Author

Andrea

Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
Royal Park Nature Playground
in Play

Royal Park Nature Playground

The Royal Park Nature Playground in Parkville is already well documented, but for those who are new to the area this park is simply wonderful. It was awarded the title of best playground by the Australian Institute for Landscape Architects in 2016 and rightly so! The park is designed with nature in mind and it encourages children to explore their surroundings and take risks.

The park features trees, grasslands, gullies, nooks, rocks and even a large hill to climb (the view is well worth the effort!). According to the signage within the park the different areas of the landscape are inspired by the seven seasons of the Wurundjeri, the traditional owners of this land. A map details where you can observe the changes in the season as they emerge throughout the year.

The play structures are mostly constructed from natural materials, blending in with the surrounds. It’s such a nice change to the brightly coloured ones you normally see. There are climbing logs – criss-crossed and linked with rope netting, sandpits, metals rings, structures to climb and crawl through plus a large wooden play area with ropes of various lengths suspended around. On the day we visited it was very busy and full of kids hanging, swinging, balancing and climbing! There’s also the obligatory slides and swings and these are nicely integrated into the landscape.

The water play area was the most popular with my kids and it consisted of several fountains shooting water into the air, a large water pump, several hand pumps, channels and dams all leading to a sandpit… it’s fantastic! My advice is to bring some bathers and a towel – they will get wet!

There’s picnic tables and benches scattered around but you could easily perch on one of the many large stepping stone rocks or bring a picnic rug and set up on the grass under the trees. Public toilets and drinking fountains are readily available so you could make a whole day of it, believe me the kids won’t want to leave!

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What’s on: Friday 24 March – Thursday 30 March

What’s on in the north this week:

Caribbean Food Truck Jam (Fri 24 March – Sun 26 March). The Food Truck Park is bringing the Caribbean vibe to Preston! There will be food trucks, holiday island vibes, reggae tunes and drinks. As always it’s a family friendly event.

A Day on the Fairfield Green (Sat 25 March). Fairfield primary school will be hosting a fete with live music, food, children’s cafe, various stalls, face painting, rides, raffles, lucky dip and a bike generated disco!

Ceres Harvest Festival (Sat 25 March). Ceres in East Brunswick is “celebrating and giving thanks to the good earth, our farmers and the cycle of the seasons”. Activities include a bake and bottle competition, a giant vegetable growing competition, The Urban Farmer book launch, Honey Lane Hives display, a festival market, food stalls, performers, musicians and workshops. Teach the kids about sustainability and where their food comes from.

Batman Autumn Night Market (Sat 25 March). Get down to the Batman Night Market for some food stalls, a beer garden, music & entertainment – before the end of daylight savings!

Make it Market (Sun 26 March) Welcome to Thornbury will be hosting a market featuring local makers and creators along with the usual food trucks and bar!

Darebin Kite Festival (Sun 26 March). Edwardes Lake Park will be buzzing with a range of performances, workshops, community stalls, food, drinks, a pet expo, storytelling corner and of course the main event – kite flying!

Warrandyte Festival (Sun 26 march). Celebrating it’s 40th year the festival will be situated on the banks of the Yarra River in Warrandyte. There will be a craft market, delicious food stalls, live music, a light sculpture competition, dance classes, street parade and loads more for the whole family!

Eltham Twilight Easter Market (Thurs 30 March). There will be stalls, live music and free kids activities. Soak up the local community spirit!

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The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
The Food Truck Park – Preston
in Eat

The Food Truck Park – Preston

Food trucks, they’re everywhere! Instead of packing the family up in the car and chasing them around town, you can head on over to the Food Truck Park in Preston, where they are all in the one spot! It’s a fantastic idea and we are so lucky to have not one but two permanent food truck parks in the north (the other being Welcome to Thornbury – blog coming soon!).

Located on High Street in Preston, this park is on the site of a former car yard and warehouse. The refit utilises the site well and the feel is fun and edgy yet family friendly – a must for this area! There is a rotating list of food trucks each week, so no two days are the same. The park regularly hosts themed events with similarly suited food trucks. We visited on the Middle East Food Festival and the atmosphere was fun with middle eastern music flowing from the speakers, bearded bakers dancing and the smell of kebabs and gozleme in the air.

There are many different areas to sit down, with table and seats made from re-purposed wooden pallets  and crates. Some outdoor tables are shaded with umbrellas and there is a long open structure in the middle with separate booths and an iron roof. Inside there are similar booths as well as low tables with wooden box seats and higher benches with tall stools. My advice it to get there early and claim one of the booths. There’s also a licensed bar inside selling craft beer, cider, wine and premixed spirits. What more could you ask for?!

Both indoor and outdoor spaces are large and open. There’s enough room for prams and the kids can run around. Indeed when we visited the majority of the crowd was families with young kids. It’s fantastic to have such a cool family friendly dining option in the area!

Details:
Address: 518 High Street, Preston
Open: Friday 5pm-10pm, Saturday 12pm-10pm, Sunday 12pm-9pm
Free entry!

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Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg
in Play

Doug Hull Adventure Park – Coburg

The Doug Hull Adventure Park is easily accessed via Carr Street, however you can also walk to it from the main playground at the Coburg Lake Reserve. In fact on a nice day it’s a pleasant stroll along the footpath and underneath the huge leafy trees.

The park itself is situated at the top of a hill and you can look out over the Merri Creek below. To be honest this park is not as exciting as the main rocket ship playground and understandably it was empty on the day we visited! However there is still plenty to do and a variety of equipment. These include a slide, climbing tower, rock wall, balancing beams, a bridge, swings, a train with steering wheel and threaded beads, monkey bars, flying fox, fireman’s pole, two spring bouncers and a balancing surfboard.

There’s plenty of shade, a picnic table, drinking fountain and a gas BBQ. Public toilets however are a short walk away near the car park on Lake Grove. Bring along a picnic rug and spread out under the trees and don’t forget to bring a towel if your little ones are going to explore the creek nearby.

Details:
Address: Carr Street, Coburg North

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Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk
in See and Do

Heide Museum of Modern Art – Artbubs sculpture walk

The Heide Museum of Modern Art is located in Bulleen. Originally it was a dairy farm, however the site was converted into a contemporary gallery in the mid 1950’s. Since then it has evolved into the home and exhibition space for many contemporary Australian artists. When walking up to the gallery meeting point you are greeted by the striking architecture, which is in stark contrast to the surrounding native gardens and trees. We are so fortunate to have such a renowned and contemporary gallery in the north!

Heide hosts a variety of programs for children and we attended the latest installment of Artbubs. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how good the program was! We met at 10am near the entrance to Cafe Heide where our guides checked our names off and take our coffee order, then we were off to the sculpture garden. Luckily for us the weather was fantastic however the program wouldn’t have been as successful if it was cold and wet – keep that in mind when booking.

First we had story time on a large rug, the guides were enthusiastic, inclusive and fun. After our story we walked around the gardens and viewed several sculptures. The guides gave us a short run down about each artwork and encouraged the children to touch each piece and to talk about the shapes, positions, colours and materials used. It was all presented in a child friendly manner and I thought it was a fantastic way to introduce kids to the concept of art.

After our tour we headed to the education room where a large table was set up with craft materials for the children to make their own sculptures. This part of the program allowed for exploration of materials and ideas, and it was just plain fun! My little one could have stayed all day! Throughout the craft session our coffees arrived and the kids had babychinos with marshmallows, what a treat! Following this there were toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and fruit platters – all food was provided by Cafe Heide.

The session runs for 1.5 hours and I thought it was a fantastic way to spend the morning. I will definitely be attending other sessions. Keep an eye on their website as it’s constantly being updated. Currently they also have some school holiday programs which look great! Oh and the cost of the program also includes entry to the gallery, so once you finish your session you can take a walk through and check out the latest exhibition. Fabulous!

Details:
Address: 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen
Phone: 03 9850 1500
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday and public holidays, 10am-5pm

 

 

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What’s on: Fri 17 March – Thurs 23 March

What’s on in the north this week:

Heide Pop Up Cinema: Babe (Fri 17 March). Enjoy an open air screening of Babe in the gardens of Heide. The event starts at 6pm with pre movie entertainment and games. BYO chairs, blankets, picnic and drinks, with snacks available for purchase from the Heide pop up café.

Middle East Food Festival (Fri 17 t0 Sun 19 March). The Food Truck Park in Preston is hosting this banquet of tasty food. Indulge in kebabs, hommus, zatar and more!

Twilight Sounds (Sat 18 March). Banyule City Council’s free music event, at Sills Bend Park in Heidelberg. There will be music, food trucks and drinks. Bring along your picnic rug, the weather is looking perfect!

Batman Autumn Night Market (Sat 18 March). Located in Coburg, this night market features a range of stalls, fresh produce, craft, live music, a beer garden and food trucks.

Melbourne Tomato Festival (Sun 19 March). Celebrating all things tomato! There will be passata making demonstrations, educational sessions, live cooking, kids workshops, grape stomping, live music, food vendors and a farmer’s market!

Kids Arty Farty Fest 2017 (Sun 19 March). One of Melbourne’s biggest and longest running children’s events. There will be activities, workshops, food, performances, storytelling, games and more!

Whittlesea Community Festival (Sun 19 March). Celebrate with music, arts and culture, market stalls, a grand parade, delicious food, rides and fireworks!

Chook Chook Chook (Tues 21 March). Preschool story time at Diamond Valley Library with Sunset Valley Chicks! Listen to chicken stories, do the chicken dance, make a chook and meet some baby chicks!

Portrait with a Pony (Thurs 23 March). Hosted by The Little Bookroom, this fundraiser is for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Book in a time to pat Sugar the pony and have your photo taken with her!

Storytime with Sugar the pony (Fri 24 March). Hosted by The Little Bookroom, meet Sugar the pony, read pony stories (Noni the Pony!!) and sing pony songs!

 

Gelato Papa – Preston
Gelato Papa – Preston
Gelato Papa – Preston
Gelato Papa – Preston
Gelato Papa – Preston
Gelato Papa – Preston
Gelato Papa – Preston
in Eat

Gelato Papa – Preston

Gelato Papa is an awesome new gelato bar that’s just opened up in Preston. When we visited they had only been open for 9 days. They’re located right at the beginning of Gilbert Road, near the Miller Street round about. It’s so nice to have a decent gelato place open up near home!

The shop is quite tiny and I can imagine it would get very busy on a hot day. There’s wheelchair access, and this leads to a cabinet of 16 different flavours. The usual traditional favourites of chocolate, strawberry cream and lemon zest are there as well as some other interesting tastes such as nutella crunch, honeycomb and choc chip, fior de latte and my favourite – black coconut, which was coconut gelato that had been coloured black with coconut shell ash! It’s a confronting colour but the taste was divine! No hint of ash at all. A rotating specials board featured Sicilian pistachio and matcha – yum! Vegans are also catered for, so it’s a win for everybody. If you wanted to add another layer to your gelato, I spied a chocolate tap that was continually running! A chocolate shot is poured over your gelato and topped with an upside down mini cone. I’m sure the kids will love this one!

All the gelato is made on the premises, hand crafted the traditional way and influenced by Sicily. I’m looking forward to seeing what else they come up with.

You can choose to sit in the store at one of six high stools along a bench – the kids were just able to reach the table top! Or there’s two tables with stools out the front on the footpath.

Get down there while the weather is still warm!

Details:
Address: 14a Gilbert Road, Preston

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Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale
in Eat

Augustus Gloop Gelatery – Pascoe Vale

How awesome is the name of this gelatery?! It perfectly sums up how you feel when you are faced with their cabinet of 48 (!) different flavours. So many types to try and not enough warm days left to try them all. The gorgeous shop is located on Pascoe Street in Pascoe Vale among a small strip of shops. Large purple umbrellas at the front reflect the bright and cheery fit out inside and on warm days the huge windows open out the shop to the footpath, tempting locals to come in and try their treats. A clear window at the back of the shop is reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, where you can see the gelato being created and churned – very cool!

Lucky for us the day we visit is quiet, so we have time to peruse all the flavours. There’s the traditional lemon sorbet, raspberry sorbet, chocolate, watermelon and mango as well as other interesting variations such as blood orange, pina colada, bubblegum, salted caramel, hazelnut, 70% chocolate, pistachio and coffee. A specials board features an ever changing variety and on the day we visited it was banana, hazelnut & nutella and choc sorbet. There’s definitely something for everyone and the lady behind the counter even offered us small tastes so we could decide.

Next to the gelato cabinet there’s a selection of various macarons, we tried a few which were nice, but my advice is to save the room for the gelato, that’s the real star here. They’ve also just released a range of gelato cakes which look amazing. Flavours include strawberry, pistachio & chocolate, Nutella & kinder surprise, and hazelnut espresso and they’re only $35. I can’t wait to try them out!

Once you’ve got your gelato you can sit at tables and stools outside or perch on the wooden bench which runs the length of the front window and into the store. Communal and fun. The kids can’t wait to go back!

Details:
Address: Shop A, 15 Pascoe Street, Pascoe Vale
Open: 11am – 11pm, 365 days a year

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in Events

Easter Egg Hunt – Funfields Whittlesea

Who doesn’t like a good old fashioned hunt? Funfields is hosting their Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday April 15th 2017. There will be multiple Mini Egg Hunts throughout the day for different age groups and 50,000 (!!!) Cadbury Chocolate easter eggs given away. Kids will also be able to meet the Easter Bunny and Frankie. To get amongst the action you must be a paying guest or a Season Pass holder. Hop to it!

Details:
Address: 2365 Plenty Road, Whittlesea, Victoria
Phone: 03 9716 1078
Tickets via: www.funfields.com.au

Image credit: Funfields

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Jackson Dodds
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in Eat

Jackson Dodds

Jackson Dodds is a fabulous little cafe on the corner of Gilbert Rd and Union Street in Preston. It’s right at the end of the number 11 tram line and has been in the area since 2010. It’s not new but it’s definitely a favourite among the locals, having been one the of first decent cafes to open on the northern side of Bell Street.

The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed during the week and busier but still attentive and efficient on the weekends. The owner is hands on and you’ll see him greeting people, giving out menus, taking orders, making coffee and cleaning up, all whilst engaging in humorous banter with the customers and kids. During the week there’s local mothers groups with their kids, sitting at the communal bench table; workers having coffee meetings and students on laptops enjoying the welcoming and eclectic space. On weekends lots of families get in early with their kids, and they are out the door by the time the brunch crowd start to file in to select from the all day breakfast menu.

We’ve visited many times and there’s always great coffee and a selection of muffins and cupcakes by the side entrance. The breakfast dishes we’ve tried include the Fruit toast, Jacks Breakfast, Great Northern, Scrambled Feta and Atlantic Eggs. Everything has always been fresh and delicious and the portions very generous. For the kids we have often asked to split a serve of bacon and eggs, and the staff always offer us two plates and cutlery without batting an eyelid. The kids pancake is also a firm favourite with or without ice cream. There’s the standard fare available on the drinks list, however I think the best item is the kids milkshake which (if you ask) they will put into a takeaway cup with a lid and straw so there’s no spills – love that!!

It’s a really family friendly cafe, with one old school high chair and a kids table with toys. It’s handy if you can get a table next to the kids one so that they can entertain themselves while you can actually eat your meal and have a chat! On sunny days the outdoor tables fill up fast and there’s a line for takeaway coffee out the side door, but the wait for a table is never long. A great spot for the locals!

Details:
Address:
Phone:

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