Westfield North Rocks is one of my local shopping centres. It does the job for discount shopping – K Mart, Franklins, Hot Dollar shops, Aldi etc……. and there are some good little finds there, such as the Parent Room.
The shopping centre is all on one floor which is fantastic! No escalators or lifts to navigate with your prams, it’s quite good for us mums who are using strollers and prams. The walkways throughout are wide enough, but during busy periods you may find it quite congested. Cafes within the centre have seating in the middle of walkways, probably to provide an alfresco element but it can be tricky playing dodge-ems with the wait staff and your mission to get to the play area or Parent Room.
So on to the Parent Room! Just follow the signs to for the toilets (which do show there is also a Parent Room). It’s located between Five Senses Learning store and Priceline Pharmacy – handy location really.
The entry to the room is via a big green button which needs to be pressed, allowing the large sliding frosted glass door to open. These entrances should be adopted everywhere!!! It’s so much easier than pushing a door open with your hand and wedging the pram in the gap while you try to inch your way in the room without having the door slam on your body. Big thumbs up for Westfield on this note!!!
The interior is cosy and small, and has everything you need. It doesn’t have loads of extras like complimentary nappy wipes or change table mats, but it does what you need it to do. There is one small cubicle where mum and bub can have some private time for feeding. Note it is SMALL. There is a leather/vinyl armchair in the cubicle and room for the pram – but not much else. A curtain provides the privacy, which is typical of most shopping centres. The downside is other little kids sometimes like to come and play peek-a-boo with whoever is inside there – regardless of it being a total stranger. This can be a bit unsettling, especially for new mums and babies. However, the chair is comfortable enough, and it is good to be able to be on your own away from others in the room.
For your nappy changing needs, the bench space has 2 change area grooves. Very helpful in keeping your little one from rolling away from you. Nappy disposal bins are just underneath the change area in a pull-out cupboard (just make sure you use it quickly so the smell doesn’t waft up to you).
Another big thumbs up goes to having a wash basin plus soap and paper towels, between the 2 change grooves. Yay!!! So many other places I have come across, the sinks are on a completely opposite wall to the change area. Usually located next to the microwave and food prep area. Much better to have it where you need it most – ie where nappies are being changed. Well done again to Westfield North Rocks!
To keep toddlers entertained there is an enclosed play area. And for mum/dad, there is a comfy couch and little television (mounted high on the wall).
Overall, the Parent Room at Westfield North Rocks is good. It has what you need plus some nice little extras (enclosed play area, sink next to change area). But it would not be a great Room to use with anymore than a 2 families or children in there as it is quite small. If you think you would prefer a peaceful experience, it may be best to avoid coming here when it’s busy (eg weekends or school holidays) and stick to daytime weekday visits.
Other things to consider when visiting Westfield North Rocks is parking. I have only come across one lot of Parents With Prams parking spaces. Located in the primary undercover carpark, the spaces are not overly well marked and there is only a handful of them right near the entrance to the shopping centre. The undercover car park is dark and the thoroughfare quite narrow, so I would not recommend using this car park if you are not a confident driver in shopping centre car parks. As per usual, often the Parents With Prams allocated car spaces are clogged up by people who DO NOT have children or prams – very frustrating.
There is outdoor parking around the centre, the easiest to access is the spaces in front of Aldi.
A big thumbs down is for the plethora of rides dotted throughout the centre. If your child is not in a stroller/ pram or sitting in a trolley, watch out!! Virtually every single path you take in Westfield North Rocks, you will come across one of these annoying rides. In my family, my little one knows that only Grandma’s money works on these rides – but that does not stop her from wanting to sit, climb and play on it anyway. I had one shopping experience there recently which ended in complete disaster. My little one discovered every single one of these rides, before I saw them, and trying to get her to leave each one caused a huge scene. Not fun at all. So make sure you have some distraction tools at hand to divert your little ones attention away from these rides – you are going to need them!
So check out Westfield North Rocks. The Parent Room facility is small but effective. I’m just not confident it would suit the needs of anymore than one family at a time.
Please do let me know your thoughts and give me your feedback on the centre. Any extra information and insight will help everyone.