A week ago I was brainstorming some school holiday plans when I had a sudden urge to do something crazy and go to Sydney with the kids. Flying was out of the question as it was going to cost way too much. So I investigated catching the train and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the two big kids’ return tickets were $2 (yes, you read that correctly) and Mimi was free! Free! She is a full fare on a plane now being over two years old. Hello train I like you already. Only one slight problem… it is an 11.5 hour trip! And I would be going solo totally outnumbered by my kids but I love a challenge (especially when someone says it’s an impossible task) so I booked the tickets. Then frantically searched for a cheap Airbnb (stumbled across a trendy Paddington apartment for $89 a night!!) and we were in business. With a slight feeling of dread on the morning of departure, heavily laden with snacks, stickers, playdough and textas we set off. And it was fine!! Yes it was a long trip but only a couple of hours into the first day in Sydney and I already knew it was totally worth the long journey. So a few people asked me during our holiday if I’d mind sharing where we went and what we got up to. Well here it is… (NB. All pics are from my phone as taking my good camera was out of the question with limited hands and too many children)
I checked the weather and this was looking like the sunniest of the days (although it turned out we were blessed with a couple) so we set off for Bondi (bus stop out the front… accommodation win!) with a detour via ferry to Taronga Zoo not to be deterred by a couple of awkward moments as we hopped on the bus for the first time with the pram and held everyone up by getting on via the wrong door and parking the pram the wrong way around all while being yelled at by a grumpy bus driver. But after that first embarrassing bus ride we were Opal-card-swiping, bus-getting-on professionals. And boy did we use that bus network!
First ferry ride and first awkward moment asking a fellow tourist to take our photo!
Getting the Sky Safari cable car up from the ferry station to the zoo was probably the highlight of the zoo visit!
Freedom after a long train trip the previous day!
A Kinder Surprise stop opposite the beach at one of the many fab apartment blocks!
Couldn’t resist a snap in front of this awesome mural at Noah’s Backpackers in Bondi
Some grounding! How good is the sand and salt water on your toes!
First stop only a 10 minute walk from our apartment… The Paddington Reservoir. I’d read about this place and had to see it for myself. It blew me away. It was so magical. You would never notice it if you didn’t walk straight past. Even from the other side of the road you wouldn’t really notice it. It is below the ground. An unused reservoir it has been transformed into a stunning public space. An absolute must see in my opinion. The kids loved it.
After exploring the reservoir we jumped on a bus to Centennial Park. I’d read about the Ian Potter Garden there and wanted to check it out (we have one at The Royal Botanic gardens at home so was interesting to compare – you win Sydney!). Also we weren’t leaving without trying one of the hilarious pedal cars that you can hire from Centennial Park Cycles (https://www.cyclehire.com.au/). What a fantastic bonus to see all the horses at Centennial Park. There’s an equestrian track around the edge and lots of people riding! Loved the ‘Give Way to Horses’ signs dotted around. But let’s talk about Wild Play (the Ian Potter Nature Playground). It was totally beyond my expectations. What a fantastic space for children of all ages. We had other plans for that afternoon but we ended up staying for hours. The kids ended up in their undies in the water play area. Utterly wonderful!
We left Centennial Park via Loch Avenue and the walked up York Rd and St James Lane where we detoured past many majestic and some colourful homes…
And found a little neighbourhood park for another quick play…
Then stopped for dinner at Micky’s Cafe (http://www.mickyscafe.com/) which had a wonderful kids area down the side so I hardly saw them except when it was time to eat.
Day 3 (Third and final day!)
Call me cruel but I made the kids walk in the (intermittently) spitting rain all the way from Paddington to the Powerhouse Museum (no whinging can you believe that!). It was the most direct route. And I’m so glad we walked as we found some pretty murals and buildings along the way.
After the museum we hopped on another bus and headed into the ‘burbs for lunch at Daisy’s Milkbar in Petersham (https://www.daisysmilkbar.com/). After walking so far I had no reservations ordering up big. Lollybags, milkshakes, fairy bread and burgers all round and not a crumb left. So worth the trip!
And then for our first trip on a double decker Sydney train getting back into town from Petersham.
These two loving the train as you can see, ha ha!
And one last ferry ride. We just jumped on any old one and did a round trip of the harbour. The kids desperately wanted to sit on the top deck so that we did…
Oh and I forgot to mention we walked to this floral mural at the corner of Devonshire and Riley Street in Surry Hills because I was desperate to see it in real life after seeing it in a picture. It was total heaven…
And that’s pretty much it! Three whirlwind days in Sydney, tens of thousands of steps and many hot chips later and it was back on the train for our long return journey which actually flew by pleasingly quickly!
Feel free to contact me if you need any more specific information!