Sydney with kids
I love travelling. I always have. I loved travelling with friends, then with my husband and since becoming parents; I love travelling with our kids. You see everything through the eyes of innocence, which adds another layer to the excitement!
Our most recent adventure was a trip to Sydney. I made child friendly itineraries with pictures rather than words so that Miss 3 could tell us what was up next and the excitement began from the moment we left the house. It was straight to the Valet Parking at Auckland Airport (the only way we do it!) and off to our check in with Jetstar. Once on-board, we paid our $10 for each of the girls to have an iPad for access to the movies, and we were off! Miss 9 was especially excited about all of the kid friendly activities planned and all of the ‘Aunties’ she was going to catch up with.
TIP: For 5am starts, or in fact at any time that includes travel with the whole family, valet parking at the airport is great way to start the trip on a much calmer note.
On arrival in Sydney, we cabbed into the CBD and registered at the Quay West. Due to our 9am arrival, our room was unfortunately not ready so off we went down to Darling Harbour where we strolled in the gorgeous sunshine, stopping for lunch and then as the kids were pretty tired, resting for the rest of the afternoon.
TIP: If you're on an early flight, request an early check-in with your accommodation and you may get lucky on arrival and have access to your room immediately.
Saturday was action packed; first back down to Darling Harbour for a quick bite for breakfast, and then it was off to discover Darling Quarter; an amazing playground right in the heart of the harbour and a great way to begin our morning. After our play, we got back to our planned itinerary and headed off to SEA LIFE Aquarium. No lines in sight and with tickets already booked online, we were in within a few minutes. The Aquarium takes you through Australia’s wide and varied aquatic habitats from the river systems of the south to the colossal Great Barrier Reef in the North. They have over 100 meters of glass viewing tunnels showing off sharks, rays and turtles as well as freshwater animals - platypus, barramundi and little penguins. Miss 3’s undisputed favourite was the Dugong; a seal-cum-dolphin-cum-whale that was tossing around a ball in his tank! And of course, you can’t do SEA LIFE without then visiting WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo.
TIP: Book your SEA LIFE tickets online and save around 30%
WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo shows off most of Australia’s native animals such as koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, snakes, crocodiles and many, many more. Miss 9 was more engaged here than at the aquarium; hunting for lizards in the tanks and searching for the bilbys in the dark. It was really interesting to see how many Australian animals there actually are, and as a Kiwi living across the ditch, you would think I'd have some idea but I absolutely didn't. By the time we wrapped these two venues up, the kids were exhausted. So it was off for a lazy afternoon by the pool, followed by pizza and falling asleep on the couch - day 2 was absolutely a success!
Day 3 began and we were off to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) that overlooks Circular Quay for a delicious breakfast. We watched the boats come and go, and even got a view of one of the huge Princess Ships while she was in dock. Next stop - the ferry to Taronga Zoo. If you don’t have your tickets yet, there's a nice hill to conquer before you begin your trip! The weather was amazing and the kids loved seeing all of the animals putting on a great show for us. Lions roaring at the glass, monkeys making faces right in front of Miss 3, and Miss 9 even got to participate in the seal show... which I have to say was pretty amazing! We wrapped the day up in an Irish pub watching the end of the Bathurst race, with the kids devouring even more chips and had dinner at 'Ribs and Burgers' - husband's new favourite - before going home for an early night.
TIP: Make sure you purchase your tickets for Taronga zoo before you board the ferry, this entitles you to use the gondola.
Day 4 started out a little slower, breakfast in the hotel buffet, and then a ferry over to Manly where our family picked us up to spend the day at Collaroy Beach. What an amazing destination, so close to the city but a million miles away. Swimming in the ocean and hanging out on the beach was great. Amazing weather yet again. After a fab lunch at the Beach Club, we headed back to our ferry. Dinner tonight - Sydney Noodle Markets. This was a temporary feature in October 2015 and will definitely be something that will return. As they describe it, it has the appeal of a hawker market but with the atmosphere of a summer festival. A great way to end our beach day. Miss 3 was asleep on dad's shoulder before we left while Miss 9 was trying to convince us to leave her in Sydney so that she could ‘live this life forever’! Oh, don’t we all wish that!
TIP: If you have time, get up to Collaroy, so much quieter than Manly but with that same vibe. We loved it!
Day 5 - our Final Day. The girls at this point are devastated, they want to move to Sydney. Holiday Sydney of course, not real life Sydney. This is the hardest part of holidaying with children; explaining the difference between a holiday and the reality of a destination. We shopped for a few hours and then it was into a cab to Jetstar - or rather ‘Our Star’ as Miss 3 calls it. It was another on-time, smooth running flight with both girls asleep about 30 minutes before landing (of course!). However, we were still in holiday mode with McD’s on the way home, hot showers and back to our own comfy beds.
The kids are ready to plan our next trip... Miss 3 asking who we'll be flying with to Rotorua!! Goodness gracious, what have we created!! :)