Ickle is officially a Kinder Springer.* How did I not know this before? She is forever bouncing off walls at home, and makes a beeline for the nearest trampoline at every opportunity. So last week at Springloaded she was truly in her element.
The indoor trampoline park is set in industrial/commercial land in Gateshead, an easy drive up the Pacific Highway from our little corner of Lake Macquarie. Sessions have to be booked in advance, or you take your chances and drop in on the day like us.
During busy periods, I imagine things can get pretty hot and hectic in the jumping arena, but Ickle and Ettie were lucky enough to have most of the space to themselves. They bounced with abandon, jostled for prime position, and raced from one section to another; they launched themselves headlong into the foam pits and had to be fished out on more than one occasion. Sometimes, rather sweetly, by each other.Their younger siblings also wanted to be part of the action, although did spend some time chilling by the fans and in the Kids Only zone. And Bear discovered that a trampoline makes a very comfy mattress.For those not worn out by all the jumping, Springloaded also offers a giant inflatable obstacle course and tri-level Play Centre (great for the littlies). As well as a huge range of catered and non-catered party options. Tempting.
Note: You do have to sign a fairly intimidating waiver form before you or your kids are allowed to jump. Details are available on the Springloaded website. Worth knowing.
*Kinder Springer: Springloaded age category for 6 years and under.
In the 3.5 years we’ve lived on Lake Macquarie, I’ve only ventured up north to Newcastle once. On that occasion Ickle and I visited Carrington, met up with a friend in a boho café on the main drag, and picnicked in a nearby park. A return visit was long overdue.
Although it’s our nearest big city, Newie is a fair drive from our little patch of paradise. I know from previous experience that 48 minutes on Google Maps can quickly turn into an hour plus, especially with my lamentable sense of direction. I needn’t have worried, however, as the journey turned out to be a sinch this time.We met up with friends, Ettie and Bear* and their mummy, at Newcastle Museum. As Newie regulars, they were already waiting for us in the Mininova soft play area. What a great spot for tinies to escape from their strollers and crawl and clamber about! Ickle and Ettie are big girls now though, so promptly left their younger siblings to explore the hands-on exhibits in the adjoining Supernova space. They pulled on giant ropes to lift a car off the ground, floated colourful plastic balls on an air stream blown through a funnel, and much more. They also particularly enjoyed the historic train exhibit in the Link Gallery, or was it the gravel alongside the locomotive that proved the real attraction?We had intended to spend snack o’clock in the very sleek-looking café on site, but it was closed for a private function, so we headed out into Honeysuckle instead. An inspired decision. Here, derelict industrial land has been transformed into an attractive waterfront precinct, buzzing with trendy restaurants and cafés; there is also a fabulous 7-km promenade that runs all the way from Carrington to Nobbys Lighthouse.Ickle and Ettie had a good splash in the fountains and then took turns (mostly) to zip along the waterfront on Ickle’s scooter, while the mummies enjoyed sipping on their beverage of choice. And the tinies had a ball scrambling around underfoot.Newie rocks! Can’t wait for our next visit…
*Names have been changed.