Barker

Isla wasn’t in the mood to sit quietly or still for very long, and we’d run out of our emergency supply of food for her so after our last drops of coffee were gone, and Jenson had descended the slide a few more times we made our exit down one of the two handy ramps.

Last Bite: The Huskisson Bakery and Café is a must stop location for anyone visiting Huskisson with kids, even if just passing through town to head further south. They know what kids like and have well-catered towards their needs, especially with the burgeoning camping crowds in summer when there is a freak downpour! Get in early and claim your table near the playground, as this place gets busy!

Highchairs: Yes
Stroller Storage: Yes
Easy Access: Yes
Change Tables: No
Kids Menu: Not dedicated, but what kid would turn back a cupcake (or lamington) it’s Un-Australian!
Huskisson Bakery & Café
11 Currambene Street, Huskisson, NSW 2540
Phone: 02 4441 5015
Price: $
Hours: Monday – Sunday 6:30am – 5:00pm

Katia Barker
Katia Barker is a 30-something stay-at-home mum to two beautiful (though sleep-adverse) children (Jenson 4 3/4 and Isla 22 months). Pre-baby life rendered a highly organised, efficient and calm advertising professional whose outlook on life was to absorb all of what life would throw at her. Now, all that is being thrown at her is food in its various incarnations. Katia’s new future includes educating and opening her children up to what the world has to offer, including food! and renovating her dream home (oh and getting that haircut which is seriously overdue!).

Pilgrim’s Wholefood, Kid-Friendly Cafes, Huskisson, Shoalhaven, NSW

We decided to take a cheeky mid-week Spring break down to the sunny holiday spot of Jervis Bay for a few days and Huskisson is a family favourite of ours. Finding kid-friendly cafes beyond fish and chips was a new experience we were willing to take on and Pilgrim’s Wholefood was an excellent start. Tucked along a retail corridor the interior of Pilgrims encapsulates a beach side cantina feel with a little bit of Sydney hipness.

Pilgrim's Wholefoods - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com

Being a devoted meatatarian I was impressed by the modern menu, which is made up solely of vegetarian options utilizing local fresh produce. The wait staff helpfully offered up the most popular choices (both burgers!). Ross selected the Bliss Burger, $11 (mixed grain pattie with fried onion, avocado, cheese, tabouleh, sprouts, special sauce & peanut sauce on a wholemeal roll) and I opted for the Millenium Burger $11 (Curry lentil pattie, fried onion, avocado, lettuce, beetroot, cucumber, sprouts, tahini sauce & sweet chilli sauce on a toasted wholemeal roll). Jenson had a Kids Burger, $8 (mixed grain pattie, fried onion, cheese, sprouts & special sauce on a toasted wholemeal roll).

Pilgrim's Wholefoods - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
The Millenium Burger
Pilgrim's Wholefoods - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
The Bliss Burger $11
Pilgrim's Wholefoods - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
Kids Burger $8

We all opted for cold drinks and Jensons’ Kids Banana Smoothie, $4.50, was generous in size and arrived first, which is always smart when kids are dining. The adult Thickshakes, $7, each are served in traditional chilled metal cups and hit the spot on a warm day.

Pilgrim's Wholefoods - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
Isla enjoying some of Daddy’s Strawberry Thickshake $7

The adult burgers were both delicious and satisfying and didn’t need any accompaniments such as chips, although they were a little messy. Jenson tried his burger but wasn’t really into the non-traditional flavours. It would be more suitable for a child who is either a little more worldly with their eating, or can accept that a burger can be something other than meat, cheese, tomato, lettuce & sauce! Never mind, more for us to snack on!

Pilgrim's Wholefoods - #kid-friendly #cafes - #Huskisson, #NSW via brunchwithmybaby.com
Jenson and his Banana Smoothie $4.50

Pilgrim’s Wholefood is a little bit of everything with typical breakfast fare in the morning (although still all vegetarian), burgers, wraps, pies & salads and coffee during the day with Mexican cuisine at night. This could allow you to return three times a day and have a different culinary experience each time. The café is spacious with long rustic wood tables built for sharing with a few smaller tables dotted around and has a small retail corner for local designer clothes & art for purchase or browse whilst waiting for your food.

Last Bite: Pilgrim’s Wholefood brings the Sydney vibe to the beachside town with unique vegetarian wholefoods, stylish interior and things to look at and poke around for the kids. Takeaway is also an option if the café is buzzing and you need space with a kid-friendly park directly underneath the shop.

Highchairs: Yes
Stroller storage: Yes
Easy access: Yes
Change tables: No
Kids menu: One or two options, might be best to ask for a custom sandwich or wrap if child is a little picky!

Pilgrim’s Wholefood
Shop 5/57 Owen Street, Huskisson, NSW 2540
Phone: 02 4441 6118
Price: $$
Hours: Mon-Sun 9am-3pm, Thur-Sat 6pm-9pm

Katia Barker
Katia Barker is a 30-something stay-at-home mum to two beautiful (though sleep-adverse) children (Jenson 4 3/4 and Isla 22 months). Pre-baby life rendered a highly organised, efficient and calm advertising professional whose outlook on life was to absorb all of what life would throw at her. Now, all that is being thrown at her is food in its various incarnations. Katia’s new future includes educating and opening her children up to what the world has to offer, including food! and renovating her dream home (oh and getting that haircut which is seriously overdue!).

Raising a Little Aussie

Something I think about frequently is identity, specifically through nationality. The full identity issue is a much larger discussion and blog post than I’m tackling here. My national identity is pretty simple – I’m a Australian – at least fourth generation if not further. No matter how long we live abroad, I will always think of myself as an Australian. My parents are 100% Australian, as was my childhood home and education.

So where does that leave Eloise? Is she American or Australian? Will she feel American because she lives here? If we move back to Australian in a few years, then what will that make her? Technically she’s an Australian born in the US, with dual citizenship. I often wonder what she will feel like as she grows up. As she starts school she will pick up an American accent (nooooo!!!) and identify with her friends more than with us. Whereas Alec and I yearn for things like Cadbury chocolate and Gippsland yoghurt, will she prefer (god forbid) Hersheys and Chobani?.

How do we help Eloise embrace her Australian heritage and nationality so it forms part of her identity? Read her Playing Beatie Bow, serve her Vegemite, make her watch The Man From Snowy River? Will she even care?

The point is we do care, even if she won’t for what will probably be a long time. I hope that by constantly going back home to visit and by surrounding her with global experiences that she will embrace an identity of being more than just an American.

Sydney, December 2011
Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.