Category Archives: Family Holiday

A Staycation in Mosman

As much as you try to recreate the feel of travel in your own city, when you have to return home the holiday is over and you return to the same chores and routine you had when you set off for the day. There is something special about spending the weekend away from home- even if you are really still only down the road.

So, when my brother and his family asked us to house-sit (more specifically dog-sit) their place in Mosman, we saw it as an opportunity for a mini staycation. Housesitting is a great inexpensive way to get a mini-holiday with all the the conveniences of home including toys and kitchen basics, and all for the price of walking and feeding the dog!

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Sunrise overlooking North Head

Continue reading A Staycation in Mosman

Living in Sydney – A Travellers Dream

Travel is addictive. For anyone who has spent any length of time travelling overseas or around Australia, the constant learning, new experiences, being exposed to different lifestyles, and meeting new like-minded people can be like a drug. When you begin to feel more familiar with a place, you know it is time to move on to the next destination to seek out that thrill again. It can be exhausting, but you feel so enriched and exhilarated by it that stopping in one place to ‘rest’ and take a break from the constant travel can quickly make you feel bored and longing for that next travel ‘hit’.

For some, travel is something they are happy to leave behind as a fond memory from their twenties and fodder for dinner party storytelling. They find comfort in the routine and security of suburban family life.

I couldn’t be more happy and grateful for the life we have created with our family here in Sydney but, travel is something I miss. But it is not travel for travel’s sake. It is the real-life learning, the new experiences, and meeting like-minded people that I often long for. I quickly get bored with routine and familiarity and while I like to visit the comfort of ‘normality’ from time to time, I prefer to create a life that recreates the features I love about long-term travel.

We live in an amazing world-class city with so much to offer. The last couple of weeks have proven to be a great example of what I mean to recreate these features of travel in the city I live. Continue reading Living in Sydney – A Travellers Dream

Reconnecting

It’s no secret that our family loves to go camping. This time though, we headed further afield, six and a half hours north to Arrawarra, just north of Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast. Although we love bush camping, with two small children the lure of on-site amenities, pool with a waterside and a giant jumping pillow was still attractive so after a little research we found the perfect location for our five day camping adventure.

Continue reading Reconnecting

Camping in Royal National Park

With Summer coming to an end and the days getting shorter, the family and I packed the car full to the brim with camping gear and headed south to the Royal National Park, just 1hr from Sydney, in order to make the most of the last weekend before Autumn descended.

We have camped at the Bonnie-Vale camping area near Bundeena in the Royal National Park many times before – pre-children – and although we have taken the kids camping before, this was the first time in a bush setting without the onsite pools & jumping pillow distractions of a Big 4.

We managed to secure a great large site at the back of the camping area close to the toilet/shower block and nestled against dense bushland. The kids and I explored the site and set up our solar lights to charge while the tent fairies (AKA my husband) set up the tent & gazebo in the morning heat. The girls and I grabbed a small snack while we sat back to watch the man at work but it wasn’t long before we had a visitor… a large goanna! Continue reading Camping in Royal National Park

A Day as Tourists in Circular Quay

Festivals and events are great, but sometimes we forget the great free entertainment available in Sydney all year round.

Last Friday, the girls and I headed into Circular Quay on the train. The girls love public transport- and the simple joy (from a child’s point of view anyway!) of watching people coming and going and the scenery whizzing past. The train journey itself becomes part of the adventure.

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It is only a short walk from Circular Quay station to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). The MCA often has kids activities that I have heard are great, but today we just wanted to check out the art. Entry is free but if you stop by the front desk on your way in they will give you a fun worksheet for kids to use as they work their way through the gallery. The sheet is designed for Primary School aged kids but I could easily talk my four year old through it to help focus her attention. It has fun activities like challenges to write down all how many images of birds they see etc.

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There is such a wide variety of art at the MCA from paintings to mixed media, sculpture from found objects to audio visual pieces. The girls loved exploring and were constantly pulling me from one piece to another and pointing out their favourites.

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One of Sydney’s best kept secrets is the MCA Cafe & Sculpture Terrace – normally it has uninterrupted views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, although we had to settle for just the Bridge on our visit as a large cruise liner was docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. The food is very reasonably priced and it is the perfect spot to take a break in a very relaxed atmosphere.

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Another hot tip is the MCA Gift Shop – it has great gifts for adults and kids alike, much of which you don’t tend to see in a lot of other stores. You can even shop online.

We left the MCA with our minds and our tummies full and began the walk around to the Sydney Opera House in the Sydney sunshine There are always a range of buskers dotted along the Circular Quay boardwalk. The girls were fascinated all the street entertainers, from the silver statue who moved when someone threw their coins in the hat to the talented artist creating detailed and realistic chalk drawings and, of course, the aboriginal music group with their digeridoos. For a few coins we were entertained for a good hour.

The Sydney Opera House is such a great, iconic building and it captures the imagination of young and old. My husband and I got engaged near the Northern Forecourt of the Opera House so it holds a special place in our hearts. We now own a tile on the tallest sail of the Opera House thanks to a recent Own Our House fundraising campaign – you can check out the view from our tile here. My four year old especially loves visiting the Opera House and exploring inside and out so we did just that, climbing the stairs up to check out the view across to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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After a quick ice-cream to cool down we board a ferry to Darling Harbour. A ferry ride is always a source of excitement for the girls and we quickly seek out prime position on an outside seat so we can enjoy watching all the activity out on the water. The ferry’s route takes us under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and past Luna Park‘s smiling face and fun-park rides. After much begging, I agree to taking the girls to Luna Park ‘one day’. We get off the ferry at the Maritime Museum and wander over to the Pyrmont Bay Light Rail stop for the journey home.

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So: three modes of Sydney public transport, one world class modern art museum, some great street entertainment, a wander around one of the world’s most iconic buildings and we easily filled a full day of activities for two small kids at a very minimal cost. Thank you Sydney!

Singapore: A Family holiday on Australia’s Doorstep- Part 4

This is the final blog in the Singapore series. We had such a great family holiday and our final day did not disappoint. We wandered down to Clarke Quay to catch a River Cruise that could take us the scenic route to the Marina Bay Sands. After a short wait for more tourists to arrive, we boarded the River Boat.

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The kids were really excited to get on the boat and I was really excited to watch them discover the cityscape from the water…. Continue reading Singapore: A Family holiday on Australia’s Doorstep- Part 4

Singapore Zoo: A Family Holiday on Australia’s Doorstep- Part 3

After a busy few days in Singapore I thought the kids would be tiring however, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. In fact the kids were just building momentum and it seemed they had more energy than ever for our next adventure: Singapore Zoo.

To be absolutely truthful, I wasn’t personally very keen to go to the zoo. I felt that we had been to Taronga Zoo a few times and I thought a zoo is a zoo is a zoo. I thought that there might be more exciting things for us to do that might be more specific to Singapore, but I was out-voted, so Singapore Zoo it was.

The zoo is a little bit out of Singapore CBD but is easy and cheap enough to get to via taxi. The first thing that strikes you about Singapore Zoo is that it doesn’t feel like a zoo at all- it feels like you are wandering around tropical rainforest and you just happen to stumble upon animals in their natural habitat at regular intervals along your way- well that might be a slight exaggeration – there are still Sea Lion shows and Bird Shows, and trams that circle around the Zoo full of tourists but really, it is a very different experience to any other zoo I have visited. Continue reading Singapore Zoo: A Family Holiday on Australia’s Doorstep- Part 3