We recently took ourselves and the kids, for the first time, to Sydney for a week’s holiday. It was wonderful. And it was so good I thought it was worth sharing some of the amah-zing places to go and things to do that our kids LOVED.
1. Having a milkshake near the Sydney Opera House – The WOW factor at seeing the Opera House for real (aka not on TV) was really exciting for them. Going in and looking around the Opera House, not so much. Having a HUGE milkshake and garlic bread while the lights came on all around them? That rocks!!
2. Luna Park - it’s an iconic fun park right across the Harbour from the Opera House. It is also located right near the other end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The views from Luna Park are worth the visit alone. I’m not kidding, just breathtaking. Walking through the big mouth was the first thrill for the girls and then there were many more to come!
I will never forget how much fun Zoe had on the small people’s rides.
3. The Aquarium - Ebony is a huge sea creature fan so we went to the aquarium on our first day. You won’t be disappointed. The penguins are incredibly cute and the displays are amazing.
4. A Ferry Ride – the Sydney ferries are another of the great city’s icons. Such a novelty for us all. The girls loved them. A gorgeous boat ride for the price of a bus ticket AND around the most beautiful harbour in the world. What’s not to love? I tried to fit at least one ferry ride in every day we were there.
Beautiful day for a ferry ride!
5. Taronga Zoo - what an amazing zoo. This zoo is situated up a hillside adjacent to Sydney Harbour. As you wander around the zoo the views are incredible (running out of adjectives here!!). Big big love for the cable car ride! Bird’s eye view on elephants and the harbour. Paradise for kids and grown ups
We have so many great photos from our time at the zoo – it was soooo hard to choose just one more. But choose I must and I couldn’t go past the girls snake handling adventure Why are they both smiling???
6. Manly and Manly Beach - another great excuse for a long ferry ride! A beautiful suburb of Sydney with the harbour’s edge and the beach within walking distance of each other. Take a ferry across the harbour, enjoy the harbour views from Manly’s cafes, grassed playground areas or walk 300m to the ‘other side’ of Manly and do the same in the ocean proper! Here’s the family on the beach side. Can you tell Zoe is hungry?
Below the girls are playing on the harbour side. To get between the two is a pedestrian friendly mall and main street filled with plenty of cool things to buy and great places to eat and drink. Zoe was fed and turned that frown upside down! Mr Sunshine and I sat on the grass, under some large pine trees whilst watching the girls playing in and around the water. Very relaxing.
7. Sydney Olympic Park – the home of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. We were in Sydney not long after the 2012 London Games had concluded so the girls were very interested in the olympic event and were keen to see the Sydney site. You can catch a ferry to the site or the train. The train takes you right there, the ferry takes you to a place about 6 kms away. There is a bus service to the Olympic Park during the week from the ferry stop – however not much to get you there on the weekends. Though you can call a taxi from the ferry terminus and get transferred that way on a weekend.
Near the ferry stop is this playground where even Mums can go on a flying fox!
High-5 Zoe!! It’s worth a visit.
Once at the olympic park we visited the Sydney Aquatic Centre. Two gold medal winners? Come on! They were tired and we were on holidays!
After the girls had a great big swim we walked around to the olympic stadium - these venues are about 150m apart. The train station is another minute’s walk away. The stadium was closed but we were happy looking at all the names on the poles. I recommend going there on the way to the train station just so your kids can find poles to climb on before falling asleep in the train on the way home…
8. Sydney Tower Eye - fabulous, must do. The tower eye is the tallest building in Sydney and has a 360 degree enclosed viewing platform at the top. It also has an external viewing platform “the Skywalk”. We didn’t take the kids out there (it costs more) plus the views from the inside are amazing without needing air on your face. There is an age and height limit on the Skywalk too.
9. Max Brenner Chocolate Cafe
We went to Max Brenner straight after the Tower Eye – it is about 3 minutes to walk between the two. My girls were so EXCITED about the visit to the cafe. Look at the YUMMY choices they made!! Strawberries with a chocolate dip and waffles drowning in more chocolate. Mr Sunshine and I also had the best hot chocolate we have ever tasted. I need to go back there.
10. Powerhouse Museum - the Powerhouse Museum is a powerhouse of cool for all ages and it is even more amazing for kids. You have to take your kids there. Okay? The museum website has a section especially devoted to children and what they can expect from the museum. The Museum is so FUN and INTERESTING and has lots of interactive exhibits for all ages. Mr Sunshine and I could have spent hours there. Zoe could have spent hours there playing the old sit down video games (how cool are they?).
Just a few pictures to follow of the girls enjoying the interactive stuff.
Lots of fun with science.
More energetic type science
Here you choose different chemical ingredients (in a fun high tech way) and then create a visual explosion. Zoe loved it!
11. The Australian Museum - another world class museum with exhibits to interest every age group. I hope the images to follow inspire you to make a trip there. We all had a wonderful time and I still felt like I didn’t see everything. Kids just love skeletons don’t they?
This table had a video display of a wetland and as your hand passes over the table, the water ripples and sometimes…you will meet a crocodile (if you look closely)!
Dinosaurs. ‘Nuff said.
12. Chinatown - is a pedestrianised street in the city full of colour and activity. The girls love chinese food and are learning mandarin at school so it was a given that we would have dinner in chinatown one night.. The girls haven’t been to places or countries where people come out of their shops and restaurants and invite you in. So it was great for them to see me and Mr Sunshine handling all the people politely with smiles and thank yous. After we had walked the full length of Chinatown we went back and ate dinner at a restaurant owned by two very savvy chinese business women. We were eating for $15 a head for three of us (even though there were 4 of us). The Irish tourists who popped by paid $18 a head. It took a bit of explaining to the girls why the prices were different for the same food (we were offered the discount price as we walked away the first time). Heaps of fun, delicious food and friendly people.
13. Monorail - the monorail is a single train system that does a loop around inner Sydney and lots of it’s popular tourist destinations. For us it was a destination of it’s own. The views are great as it is raised mid building height for the majority of it’s route. Sadly it is being decommissioned in approximately 6 months time (June 2013). On the monorail website is a list of 25 reasons why anyone should ride the monorail before it closes. It’s a good list and adds to this list quite nicely! We met a really lovely American couple in our compartment. The compartments fit around 6 people comfortably so it encourages interaction with new people. It was fun – the Americans were from Las Vegas – how cool is that??
14. Darling Harbour Quarter - the quarter is a large semi-enclosed area just around the corner from the water’s edge at Darling Harbour. It is a large area of cafes and restaurants overlooking a very large and brilliant free kids playground. There is lots of grass and shade and an amenities bl0ck. The aquarium, the marine museum and other large tourist attractions are a few minutes walk away. The day we went to the quarter it was raining non-stop so the kids didn’t get to play on it (we went around to the Aquarium instead). Beforehand we sat in McDonald’s and looked at the playground
15. Sydney’s Beautiful Parks - Sydney is home to many beautiful open spaces and gorgeous parklands. The city has so many it would be a difficult task to see them all. The Royal Botanic Gardens in the city are huge and lead down the harbour’s edge right next to the Opera House. If you are in Sydney during school holidays the Royal Botanic Gardens has a special activities program for kids. Right now (Jan 2012) the play of Wind in the Willows is being performed in the gardens.
Here we are the very bottom of the Royal Botanic Gardens. The beautiful trees on the left are indicative of the maturity and beauty of the gardens.
There is something for the kids to find and be fascinated with in all the gardens. There is a little fairies house in one of the gardens that we just stumbled across. So sweet! The girls played for ages with this large chess set.
We have come to the end of the list. There are SO MANY MORE things to do and see in Sydney for kids. On this list are our personal recommendations based on what we decided to see in the time we had available.
(I also recommend a visit to the Chinese Friendship Garden which is near the Darling Quarter. There is a cafe overlooking a peaceful pond covered in water lillies. It is a peaceful, completely walled and utterly charming garden. A great escape from the hustle and bustle. Just be very careful if you have small children!).
The girls are still talking about their trip to Sydney and remember vividly each of the 15 places listed here. I hope you find the list useful if you are heading to Sydney soon or thinking about a visit one day. Sydney is a beautiful city
Please let me know how you go!
Thanks so much for dropping by and visiting my blog.