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Published November 8th 2016
Have your cake and coffee, and actually enjoy it too
The only thing better than catching up over a decent coffee in peace while the kids entertain themselves, is not having to travel far to do it. If you're a parent on Brisbane's northside, and the western side of that, here are the hangs you need to know about.
The Alley, Everton Park
Playground for littlies at The Alley, Everton Park
This hidden cafe is no longer such a big secret since mums have been raving about it. Tucked at the back of Northside Christian College, The Alley offers a a shaded, gated playground, in great condition as it's still new. A clean toilet and changing room are near by.
There's plenty of room around the seats for strollers. The menu offers good coffee but only a few food options. You'll be served with a real smile though, as the staff believe in creating a genuinely welcoming vibe.
Botanical Cafe, Mt Coot-tha
Lizard watching at Botanical Cafe
Before exploring the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, with its duck-filled lagoon, interesting pathways and recently added children's playground, enjoy breakfast or a cuppa at the cafe. On one or two occasions the service has been a little slow, but we have always found the food delicious when it arrived.
On the large verandah there's enough space for kids to be kids without feeling like you're ruining someone else's moment. And more than enough space in the gardens for them to burn off any extra energy before you go come. If you're not sure your kids will last the distance, bring a stroller as it is a bit of a walk from the carpark and cafe to the playground.
Birds and Bees Cafe, Everton Hills
The gated play area at Birds and Bees
Birds and Bees is such a nice cafe. There is heaps of room to sit outside in the shade (or indoors if you prefer), and look over the tree tops behind. You're not sitting beside a busy road or a carpark, being tucked right at the back of the shopping centre on Queens Road.
And the food and drinks are great. Not just your standard options as they always seem to be adding something new to the menu - often with a South American flavour, or sometime particularly nutritious and delicious. The play area has a varied selection of toys and can be enclosed so you can easily watch your kids without worrying about them running off.
Charlie's Raw Squeeze, Everton Park
Kid's area at Charlie's (and free fruit!)
So, the play area here is not the biggest around but it does give you a child friendly place to put your feet up while you and your kids enjoy a nutritious snack.
Smoothies, "nice cream", juices, raw slices and salads all made with fresh, whole ingredients mean you can have your treats and feel well-nourished too. No need to argue about milkshakes and biscuits being a "sometimes" food - everything can be an "everyday" food at Charlie's. Whatever you choose, you could easily share it with your little mate as the servings are large - and not cheap.
Follow Mt Nebo road through The Gap and you'll feel miles away from the city here, but it's really not.
Enjoying a milkshake or scone on the large wrap-around verandah, the trees are at your height. Peek over one edge of the railing to see pademelons, and over another into the aviary. Entry to see the wildlife is just a few dollars. Or for free, you can have a paddle in the Enoggera Reservoir, and play in the nearby sandpit. Or take a bushwalk (the path around the lake is stroller-friendly).
There's so much to do you may want to stay all day, or plan your next visit before you've finished your first. Aren't we lucky to have such a place in our neighbourhood?
Ironbark Superfood Cafe, Samford
Enjoy fresh air on the covered verandah - with sandpit
If you haven't been out to Samford lately it's closer than you might remember — a leafy, winding drive of about 20 minutes from Brookside Shopping Centre (for example).
Ironbark has a sand pit. Bring a spade or two and let the kids dig around while you enjoy a spelt choc-chip biscuit or a bowl of colourful fresh salads. Afterwards, go across the road to the huge playground and bike track.