Some Sydney tips for a week with a family

February 12, 2011 3 comments

Sydney is a great place to stop and rest after our intense travelling in South East Asia. It’s a very welcoming city to the family, big enough to offer plenty to do yet relaxed and stylish, and very child-friendly. There are not that many big cities in the world that offer great beach living with cool city lifestyle. I can think of Rio, or Tel Aviv but Sydney really is in another league..Oh if it wasn’t soooo far from everything, we could easily see ourselves raising our children here.

The famous Sydney Opera House above, and the famous Bondi beach below.

The beaches of Bondi-Tamarama-Bronte-Coogee are a great base with a family, and only 15-20 min drive to downtown. We ended up in Coogee, renting the Annex which is a nice family apartment managed by the Dive Hotel. Coogee is not as cool and lively as Bondi, but it’s super child friendly with a great playground overlooking the ocean, a ladies & children pool in the sea, and a great long beach. Breakfast facing the waves from the terrass of Barzura is a must. Another wonderful brunch place is Swell on Bronte beach. With courage, there is a 3 hour cliff walk from Coogee to Bondi along the coast. We did the abbreviated version from Bronte to Bondi, 30min with a stroller and many steps. It’s highly recommended.

After the walk to Bondi beach, it’s a good idea to stop for ice creams with a view at the swim club Icebergs, or get a babysitter in order to enjoy a diner tete-a-tete in the very hip top floor restaurant. Or family dinner at North Bondi Italian, a casual and delicious noisy place facing the surfers. Or just a glass of Australian wine at The Shop a few blocks behind the beach in Bondi. This b&b in North Bondi seems like a good address to bookmark but it was full for us, or this hotel for a more established place. Or these websites also had lots of apartments to rent that seemed well located (but we planned way too late..): Rent-a-Home and Stay-z.

If the weather is warm and sunny (which it is most of the time between December and March!), it’s nice to split the day between morning visits and afternoon at the beach, with a lunch break in one of the many cool spots in town. They know a thing or two about fooding in Sydney.

Children will love taking a ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbor, and getting off to visit the Wildlife World and the exciting aquarium (best to buy the combo tickets). Lunch break at Chinta Ria for Malaysian family food is a good option afterwards, right in Cockle Bay.

Another half day can be spent starting at the incredible Sydney Opera House (we got to listen to a concert of classic music Passion with Brahms last night, a nice prelude to Valentine’s day!!), then walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens to finish at the Art Gallery NSW where there’s a good cafe with kids pack. Or the Museum of Contemporary Art right near Circular Quay. March will see Art Month in Sydney, a month-long festival of arts in the city, with family programs as well. Too bad we’ll be gone by then.

For more art, head to Danks Street in Waterloo where you will find Danks Street Depot at number 2, the David Bramley gallery and Sonoma bakery for lunch break. And for a pleasant leisure stroll, walk the streets of charming Paddington area, stopping for Italian ice cream at Alimentari on William Street.

You see those charming houses with wrought iron balconies all over in Sydney. Love them. And a reminder that this country is a rich land of iron and many other commodities. Hence 1US$=1AU$ right now…a very expensive city for the visiting tourist.

And another afternoon can be spent in the arty / trendy area of Surry Hills, where one of Sydney’s coolest kids store Kido has a new shop on Crown Street, not far from Mrs Red & Sons another shop worth a visit. We had amazing sushi at Toko for early dinner with the children (everyone eats really early in Sydney!). Or the Italian Pizza e Birra next door seemed like a deliciously stylish alternative.

I could go on and on with good spots for meals in Sydney, because we ate really well in many design-driven places. The Foodie 100 article from Travel Leisure has lots of good addresses, and I am carrying a print for every country we go to.

We have not had a chance yet to walk the Harbour Bridge, maybe on our return from the Blue Moutains. I hear there are some great climbs organized on the bridge (top ten world’s heart pounding experiences), but am I still allowed this kind of adrenaline-filled activities now that I am a mother?

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