"Oh my gosh we are being spoilt today"!!!! These were the words that my eldest babe exclaimed as we arrived at the Armory Wharf Cafe carpark.
See, he could see rolling green hills full of playground after playground; he could see the Parramatta river where big river cats and lots of rowers were going up and down; he could see loads of very fast cyclists for him to annoy, and he also spied a camouflage cafe!
This is all part of the Blaxland Riverside Park, and this is kidlet heaven!
The Armory Wharf Cafe (the camouflage cafe) is housed in a modern building right on the Parramatta river, so you can almost spit on the rowers and the river cats as they zoom by. There are both inside and outside eating areas, with the outside being covered by a camouflage net. Right behind the cafe are those rolling green hills with the amazing play grounds. Also right next to the cafe is a cycle lane where very very fast cyclists zoom by - so this would be time for the warnings....
1. cyclists don't slow for anyone, and they don't really appreciate little bulls stomping on their cycle lane, and I'm sure if there was a collision between a cyclist and a little bull you would need to call 000 - so keep your kids tethered (easier said than done);
2. you are right on the Parramatta river, and there is no fence, so yet again, keep 'em tethered.
Of course we were there nice and early for brekkie so we were served very quickly which was lucky cause those little bulls kept wanting to roam up those hills. The cafe is spacious and there is plenty of room for prams, and there were loads of Ikea high chairs to use.
The management of the cafe deserves a big clap when it comes to making the cafe child friendly. Firstly kids have their own menu called the "Junior Cadets" (the adult menu is called the "Ordinance Requisition"). The table water comes with 2 glasses for us, and 2 plastic cups for our little boys - and they were both blue - phew! The cutlery for the boys was also plastic, and more importantly, blue! The kid size milkshakes ($2.50) also came in plastic cups (but they were pink and the boys didn't seem too fazed). The babycino does come in the typical porcelain espresso cup and it was adorned with 2 wee marshmallows to make a smiley face - $1.50.
Brekkie for the kids ranges in price from $5.50 for sourdough toast up to $9.00 for a sausage sarnie. Lunch is similar in that it ranges from $5.50 for a sanger up to $11.00 for nuggets 'n chips. The adult breakfasts were decent sizes and priced up to $17.50. To be honest the meals were average - lots of balsamic was drizzled on all of the adults meals, which is a bit much to stomach at 8am. Unfortunately their coffee leaves a lot to be desired as well.
I'm glad we arrived early as by about 8.30am the cafe was bulging with those lycra wearing speed demons - it was a wee bit hard to know which way to look - so we got outta there.
On weekends the cafe also operates a canteen about 70m away where you can get takeaway coffees, muffins, drinks etc. There are also some fantastic picnic and bbq shelters right behind the cafe which I noticed had already been nabbed by 8am. A long day for some!
Now onto to those hills. My gosh they were fabulous! The 4yr old was right - they were being spoilt today. There were swings, there were tunnels, there were loads of ropes to climb on plus slippery slides, climbing walls and scary things that spun around. There was a wet water fountain area where you could strip off and run around (sadly we (me) weren't organised enough to have bought swimmers and towels or sunscreen). There was a very tall fort that you climb up into which my boys lunged - they seriously have no fear - I sent Mr Munch in after them cause my vertigo kicked in!
We discovered another canteen at the back of the hills so you have a variety of places to eat. Plus there are loads of bbq & picnic shelters plus heaps of loos (with baby change facilities) all over the park.
Some other interesting tidbits about this park is that you can hire a segway and do tours of all Olympic Park, you can also hire a bike, you can catch the heritage railway train on weekends and see an art exhibition at the Armory Gallery - too much fun! Plus it's right next door to the Silverwater Jail, you have to drive right past it, so you can tell the kiddies about what happens to them if they misbehave too much x
Blaxland Riverside Park
Jamieson St, Newington NSW 2128
02 9714 7513