Tag Archives: north shore sydney

Tunks Park – Our Tucked Away Retreat in Cammeray

Little Aussie, Sydney

One day last Spring, the weather was the cool, blue, and clear perfection that makes you feel like going all “The hills are aliiiiive with the sound of muuuuusic.” I had the afternoon free, so I tucked Hushpuppy into her stroller, and set out walking with no destination in mind. We walked and walked, I resorted to Google Maps for some guidance, we walked some more down some windy, residential streets, and finally found ourselves at Tunks Park in Cammeray. (Pro tip, I’d strongly advise you *not* to walk to Tunks Park via the roads, if you go. They are not pedestrian friendly, and definitely not pram friendly.)

Partner-in-Crime was, mercifully, able to pick us up in the car to spare me the long, uphill end of my Spring Fever retreat. When he arrived, he looked around and was surprised to find that he’d been here a number of times. He’d taken up walking trails near us, and always ended up at the other end of this park. So, it turned out that both of our wandering pairs of feet had brought us to this lovely spot, and since then, we’ve claimed it as one of our favorite places to roam.

At the bottom end of the park, there’s a boat ramp and a couple hundred meters away, a green lawn with a BBQ grill and a picnic table. We love this spot, and it never seems to be crowded, even when we spent the afternoon there on New Year’s Day. Or, as Hushpuppy said on our last visit, “so nice and quiet!”

Best of all, this is the view. Tunks Park1

There’s a tiny rock beach, which Hushpuppy quite likes exploring. It’s also popular with dogs who want a refreshing cool off (be aware that there tend to be a lot of dogs here, if you have a little one who is afraid of them … or, one who loves them and needs a canine fix!). IMG_6804

And the boat ramp… Tunks Park2

Across the way is a large playing field, which often serves as a dog park. The last time we visited, we took advantage of the walking track along the filed, which was perfect for Hushpuppy’s Christmas scooter, and for her to stalk some puppies. Tunks Park7

Tunks Park4

A few steps up the hill is a marvelous playground. There’s an area for the little ones… Tunks Park6

…and a very cool treehouse for the bigger kids. The diggers for moving rocks definitely have Hushpuppy’s heart.Tunks Park5

We love this park for a picnic or a play. Tunks Park Map

A few things to know if you go:
Tunks Park, Brothers Ave, Cammeray
Public toilets on site (next to the playing field
Playground suitable for all ages
BBQ on-site

The Picture Palace: Cremorne’s Historic Orpheum Theatre

Little Aussie, Sydney

Sydney is full of multiplexes and cinematic “experiences,” but I love that the movie theatre in our neighborhood is something special.art deco theatre that makes me feel a little bit out of time every time I attend.

The Hayden Orpheum Theatre was originally built in 1935. According to the history on the website, it fell into serious ill repair by the 80s, and the site was even turned into a dodgy shopping mall and gym. It was purchased in the mid-80s and eventually returned to its original purpose with the original art deco charm. (More history here).

I love going to the Orpheum because it is eye candy everywhere you look: gorgeous light fixtures, ornate mirrors, dramatic stairways.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting my share of charm with a couple of Orpheum adventures.

On a very rare occasion, we put the Hushpuppy to bed and I sneak out for dinner or movie with actual adults. On one such blessed night a couple months ago, a friend invited me to join her for a movie as part of the Sydney Film Festival. This film was in “the big theatre,” which I have only been in once before for the This American Life broadcast. Lucky break, I finally got to be there for the quintessential Orpheum experience, the pre-show playing of the Wurlitzer pipe organ. The organ goes up and down through a trap door on the stage, and a most jaunty fellow plays pre-show once or twice a week. How’s that for a sprinkling of fairy dust on your cinematic experience?
(The movie we saw, Thanks For Sharing, was well worth seeing, if you have the chance. Never mind the strange premise or the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow is in it. Mark Ruffalo, Pink, and some rather clever dialogue … good stuff, even without a pipe organ entrée).
Recently, I’ve gotten up my courage to take Hushpuppy along with me to the fortnightly* Mums and Bubs movies. For $10, we have a good excuse to leave the house and I actually get to see a real life grown-ups movie. Baby sits in your lap or hangs out in a baby carrier or, in  perfect world, falls asleep (not my child, mind you, but perhaps other people’s most perfect children). It’s a bit a lot noisy, and both times I’ve had to pop out to attend to some baby business, but overall it’s an awesome idea. The whole thing is pretty casual and seems to attract approximately half of the baby-mums on the lower north shore. My only gripe is that they don’t have a single changing table in the restrooms that I’ve found. Now, I don’t expect every establishment to cater to me, but it seems like this would just be good manners if you’re inviting oodles of babies in for 2+ hours at a time on a regular basis. Otherwise, though, the whole experience is something of a sanity saver for this mother.
Hushpuppy, getting ready to “watch” her first movie, Man of Steel
*Yes, my American readers, “fortnight” is something that people really say here. It’s not just how long people go visiting for in Jane Austen novels.