We are seriously spoilt for choice in the north west of Sydney with all the amazing family friendly pubs we have available to us. There are actually 3 within a 3km drive in the Kellyville/Rouse Hill area - I don't think any other area of Sydney can beat that! Our latest review is of the wonky looking Ettamogah Hotel. Don't let the quirky exterior fool you, because out the back is one very modern and very family friendly pub, waiting to entertain your whole brood.
Even though we've been living in the north west for about 6 years, the Little Munch family has never set foot inside the leaning tower of Ettamogah. I was invited to lunch at the pub to celebrate a birthday with my big boy's bestie - just two energetic boys and their Mums. We arrived some time after 11am and I parked in the huge carpark behind the pub. Once you have unloaded your family, walk through the doors that have the sign for the beer garden. As soon as you walk in you will know that you have entered family friendly pub nirvana - so be warned punters who are after a relaxing and quiet ale, this is not the place for you!
You can sit inside or out at the Ettamogah. This inside would be perfect on a stinking hot day but the outside is the best place to sit when you have kids. The outside area has both ceiling fans and heaters and most of it offers protection from the sun. There are a couple of bars within the pub, one of which opens onto the outdoor area. You order your food inside at the bistro and take a buzzer. The toilet facilites are excellent and they have them both outside and inside the hotel (baby change tables are available). Prams of all shapes and sizes will easily be able to access both dining areas and you could even meet up here for a mother groups outing as there are loads of big tables available. They serve coffee and cake as well as pub food and of course sometimes as a parent you just need alcohol, which the pub obviously has loads of!
Now most family friendly pubs have a playground, as does the Ettamogah, but what makes this place stand out from other pubs I have visited, is that they have a rock climbing wall! This awesome activity is located at the back of the beer garden area and it does cost money to climb. You need tokens which you purchase from a vending type of machine inside the pub (more on the cost later). Once you have your tokens you have to sign a waiver that basically says if your kid falls and breaks their arm etc, the pub is not liable. You then hand your tokens over to the member of staff on duty and they harness your child up. Kids have to weigh more than 15 kgs to be able to climb. 6 children can climb at a time and certain climbs are easier than others.
Just to let you know our very fit 6/7 yr old boys had great difficulty getting much further up than the second row. Kids can change which section they climb and the staff member is the only person allowed to change their harness. It's actually quite hysterical to watch kids attempting to climb only to fall back down again (sadisitic aren't I). The rock climbing wall is open from 5pm - 10pm during the week and from 12pm - 10pm on weekends. During school holidays they also open it at 12pm every day.
Young kids will love the huge playground and the jumping castle. The playground is fully fenced and from the eating area in the beer garden you have a great view of it. As you can see from the photo below there are loads of high chairs available. Right next to the playground is a kids party area, so if you are looking for a venue for your child's next birthday give the Ettamogah a call, as I think it would be a great spot to entertain not only kids but also their parents.
The Ettamogah have a Kids Club, when I ordered our meals they asked if I would like to sign up. Basically once you are a member your kidlet receives a free gift with every kids meal purchased (in this case a soft cricket ball & colouring in), the chance to win monthly prizes, and treats on their birthday. You can either sign up at the pub or online at www.club4kids.com.au. The website has free colouring in print outs as well as some yummy kids recipes so make sure you take a look at it. Once you join, you receive an email as well as a "gift" to thank you for joining and in our case it was a free ice cream.
The Tin Lids Menu at the Ettamogah is brilliant as it has both healthy and not so healthy items available. The menu items are all $9.90 and colour coded to help you choose - so a green one is the healthiest option, a yellow is almost healthy and a red well it's going to be deep fried! The Stick Em Up (pictured above) is a green item and the decent size serve had two chicken kebabs with cherry tomatoes, rice and salad. Another healthy item is the Hook, Line & Sinker (grilled barramundi & salad); the not so healthy are Burger-iffic (a beef burger) and the Pasketti (meatball spaghetti); and the unhealthy choices are Fly the Coop (nuggets & chips) and Flipped Out (fish & chips). If your kidlets have time for, or need dessert, frog in the ponds or ice creams are on the menu. Mini milkshakes, kid size soft drinks, juices and babycinos are all available to quench their thirst.
The adults menu at the Ettamogah is huge with both healthy and unhealthy options as well. There are loads of options for people who have a gluten free diet and about four options for people who are vegetarians. The menu costs from around $16.00 (Nachos) - $35.00 (Graziers T bone) depending on what you choose. I chose the Thai Beef Salad ($20) and hurrah they served the dressing on the side - I so wish more places would do this. There was loads of yummy salad ingredients and the Thai Beef strips were perfectly cooked, portion wise it may have been a bit on the small size for $20.00. My dining companion's meal was also $20.00, the Chicken Schnitzel once again came with the gravy on the side as well as chips and salad and the schnitty was perfectly cooked.
Now the only problem I had with the Ettamogah was the cost of all the "arcade" game machines etc. As I mentioned previously you need tokens to let your kids climb the rock wall and you also need tokens to play any other activity within the pub. There are loads and loads of game machines located throughout the Ettamogah, for example Daytona Car Racing machines, Basketball Hoop machines, Air Hockey as well as a huge Transformers machine and each go costs two tokens. Now tokens cost you $10.00 for 12 tokens and let me tell you those games don't last very long, so if you are the type to give in to your kids (like I am when I'm trying to have an adult conversation with a friend over a glass of wine) you will go through a bit of coin before the end of your time at the Ettamogah!
The one word that comes to mind when I think about the Ettamogah is Fun! My eldest babe is quite a serious chap normally, however the whole time we were at the Ettamogah he had a massive smile on his dial. I actually took some photos where he was smiling for once, and if my kids are happy then I'm happy and cheers to that x
Have you been to the Ettamogah? Have you been to a pub with a rock climbing wall before?
Cnr Merriville & Windsor Rds, Kellyville Ridge
02 9629 1130
Open 7 days for lunch and dinner & breakfast on weekends