Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Step back in time at Paronella Park, Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

Paronella Park, Cairns

Step back in time at Paronella Park

Paronella Park is a heritage-listed tourist attraction. It is located 120km south of Cairns at Mena Creek, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia.

The park has a special story that has to be heard to be truly understood for the visinary project that it was, when its founder, José Paronella, embarked on his dream to build a castle in the 1930s. 

Cairns Paronella Park

When Paronella Park opened to the public in 1935 it was a true marvel for the day, with a hydro electric generator, castle, tennis courts, bridges, waterfalls and a tunnel, surrounded in a range of 7,500 tropical plants, that have since become a lush rainforest. 

Paronella Park Cairns

Paronella Park has been the winner of multiple Queensland tourism awards, is State and National Heritage listed and is a National Trust listed property. 

Paronella Park Cairns

The park is privately owned by Mark and Judy Evans, who bought the park in 1993 and have been slowly bringing it back to life with renovations and events. 

Paronella Park Cairns

To visit Paronella Park is to step back in time and marvel at the ingenuity and determination shown by one man, who had a dream.

Paronella Park Cairns

On arrival at Paronella Park, visitors are taken on a 45 minute storytelling tour of the highlights of the park. At the end of the tour, visitors are free to roam the grounds and feed the fish and turtles who live in the lake.

Cairns Paronella Park

At night, Paronella Park shines brightest when the String Family performs original compositions against the magically lit cafe building. Check the website for the String Family’s performance schedule. This inspiring performance is part of the night tour. 

Paronella Park Cairns

Getting to Paronella Park

Self drive

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/self-drive

Coach tours from Cairns

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/coach-tours-from-cairns

Where to stay

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/where-to-stay

Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Paronella Park Cairns

Paronella Park
1671 Innisfail Japoon Rd, Mena Creek
Hours: Daily, 9:30am-7:30pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Online: paronellapark.com.au

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Tips for visiting Josephine Falls, Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

Josephine-Falls

Tips for visiting Josephine Falls, Cairns 

Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is a tiered cascade waterfall located in Wooroonan, Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland. 

The falls are an hours drive south of Cairns, in the foothills of Queensland’s highest mountain range, Bartle Frere. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

There is a viewing platform overlooking the cascades and the top pool, where swimming is prohibited. The bottom swimming hole, however, is a large, crystal-clear, pool with a natural rockslide.

Josephine Falls Cairns

To get to Josephine Falls, take the 600m walk from the carpark. The walk is wheelchair and pram accessible up to the viewing platform, however there are steep stairs that lead down to the swimming hole. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

At the bottom of the stairs there is a very small area with built-in benches for sitting on, however most visitors choose to walk from here across the rocks to eat their picnic lunch or take a dip in the water. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

There are modern, clean toilets in the carpark and picnic tables, both of which are also wheelchair accessible. 

Walking Tracks

Josephine Falls Cairns
There are three walking tracks at Josephine Falls. The main one is the Josephine Falls walking track (Grade: easy), distance: 1.2 km return. Allow around 30 minutes if you aren’t planning to stop at the falls.

There are two other walks that start at Josephine Falls: Bartle Frere trail to Broken Nose (Grade: difficult), distance: 10 km return (allow about 8 hours return time) and Bartle Frere trail – Josephine Falls to Atherton Tablelands (Grade: difficult), distance: 15 km one way (allow about 2 days walking time). 

Picnic and other facilities

Josephine Falls Cairns

Take your own food and water to Josephine Falls. There are picnic tables, a shelter shed, a coin-operated electric barbecue and toilets available in the area adjacent to the carpark.

Things to know before you go

*Heavy rainfall can cause rapid rises in creek levels and currents. 
*There is no mobile reception at the falls. 
*Be extremely careful as there have been numerous injuries and even deaths at the falls. It will take at least an hour for emergency services to arrive if something goes wrong. 
*For your safety, swimming in the top section of the falls is prohibited.

Josephine Falls Cairns

Essentials to bring

• a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
• sturdy, reliable footwear
• drinking water

Safety tips for visiting Josephine Falls

 

Josephine Falls Cairns

*Never jump or dive into water—there may be submerged objects.
*Leave the water immediately if it changes colour or the water levels rise—these are signs of flash flooding.
*Take care around steep slopes and rock faces along the track, and at lookouts.
*Supervise children closely.
*Stay on the track and take care on uneven surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
*Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
*Treat all water before drinking.

Josephine Falls Cairns

Looking after the park

*Stay on walking tracks / boardwalks to prevent injuries and also protect native plants. 
*Take all litter with you when you leave. 
*Do not disturb any native plants or animals – do not feed the animals or leave food scraps behind.
*Domestic animals are not permitted.

How to get to Josephine Falls 
Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is about an hour and 15 minutes south of Cairns. Take the Bruce Highway/Highway 1 south  for around 75km until you reach the town of Miriwinni. Take the Mount Bartle Frere turnoff. Josephine Falls is signposted from here.

More information about Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is free to enter the park and visit the waterfall.

Read more about visiting Josephine Falls.

Read more about things to do in Cairns

Josephine Falls
LOT 1 Josephine Falls Walk, Bartle Frere QLD
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Lab Kitchen Five Dock: Kid-Friendly Cafes in Sydney

Lab Kitchen Five Dock

The Lab Kitchen Five Dock

Lab Kitchen Five Dock serves up delicious, seasonal, modern Western-Eastern dishes at a reasonable price – and has a massive backyard filled with play equipment and toys for kids. What more could you ask for?

The Lab Five Dock

This is a top cafe that we will be returning for, for the food alone. Lab Kitchen has a large menu with breakfast served till 3pm and lunch from 11am, plus coffee, smoothies, fresh juice and even Bing-Soo (Korean style shaved ice). The majority of seating is outside under cover and is dog-friendly, so you will find a lot of families with their human and fur kids here. 

The Lab Five Dock

We chose: Vegetarian Plate (haloumi, smashed avo, asparagus, roasted tomato, portabello mushroom, Persian feta, hash browns, sautéed spinach, bread of choice and eggs of choice, $22), Eggs Benedict (homemade crumpets, poached egg, spinach, hollandaise, smoked salmon, $16.90), the “Whatever” from the kids’ menu (five nuggets and chips, $8.90).

The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock

The food was served quickly and was fresh, hot and absolutely delicious. The portions were generous and items well cooked with fresh produce. The crumpets were homemade!

The Lab Five Dock

The massive backyard is a huge drawcard for families. Kids are free to wander and play with the equipment or bring toys back to their table. There are plenty of high chairs to use for littles and a decent kids menu with fun names that will give you a giggle.

The Lab Kitchen Five Dock

The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock The Lab Five Dock

Lab Kitchen Five Dock
Hours: Daily, 7am-4pm

Prices: $$
108 Great N Rd, Five Dock
labkitchen.com.au

Get Directions

 

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Cairns Hotel Review: Riley by Crystalbrook

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Cairns Hotel Review: Riley by Crystalbrook

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Enjoy the tropics in style at Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection hotel located on the Cairns Esplanade.

Pool and lobby

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The hotel is a stylish $170-million redo of the old RydgesTradewinds motel – not that you’d be able to guess it by looking at the slick lobby, breathtaking pool and elegant rooms. The Riley looks like a brand new hotel, one that is bright, light and full of fun.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

At the heart of Riley is its 1,000-square-metre lagoon-style pool. With its sand fringes, the pool is reminiscent of swimming at the beach – a nice feature given that Cairns doesn’t have any beaches.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

There is easy access from the pool to restaurants, spa and the hotel rooms, so it’s always a quick trip down for a dip in the sparkling water.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Sunscreen and water are available for use.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The lobby is a soaring, welcoming space, with lounges, water available for drinking, and a pool table in a little nook. It’s a spot designed to entice visitors to stay a while and relax.  

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Sustainability 

I really loved the approach to sustainability that the Riley has taken to minimise its hospitality footprint. In the bathrooms are amenities infused with native botanicals, supplied in refillable containers affixed to shower walls, room keycards are little discs made from 100% recycled wood; water is given in cardboard cartons rather than plastic bottles; and menus and area guides are stored on a digital device. In the restaurants around the hotel, stainless steel straws are supplied. 

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Rooms and suites

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The majority of rooms and suites are located in the restored building, with 55 in a striking new 12-story tower that is also home to two restaurants and a spa.

There are four categories of views on offer: urban, resort, sea and panoramic sea.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I stayed in a resort view room overlooking for beautiful swimming lagoon. The room included a balcony with chairs, choice of king bed or two king singles, free wifi, Apple iPad Control Centre, 55” HD Smart TV, Staycast by Google Chromecast for video streaming, complimentary movies,  excellent air-con and blackout blinds, nespresso machine with complimentary pods, rainforest shower, freestanding bath, a minibar stocked with local goodies, yoga mat in the wardrobe, iron, hair dryer, safe.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I absolutely loved the thoughtful little details at the hotel, such as the sleep mask and pillow spray that was left on my bed at night. What a lovely item to take home!

Cairns Riley Crystalbrook

When travelling with kids who are out of the cot, the best option are family rooms, which are adjoining bedrooms with a choice of two king beds or four king singles, or a room with a king bed and requesting a rollaway bed from reception. 

Restaurants

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

There are three restaurants located in the hotel: Rocco, which serves dishes from the Mediterranean region, Greenfields, which offers to nourish your body with wholesome fare and Paper Crane, which is the spot for breakfast in the morning, or Asian cuisine at night.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I only dined at Paper Crane in the morning, when the restaurant kickstarted my day with eggs made to order, pastries, yoghurt, fruit and plenty of tea and juice. 

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Riley
131-141 Esplanade
Cairns
crystalbrookcollection.com/riley

Find things to do in Cairns.

Muddy’s Playground on Cairns Esplanade

Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s Playground Cairns Esplanade

This fantastic playground has fenced areas, a splash playground, flying fox, sound chimes, track ride, rope bridge, slides, mouse wheels, play houses, story telling areas, see-saw, trick track and puzzle games. Muddy’s Playground is one of the top Cairns attractions for families and it’s easy to see why!

Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s Playground is the prefect example of what modern playgrounds should aim for. IIt incorporates active, passive, interactive and educational facilities alongside play equipment.

The theme of Muddy’s Playground “Life in Trinity Bay”, which is reflected in the water play and other elements. 

Cairns Muddys Playground

There are several water play elements spread throughout the park, which lets kids of all ages enjoy the water fun. There is a quiet stream, small jets and larger jets.

Cairns Muddys Playground Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s was exceptionally well designed to cater to kids of all ages, with equipment and activities that suit toddlers, preschool and junior school age, to tweens. 

Cairns Australia

Bigger kids will love the large climbing frame and slides, plus tunnels to run inside, and the large net climbing structure.

Cairns Australia

Cairns Muddys Playground

Cairns Australia

The toddler area is completely fenced in, which prevents little kids mingling with older kids as well as making it easier to keep track of where whearabouts.

Muddy's Playground Cairns

The toddler are features sand play and some great little houses to play in.

Cairns Australia

Muddy’s also features play equipment for preschool and lower-primary school-aged kids with smaller climbing structures, musical elements and balance elements, plus a giant fish that is endless fun to run in and out of, and reflects the Cairns aquatic theme.

Cairns Australia

There is a disabled-use Liberty Swing which uses the MLAK national keying system. Ask at Muddy’s Cafe for access.

Cairns Muddys Playground

There are two toilet facilities (one at the north end of Muddy’s near the cafe, and one at the southern end of Muddy’s) barbecues and picnic tables and a cafe. 

Cairns Muddys Playground

Muddy’s Cafe, located in the heart of the playground, is open daily, 6am-8pm. They offer a breakfast and lunch/dinner menu for kids.

Cairns Australia

Muddy’s Playground is open every day of the year from 9.00am and 7.00pm (including public holidays and weekends). Sections of Muddy’s are closed for maintenance on Tuesday and/or Thursday mornings until noon. 

Read more about Muddy’s Playground.

Inside the LEGO Certified Store at Broadway Sydney

LEGO Store Broadway Sydney

Inside the LEGO Certified Store at Broadway Sydney

Take your little builders to the brand new LEGO certified store at Broadway Sydney. Located  on Level 2, near JB Hi-Fi, the store is smaller than the Bondi Junction store, but is still packed with things to do (and buy!). 

LEGO Store Broadway Sydney

There are several large LEGO statues around the store, some life-sized and perfect for photos, and plenty that are the huge, expensive LEGO packs that are also available for sale. 

LEGO Store Broadway Sydney

The store is divided into themed sections – there are plenty of new Frozen 2 sets, plus Star Wars, Harry Potter, Friends, City, Disney LEGO and much, much more. 

LEGO Store Broadway Sydney

The Pick a Brick wall is a popular spot – fill a container with pieces to take home. Note: the bricks are sold by the container not weight, so fill the container to the brim to get the best value.

LEGO Store Broadway Sydney

We loved the build your own Minifigure station where you can custom build your own LEGO Minifigure, including heads, torsos, legs, hair and accessory. 

LEGO Store Broadway Sydney

There is a large LEGO play table for kids to sit at and play with LEGO for as long as they like. 

LEGO Store Broadway Sydney

For LEGO buffs, there are plenty of hard-to-find LEGO sets, as well as lots of little items that are only available directly from LEGO store, such as the cute LEGO keyrings.

LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney LEGO Store Broadway Sydney

Broadway Sydney
1 Bay St, Ultimo
Online

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids.

Find things to do in Sydney for free.

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Find the best animal experiences in Sydney.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.

Find the best high teas in Sydney.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney.

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30 of the best playgrounds in Sydney

Playgrounds Sydney

30 Of The Best Playgrounds in Sydney

Swing, slide and climb the weekend away at one of these excellent playgrounds in Sydney. There are all-abilities playgrounds, spaces for teens, tweens, toddlers and everyone in between in this list of playgrounds in Sydney.

Oatley Park Inclusive Adventure Playground

Oatley Park Playground

The Oatley Park Inclusive Adventure Playground is an adventure playground designed to blend into its bush setting, incorporating nature-based play elements and built with predominantly natural materials. 

The park features seperate play zones with a toddler play area, a flying fox with river views, an active play zone, giant tube slides and a teen zone. This has to be one of the best natural playgrounds in Sydney.

Read more about visiting Oatley Park Inclusive Adventure Playground.

Jubilee Park Adventure Playground, Mortdale, Sydney

Jubilee Park Addventure Playground, Mortdale, Sydney

The Jubilee Park Adventure Playground in Mortdale, Sydney, features a large climbing frame with nets and slides, a children’s bike track, junior swings, flying foxes and multi-purpose sports courts.

The excellent new multi-million dollar Jubilee Park Adventure Playground is a great addition to the community. Built behind the existing Mortdale Community Centre, the playground has revitalised the park and given the community a great spot to picnic, play and get fit.

Read more about Jubilee Park Adventure Playground.

Strathfield Park

Strathfield Park

Strathfield Park, the oldest public park in Strathfield, is home to a huge playground with three play spaces, spanning 1.5 acres.

The park was renovated in 2017, with the resulting play spaces uniquely designed to  compliment each other, taking into account the various ages and abilities of children who might enjoy the play equipment. 

Read more about visiting Strathfield Park.

Darling Quarter Playground

Darling Quarter, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

The most centrally-located Sydney playground features a 21-metre flying fox, water play area with pumps and buckets and plenty of slides, climbing structures and swings. It’s a must for kids visiting the city. The Darling Quarter Playground is without a doubt, one of the best playgrounds in Sydney.

Get more info on the Darling Quarter Playground.

Pirrama Park Playground Pyrmont

Pyrmont Playground and Cafe #Sydney via christineknight.me

This beautiful playground in Pyrmont has shiny, well-designed equipment, a water play area, sand pit with shade cloth, new, well-maintained bathrooms (including baby change facilities) and a cafe with shaded seating. Street parking is available. Pirrama Park features grasslands, wide avenues for scooting and entry into the harbour for swimming.

Get more info on Pirrama Park Playground here.

Victoria Park, CBD

Victoria Park, Camperdown

A 9 hectare green space connecting to Sydney University, Victoria Park features a beautiful lake, playground for kids of all ages and plenty of shady trees, right in the middle of the city.

Get more info on Victoria Park here.

Enmore Park, Marrickville

Enmore Park, Marrickville, Sydney

Kids can play astronauts at this excellent park which features two space rockets, a large grassy area with plenty of trees, swings, slides, a climbing net and see-saw. The park has partial shade so bring a hat and sunscreen.

Enmore Park, Marrickville, Sydney

The Annette Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre is located in the park so bring swimmers if it’s hot. There are plenty of kid-friendly cafes nearby, including Petty Cash, which is just across the road from the playground. Enmore Park, without a doubt, has the best playground in Sydney for wannabe astronauts!

Read more about Petty Cash Cafe.

Tramsheds and Harold Park

The Tramsheds, Harold Park, Sydney

One of our fave places to eat and play in Sydney! The Tramsheds is home to a full-size restored tram that kids can climb inside, plus a wide range of family-friendly restaurants.

Harold Park, Sydney

Outside the Tramsheds lies Harold Park, an expansive park featuring a custom-built playground.

Read more about the Tramsheds here.

Read more about Harold Park here.

Fairfield Adventure Park Playground

Fairfield Adventure Playground Sydney

Especially designed to provide a play space for kids of a variety of ages, the Fairfield Adventure Playground brings the “wow” factor in spades. The park opened in 2015 after a $1.4 million council investment. With the star attractions designed specifically for teens, this is a unique playground that provides a much-needed recreational space for older kids. Fairfield Playground is absolutely one of the best playgrounds in Sydney, particularly for older kids.

Get more info on visiting the Fairfield Adventure Park Playground here.

Bigge Park, Liverpool

Bigge Park, Liverpool, Sydney, Australia

Bigge Park in Liverpool, a south-west suburb of Sydney, received a $5 million upgrade a few years back. The upgrade included a fantastic free water play area. Bigge Park also includes an accessible playground, a regular playground and climbing equipment.

Get more info on visiting Bigge Park.

Ollie Webb Reserve Parramatta

Ollie Webb Reserve Parramatta

Parramatta’s first all-inclusive playground opened in early 2019. It features climbing structures, water play with a splash play area and water pumps, an elevated sandpit, an accessible carousel, swings, BBQ facilities and excellent bathrooms.

Read the full review of Ollie Webb Reserve playground here.

Variety Livvi’s Place, Bankstown

Variety Livvis Place Playground Bankstown Sydney Australia

The Canterbury-Bankstown area’s first all-abilities playground opened in late 2018, a joint project between Variety, the Children’s Charity, and the Touched by Olivia foundation. The fully-fenced playground features picnic and bbq facilities, bathrooms, Variety Livvi’s Place includes a sensory zone, flying fox with accessible seats, a climbing net, trampoline, swings with accessible seats, water play area, a climbing tower with ground level play features, two nest swings, roller table, accessible carousel, slides, a nature trail, sand play and a lizard log carved from wood.

Get more info on visiting Variety Livvi’s Place here.

Livvi’s Place Playground Five Dock

Livvi's Place Five Dock

Livvi’s Place in Five Dock, Sydney, is a playground designed for children of all abilities. The equipment and unique design of the playground ensures that all kids, including those with special needs, are able to enjoy playing side-by-side. 

Read more about visiting Livvi’s Place Five Dock.

Casula Parklands Adventure Playground

Casula Parklands Sydney

The brand new Casula Parklands has something for everyone, from toddlers to adults. Located near the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, the park features play equipment and fitness training for all ages.

Casula Parklands Sydney

The $15 million park includes a ninja warrior training course for teens and adults, toddler climbing equipment, older kid / tween climbing equipment, flying foxes, swings, on and off-leash dog parks and a fitness area.

Get more info on visiting Casula Parklands Adventure Playground.

Blaxland Riverside Park

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

A gorgeous spot for families with one of the biggest playgrounds in Sydney set among three hectares of rolling hills and big open spaces. The playground caters for kids of all ages and abilities with a fantastic water play area (the largest outdoor water play facility in NSW), moving play elements, high and steep landforms and hidden and confined spaces. There’s a double flying fox, mega-swing, tunnel slides, scramble wall, spinning play disk, Viking swing and a multi-level tree house to be discovered and enjoyed.

Get more info on Blaxland Riverside Park.

Parramatta CBD Foreshore Playground

Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park

Built into the slope of the hill on the river’s foreshore, the Parramatta CBD Foreshore Playground has got some really cool features like a 4 metre slide and rock climbing. In summer, water features are turned on near the sand play area.

Be aware that the playground is not fenced, not does it have any shade cover or bathrooms.

Get more info on visiting the Parramatta CBD Foreshore Playground.

James Ruse Reserve Playground

James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me

The James Ruse Reserve Playground is almost brand-spanking new (it was built in 2014), and has a fantastic water play area, which is under cover. 

The playground has no shade cover so is best visited on cooler days. It features an excellent net climbing area.

Get more info on visiting the James Ruse Reserve Playground.

Domain Creek Playground Parramatta Park

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park: The best of southwest Sydney for families
The largest and most modern playground in Parramatta Park, the Domain Creek Playground is nature-based and features mazes made from branches and wires, water pumps and sand diggers, a flying fox and sunken trampolines.

Get more info on visiting Domain Creek Playground.

Newmarket Dining & Playground, Randwick

Newmarket Randwick

Sydney’s newest precinct, Newmarket Dining is a place to eat at cosy cafes and restaurants, picnic in the park and play at a state-of-the-art playground. The playground has the most incredible slide built into the centre of what used to be a horse sale yard.

Read more about Randwick Dining & Playground.

Paperbark Playground, Parramatta

Parramatta Park Playground

Paperback Playground is the newest playground in the park and has some inclusive features. Located in the historic Gardens Precinct near the George Street Gatehouse, the playground is best suited to children and toddlers. Features include an accessible sandpit, swings and a carousel which kids with varied mobility, including wheelchair users, can use, as well as the ‘explorer dome’ centrepiece – a maze made of nets, ropes, ladders and tubes best suited to older children. The playground floor is covered with ‘Softfall’ pavements and there’s plenty of seats for parents and carers.

Thank you to Have Wheelchair Will Travel for the images. 

Plough and Harrow, Abbotsford

Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me

This popular picnic spot is surrounded by bush and features a playground, cafe, high ropes course and wide open spaces for kids to run free. The playground’s hamster wheel is particularly popular!

Get more info on visiting Plough and Harrow.

Bungarribee Park, Abbotsford

Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands
Opened in 2017, Bungarribee is a 200-hectare recreational space that features walking and cycling tracks, 20 barbecues, 13 picnic shelters and a playground with a climbing tower, flying fox, plenty of slides, swings and a water play area.

Get more info on visiting Bungarribee Park.

Livvi’s Place Ryde

Livvi's Place Ryde, Yamble Reserve, Sydney, Australia

Livvi’s Place is a full-enclosed playground located in Yamble Reserve, Ryde. The reserve features formal gardens, deciduous trees, picnic shelters, large green grassed areas, barbecues and the excellent all-abilities playground, Livvi’s Place. Livvi’s Place playground includes a water pump play area, dual flying fox, nest swing, musical instruments, climbing frame and tunnels.

Read more about Livvi’s Place Ryde.

Putney Park: Playground and Water Park

Putney Park and Playground, Sydney

A great spot to take kids in summer, Putney Park features climbing equipment for kids of all ages plus two shallow pools connected by a pebble creek and a large climbing web.

Read more about Putney Park here.

Sydney Park, St Peters

Sydney Park, Sydney Australia

A 40 hectare green space near St Peter’s, Sydney Park was built in the space once occupied by Bedford Brickworks – the chimneys of which have been left and are a feature of the park that can be seen from some distance away. Features of the park include a large playground on its western side, the Sydney Park Cycling Centre on its northern side, winding pathways over hills for walking and cycling, wetlands, a kiosk and bathrooms.

Get more info on Sydney Park.

Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden, Centennial Park

Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia

The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden opened in Centennial Park in October 2017. The 6500sq m nature-based play area features a 7m-high climbing tower, wooden bridge, water play area and an open play area where kids are encouraged to use sticks and natural materials to make their own shelters, artworks and games.

Get more info on visiting the Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden here.

Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park

Entertainment Quarter Sydney via christineknight.me

This park consists of 115 hectares of  open spaces and playing fields, including the ES Marks Athletics Field, an 18-hole public golf course and golf driving range, tennis courts and netball courts.

The Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park has plenty for kids to do, from plaster painting, a Hoyts movie cinema, Monkey Mania play centre, Strike Bowling as well as two partially shaded playgrounds with excellent bathroom facilities.

Queen’s Park, Randwick

Queens Park Shed: #kidfriendly cafes #Sydney via christineknight.me

A 26-hectare urban park with panoramic views and natural sandstone cliffs. Queen’s Park has an excellent gated and partially shaded playground for kids next to a kid-friendly cafe, Queen’s Park Shed (read more here).

Waluba Park, Waterloo

Wulaba Park, Green Square, Waterloo, Sydney

A beautifully designed and landscaped park featuring a mega slide, three-story climbing tower, swings, picnic and BBQ area and bike paths.

Get more info on visiting Waluba Park here.

Lizard Log Park & Playground, Abbotsford

Mary O'Brien Reserve, Zetland

Lizard Log is a bushland park in the Western Sydney Parklands. This beautiful green space features a nature-themed playground, scenic walks, cycling tracks and a dam.

Read more about visiting Lizard Log Park & Playground.

More things to do in Sydney

Find things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids.

Find things to do in Sydney for free.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.

Find the best high teas in Sydney.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Find the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Sydney.

Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood

Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood

Twinkle Kids Cafe 

Kids and parents will adore Twinkle Kids Cafe, a light and bright cafe with an indoor playground located in Burwood Plaza, Sydney.

Designed for kids up to age 10, the cafe I think is best suited to slightly younger kids, although my eight-year-old was desperate to get in there and have a play.

Twinkle Kids Cafe features a large ball pit and soft play climbing area, plus dress up and role play activities such as a play kitchen. 

Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood

Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood Twinkle Kids Cafe Burwood

It’s free for kids under 12 months of age to enter the play area.

Kids and adults need to wear socks at all times. If you forget to bring your own you can purchase a pair at the cafe

Parking is available in Burwood Plaza. 

Twinkle Kids Cafe has been hosting some incredible birthday parties, so consider it for your next function for kids. 

Twinkle Kids Cafe 
Shop 48A, level 1/42 Railway Parade, Burwood NSW 2134
Phone: 02) 9715 1558
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat & Sun 9am-7pm
facebook.com/twinklekidscafeburwood

A Horizon Club stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

Shangri-La, Sydney

A Horizon Club stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

The Shangri-La, Sydney is nestled in the historic Rocks District, is a luxury hotel with panoramic views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Shangri-La, Sydney

A stay at the Shangri-La, Sydney is always a special occasion, but for this special birthday we decided to splurge on a Horizon Club room, which comes with a whole host of special benefits.

The Shangri-La Sydney is a large hotel, with 565 rooms, three restaurants and one bar. The hotel is located between Circular Quay and Wynyard train stations. It’s a bit of a walk from both, including a steep uphill section. 

Horizon Club Sydney Harbour Room

Shangri-La, Sydney

This stay we chose a Horizon Club Sydney Harbour Room with a king bed and rollaway bed. The room came with absolutely spectacular 180-degree views across Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour.

Shangri-La, Sydney

Our favourite feature of the room was the padded window seat that we could all fit on and the block out curtains that fell behind it. After sunset we sat on the seat and pulled the curtains behind us and looked out at the beautiful harbour and the sparkling lights. It was just heaven. 

Shangri-La, Sydney

The Horizon Club Sydney Harbour Rooms are located on levels 31-35, guaranteeing a breathtaking view. The rooms all include access to the exclusive Horizon Club Lounge with its full range of privileges.

Shangri-La, Sydney

The room itself is elegant and understated. Luxe furnishings that are bright and beautiful. 

Shangri-La, Sydney

We loved the large marble bathroom containing a separate bath and shower.

Shangri-La, Sydney

Other amenities include plush Shangri-La bathrobes (which we wore to the pool), a pillow menu (we ordered different pillows and they were divine), premium Shangri-La toiletries, Wi-Fi Access, LCD flatscreen television, DVD entertainment system, In-house movie channels, a full-size executive writing desk, electronic safe, coffee / tea-making facilities and a mini-bar. 

Shangri-La, Sydney

Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney

Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney

Horizon Club Benefits

Shangri-La, Sydney

The added benefits of the Horizon Club definitely made the cost of the room worthwhile. While on the website a 4pm late check-out also listed as a benefit of this package, it is subject to availability and we were not able to get this benefit when we stayed. 

Shangri-La, Sydney

We visited the Horizon Club Lounge for afternoon tea, canapés and breakfast the next morning. The ability to use the lounge during these times meant we didn’t need to buy any extra meals during our stay, as the offerings were so hearty! 

Horizon Club Lounge afternoon tea

Shangri-La, Sydney

The afternoon tea is served between 2pm-5pm and includes scones with jam and cream, a selection of sandwiches (all meat) and pastries. The Shangri-La, Sydney is able to provide food for dietary requirements with enough notice given.

Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney

The view from the room is just breathtaking – try to get a seat by the window if you can.

Shangri-La, Sydney

Horizon Club Lounge canapés

Shangri-La, Sydney

Evening canapés includes alcoholic drinks which the staff refill constantly throughout the evening. The canapé time from 6pm-8pm is the perfect time for dinner with kids! Our fussy eater didn’t see enough that she liked on the buffet tables, so we ordered a kids meal from room service and had it delivered to the lounge. Easy peasy, it arrived on our table about 20 minutes later.

Shangri-La, Sydney
Kids’ pasta

The buffet had an excellent selection of savoury food, hot and cold, salads, cheese and crackers and desserts. It was quite meat heavy, however the Shangri-La, Sydney is able to provide food for dietary requirements with enough notice given (next time I will remember this and let them know in advance that we are vegetarian!) There was still plenty of food that was edible, however, and we were absolutely stuffed by the end.

Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney

Lots of people can be found in the lounge during all times of the day, particularly the evening canapés. Some people are with a group and socialising, some reading books and relaxing. While there is a dress code for using the lounge, we saw many guests in extremely casual attire, so I wouldn’t take the dress code too seriously. We dressed up for the occasion for a fun thing to do, but it certainly isn’t required. 

Horizon Club Lounge breakfast

Shangri-La, Sydney

Breakfast is also available in the Horizon Club Lounge from 6:30am-10:30am daily and until 11am on weekends. The breakfast is advertised as a “light buffet” – however, we thought it was a fantastic feast!

Shangri-La, Sydney

We particularly loved the egg station where we had custom omelettes made for us. A variety of hot and cold food is available, fruit, pastries, cereals, tea, coffee and juices.

Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney

Shangri-La, Sydney pool

Shangri-La, Sydney

We love a good hotel pool, particularly when it’s indoors and heated in winter! The Shangri-La, Sydney pool is a large pool with a separate spa with bubble jets, located in the health club.

Shangri-La, Sydney Shangri-La, Sydney

High Tea at the Shangri-La, Sydney

Shangri La Hotel Afternoon Tea via christineknight.me

We have dined in the Lobby Lounge many times enjoying the Shangri-La, Sydney’s high tea offerings! You can read about high tea at the Shangri-La, Sydney here.

Blu Bar High Tea Buffet

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For an absolute treat, I highly recommend the high tea buffet that is offered in the Blu Bar on level 36. It is just delicious and such a treat! It’s also very pricey and no discount for kids, so I would suggest making this an adult-only treat. 

Read about the Blu Bar High Tea Buffet.

Getting to the Shangri-La, Sydney

If you drive to the Shangri-La, Sydney, valet parking is available: $58 for in-house hotel guests, $44 for restaurant patrons, $40 for guests with functions at the hotel, and $22 for guests who have appointments at our spa. There is a cheaper parking station at Wilson parking – Quay West at 111 Harrington St, The Rocks if you don’t mind a bit of a walk.

Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
176 Cumberland St, Sydney
shangri-la.com/sydney

Shangri-La, Sydney

More things to do in Sydney

Find more things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids.

Find things to do in Sydney for free.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.

Find the best high teas in Sydney.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Find the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Sydney.

A Guide To The Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains in Mount Tomah

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

A Guide To The Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains Mount Tomah

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is the only botanic garden in the world located in a World Heritage area. Home to 21,000 plants of 900 species, the 69-acre garden is located 100km west of Sydney at Mount Tomah, in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Established in 1972, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is heritage-listed and focusses on the conservation of cool climate plants that do not grow in the warmer climate of Sydney. 

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is approximately a two-hour drive from Sydney’s CBD, on the boundary of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Greater Blue Mountains area. 

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

As well as the cool climate plants, the garden is home to a diverse range of local fauna, including over 150 species of birds, marsupials, lizards and colourful insects. Brush-tailed and ring-tailed possums, sugar gliders and greater gliders might be spotted in the garden, as well as fairy wrens, lyrebirds and cockatoos. During our visit we saw kookaburras and skinks.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The garden is set out into distinct areas that highlight various plant species. Pick up a free map from the Visitor’s Centre and take a self guided tour around the gardens at your own pace.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Guided walking and shuttle tours are also available daily. Walking tours are free but the 20-minute shuttle tours attracts a fee of $8.50pp (disability Pension card holders, Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Garden members and children under 5 are free.). Check departure times and purchase tickets for tours at the Visitor Centre.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Different parts of the garden bloom throughout the year so no matter when you visit, the garden is beautiful. We visited in spring to see the daffodil display.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Kids can pick up a Children’s Adventure Quest from the Visitor’s Centre for $7.50. It includes everything in the photo below. 

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

There is a discovery centre underneath the Visitor’s Centre that has lots of information about the plants and some hands-on elements for kids.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Eating at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Visitors are more than welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens. If you would like to purchase takeaway coffee, snacks or light meals, the Ugly Mug Kiosk, located near the car park, is open Monday and Tuesday from 9am to 4.30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am to 5.00pm.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Potager, Mount Tomah

The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

During our visit we dined at The Potager for Father’s Day, an upmarket restaurant with a botanic theme. While the balcony offers incredible views over the garden, it also offers little shade, so we chose to dine instead as we visited on a hot day.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Potager has a decent kids’ menu and various options for different diets. I had a vegan option, the Veggie Patch (with local kale, roasted cauliflower and sautéed mushrooms on a bed pumpkin hummus, avocado cream, sun flower seeds, fresh local herbs, $22.90).

The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Our group also ordered the kids’ Avo & Cheese Sandwich (with chips, $9.50), the Pan Fried Salmon, (with roasted fennel, pumpkin, tomato, spinach, hummus, topped with shaved shallot, $32) and the Botanic Burger (180g Beef patty, bacon, American cheese, pickled onions, house relish, served on toasted milk bun with chips, $26.90).

The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The food and service were both excellent and I would highly recommend dining here for a bit of a special occasion.

The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Getting to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden can be accessed via the Bells Line of Road.

Driving from Sydney: From the CBD, cross the harbour heading north and follow the M2 motorway onto the M7 motorway. Take the Richmond Road exit towards Richmond. Follow the signs to Blue Mountains and follow Bells Line of Road from Richmond to the Garden.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Driving from Lithgow: Drive along Chifley Road from Lithgow to Bell. Continue on Bells Line of Road from Bell to the Garden. The Garden is about a 40-minute drive from Lithgow.

The Garden is not accessible by public transport.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah
Hours: Daily, weekdays 9am to 5.30pm, weekends and public holidays: 9.30am to 5.30pm
Prices: Entry to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is FREE.

Get more info on The Potager and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.

More things to do in Sydney and the Blue Mountains

Find more things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids.

Find things to do in Sydney for free.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.

Find the best high teas in Sydney.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Find the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Sydney.