HOT: Cerita Anak by Polyglot Theatre and Papermoon Puppet Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Cerita Anak by Polyglot Theatre and Papermoon Puppet Theatre, <a href=

Cerita Anak means ‘Child’s Story’ in Indonesian and it is a collaborative theatrical work for children 2-5 years old by Melbourne’s Polyglot Theatre and Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre.

Cerita Anak combines puppetry, shadow imagery, song and sound to weave a story about being adrift on a boat in the ocean. It’s inspired by the seafaring history of Java and a true tale of a small boy’s arrival in Australia.

Baby 2.0 and I attended workshops at Artplay in 2016 which gave children a unique opportunity to participate in the creation of the final work.

Cerita Anak Polyglot Theatre - 1 (2)

Cerita Anak Polyglot Theatre - 2 (1)

Our workshop starts with parents and children folding origami paper boats and drawing our ‘passport’ to enter the show’s set through a mysterious curtain.

Cerita Anak Polyglot Theatre - 3 (1)

The set is a large scale boat made with bamboo frames and fabric, with lots of other child-sized wooden boats dotted around.

Cerita Anak Polyglot Theatre - 1

Cerita Anak Polyglot Theatre - 2

Children are encouraged to claim a boat and ride the waves. Some kids (including Baby 2.0) are freaked out by the sound of the ocean and the billowing of parachute silk to evoke the sea in a storm.

Cerita Anak by Polyglot Theatre and Papermoon Puppet Theatre, Artplay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

We are then ushered into the large boat and together take a journey where we see birds flying overhead, dolphins jumping and shadowy sea creatures. We don’t get to venture to that part of the show but the descriptions of it by the artists sound amazing. Enough to freak out Baby 2.0 again ‘I don’t want to see the shadows!’.

Cerita Anak Polyglot Theatre - 4

Cerita Anak will be presented at Arts Centre Melbourne from 30 March – 2 April in State Theatre Rehearsal Room as part of Asia TOPA: Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts. I can’t wait to see the final work!

Cerita Anak by Polyglot Theatre and Papermoon Puppet Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre Rehearsal Room, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

10am and 12.30pmThursday 30 and Friday 31 March
10am, 12.30pm and 3pm  – Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 April
Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre Rehearsal Room
Standard: $24
Child: $24

Women of the World (WOW) Festival 2017, Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland St, Footscray

WOW Festival

Happy International Women’s Day!

The Women of the World (WOW) Festival is coming to Melbourne for the first time on Thursday 23 March – Saturday 25 March. Footscray Community Arts Centre will come alive for the three-day festival celebrating women and exploring the remaining challenges to gender equality.

WOW – Women of the World has been identified as the largest network of women in the world, with its festivals engaging and inspiring women in the US, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the UK, and Australia. With over 80 speakers, and 90 events happening in three days, the Melbourne festival is a not-to-be-missed celebration and a timely call to action.

Check out the full program of conversations, music, film and performance. There are also free events and kid-friendly events. Here are some of the highlights for the families:

Thursday 23 March – Saturday 25 March:

WOW Café – FREE curated program featuring festival highlights such as conversations, short talks and performances. You’ll also find the WOW Marketplace there with stalls by local designers, artists and makers.

Thursday 23 March – Friday 24 March:

Fluidity – FREE walk with local artist (and my friend) Chantal Wynter who will guide you to contemplate what is cherished in our society and what is discarded, and to examine how Footscray’s unique environs reflect these thoughts.


Saturday 25 March:

Pushy Women bike rides – FREE bike rides with me! Discover diverse businesses run by Westie Women creators, makers and doers. The morning ride is especially for mums and bubs in a bike seat.

WOW kids – FREE workshops and games with 100 Story Building, The Stella Prize, Robogals, Women’s Circus and hula hoopers!

WOW Make Noise concert – FREE gig on the lush lawns of FCAC after the WOW Kids’ program. Featuring Sampa the Great, Mojo Juju, Electric Fields, The Black Sistaz, Sugar Fed Leopards, MzRizk and Thando. Bring a picnic and enjoy the music and the atmosphere!

Full WOW Melbourne Program HERE. See you there!



HOT: Broadwater Parklands, Marine Parade, Southport, Gold Coast

Broadwater Parklands Southport

Broadwater Parklands is a fantastic redevelopment of Southport’s previously dowdy foreshore with a range of sites and facilities, many of them free. It’s one of the best places to take kids on the Gold Coast.

Broadwater Parklands Southport

Our favourite part is the Rockpools, a semi-fenced water play area featuring water jets, fountains, a waterfall and sculptural pieces inspired by marine life.

Broadwater Parklands Southport

The Rockpools is manned by lifeguards and there are shady spots dotted around the (fake) grass so you can relax at ‘home base’ before another swim.

Broadwater Parklands Southport

Another popular attraction is the extensive playground with pedal train and flying fox, the bike/scooter/skate track and obstacle course and a fenced, shaded bouncy pillow!

Broadwater Parklands Southport

Broadwater Parklands also features patrolled shallow beach lagoon and a temporary inflatable water playground called Aquasplash. There’s also free wifi!

Broadwater Parklands Southport

Add to that numerous picnic tables and BBQs and it’s the perfect destination for a day out. Broadwater Parklands hosts family friendly events throughout the year. View the Broadwater Parklands calendar of events.

HOT Tips:

  • Partially fenced playground;
  • Water play;
  • Bouncy pillow;
  • Rockpool Cafe within the parklands otherwise BYO food for a picnic or barbecue;
  • Water taps;
  • Public toilets throughout parklands
  • Paid parking at Broadwater parklands carpark and along Gold Coast Highway. 2 hour limit.
  • Across from G:link light rail Broadwater PArklands station 

Broadwater Parklands, Marine Parade, Southport, Gold Coast


1 February to 31 March: 8am to 6pm (closed every Tuesday morning for maintenance until midday)

1 April to 31 May: 9am to 5pm (closed every Tuesday morning for maintenance until midday)

Anzac Day: opens at midday

1 June to 31 August: 9am to 3pm (closed Tuesday morning for maintenance until midday)

1 September to 30 November: 8am to 6pm (closed every Tuesday morning for maintenance until midday)

1 December to 31 January: 7am – 7pm (closed every Tuesday morning for maintenance until 9am)

Christmas Day: Opens at midday


The Bouncy pillow has the following opening hours:

1 December to 31 January: 7am to 7pm

1 February to 31 March: 7am to 6pm

1 April to 30 August: 7am to 5pm

1 September to 30 November: 7am to 6pm


AquaSplash 8am to 6pm 7 days a week (last session 5pm) until mid April.


What’s On – Easter in Melbourne 2017

Hot cross buns and Easter eggs are already selling in the shops which means Easter is coming soon – Friday 14 April to Monday 17 April 2017.

There are so many Easter events you’ll be sure to find one near you. Note that some events are free, some require tickets and pre-booking.



  • Easter activities at Eureka Skydeck (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 17 Apr) – FREE Crayola Kids Zone filled with fun craft and drawing activities, including bunny-ear making and the opportunity to scribble on windows.
  • Good Friday Appeal Kids Day Out at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (Fri 14 Apr) – giant roller-skating rink, laser skirmish, sports clinics, the popular Teddy Bear Hospital, kids cooking classes, rides, music and dancing and more.
  • CPR Challenge at Crown (Fri 14 Apr) – family fun activities, the setting of a world record (most people trained in paediatric CPR in 6hrs, celebrity meet’n’greets with all proceeds for Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.
  • Easter High Tea at The Westin (Fri 14 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – Enjoy delicate finger sandwiches, classic scones and decadent, handcrafted treats including Easter egg vanilla cookies and chocolate carrot patch cups whilst you sip on the finest tea and coffee blends or glass of bubbles.









HOT: Sisko Chocolate school holiday workshops, Level 2, Eastland 175 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood

Sisko Chocolate

For the school holidays Sisko Chocolate at Eastland is holding chocolate making workshops for kids and bookings are now open!

Sisko Chocolate

This gorgeous chocolate shop is a sweet tooth’s delight and the sleek styling feels like the interior of a high end fashion label. On one side of the store is a workshop area set up with tables and chairs.

Sisko Chocolate

We were invited to join a previous Sisko Chocolate truffle making workshop for kids and highly recommend the experience.

Sisko Chocolate

Truffle making involves a bit of delicate work which helps develop kids’ focus and fine motor skills – you have to pipe in the ganache, roll the truffle in more chocolate using a skewer then decorate with sprinkles and candy of your choice. I am surprised by Baby 2.0’s attention to detail as he handles the piping bag and chooses his decorations.

Sisko Chocolate

However there is a bit of waiting around for the chocolate to set at different stages and you have to wait your turn at several stages, so I find that Baby 2.0’s attention wanders towards the end.

Sisko Chocolate

Having a ready supply of chocolate to lick helps him to stay put while Lady AB finishes her creations.

Sisko Chocolate

Each child makes nine truffles which are then beautifully presented in a beribboned box. We also get to keep the cute chefs hat and aprons.

Sisko Chocolate

If you’re at Eastland also check out my Top 5 Features of the new Eastland Shopping Centre Redevelopment.

HOT Tips:

  • Bookings essential, 20 children per class;
  • Workshops are for 5+ or 6+ years depending on the theme. Younger children are able to book in but you will need to supervise closely;
  • Chefs hat and apron plus take home creations included;
  • Eastland has fun children’s play areas and great eateries around the Town Square area;
  • Free parking for 3 hours or less;
  • Sisko Chocolate also run workshops for adults at their Eastland store.

Sisko Chocolate school holiday workshops, Level 2, Eastland 175 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood

$30 per child, adult supervision required for younger children.

Classes at various times on 1 April, 5 April, 6 April, 9 April 2017

Mon-Wed 9am – 5.30pm

Thu-Fri 9am – 9pm

Sat 9am – 5pm

Sun 10am – 5pm


The HOT List: Hazeldene’s Bendigo Easter Festival – Top 10 Things to Do with Kids

bendigo easter festival

The Bendigo Easter Festival is Australia’s longest running community festival and it has been a drawcard for locals and visitors since 1871.

The festival runs for four days from Good Friday to Easter Monday (though most activities finish Easter Sunday) and features a packed program with something for everyone. It’s one of the busiest and most vibrant times to visit Bendigo.

Here are my tips for the best family-friendly attractions and how to tackle the Bendigo Easter Festival with kids.

Bendigo Easter Festival

  1. Vision Australia Easter Egg Hunt – Friday

More than 85,000 Cadbury eggs are hidden away in straw for over 3000 egg hunters at Rosalind Park on Good Friday.  

Tickets are required ($11 each) and all proceeds go towards charity Vision Australia Bendigo to support people who are blind or have low vision in the community. 

The first hunt of the day commences at 9.00 a.m. and the final hunt is at 3.20 p.m.  All age groups are catered for, and parents can support their children 3 years and under in the actual hunt.  All older children enter their hunts without their parents and under the supervision and support of a team of SES volunteers.

Make sure you buy tickets in advance because they do sell out, though you can take your chances with buying tickets on the day at 8am from Rosalind Park. If you miss your allotted time you can’t switch to another time.

Line up around 10 minutes before your allotted time at the marker flags and then everyone is let into the fenced hunting area. 

Buy tickets at or by calling 1800 813 153 from Monday 6 March 2017.


  1. Camp Hill Playground, Rosalind Park

Bendigo Easter Festival Rosalind Park

Most of the action centres around Rosalind Park 10am-5pm and there are lots of things to do. I am surprised that we areable to amuse the kids for three half-days.

I recommend arriving at Rosalind Park a bit earlier than 10am and hanging out at the awesome, fenced, Camp Hill Playground. Some activities eg the CFA Fire Truck Rides start earlier than 10am so we areable to avoid the queues.


  1. Darryl’s Animal Farm – Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

An animal farm where you can pat animals, brush their fur or feed them straw. A pleasant experience due to the number of animals and the spacious area for them to roam. $5 per child, adults free.


  1. The Paint Pot People – Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

Lady AB loves painting the Easter themed posters and she has two goes before the queues get too long. Smocks, paints and posters are provided and the activity is free. You can pick up your artwork after it’s dried.


  1. CFA Fire Truck Rides – Saturday, Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

We have several goes at the CFA Fire Truck Rides, which circles around the park twice for $2.50 per child (one accompanying adult free). The trucks seem to start taking passengers from 9:30am if you want to avoid queueing.


  1. Fusion Family Activities – Saturday and Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

An area with lots of free fun interactive games. Crawling through the blow up tunnel is a highlight, as well as watching Baby 2.0 in the sack race!

Bendigo Easter Festival

  1. Goldfields Library Storytelling Tree – Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

Suzanne Sandow (as The Moth Fairy) tells traditional tales under the tree and other Goldfields Library activities includes badge making, decorating a dragon scale to attach to a large scale mural, making a library bag and designing your own book.


  1. Extended Awakening of the Dragon – Saturday

The Bendigo Chinese Association presents the extended Awakening of the Dragon program with lots of Chinese performances and finishing with 100,000 firecrackers to wake up Sun Loong inside the Golden Dragon Museum.

Awakening of the Dragon Bendigo

Best place to watch the celebrations is to the sides of the stage. Seats are set out in front and house left but they are all one level. At house right you’re not blocked by mobile fencing. A big screen is hoisted high for those at the back.


  1. Torchlight Lantern Procession and Fireworks – Saturday

From 8pm the main streets of Bendigo CBD shut down for the Torchlight Lantern Procession. The parade starts with fire brigade and emergency service tributes then shows off illuminated floats from various community organisations. It concludes with a display of spectacular fireworks over Rosalind Park.

Torchlight Procession Bendigo Easter Festival

I notice people start camping out at Pall Mall from 5pm for a spot in the front but in fact there’s not too much of a rush to get a good spot.

Torchlight Procession Bendigo Easter Festival

My tip is to be at the top of View Street, where the parade starts. All the people marshall at Queen Elizabeth Oval/Carpark and then exit down View Street, so you’ll get to admire the floats as they wait their turn. I am in position at 7:45pm right on the curbside without any problems.


  1. Sunday Gala Parade – Sunday

The highlight of the Bendigo Easter Festival is the big Gala Parade which runs through View Street in Bendigo CBD from 1-3pm. It features the world’s longest imperial Chinese dragon – the 100-metre Sun Loong – which only comes out of the Golden Dragon Museum once a year.  

Once again I position myself at the top of View Street at 12:45pm and get a curbside seat without problems. Being at the start of the parade also means that you get to see the main attraction (Sun Loong) at 2:30pm instead of waiting for it to snake its way to the end of the parade route at 3pm.

Other attractions

There are other family-friendly attractions which we didn’t get time to visit.

Bendigo Easter Festival

  • Rotary Art and Craft Market – Craft stalls selling anything from homemade soaps to jewellery along Bridge Street and Park Road.
  • Fun Zone – amusement rides area though most of the amusements are more suitable for older kids with rides like Bucking Broncos and Laser Tag.
  • Golden Dragon Museum Workshops – workshops for children 7-12 years to create a Chinese dragon puppet.
  • Bendigo Rock & Red Festival Free massive music festival on Bull Street with some of the best regional and national talent performing.
  • Carnival Central – On Mundy Street is all the excitement of the carnival rides.
  • Bendigo Easter Book Fair books, CDs, DVDs & magazines at very low prices fundraising for Y Service Club of Bendigo.

Click here for more places to go with kids in Bendigo.

HOT Tips:

  • Book your accommodation as early as possible. Bendigo Easter Festival is one of the busiest times of the year for visitors. We booked our accommodation on 2 January ie almost 3 months in advance and it was the only place we could find within our budget and in the right location by that time.
  • If possible book accommodation within walking distance to Rosalind Park. Parking can be hard to find close to the area.
  • The festival can be very stimulating for little kids so prepare to only spend half a day there.
  • Go early ie before 10am while it’s calm and queues are short then leave by lunch time ie peak hour. If you’re at a loose end hang out at the Camp Hill playground before activities start.
  • Book tickets to Vision Australia Easter Egg Hunt as early as possible. We booked tickets 2 weeks in advance.
  • Check the program for other events that require booking. Most events are drop-in and free/low-cost.
  • All locations are pram accessible. Portaloos are dotted around Rosalind Park and there’s a small parent’s room/area.
  • Bring a water bottle, water taps are provided.
  • Food is available in a designated area, mostly standard pie/chips/baked potato sort of fare. I recommend taking snacks for the morning and then leaving the park for lunch.
  • With kids the best place to view the Extended Awakening of the Dragon celebrations is to the sides of the stage area. Banks of seats are set up at the front and house left but they are all one level so unless you’re in the very front row you won’t see much. At house right you’re not blocked by mobile fencing. A big screen is hoisted up high for those at the back.
  • With kids the best place to view the parades is the beginning of the route eg at the top of View Street. Get there 15 minutes before and you should still be able to get a good spot. Bring a hat and sunscreen for the Gala Parade!

Hazeldene’s Bendigo Easter Festival

Friday 14 April – Mon 17 April 2017

Free entry. Tickets to the Easter Egg hunt $11.

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