If you're new to Sydney's Inner West, or have just run out of things to do with your kids, it's always handy to hear from other parents about fun little child-friendly itineraries in different suburbs you may not have explored previously – in this case, Tempe.
Known mostly for hosting the largest Ikea in the southern hemisphere, Tempe is a down-to-earth suburb which is heaven for train (and plane) spotting little ones, as well as being home to Sydney's famous cultured butter purveyors, Pepe Saya.
My little tribe have become fans of spending the morning in Tempe, having coffee, shopping and playing in the park. Here are our recommendations for a morning out in Tempe, sans Ikea…
Step 1. Bonds Factory Outlet, 47 Unwins Bridge Rd, Sydenham There are other Bond's outlets in Sydney, but this one is huge and seems to have the biggest array of discounted stock. Best to go here first, while everyone's tempers are still reasonable – we all know shopping isn't most kid's favourite activity. Fancy new print knickers for Mum, cute onesies for your ever-growing bub, yet more black socks for Dad? Tick, tick, tick and we're done and dusted in 15 minutes with plenty of change left for a café pit-stop.
Step 2. Innocent Kitchen, 288 Unwins Bridge Rd This adorable little café, only a 1-minute walk from Bonds, takes child-friendly café culture to a whole new level. Babycinos are still free (yes FREE) with any coffee purchased. There's a playpen to contain mobile babies and an art table to entertain bigger ones while you drink your top notch coffee in peace. The staff are FABULOUS with kids, and they make a good range of sweet treats for morning tea, including house-made marshmallows in cool flavours like Watermelon and Young Henry's Cider.
Step 3. Tillman Park, Unwin's Bridge Rd Across the road from The Innocent Kitchen is the wonderful Tillman Park. Fully fenced (thank you park Gods) with great equipment and a big oval to run around on, it also has the benefit of being bordered on two sides by train lines. If you don't have children who are interested in trains, you may see this as a negative but with my two Thomas-obsessed little dudes, it's pure heaven.
Add into the mix the planes which constantly roar overhead (again, childless folk or those from out of area who are unused to plane traffic may be underwhelmed by this fact) but each plane is greeted by squeals of delight from the children playing in the park.