Having worked as a kid's TV Producer, I am now a busy mum to three children under three and a half. I enjoy writing about the places we visit together. Follow/Tweet #NatashaMurrihy and let me know if there is somewhere you would like me to review
Published May 2nd 2012
Westfield Carindale Stage 1 Development
Calling all shop-a-holics. It's here. Westfield's Carindale Stage 1 Development is finally finished. But has it has been worth the wait? Almost. But not quite.
Some of the old favourite stores are back, repositioned in the new section, bigger and in some, but admittedly not all cases, better organised. These include a new and very large Target, slightly chaotic Pumpkin Patch and Diva. Pandora and their beautiful jewellery has also found a more permanent home here too.
There are so many new stores such as Ally, the aptly named Foot Haven, Forever New, Dissh, Temt and Ice. There is a plethora of new children's stores including Bardot Junior, Gumboot, Adairs Kids and one of my favourites, Betts Kids, as well as their adult counterparts, Adairs and Betts. Jurlique has also shown its beautiful face, alongside the ever-fascinating Kikki K and Sheridan.
The Build-A-Bear Workshop is one of the more fascinating stores making its debut at Carindale. For the uninitiated (such as myself) this store really is all about actually building a Bear. You can decide what or how much goes into the bear, including stuffing, heart, sounds and what your bear looks like, wears and so on. There are choices galore and as the store suggests everywhere you look, it would make a great kids party idea.
And of course I couldn't write this review without mentioning the huge and beautifully laid out Coles dominating the downstairs section. The aisles are more open with the fresh fruit and vegetables appearing to tempt you from the outside of the shop, giving a free, open plan feel to the whole store.
Nearby Coles is an extensive food court, known as the Glasshouse Dining Precinct. Unlike the other food court, still located near the cinemas upstairs, this food court doesn't stock up on a lot of less-than-healthy fast foods. Instead the area is flanked by restaurant- and cafe-style areas, such as the Coffee Hit, Toscani's, Wagamamas and the Guzman Y Gomez, to name but a small selection. The Carindale Hotel also opens onto the court and if you need your sugar hit, Movenpick and the Chocolate Pavilion are there to meet your needs.
Adjacent to the new dining areas, the Carindale Library has found its new home. The library is far bigger than its temporary version across the road, but with that, I found it also a little more chaotic and a lot more noisy during and after the children's rhyme time and story-telling sessions.
So, it is safe to say that I am relatively impressed with the opening of the Stage 1 development. But not wholly. Not by a long shot.
One less than impressive aspect of the new shopping centre are the baby change rooms. The one I was in, Westfield seems to have gone to reasonable expense in creating quite a nice atmosphere in the change rooms - streamlined cupboards, automatic doors and lovely lighting and then there was the toddler area. Stuck off to the side, encased by glass, a toddler area or place for older children to play is often a good idea.
It is just that in this case, there is absolutely nothing for the kids to play with. Literally, the side of the room is fenced off with a TV stuck high up on one wall. No toys. No seats. Nothing. Just a TV playing an endless parade of cartoons. And a bunch of kids waiting for their younger siblings to be fed and changed, sitting on the carpet with their necks craned up at the TV.
I can only hope that this section is still yet to completed.
And then there was the parking. A pretty controversial subject at Westfield Carindale currently, the parking is a work in progress and pretty much a disaster. On the several occasions I have been there, the parking has been very challenging. The last time it not only took half an hour to find a parking spot but after eventually finding one on the roof, it then took us almost an hour to leave, following a long line of straggling and often stationary traffic down to the ground floor. Adding to that is the fact that some of the higher parking areas can only be accessed by lift - which on busy days means a considerably lengthy wait (and you don't want to have a pram or shopping trolley). It pretty much negated the whole, earlier shopping experience.
So as impressive as the Stage 1 unveiling of Carindale is, my advice would be to either arrive bang-on 9am, get in and out quickly, or catch a bus. Then again, you could just wait until the multiple parking and ongoing construction issues have been sorted out.
I have been to the updated Westfield many, many times. I park down stairs without any problems and have found the entire shopping experience so much more pleasant with great shops and a stylist atmosphere. I think the article above is not accurate at all. I does not give the updated center any of the accolades it so deserves.
That's fair enough Sam. I glad your experiences have been such great ones! I am waiting until the last few shops have been completed (almost done!) and will then write an updated article on the finished product.