Episode 004 Show Notes – Sydney with Kids
With your hosts Marta Correale, Keri Hedrick and Marianne Rogerson interviewing Seana Smith from Hello Sydney Kids.
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We covered a community question “I’m going to London with my 3-year-old and a new baby. It’s our first trip as a family and I am wondering should we book a hotel or would an Airbnb be better?”
- With only one child, hotels are usually quite straight forward to add one extra person but 2+ children single hotel rooms become challenging
- With an Airbnb or serviced apartment, having your own kitchen and separate rooms can make a big difference
- The length of the trip may make a difference too, it can be OK to share a large room for a short trip but on longer trips, you might like larger accommodation with separate bedrooms
You can ask your family travel question in our City Travel with Kids community here and find the full Little City Trips Family Guide to Sydney here.
[4.30] Interview with Seana Smith
Our co-host Marianne currently lives in Sydney but as a newcomer, she has called in the experienced help of Seana Smith who runs Hello Sydney Kids for this episode. Living in Sydney for over 20 years, Seana is the author of several books including Sydney for Under 5’s and is the mother of four children now aged 13 to 22.
Sydney is an easy city to visit with kids as there is so much for them to do, particularly in the great outdoors.
[8.18] Important things to note about planning a trip to Sydney
- Winters are mild but it’s best to come at a warmer time of year if you want to enjoy the beaches too
- Costs and crowds go up in peak season – Christmas and early January. Try earlier in December or later in January (the New Year fireworks can be daunting for young children)
- Easter and any public holidays are also very busy, especially the beaches
- You can see all the best times to visit Sydney here
- Don’t worry about spiders, snakes, crocodiles! You will only really encounter them at a zoo. Beaches with sharks have shark-proof nets, swimming is safe
- A reminder if you are swimming at the ocean beaches always swim between the flags
[12.12] Sydney 3-day family itinerary
You can view a detailed copy Seana & Marianne’s suggested 3 Day itinerary for Sydney here.
Day 1 Sydney with Kids
- Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House
- With older kids, you can do the Bridge Climb.
- Younger kids just walk across and do the Pylon Lookout
- Walk around the Sydney Opera House (optional guided tours)
- You can ferry across to Taronga Zoo from Circular Quay
[13.45] Day 2 Sydney with Kids
- Base yourself around Darling Harbour
- Australian National Maritime Museum
- Wild Life Sydney Zoo is good if you’ve not done Taronga (enclosed so good for rainy days) and the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is excellent
- Dozens of restaurants to choose from around Darling Harbour
- Quiet time at the Chinese Garden of Friendship
- Darling Harbour has an excellent playground, you can have dinner there
[15.15] Day 3 Sydney with Kids
- Get out from the middle of town to see either Bondi or Coogee.
- Bronte is a great stop with kids
- Older kids snorkeling Gordons Bay
- Take the ferry to Manly and explore the north shore instead
- Walk over to the ocean beach and walk up the promenade and go to Shelly Beach at the southern end, very sheltered and great cafe
- Fish and Chips are of course essential for a trip to the beach!
- Wet weather alternatives, there are plenty of great museums
- The Australian Museum
- Museum of Sydney
- Susannah Place Museum – book for a tour
[17.25] More attractions to visit if you have longer in Sydney
- For a longer stay, look to stay at the beach and day trip into the city instead
- Palm Beach or La Perouse are nice beach day trips
- Day trip to the Blue Mountains. You can go on an organised tour to see a new landscape – funicular railways, walk through the rainforest. Go early or avoid school holidays.
- Combine a trip to Jenolan Caves and the Blue Mountains
- Teenagers may like kayaking on Sydney Harbour
- Markets at Bondi or Paddington
- Canyoning in the Blue Mountains
[19.30] Getting around Sydney Tips
- Pretty easy by public transport but cars are quite difficult
- Unless you’re in the outer suburbs, use the ferries, trains and buses
- Fairly stroller-friendly city, use the Navibaby app you can check for step-free access
- You can check out our full guide on how to get around Sydney here.
[20.35] How do we purchase attraction tickets?
- You can book when you get there, but better value to book multi-tickets for popular attractions
- During school holidays definitely better to book ahead
- You can try for example an iVenture unlimited attractions pass or a Sydney Attractions combination ticket (best for around Darling Harbour)
- Australian’s tend to all be early risers! Attractions may, in fact, get quieter later in the day rather than trying to get in early.
[21.35] Best areas and suggested hotels in Sydney
Four main recommended areas to stay in Sydney:
Darling Harbour: Lots of playgrounds, restaurants and major attractions are close to hand
City Centre: Apartment hotels and luxury hotel options. In the Rocks, the top end is the Park Hyatt, but also the Sydney Harbour YHA has fantastic views and family rooms available.
Quest & Meriton Apartments always a good option in the CBD for 2 bedroom apartments and you’d be walking distance to everything.
Manly/Queenscliff – northern beaches opens up larger accommodation options, apartments or houses through Airbnb or Home Away Stayz.
Bondi, Covelley, Bronte – family-friendly suburbs close to the beach.
[23.54] Favourite places to eat in Sydney with kids
It’s very family-friendly all over the city. There is a lot of variety in cuisine: Asian, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern. “Modern Australian cuisine” is popular – fresh seasonal food – although the kids will likely ask for fish and chips!
Going out for breakfast is common, get out early and let the kids have a play to beat the heat of the day.
Plenty of options around Darling Harbour. There are several restaurants within sight of the playground. And many cafes and restaurants around the Harbour that are family-friendly and will serve you quickly.
Manly also has lots of cafes alongside the beach, with playgrounds nearby. You’ll find the same at Bondi and Coogee.
Click here for Seana’s extensive guide to playgrounds with cafes!
In general, most restaurants will have children’s menus and highchairs. (But note some CBD restaurants don’t have restrooms on site! You may need to get a key and walk out of the restaurant for changing tables etc).
The Novotel Darling Harbour has some good family-friendly options.
Even fine dining can be quite accommodating if you go early – baby sitting is very expensive in Sydney if you were planning a kid-free night!
[27.35] Resources and items you’ll need to pack for Sydney
Essential packing items for the kids:
- Full Rashy (rashguard swimsuit) for your kids – covers over kids swimsuits that protects up to their necks and long sleeves for the arms – essential for Aussie sun protection
- Swimming hats that can get wet
- Even in winter, it’s easy to get sunburn in Australia
- Stingoes – cream in case you get little stings
- Light coat or cardigan in case it gets cold (even in the summer evenings or on a boat)
- Bring a nice light stroller that you can fold up
- Backpacks for walks for the kids. Easily half a dozen walks you can do from the city centre
- You can see our full packing list for Sydney here
Where to get further information and planning resources
- The main tourism website is quite good sydney.com
- Timeout Sydney is a good resource for whats on daily, and the Opera House website – watch out for kid-friendly shows!
[31.20] Our Fast 5 Questions on Sydney
- Hidden Gem: Little Manly Cove – tiny beach on the harbour side of Manly, a short walk from the ferry. Shallow, safe, shark nets and amazing views
- Splurge: Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo – stay at the Zoo! Behind the scenes tours.
- Save: Beaches and playgrounds you could not spend anything and still have a good time in Sydney
- Best App: Tripview – the public transport app. [Also the Opera House App & Timeout Sydney App]
- Playground: Bondi is the easiest. Also, Clifton Gardens is great for little kids and well shaded.
[36.44] About our City Expert – Seana Smith
Seana is the author of www.hellosydneykids.com.au. You can keep up with Seana on social at:
You can play the episode here or click here for instructions on how to download to your favourite podcast player.
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