We are fortunate in the Macedon Ranges and surrounds to have many amazing restaurants and cosy cafes. For many of us with children, however, it can be a struggle to find somewhere that has outstanding food and coffee but is also family friendly. Here are my top six picks for you to try.
If you live in Gisborne and have young children, there is no doubt that 3 Little Pigs will be all to familiar to you. This beautiful cafe, now also open Friday and Saturday evenings for dinner, ticks all the boxes. Whether you are popping in for a coffee and toasties with your mothers group and littlies; sitting down for a meal; or grabbing something to takeaway; 3 Little Pigs boasts friendly service, a wide range of delicious food and drinks, and an inviting space for families.
The ‘pig pen’, a corner dedicated to keep your little ones busy while you relax, has plenty of toys, books and a large area of blackboard to write on. As a mum of boys (who struggle to sit still in their chairs for more than a minute) this area of the cafe is a lifesaver. Usually I would be forced to leave after twenty to thirty minutes; at 3 Little Pigs I get to finish multiple conversations, not to mention that whole cup of coffee, while my kids do what they do best, play.
3 Little Pigs is the ultimate child-friendly cafe – it is big enough for prams to navigate around tables, has a fitted out baby-change area with a toilet in the same room (absolute gold for those of us with a baby and a toddler) but most of all it is the atmosphere that keeps me coming back. I’ve only ever felt welcomed – when breastfeeding my babies, when my kids accidentally spill a milkshake, or even when the ultimate tantrum occurs. Try what I regard as the perfect coffee accompaniment, their peanut butter bliss balls, and for your kids you can’t go past a babycino and a piggy muffin. Even my two year old can say those words already!
The Riddells Creek Hotel is another sure fire winner on our list of child-friendly dinner spots. With every kids meal your child will receive a pack with stickers, coloured pencils and an acticvity pad to draw in. My littlest loves to trawl through these goodies while my older two are happily occupied by the fantastic kids play room. It has some play equipment in the centre of the room (which is not too extensive, so you can see or collect your child if they get stuck), and also a few free, old-school arcade games which my boys never tire of playing. Add to this a delicious, affordable pub meal and it is a great evening out.
Probably not as well known is that on Friday nights the Gisborne Golf Club has a family friendly event called Fridays @ the Ninth. While the weather is still compliant, it is an absolute treat to skip cooking your own dinner and instead head down for a tasty, affordable bistro meal. The children can participate in the kids’ golf lesson on the putting green or just run around the open space outside while you sip on a wine and listen to the mellow tunes of whichever live music act is performing that week. If you have visitors from overseas it is even more of a treat if they can catch a glimpse of the many kangaroos bounding around the golf course. Or, for little people like my youngest, who loves animals, it is also great entertainment for them too. The only catch is that it is vital you book to secure your table.
There is so much to love, and so many amazing things to do at Baringo Food and Wine Co: coffee at the cafe, movies at the cinema, high tea, delicious meals in the restaurant, as well as evenings with live music on the grassed area. My own children love it for the great view of the trains as they go past. The outside eating area in front of the provedore is a lovely sunny place to have a drink with your munchkins while they do just that. I’m yet to bring my kids for the evenings on the lawn with live music but look forward to trying it out on the recommendation of a friend with kids the same age. As with anything related to Baringo Food and Wine Co, you know they will not disappoint.
5. Krash And Co
This little known cafe in Sunbury is a such a great find. They make great coffee and have a wide range of delicious meals and snacks available which caters for the gluten free crowd, vegans and vegetarians. While it is not very big, there is a small kids’ play kitchen amongst the tables which kept my toddler well occupied during a hour-long mummy catch up session. The cafe has a very cool, eclectic feel and is something a little different from your usual run-of-the-mill eateries.
6. Relysh (formerly The Station Restaurant)
Located next to Sunbury’s Reading Cinemas and the Sunbury Station is Relysh. This restaurant is another one to put on your list when you want to catch up with friends and have your children happily occupied while you do so. Relysh is my ‘go-to’ cafe when meeting with friends coming from city-side as it is easy to find and not too far for them to venture. Like the other restaurants listed, Relysh has a child-friendly atmosphere and their menu accommodates both adults and little people accordingly and affordably. The food is also great too!
Have I missed any outstanding, child-friendly cafes or restaurants in the Macedon Ranges and surrounds? Please comment if you have any other suggestions. I would love to try them out, and perhaps add them to the list!