Sandwiched between some of the finest coastline in the world and the spectacular Blue Mountains wilderness, Sydney is much more than just a hop off point for international tourists arriving in Australia. It’s a destination in itself and one with lots on offer for families, all year round.
Jump onboard the Manly ferry
When most of us think of Sydney, what usually comes to mind is the Opera House with the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a backdrop. For the best view possible, a cruise is the obvious choice. But if you are after a more authentic experience that will cost you a fraction of the price, do what locals do and jump onboard the historical Manly ferry for a 30-minute scenic ride. In Manly, take time to enjoy a meal at one of the beachfront’s cafe before returning to the city. To make it a full day escape, pack a picnic and walk the way to Shelly beach where the kids can swim and snorkel in the shallow waters of the protected bay.
Walk off energy
The City itself offers great walks near all of its famous landmarks. Perhaps the most popular, and for good reason, is the one taking you from the Botanical Gardens, adjacent the Opera House, all the way to the Rocks, the historical part of the city. Simply follow the coastline and you will be rewarded with magnificent views throughout. Make sure you give yourself enough time to stop by the Museum of Contemporary Art, which always has interesting exhibitions and regular activities for kids.
Once you are in the Rocks, chances are you will be seduced by one of the many patisseries and chocolateries. If you are there on the weekend, the Rocks market is a must and certainly the best place to grab a souvenir or two.
Spend time on the North Shore
Standing high on the headland is Taronga zoo, offering both splendid views of the city’s skyline and encounters with animals. The zoo is surprisingly big and has over 4,000 animals. So either make sure you allocate enough time to see the whole thing or simply concentrate on a couple of sections, such as the native or exotic animals.
For older kids looking for more action, Luna Park at Milsons Point is guaranteed to add some thrill to your holiday. The amusement park might seem small by North American standards, but the rides are quirky and can also be scary, particularly in the evening.
Visit the famous Bondi Beach
Known as one of the world’s most iconic beaches for its gold sand, turquoise water and true Aussie beach culture, Bondi Beach is the perfect place to cool off after all that buzzing city touring. You never know, you might even be tempted by a family surfing lesson! If you still have some energy, The Bondi to Coogee walk has some beautiful vantage points over the ocean and some great cafes to help you along the way.
After you have done all of those, there will only be one question left… When will you be back?
by Caroline Faucher
Caroline is a Canadian-Australian writer and the mother of a lively boy. Based in the seaside city of Newcastle in Australia, she enjoys exploring the world and going on adventures with her family.
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