Sunday, 19 October 2008

Family Portrait

Can you believe my youngest is two and we still don't have a professional family portrait? If you're in the same boat, here's your chance to change things. Campbelltown Halfpints Playgroup is hosting a fundraising portrait session on Sunday the 23rd of November. For only $15 you get a framed family portrait!

Additional packages and products are available including bookmarks, gift cards and calendars. A fantastic opportunity to get some Christmas presents out of the way. To book your session, call Kylie Mannix - Campbelltown Halfpints Playgroup coordinator - on 0423 933146 or contact Advanced Photo direct on 02 4730 3661.

Photos will be taken at Hurley Park Hall, Dumaresq Street, Campbelltown.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Wollongong Science Centre

A little bit outside of Macarthur but only 40 minutes easy drive from Campbelltown, the Wollongong Science Centre and Planetarium is well worth a visit and makes for a great family day out.
There are lots of hands-on displays and free shows including the popular bubble and balloons show. The laser show is a small additional cost to the entry fee but should be experienced at least once.
The two-level centre is toddler friendly - although some get scared of the dinosaur displays - and suitable for ages 2 to 14 though adults can have fun too. Prams can be accommodated and there is a storage area for bags and strollers. There is also an on-site cafe and outdoor picnic area. Toilets are clean and well maintained. Lots of volunteer staff around to assist with explaining the different displays and answering the neverending "Why?"
Many of the interactive exhibits have been donated from Questacon. We visit at least once a year and there is always something new on display. The Science Centre is part of the University of Wollongong and open from 10-4 most days including public holidays. There is an adjoining shop which is well equipped and sells a range of fun stuff as well as local crafts.
For more information visit:

Thursday, 9 October 2008

A great excuse to go shopping

The Camden Girl Guides are once again putting on their annual pink ribbon breakfast. This is a great way for the family to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday and make a start on the Christmas shopping.


J-Jays Jumping Castle
Plaster Painting to do and take home
Sausage Sizzle
Hot & Cold Beverages

And for Christmas shopping that really gives;
Tupperware Partylite
Undercover Wear Nutrimetics
Enjo Scrap Booking
D&K Books Vera May Handbags
Personalised Christmas Baubles

Chairs and tables kindly donated by Camden Hire
Gold Coin Entry

WHERE : Camden Guide Hall
Elizabeth St Camden
WHEN : Sunday 26th October
TIME : 10am – 1pm

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Spring School Holidays 2008

School holidays are also upon us and I thought you might be interested in this coupon which provides free entry for adults to Lollipops Playland.

The Campbelltown Bicycle Education Centre will be open over the school holidays. This is a great venue for kids of all ages. There is a sheltered playground for when kids get tired of riding around the planned section. Helmets must be worn and a ranger is usually on duty to check this rule is complied with. Entry is free. There is no kiosk, shops are within walking distance but best thing is to take a picnic lunch and mat or chairs and find a shady spot.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Food, Wine and Music

As parents, we're often searching for fun events to take the kids so we deserve to enjoy things that aren't tailored for the younger ones once in a while. The Food, Wine and Music Festival this coming Sunday is definately more for the grown ups - there are food stalls offering local produce and wine tasting.

We went a couple of years ago when the event was held at Belgenny Farm. This year the event is being held at a new venue, Belgenny Reserve in Camden. The event promised face painting and kids activities but if that isn't enough to keep them entertained, Belgenny Reserve is right next to the Camden cycleway so take the bikes and the kids can go for a ride. There's also a great little playground nearby. Once the kids are worn out from cycling and playing, pop your picnic blanket down on the reserve and enjoy some entertainment from cabaret showband, Family Von Trapp.

Make sure you take a full wallet and an empty stomach - you'll want to sample all the delicious food. If you're lucky enough to have them, take a couple of oldies along to keep an eye on the kids and your stuff while you browse the stalls.

The Food, Wine and Music Festival is on this weekend, Sunday the 21st of September from 10:30am to 3:30pm. The event is held as part of the Camden Festival, check-out the Camden council link to the left for more info.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Spring Fairs and Spotlight on Careflight

There are some great events planned this weekend. If you are looking for some last minute outings in beautiful spring weather, both St. Peter's and St. John's schools have their annual fetes tomorrow (Saturday 13th). St. Peter's Spring Fair and Open Day advertises market stalls, rides & games, food stalls, displays, music and entertainment for what promises to be a fun-filled day. It's held in Howe Street, Campbelltown from 9am to 3pm. For more info ring 02 4627 2990 or

Unfortunately the St. John's school fair doesn't seem quite as well advertised, however, we attended a couple of years ago and were entertained by rides, food stalls and displays. I am sure this year will be no different.

The Careflight fundraiser on Sunday the 14th promises to be a huge event including free tethered hot air balloon flights (we've done this and it's a great experience). Also advertised are raffles, wheelchair races, jumping castle, petting zoo and all day stage program among others. The event is well supported by the local community and proceeds go towards a good cause. We plan to head out there mainly for our 'wocka' (helicopter) mad toddler but it sounds like a great day for the whole family. Community Careflight is held at Tahmoor Sportsground, Thirlmere Way, Tahmoor. For enquiries contact 02 4683 1386 or 0412 373268.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Thomas and tipples

Have you got a Thomas mad toddler in the house? Well did you know you don't have to travel al the way to Sodor Island to see him? That's right, Thomas and his friends hang out right here in Macarthur! The Train Shed is located within the grounds of Vicary's Winery just south of Luddenham. It's very easy to find and well sign-posted along the Northern Road.

The Train Shed is a popular outing for us. Kids (and parents) can go for a ride on Thomas, Percy, Toby and James. The track has been extended in recent years and there's now even a tunnel. There's also a cafe serving drinks and snacks - they do a great Devonshire tea - plus a shop to stock up on Thomas gear. Admission is free. Train rides are $4.00 per child.

If you haven't been out to the Train Shed before, this Sunday - Father's Day - is a great day to visit because there's free rides for Dads and Grandads and a free sausage sizzle. If you can't make it this weekend, I recommend going on the second Sunday of the month when they have their craft fairs. The kids can go for a train ride, Mum can browse the craft and nick-nack stalls and Dad can do a spot of wine tasting - it makes for a good local day out with something for everyone. The location is stroller friendly and there is usually ample parking.

The Train Shed is open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 4pm. For more info visit or follow the Vicary's Winery link to the left.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Upcoming Events

There are some great and mostly free family friendly events planned for next month so put these in your calender:

7th September (Sunday): Father's Day celebrations at Mt. Annan Botanic Gardens. Entertainment includes slot-car racing, jumping castles, POG circus workshops, vintage car display and stage entertainment with Camden Community Band and "Mad Rhino". The gardens open at 10am and entertainment starts at 11am. Entry is $9 per vehicle. For more details call 02 4635 7935. This is a new one for us so I can't offer a personal perspective but the Gardens are always a great place to visit.

20th September (Saturday): Cinema Under the Stars. This event is also held at the Botanic Gardens from 6pm to 11pm. Two family movies are shown on an outdoor screen. We've been to this for a few years running and it's a great night. There are food and drink stalls (coffee and donuts taste twice as good al fresco). My tip is to wrap up warm because it can get nippy. Take a blanket and cushions to sit on. Entry is free. For more info call: 02 4645 5029. For more upcoming events in the Camden area, including the Camden Festival, see:

28th September (Sunday): Ready-to-Ride Day. We attended this event last year when it was held at Eschol Park. It's a great day out for families that love to cycle. There are fun educational activities and great prizes to be won. Last year there was also a free bicyle check-up (including minor adjustments) through a local bike centre. This year the event is being held at the Ambarvale Sportsground Cycleway behind Thomas Reddall High School. 10am to noon. For more info contact Campbelltown Council on 02 4645 4921.

Also on Sunday 28th September is Our Kids Fun Day at Sweeneys. Sweeneys is part of Scenic Hills near Ingleburn, easily accessed off the motorway. Aimed at kids under 12 there are jumping castles, the Paddle Pop lion, the Hogs Breath hog (that's him in the picture), face painting and rides from 10am to 3pm. We went a couple of years back and had a great day out. Entry is free but a gold coin donation goes towards the Mater Dei School. For more info call 1300 305 802.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Kites for Kids

Kites for Kids is a free annual event held at Koshigaya Park in support of families raising a child with a disability. We went along on Saturday the 23rd of August. It was very gusty so it was perfect weather for kite flying. Perhaps not so much for kite making but with all hands - and occasionally knees - on deck to stop them flying away during the construction process, kids were able to make a kite and then easily send them aloft.

There was also a jumping castle and face painting. The Rotary club were there supplying food and drinks via a sausage sizzle. Volunteers handed out show bags to parents and windmills to those too young to have a kite flying licence.

The event has been running for seven years as a fun way of raising funds for and providing information about local services. Pop it in your calendar to drop by for next year, it makes for a fun couple of hours in between Saturday shopping.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

KU Macarthur Square

Do you shop at Macarthur Square? Ever wished you could shop without fear of losing the kids or listening to demands for lollies? Well you can! KU Macarthur Occasional Care Centre have a child-care facility on level 4 of Macarthur Square. They are open from Tuesday to Thursday, 9 to 3 and take babies/children from 6 weeks to 6 years. Bookings can be made from a minimum of 1 hour to all day (6 hours). Morning or afternoon sessions are available (3 hours) at a reduced rate to the hourly fee.

We've been using the since 2003 both as regular child-care and also casually while attending appointments such as the doctor or hairdresser. The staff are qualified, dedicated and friendly. Bookings are preferred but not always essential though I do recommend you book if using the service in silly season when KU child-care is popular with Christmas shoppers.

The centre can be a little hard to find. From the ground floor, there is a lift (blue doors) between Harmony Natural (the chinese medicine place) and Dusk (the candle shop). Don't be put off by the sign that toilets are currently under redevelopment. From the first floor, the entrance is opposite Best and Less between Fone Zone and 3 Mobile. You can use the lift or go up the stairs. Follow the corridor around and you'll see the centre on the left-hand side.

For contact details see:

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Wirrimbirra Sanctuary - Birds 'n' Bugs

I read in the local paper that both The Bug Man and The NSW Budgerigar Society (Macarthur Branch) were going to be at Wirrimbirra Sanctuary today for their Birds 'n' Bugs event. Not yet having visited Wirrimbirra and having a spider mad toddler, I thought this would be a great opportunity for a first visit. Just so long as the birds weren't eating the spider or worse; spiders eating birds.

Wirrimbirra Sanctuary is a 35 minute easy and picturesque drive from Campbelltown. Lots of cows and horses along the way to keep the little ones looking out of the window. Our initial arrival was disappointing as the car park was full and the volunteer attendant suggested we park out on Remberance Drive but we weren't keen on getting three small children out of the car on a 80km p/h stretch of road. Fortunately just then someone left and made room for our station wagon.

Entry to Wirrimbirra Sanctuary is by donation and on this day the kids also got a free badge. We arrived just as the 'wildlife presenter' - The Bug Man - was finishing up his first show. Fortunately there was to be a second show at 12:30 for us sleepyheads that like a lazy Sunday breakfast. While waiting for that we went through the sanctuary area to see emus, wallabies, roos, wombats and a talkative cockatoo.

Then it was time to lunch and there were plenty of tables available in the courtyard area. There was a cafe serving food including hot chips and ice-cream (not together) but we took our own lunch.

The insect show was popular with the older kids - 7yo especially as he got picked to demonstrate - but the toddler was not happy he wasn't allowed to take the Huntsman out of the box. I even learnt something new; did you know that stick insects have wings?

After the show we wandered around the compact native plant nursery, 7yo had his face painted and we got given balloons by the two nice ladies womanning the Rural Fire Service display.

The Sanctuary is quite small but the paths are well defined and it is suitable for strollers. We intend to visit again when the dingo sanctuary is opened. It's a great way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, particularly if your kids need a reminder about what constitutes native wildlife (7yo wanted to know if there were any lions in the sanctuary - fortunately for us there weren't).

Wirrimbirra Sanctuary is open from Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 to 4:30. They have a number of events throughout the year. A calendar and more information can be found on their comprehensive web-site: