Sydney for Kids

[Downloads: May's Suggested Itinerary for Sydney]

I didn't think Sydney would be interesting for family travels and never considered it. Meyer had to make a one week study trip to Sydney end of June and he suggested we joined him after he was done with school. It was too good an offer to reject and so I took it up! 

We decided to stay eight days in Australia and I dived right into travel research to put together a family-friendly itinerary. I was surprised to find myself leaving out quite a number of attractions by the seventh day and wondered when Sydney suddenly became so attractive?

Sydney surpasses everything Perth and Melbourne has to offer for children! Unbelievable because I had always thought that Sydney's such a city which only talks business.


There are a few big tips about Australia that every family should know:
1. Visa is required for Singaporeans to travel to Australia. We paid AUD20 per person per Australian trip. Come 2018, Singaporeans can apply for a new visa which allows us to enter the country for up to three months at a time, over a six-year period [CNA].
2. Airplane Travel Accessories Not Recognised. We brought a JetKids BedBox with us on this holiday and it was allowed on Singapore Airlines. However, we found out that Qantas and Jetstar bans such accessories on board their aircrafts. Check before you travel with your airlines [kidspot.au]
3. Declare It. Fruits and vegetables, meat and eggs, plants, seeds, skins and feathers are not permitted into Australia. If you insists on bringing with you, you will have to declare it to ensure they are free from pests and diseases. [Australian Government]
4. Mifold Not Recognised. Mifold is not currently marketing their products for use in Australia due to Australian regulatory issues. I wouldn't have known if my social media community hadn't informed me and urged me to give it a quick check! 
5. Traffic Regulations. If the speed limit says 80km/hr, stick to it. No speeding is tolerated in the country and if you flew out of Australia without getting a ticket, don't think it'll never reach you. We've gotten tickets mailed to our home in Singapore before for speeding on their freeways.
6. Cook Your Own. I do find eating out in Australia expensive. If you get a chance, just head to Coles and grab your groceries for the week. Cook your own meals!
7. Tipping Is Not Common Practice in Australia. It is entirely voluntary and no one should feel obligated to tip. But you can if you want to!
8. Careful Of The Sun. Oh the sun is hot! Problem is, we may not feel it and tend to roast ourselves under the sun to get the warmth we need especially over winter. Just remember to use sunscreen when you are out, even in Winter!

We were invited to stay at SWISSOTEL SYDNEY this trip and I cannot stress enough about how family-friendly this hotel is. We were at Taronga Zoo, the famous 101 year old city zoo of Sydney with over 4000 animals to see, and my kids were bugging us to return to the hotel because it was more attractive to them. Now you cannot blame them because their bedroom is a kids' haven! Definitely a Must Stay when in Sydney and a definite Must Read!

HAVING FUN WITH KIDS IN SYDNEY
ONE
TREETOP ADVENTURE PARK
Cost: AUD28 [3 to 9 year olds] | AUD38 [10 to 17 year olds] | AUD48 [Adult]
Children Time Slots: 0900hrs | 0930hrs | 1100hrs | 1130hrs | 1330hrs
Duration: 2 hours
Locate: Plough & Harrow East, Western Sydney Parklands, 749 Elizabeth Drive, Abbotsbury
Web | FacebookBook Slot [click BOOK on right panel]

There are two locations in Sydney to bring your children on a Tree Top Adventure - Western Sydney and The Hills. We decided on Western Sydney Parklands because it has a playground, beautiful lush greens for picnic and a cafe in the same premise as the Adventure Park. On top of that, it is just 22 minutes drive to Featherdale Wildlife Park.

We were planning on a stopover from Sydney to Blue Mountains and the only option we had was Featherdale until I found out about TreeTop Adventure Park! While working on our Sydney itinerary, I found out that there are three wildlife parks to choose from - Featherdale Wildlife Park, Wildlife Sydney Zoo and Taronga Zoo. I didn't want to bring the children to more than one zoo and since we've decided on Taronga, we skipped Featherdale and gave TreeTop a visit just to throw a curveball to a regular itinerary.

I was glad I did because the children [despite Faye having a mini meltdown] had a memorable time climbing and zipping through trees! Watch Faye and Ewan on the course respectively, captured on video.

Faye was eager to give it a try although she was slightly skeptical. I love it that three year olds are the minimum age for many adventures and activities in Australia because where we are, it's always either four years old or children are capped at a minimum height to give it a go. Our three year old is petite at 87cm. I found her a teeny bit unequipped [size-wise] on the children's course because she had troubles swinging the cord. Australian standards for three year olds are definitely much bigger than she is and would probably conquer the courses without much issues. Nevertheless, still thankful she was given the chance to an adventurous exposure! Although she cried when got stuck on the practice course, my little girl still brings it up today laughing at her unjustified fear!

Ewan was a trooper at the park. He zapped through every course there was and I was really proud of his confidence. I didn't think he would be brave enough to give the toughest course a go because it really as quite high from the ground. He had troubles crossing it too but we kept his anxieties at bay by singing. With every course, there is a zipline and that was his biggest motivation. He gave his best at each course just to zip down the flying fox - his prize.

Do not forget to bring your own gloves! Otherwise, it is available for sale at AUD5 per pair and they are of great quality. Yes, you should pre-book your slots before going.

Enjoy our full Sydney photo album!











TWO
FEATHERDALE WILDLIFE PARK
Cost: AUD17 [3 to 15 year olds] | AUD32 [Adult] | AUD88 [Family of Four]
Time: 0900 to 1700 hours
Locate: 217-229 Kildare Road, Doonside, Sydney NSW 2767 (near Blacktown) Australia
Parking: Free
Web | Facebook | InstagramBuy Tickets

We didn't get to Featherdale because we chose Taronga Zoo. I think that was a a silly decision now that we are home and urge you to put Featherdale on your itinerary.

You can opt for a Breakfast with Koala opportunity and most importantly, animals are free-roaming! Although it is illegal to carry a koala in recent years, you are still allowed to stroke them and take a photo with them in the tree. Featherdale Experiences gives you private animal encounters with Reptiles (1:30 p.m session time): Shingle-back, Small Snake, Large Snake, Bearded Dragon and/or (9:30 a.m, 10.00 a.m, 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. session times): Wallaby, Kangaroo, Quokka, Ringtail Possum, Sugar Gliders, Wombat for a fee. Details here.

Our experience at Caversham Wildlife Park in Perth was out of this world! The children get to feed kangaroos, lambs, goats and even got to carry a wombat! I read that Featherdale is pretty similar and is a lot more interactive than Taronga Zoo which has all their animals in enclosures.

Children goes for free in the month of July if you are going this month! I regretted leaving Featherdale out of our itinerary but I just had to give the 101 year old Taronga a visit. All because it is 101 years old.

Credit: Featherdale Wildlife Park

THREE
TARONGA ZOO
Cost: AUD26 [4 to 15 year olds] | AUD46 [Adult]
Time: 0900 to 1640 hours [May to Aug] | 0900 to 1700 hours [Sep to Apr] 
Locate: Bradley's Head Road, MOSMAN, NSW 2088 AUSTRALIA

Bleh... I didn't like it.

The only reason I chose Taronga Zoo over Featherdale Wildlife Park and Wildlife Sydney Zoo was because of the interesting transportation mode to get to the zoo [via ferry sailing past Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House] and that it is the famous 101 year old city zoo of Sydney with over 4000 animals to see. Oh and to get to the entrance of the zoo, we have to take a cable car from the ferry terminal! It sounded awesome and of course the transportation were adventures in itself.

However, the animals were all in enclosures and we can only watch them over fences unlike the free-roaming animal experiences most zoos in Australia offer. The kangaroo courtyard was disappointing. Although they were sort of free-roaming [no fences], we were allowed only to walk along the pavement and well, these kangaroos don't really come close to you. There were keepers in there guarding the kangaroos and it made me felt like hurrying off to the EXIT as quickly as I could. Just as Ewan was going close to one of the kangaroos, I had to quickly pull him back when I saw in the corner of my eyes someone moving towards us to probably stop the interaction.

There are several Animal Encounters available - Koala, Meerkat, Giraffe, Owl and Penguin. By Encounters, it meant that visitors can get up close and personal with these animals. However, each of these Encounters cost money on top of the zoo ticket [details]. If you are looking to experience an Encounter, do not forget to book in as soon as you arrive at the Zoo because there is a possibility the zoo would have sold out the day's slots [limited slots]. Therefore, it is advised to put Taronga Zoo in your itinerary first thing in the morning if you are going. We didn't have any Encounters with any animals because we didn't know about it and by the time we found out, all slots were taken.

Wild Ropes is new to Taronga Zoo where children and adults get a chance to go on a Tree Top Adventure like what we did at Western Sydney Parklands [mentioned above]. There are children's courses for three years and above as well and it costs AUD20 per child per hour block.

If only Faye was older, I would have signed us up on a one night Roar and Snore experience where we get to camp in safari-styled tents in the heart of the zoo; waking to the spectacular views of Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The minimum age to book a Roar and Snore is five years old.

Hearing from the kids themselves, they would rather be back at Swissotel Sydney [Read: A Kids Retreat]. They kept asking us when it was time to go. The animals didn't win their hearts at Taronga Zoo but they had a swell time at the zoo's playground - and that's about it.

Enjoy our full Sydney photo album!







FOUR
THE GROUNDS OF ALEXANDRIA
Time: 0700 to 1600 hours [Mon to Fri] | 0730 to 1600 hours [Sat and Sun]
Locate:Building 7A, 2 Huntley Street Alexandria, NSW Australia 2015
Web | Facebook | Instagram

"Located in a former industrial precinct from the 1920s, The Grounds of Alexandria is a landmark coffee roastery, café and sustainable garden known for its abundance of fresh produce and hands-on experiences. Opened in April 2012, the site which spans approximately an acre within the inner west city fringe suburb of Alexandria, hosts a coffee research and education facility, artisan bakery and a permaculture garden of heirloom vegetables, fragrant herbs, fresh fruit and flowers along with a small animal farm."

You cannot leave Sydney without having breakfast at The Grounds. Like YOU CANNOT!

It is such a beautiful place for friends to chill over great food and drinks. Yet, it doesn't only stop at friends! Families will find this place wonderful to linger for hours because their children will be entertained! It has a farm, it has a Secret Garden which is a playroom, fresh strawberries to eat, delicious cakes to sink their sweet tooth in and there is an abundance of space to run about! Oh did I mention a staff went around offering tables with kids colouring activities?

There are five eateries within the compound - The Roastery, The Potting Shed, The Garden, The Cafe and Bakery & Patisserie. The place is bursting with things to see, opening into a courtyard festooned with grapevines, florals, vegetables, herbs and greenery. Home to areas including an arbour laced with bougainvilleas and stunning interwoven lighting, an enchanting glass house where you can sit and dine [only big enough for one group], garden beds of fresh herbs & florals and the animal farm; home to famous Kevin Bacon (the pig) and his friendly farm animal crew.

I knew about Kevin before arriving at The Grounds but didn't expect him to be such a pig! I was keeping a look out for a cute little piglet and when I gave the farm a quick glance, I saw only chickens, goats and a sheep. "Where is the pig?" I quipped. *eyes opened wide* Holy Moly! That "sheep" is Kevin!

They own a very nice blog too! I enjoyed reading every single one of them *haha* especially Kevin Trumps Donald In The Ultimate Showdown!

I would recommend an early morning visit for breakfast to secure a parking lot and of course to have the place nice and quiet before the crowd comes in at 1100 hours. We arrived at 0930 hours and took the last parking space *how lucky*

Enjoy our full Sydney photo album!



















FIVE
LUNA PARK SYDNEY
Cost: AUD52 [height 130cm+] | AUD42 [height 106 to 129cm] | AUD22 [height 85 to 105cm]
Time: Check Schedule
Locate: 1 Olympic Drive, Milsons Point, NSW, 2061
Web | Facebook | Instagram | Buy Tickets Online to Save

Entry to the park is free but you have to pay to ride. So when grandma came along with us, she could walk the grounds with us without having to pay for entrance fee. Nice.

The tickets are based not on age but on height, which I thought is very smart! Any child below the height of 85cm play for free but of course, limited to the carousel and ferris wheel. I catered only half a day to Luna Park and had Bondi Beach planned for the evening only to ditch our beach visit because we spent a full day at Luna!

We had an amazing time with Winterfest offering more activities than they originally would have. A spanky outdoor ice-skating ring made our day and especially Faye's since it'll be her first ring experience. If we were in Singapore, she would have to wait another year to give ice-skating a shot.

All rides are unlimited and free with the ticket price except for carnival games. Since we were already on a holiday, let us just let our hair down and empty our pockets - play [pay for] the games!

Ewan hit the 106 to 129cm mark which allows him on 90% of the rides at Luna Park. He went on every one he could, even the seemingly innocent roller coaster which daddy reviewed as frightening. Looking at his face, he had a swell time and guess what? He asked to return to Luna Park the next day and the next and the next. Until he went for the TreeTop Adventure Park and he kept asking to return to Tree Top.

Faye? Oh she was in wonderland. There is a section especially for the very little ones like her - aeroplane rides, mini ferris wheel, train rides and more. These are the ones that aren't parent-accompanied and I think that made her felt grown-up.

Watch our Luna Park video clip and full Sydney photo album!
















    SIX
    BONDI BEACH
    I had a lot of plans for Bondi Beach which we didn't get to do because of Luna Park.

    1. Bondi to Bronte Coastal 4km Walk [Download Walking Map]
    2. Bondi Icebergs [#7 on the list]
    3. Sunday Bondi Market [web]

    Please do put these three on your list when you visit Sydney [on top of the playground and skate park] because they are going to make your trip awesome! Plan it for a Sunday so that you can make it to the Sunday Bondi Market!

    Anticipating our kids asking to be carried during our 4km walk, daddy bought Ewan a kick-scooter from Target and I brought along a Tula to carry Faye the whole way. What a wet blanket we didn't get to do this at all due to time constraints. While on the walk, you will witness the real Bondi other than just its beach-front facade.

    The children didn't know any better and were floored when they saw the expanse of the beach! I had to scream at Ewan who was running way to fast for me to catch up, "EWAN! DON'T JUMP INTO THE SEA! NOOOOOOOO!"

    We made an impromptu visit to Bondi one very sunny afternoon and pushed aside our Museum plans for it. It is not every day that we get good weather in Winter Sydney and this trip had to be made. Glad we did because Ewan and Faye couldn't running, playing, laughing and screaming.

    Watch our Bondi Beach video clip and full Sydney photo album!








    SEVEN
    BONDI ICEBERGS
    Cost: AUD4.50 [Child] | AUD6.50 [Adult] | AUD4.50 [Spectator] | AUD18 [Family of Four]
    Time: 0630 to 1830 hours
    Locate: 1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach 2026
    Web | Facebook | Instagram

    This is a swimming club opened to public for a small fee. You'd be making history by swimming a lap in the pool! If you are lucky, sea water might come splashing into your swim!

    I brought the children's swimming costume along and I harboured this crazy idea of bringing them swimming in Winter. Alas. We didn't make it because the children's father think it is fast-forward plan to get the kids terribly ill. 

    The pool is not heated.

    But hey! Please go for a swim in summer when you do visit? It'll be a highlight of your trip!

    Credit: Bondi Icebergs Club

    EIGHT
    BONDI PLAYGROUND, MURALS AND SKATE PARK
    If you are at Bondi Beach facing the waters, the playground is on your left and the skate park is on your right. 

    Where are the Bondi murals?

    They are on the walls along the pavement leading up to the Skate Park. 

    Enjoy! Because I did. Very much.

    I planned for Ewan to play at the skate park with his kick-scooter only to find out that it is designed only for intermediate and advanced skaters. We eventually stayed to watch the sport instead and my son looked at them in awe. I think he wished he could do the stunts they did and I, as his mother, will support his passion even if it entails broken bones. I would be very proud if Faye would want to do this too! But looking at her, she's the girly girly girl - tutus and all [argh].

    Enjoy our full Sydney photo album!










    NINE
    PLAYGROUNDS
    There is a playground at every park, every nook and every cranny. If you are in the vicinity of any of these places, try to keep a look out for that playground!

    Read: Time Out's The 15 Best Playgrounds in Sydney


    TEN
    MUSEUMS
    If I had time, I would go to every single one of these museums. I read up individually on them and they have so much to offer! Some are great for pre-schoolers and some fantastic for older kids. Depending on the age of your children, go figure which is the one museum you'd like to put in your Sydney itinerary!

    We initially had Australian Museum in because they have an awesome programme for three to fives.

    Read: Ellaslist Best Kid-Friendly Museums in Sydney


    ELEVEN
    SEA LIFE, WILD LIFE AND MADAME TUSSAUDS 
    There are all right next to each other at Darling Harbour!

    We didn't put Wildlife Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds in the our list because Wildlife is an indoor zoo which puts me off [and we have only time for one zoo this trip] and what does a three and five year old know about wax figures except about them giving the creeps.

    Sea Life Aquarium looks amazing! Ah.. one of those we didn't have time to go again because I planned it for after Taronga Zoo but our children insisted on going back to their hotel room instead [Read: Swissotel Sydney - A Kids Retreat]. So we gave up Aquarium Time for Room Time. Sounds silly but well, goes to show how much you should totally book the Kids Room at Swissotel Sydney.

    The Penguin Expedition at Sea Life Aquarium was what attracted me. It is the world first-of-its kind penguin exhibit where guests can get up close and personal to a spectacular colony of King and Gentoo Penguins in a boat each with a capacity of 8 guests. 

    If you think your family might like to do more than just the aquarium, Merlin Entertainments offers combo ticket deals to bring you from Sea Life to Wild Life to Madame Tussauds and The Sydney Tower Eye.

    Tell me. How is eight days in Sydney enough?



    Downloadables 
    May's Suggested Itinerary for Sydney

    Our little Travel companions 
    July 2017 - Ewan at 5 years old and Faye at 3 years old 
    Click on our Travel tab to read all about our travel tips and tricks 
    Swissotel Sydney - A Kids Retreat
    Hunter Valley For Kids



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