You get a coffee and a meal, the kids get to run around. It's win win
Breakfast in Balmain
The Little Marionette & Gladstone Park
This little hole-in-the-wall café is known for its chilled out music and friendly service, but it’s a mum-and-dad hot spot too. The staff will give you a rug to take across the road to Gladstone Park and will even bring your order over to you.
Morning tea at Blackwattle Bay
Savichees & Pirrama Park
Overlooking Blackwattle Bay, waterfront café Savichees is as close as you can get to Pirrama Park – a 1.8-hectare expanse of open tree-lined pathways and grass, picnic and BBQ areas, and a vibrant playground. 1 Harris St, Pyrmont 2009 (02 9571 5503). Daily, breakfast from 7.30am.
Lunch in St Peters
Polka Dot Cookies & Sydney Park
Sydney Park, our answer to London’s Hampstead Heath, is dominated by the towering former brickwork chimneys, and includes wetlands, ovals, playgrounds, 360° views and a children’s bicycle track complete with traffic lights and road signs. To complete the perfect picnic lunch, pop into Polka Dot Cookies on the South End of King Street. Their little baked artworks almost look too good to eat. 601 King St, Newtown 2042 (02 9557 9093). Tue-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm.
Afternoon tea in Redfern
The Fern & Prince Alfred Park
The recent facelift given to Redfern’s Prince Alfred Park includes the addition of an impressive playground with a see-saw, swings angled towards some of the city's most interesting buildings, and a giant balloon that recalls Thomas Gale’s 1870 balloon ride from Prince Alfred Park to Redfern. When the kids are see-sawed out, refuel at the Fern, where you’ll find just as many all-terrain prams as artists and students, and the buttermilk pancakes are an absolute winner.
Late-night fun at the Darling Quarter
Janus & Darling Quarter Playground
When the kids don’t know it’s past their bedtime, the Darling Quarter playground is still a hive of wide-eyed activity. And Italian wine bar Janus, from the team behind CBD wine and pastry bar Bacco, is just a stone’s throw from the giant swings, flying fox zip-wire, and extensive water playground.