When it comes to travelling with kids we decided to call in the experts. Welcome our newest regular guest contributor Deborah Dickson-Smith who has been traversing the world for years with her own family of seven, has lived in Asia and Europe, and now from her base in Sydney writes all about keeping our youngest travellers entertained and interested to ensure a great family trip for numerous travel publications. You can also check out her blog at www.littlenomads.com. Today Deborah gives us some ideas on the most child-friendly experiences in Australia’s beautiful Harbour city – Sydney.
Sydney is a divine destination and if it’s your pick for the upcoming holidays, here’s some tips on how to enjoy and entertain the kids without breaking the bank.
1. Take advantage of sunny days ”“ save the museums and cinema for rainy days.
That may sound obvious but think of how many things you can do with kids outdoors that don’t cost money. Your nearest beach or your nearest park can occupy kids for at least half a day as long as you take along food supplies, drink bottles and maybe a football, cricket set or even a Frisbee.
To mix things up try visiting one of the many Harbour-side national parks and memorials, like North Head or the old fort and spend some time exploring the tunnels at Middle Head. Give yourself and the kids a decent workout walking around Taronga Zoo ”“ possibly the world’s most scenic location for a zoo. Top tip ”“Wind your way down through the zoo to Harbourside and catch the cable car back to the top.
2. Don your helmet and dust off the pushbikes.
Sydney now has oodles of bikes paths, so pick your route (and make sure there are not too many hills). Sydney Olympic Park is a great place to start ”“ especially for inexperienced riders because it has wide smooth bike tracks and there’s hardly any traffic. There are three circuits to choose from, including the 8km Olympic Circuit and the Parklands Circuit which begins in Bicentennial Park and continues past Lake Belvedere and over the Badu Mangroves boardwalk.
Manly is also a good place for kids, with bike paths along the length of the beach, all the way past Queenscliff Lagoon and in the other direction up to North Head. You can hire bikes at both Sydney Olympic Park and Manly ”“ and in many other locations around Sydney.
3. Rainy days = museums, aquariums and movies
There will always be a few rainy days over the summer holidays and it’s no secret that there are plenty of museums and aquariums in Sydney to keep kids happy for the day. Sydney Sealife Aquarium is one of the world’s best, with beautiful exhibits of Australian marine life and loads of interactive educational displays. It’s located conveniently next to Wildlife Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds so it’s a good idea to get a pass that covers all three attractions.
On the other side of Darling Harbour are two more great Sydney museums: The Maritime Museum and and the Powerhouse. As well as some great regular exhibits all of these attractions have school holiday activities on offer. A 30 minute ferry ride from the city will take you to Manly Sea life Sanctuary, home to Penguin Cove and Shark Dive Extreme.
The entry prices to most Sydney attractions are reasonable and my best advice on saving money would be to take your own lunch and avoid the gift shops.