UNDERCOVER MUM SERIES
We are loving getting to know some wonderful local mums as part of our Local Mums series. Our aim is to be the destination for everything you need for life with little ones in the Sutherland Shire. So with that in mind, I am excited to let you know we have a new series coming your way.
Introducing Undercover Mum – follow the ups and downs of parenting as our mum takes up the challenge to find the best things to see and do in the Sutherland Shire with children.
And with that, it is over to you Undercover Mum…
My three year old daughter used to hate ducks. And birds, and dogs and cats and ants. Pretty much any animal really.
On a recent trip to Hawaii we had a breakthrough. The place we stayed at had lots of fish ponds throughout the resort. So with her older cousin taking the lead, by the end of the trip she loved spending time staring at the fish, turtles and ducks.
We could not walk past a pond without taking the time to hunt down a “duckie”.
So having been back from our trip a few weeks, and with her newfound love of ducks, we decided to head to the Camellia Gardens to visit the duck pond.
The E.G Waterhouse Camellia Gardens are located on the corner of President Avenue and Kareena Rd in Caringbah.
We live about 15 minutes away from the gardens so with a three and one year old the usual marathon of getting ready and out the door began.
Between my husband and myself we manage to wrangle the girls into some clothes, find a matching pair of socks each (a win in itself) and get their shoes on.
Having just been to Hawaii I made the silly mistake of getting so excited over how cheap the shoes were that I ended up with joggers for the 14 month old that have laces. Laces = big mistake.
Hot tip for mums with little ones who have only been walking for a few months, laces are not your friend. Not only are they a massive pain to get your wriggly toddler to stay still for long enough to tie them, they make a great toy for them to play with so I estimate I redid the laces at least seven times. Before some double knot magic did the trick.
At least they look cute, right?
We bundled the girls into their car seats and like clockwork as soon as we went to drive off Miss 3 pipes up “Where are we going?”
“We are going to go to a cool park to see the ducks’’ I say with enthusiasm. “But I don’t want toooooo” said with all the whiniest that only a three year old possesses. Sorry kiddo you are strapped in now and we are on our way.
So I say ‘’well daddy really wants to go’’. Knowing that daddy is by far the favourite parent so this should do the trick. It works a charm and Miss 3 agrees she will go to the park as long as she can bring her bouncy ball with her.
My whole life is a negotiation with a toddler so I reluctantly agree knowing this will likely backfire later.
We head down Kareena Road to the bottom carpark at the Camellia Gardens. This is really the best spot to park if you want to feed the ducks or utilise the lower playground.
For a Sunday morning there was plenty of parking. It was a little overcast with the threat of rain looming so this might have had something to do with it not being very busy.
Given the 14 month olds shoes with laces only just being broken in, we make the decision to bring along the pram.
There is a series of paths throughout the gardens and it is a pram friendly walk from the bottom car park to both the duck pond and the Alice in Wonderland themed lower playground.
At the duck pond Miss 3’s new found love of ducks was short lived. She clung to my leg and repeatedly squealed “DAAADDYYYYYY” until we gave up.
We decided to try our luck at the playground instead.
For those with kids who love ducks the bridge is a great place to stop and spend some time.
We headed to the playground next. There was a few other children there but it was not too busy.
It is a great fully enclosed area, and the equipment was the perfect size for my two girls. They loved the slide and the big see saw. Miss 3 was also very impressed with her balancing skills on the caterpillar.
There is also a rope climbing frame for kids who are just a little bit older, and a cute little Alice in Wonderland themed table.
The ground is made of a slightly squishy synthetic which I personally love as it means no sand or bark in places we don’t want it to be.
Just outside the fenced area you will find a bubbler, and a picnic area with BBQs and a few tables is available.
There is also a toilet block located in the vicinity with baby change facilities. So I think it would make an ideal place for mothers groups to catch up.
The rain was now looming so we decided to head on up to the top playground.
We needed to go back via the bridge and Miss 3 said “Look mum, it’s a ‘mingo’ (flamingo)”. We saw some flamingos at the Honolulu Zoo on our trip that she remembered.
No Miss 3, that’s a dirty stinky Ibis. (Or as my husband calls them – Bin Chickens)
The playground up the top is also fully enclosed. It is functional but it could certainly do with a lick of paint and a bit of a spruce up. The main benefit of this playground is it is so close to the cafe that you could grab a coffee whilst the kids play.
We did not spend too much time there as it started to rain so we headed into The Tea House cafe for some morning tea.
We were there at 11am and whilst it was fairly busy the service was friendly and pretty fast. Speed is of the essence when dining out with my two kiddies.
The kids were catered for with a reasonable prices kids menu and Miss 3 was given some crayons and colouring in paper which kept her amused for a little while.
There was a large group of tweens on a table across from us, there for a high tea birthday party. So the squeal factor was off the Richter Scale, but I did not mind too much as it drowned out my kidlets whining.
My husband ordered the signature homemade scone and a banana smoothie, I had a chocolate brownie with raspberry coulis and cream as well as a much needed coffee. For the kids we just ordered some hash browns with the all important tomato sauce.
All plates were licked clean so I think that tells you we thought the sweet treats were really tasty. Plus the pricing is reasonable when compared to other places in the area.
By this time the little one was getting close to her nap time, so we decided to call it a day and head home to watch the Trolls movie for the four hundred and fifty second time.
The Camellia Gardens really does tick a lot of boxes for a nice way for mums and kids to spend a few hours. If you have not been lately I highly recommend visit.
The Gardens are open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 5pm Saturday, Sunday and Pubic Holidays.
Do you have any favourite places that our Undercover Mum should check out and review next? If so, please let us know in the comments.