There are some cities that are made for families. Sydney is one of them. From the moment we arrived at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney it was clear: this city has plenty of activities to offer and the concierge at the hotel knows exactly how to direct you to each and every one. From our room overlooking that celebrated harbour, we could see that everyone was already in on the kid-related fun waiting to be had: families with strollers, families with car seats, families with teens trying hard to look bored. Kids are everywhere! And everywhere is something waiting to catch their attention.
We dropped our bags, and our newest pets (stuffed kangaroos and koalas for the kids, courtesy of the front desk staff), in our room and hit the streets in search of adventure. We found it around every corner. Here are five of our favourites:
1. Sydney Aquarium – We love fish as much as the next family, but we’ve been to plenty of aquariums during our around the world trip and it would take a lot to impress my boys (nine and seven). We were impressed. This is, of course, the country that boasts the Great Barrier Reef and this aquarium has the fish to prove it. The kids were blown away by sea creatures three times the size of ones we’d seen before: giant sting rays, several types of sharks and every colour combination of swimming creature you can imagine. It was the perfect precursor for our visit to the reef weeks later.
2. Wild Life Sydney – We all would love to get to Kangaroo Island or the Outback, but sometimes time and money just don’t allow it. Instead, you can get your fix right in the heart of Darling Harbour. Pose for pictures with cute-but-not-always-friendly koalas. Learn all about the jumping heights of kangaroos. And be frightened by a lunging crocodile—without ever worrying about finding your way home.
3. Powerhouse Museum – We aren’t generally a museum family, but when I heard Australia’s first family, The Wiggles, had an exhibition in town, I forced the trip. No one complained when we got there. This interactive, kid-friendly space combines great exhibits with pop culture icons such as Harry Potter for kids in all age brackets.
4. Sydney Opera House – Sure it’s an opera house, and most kids won’t care much for that, but it’s also home to great plays inside and the center of plenty of family-friendly activities outside. Dance to the sounds of a didgeridoo, pick up a boomerang for later or simply sit and watch the ships cruise the harbour. Bigger kids will be itching to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Little ones will be happy enough if you offer up an ice cream cone and a trip on one of the boats to the phenomenal Taronga Zoo.
5. Ride the bus – The kids are too tired to walk any further. One more tour will do them in? Catch the bus! The Green route 555 bus is free. You can hop on and off all around the circular route to explore the cute side streets or you can sit on, let the kids watch the action from the window and get some much-deserved R&R before returning to a room-with-a-view you’ll be talking about for months to come.
Read more about Sydney in Four Seasons Magazine.
Based near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Heather Greenwood Davis is a freelance writer whose articles appear in publications such as The Toronto Star, Canadian Family, UrbanMoms.ca and more. She recently returned from a one-year, round-the-world adventure with her husband and two sons, eight and 10. You can read about their journey and the adventures before and since at globetrottingmama.com.
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