Escape to the city with your brood, there’s no better time! Jessica Jane Sammut reveals where to travel amongst the bright lights with kids in tow and create some family fun in Sydney….
There is no better place to go for a family city break than the beautiful Sydney metropolis. Think fabulous family-friendly restaurants, wonderful parks (right in the city centre), an iconic skyline, a world-famous harbour, not to mention activities such as Taronga Zoo, the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and the majestic Blue Mountains just a hop skip and a jump away.
Sydney really has something for everyone. For those with a young family, you might question a city escape when planning your next holiday, but you shouldn’t. With the Australian’s Government’s brilliant initiative – the TQUAL tick of tourism quality, awarded only to those venues which truly deserve it – there is no easier time to go online and book a fanciful few days away, knowing that your accommodation/restaurant/tourist attraction is going to be up to scratch, confident your expectations will be met. Simple and relaxing, yes! There is now a list of operators around Australia which are TQUAL accredited, magically taking the legwork out of booking a good holiday. Hooray!
Staying in the city couldn’t be more straightforward, with many accommodation providers these days bending over backwards to welcome young families. From assistance with newborns to play areas for pre-schoolers, it is all there for the taking. The key is to stay in the centre of town so that getting around is easy and many attractions are walkable. If wanting to venture out, the bus/train/ferry system is very comprehensive also, so it doesn’t take long to nip anywhere.
The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney is a great central hotel which can’t do enough for families (I know because I have stayed there with a four year old and one year old!), whilst the Adina Apartment Hotels are a great option for those wanting to go self-catering and to have a bit more space for little ones who may need to have their own bedroom to nap in during the day etc. I have stayed in the Kent Street Adina Apartments (with amazing views over the city!) which is a great option as the suites offer home-away-from-home accommodation, with a lounge area for the tots to play in, whilst each bedroom has its own TV, making for a happy family holiday all round! It is worth looking at Hooroo when booking, as Hooroo generally has some excellent deals.
Eating out with a young family couldn’t be better nowadays in Sydney with the Sydney Tower Buffet ranking up there as one of the best places to go. Offering what seems like a never-ending choice of seafood, sweets, Asian style cuisine, general Australian fare, salads cheeses and meats (along with a breath-taking revolving view over Sydney), it is a treat for everyone. There is no restriction on how many times you can help yourself to the buffet during your sitting either, creating full bellies for all!
If spending a day in the lush Botanic Gardens (which edge the harbour), lunch at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant is a must, with a grown-up environment (not to mention exquisite menu) fused with a warm and friendly can’t-do-enough-for-you service and a forest-backdrop to die for. In addition, the kids menu is fresh fresh fresh, moving way beyond the heated-up chicken nuggets often offered when trying to eat out with children.
Another green space with a delish place to dine is Centennial Parklands, which appears to be the yummy mummy central meet-up hotspot of Sydney (well it was when I was there!). Centennial Parklands Dining, in the centre of the park, is a fabulous large modern eatery, perfect for a quick coffee or a full-blown lunch. Backing straight onto the green, it is ideal for a family fuel-up, as the kids can play whilst you sit back – one eye on them and one eye on your glass of bubbles – family friendly indeed!
As for dinner, there are many places to eat, with the food court in the Westfield Shopping Centre a close first choice, offering a plethora of food options. Alternatively, if you want something slightly more up market, Sailor’s Thai in The Rocks offers the best Thai I have ever tasted, with sweet and sour pork to die for. It is worth a visit, with or without the munchkins, in fact.
As for activities, there is a whole host of things to do with the kids in Sydney, Taronga Zoo making top of the list. The Taronga Zoo bird show, set against the Sydney skyline, with both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge looming magnificently in the distance, is well worth attending, as is their Sky Safari, offering a fun, yet impressive, ride down to the ferry. The Sea Life Aquarium and a day tour to the Blue Mountains is also worth doing in addition. Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures offers tours to the Blue Mountains, which can be a great way to get there as a family without the fuss. And then there’s Bondi Beach, Manly and Darling Harbour (with harbourside fireworks taking place at certain times of the year) – all great places to take the family for a day of chilling, with plenty of areas for the kids to play, gorgeous boutiques to shop-til-you-drop, and bars and eateries to indulge in when it’s time for a rest.
So there you have it – a few family fun days in Sydney! The hustle, the bustle, the twinkling lights, the shops, the sea, the food! It’s all there – the perfect city break for your possy.