Let them run amuck at the playgrounds, farms and kids’ areas in these child-friendly cafés around Sydney. Maybe treat them to a babyccino too.
Down at the peaceful end of Sydney Olympic Park, overlooking the Parramatta River, you can hire a bike for $15 per day from the Armory Wharf Café. Explore the Olympic site, the water park play area and Bird Life Discovery Centre before returning to refuel on make-your-own tortillas.
Scoot the kids past the first floor where the Avoca crockery and Italian glassware is on display and head upstairs to the kids room dedicated to clothing, books, games and educational toys. Once you're all shopped out find a seat on the verandah of this beautiful sandstone mansion for afternoon tea overlooking the harbour.
This Beecroft café was designed with kids in mind. They do simple, colourful café fare for kids, the staff are welcoming of the preschool crowd and the toys aren’t breakable. Plus they have a kids' clothes and toy store, which opens at 9.30am after the morning coffee rush.
When it comes to inclusiveness Copo made their list, and sure as hell checked it twice. This two-storey Drummoyne café is accessible, has easy parking, no queues, free Wi-Fi, high chairs and is kind to our gluten-free friends. Plus their baked eggs with smoked trout is a rockin' two-person protein party and they serve Campos coffee.
By Katy Stankevitz and Emily Lloyd-Tait
You can get icy poles, ice cream cakes, milkshakes, quadruple cones and the mother of choc-fudge sundaes here for a lot less than you'd pay at some of the more fashionable ice creameries around town. Grab a sundae to share and take it to nearby Camperdown Oval where you can eat in the shade of a mighty fig tree.
In this busy cul-de-sac there are two cafés opposite Camperdown Oval –Store Espresso and Gather on the Green – so you can order bacon and egg rolls, juices, smoothies and the muffin of the day, and take them to a picnic bench or the grass while the Petersham Shammies play Union on the Oval.
For inner-city kids wanting to cool off on a hot day, there's no need to head east when you can get into the splash at Prince Alfred Park Pool. If it's too chilly for a swim there's play equipment and lots of open space for racing around the park before a fresh juice at Meadow Café.
This café opens onto one of the most beautiful parks and harbour beaches in the city. The calm waters at Nielsen Park beach are child-friendly and shark-netted, there's stacks of shade, and while the kids are occupied you can make short work of a smoked salmon bagel or ricotta hotcakes.
There is more to Marrickville than warehouses and pork rolls, and this little park-side café is the perfect antidote to the industrial chic of the Inner West. Grab takeaway milkshakes, coffees and sausage rolls and set up a mini picnic (with one of the café’s rugs) across the road in Enmore Park.
They're not what you'd call pressed for space at this massive Alexandria café and roastery. In addition to the busy indoor café space there is a kitchen garden where the little ones can chat to resident pig Kevin Bacon and the chooks and run amok in the play area while you order off the takeaway menu and eat under the trellis.
Inside this Lilyfield café things are cool and calm – white walls, white tiles and blonde wood – but for maximum local dog action grab a seat outside. Poodles, terriers and spaniels are only too happy to exchange pats for the possibility of gravity-gifted snacks and there’s children’s play equipment in the adjoining square so little ones are kept occupied.
This popular café is only a block from Enmore Park and the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre and it's the perfect spot for watching the parade of local dogs that wander by looking for hugs and snacks. They do kids' cheese on toast for $4.50 and eggs and soldiers for $5.50, plus kid-sized milkshakes, smoothies and juices for $3.90.