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

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5 Ways to Experience Indigenous Culture in Sydney

For me, travelling has always been an opportunity to experience and learn about other cultures. In Australia, we are lucky to have one of the world’s oldest continuing Indigenous cultures but many Australians are still discovering the beauty of our very own vibrant Aboriginal cultures.

NAIDOC Week is an annual celebration of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and will take place 5th – 12th July. Here are my top 5 things to do in NAIDOC Week in Sydney to experience and celebrate Australia’s first people, their culture and the importance of keeping their traditions alive today. Continue reading 5 Ways to Experience Indigenous Culture in Sydney

10 Things to Do in Sydney These School Holidays

Finding things to do on weekends can be challenging enough, but throw in two straight weeks of school holidays and it can be hard to keep coming up with new and fun things to keep the kids occupied- especially ones that don’t cost the earth. So, here are my top 10 things to do in Sydney these school holidays to give you some inspiration.

1. Check out one of Sydney’s fab winter festivals. Whether you choose to don the ice-skates or simply soak up the winter sun whilst sipping on a hot chocolate and checking out all the free entertainment on offer, these festivals are certainly a grew way to spend a few hours on a winter’s day. Read here for more details on winter festival locations in Sydney this school holidays.

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2. Go Paddle boating in Lane Cove National Park. Paddle boating brings back great memories from my childhood, and you can now create these same memories with your family in the gorgeous surrounds of the Lane Cove National Park. Check out this blog for more information.

The good old family paddle boat ride... it has to be done!
The good old family paddle boat ride… it has to be done!

3. Ferry to Parramatta. A trip on Sydney’s harbour coupled with an adventure down the Parramatta is a great way to keep the kids entertained. Couple it with an exploration of Parramatta Park, lunch at Jamie’s Trattoria and maybe a show at the Riverside Theatre and you have an action-packed day of fun. Check out this blog for more details.

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4. Build a campfire at Manly Dam. When I was a kid I was fascinated by campfires and I loved foraging for kindling and working hard to get the fire started. I also loved cooking marshmallows over the open fire. A day-trip to Manly Dam lets you do just that and there are plenty of bush walks as well. This blog will give you the full low-down.

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5. Be Tourists in Circular Quay. There is always plenty to see in Circular Quay including an array of buskers providing entertainment along the boardwalk. Take the time to stop and watch their shows rather than rushing past. Check out the exhibitions and activities at the Museum of Contemporary Art, visit the Sydney Opera House and run up the stairs, rediscover the Royal Botanic Gardens or get a round-trip on a ferry. There’s loads to see and do and you can check out this blog for more.

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6. Food & Cultural tour of Cabramatta. Join with the kids and discover all of the great Vietnamese and South East Asian food in Cabramatta. You can get the train right to the city centre and there are temples and a range of cheap Asian food stalls scattered around which are great fun to explore. It’s South East Asia in a day and you can read more about it in my blog.

Enjoying my dessert tasters in Freedom Plaza
Enjoying my dessert tasters in Freedom Plaza

7. Learn about our WWII history at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway. This is a real suburban gem that I only recently discovered. It is a great way to get outside and engage the kids in learning about an important part of Australia’s history in beautiful surroundings. Read more about this great, free attraction here.

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8. Go whale spotting. It is still whale migration season so there is no better time to pick your favourite viewing point, pack the binoculars and try and spot some whales. Check my blog for some popular viewing points around Sydney.

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9. Go to a farm and pick your own mandarins. Forget about Coles & Woolies, take your kids to one of Sydney’s great ‘pick your own’ farms and help them get a greater appreciation of where our food comes from. Gorgeous surroundings and great fun for everyone! Check out the second section of this blog for more.

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10. Pack a picnic! Picnics are great fun. Get the kids to help with making up the picnic food (check out these tips for how to pack an easy picnic) and head to one of the great parks Sydney has on offer to enjoy your spread. You could try the Shire’s Camellia Gardens, Clarkes Point Reserve near Woolwich, or get the ferry to Watsons Bay– there are endless possibilities of beautiful picnic spots in Sydney.

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A Suburban Gem in Concord

There are times that even the simplest of everyday tasks can lead you to discover a part of Sydney that you never even knew existed. This morning was one of those times. We needed to return a car to our friend’s place in Concord after having dropped them at the airport. Not wanting to waste a trip, I did a quick google to see if there was anywhere to explore nearby and stumbled upon the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway. To be completely honest, I had low expectations but, I was wrong.

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The Walkway covers more than 800 metres from Rhodes Station to Concord Hospital in Sydney’s inner-west, and runs along the mangrove-studded shores of Brays Bay on the Parramatta River. It is a living memorial and a principal site of commemoration honouring all those who fought for Australia during World War II. The focus is on the sacrifices made during key Papua New Guinea battles which took place in 1942-43 along the Kokoda Track, at Milne Bay on the south-eastern tip of Papua, and at Buna, Gona, and Sanananda on the northern coastline. Continue reading A Suburban Gem in Concord

Embrace the Cold: 5 Winter Festivals in Sydney

When it is cold outside many of us curl up on the couch and count down the days until Summer returns. This winter, why not layer up with your favourite beanie and scarf, grab a hot glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate and embrace the cold at one of Sydney’s winter festivals? Continue reading Embrace the Cold: 5 Winter Festivals in Sydney

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Campfires are my favourite things. I have strong memories from childhood on the North Coast of visiting public parks with wood-fire BBQs that previous picnickers had left with burning embers and I would make it my mission to reignite the fire with my gathered dry leaves and sticks. But, there aren’t many places where you can have a campfire in Sydney without driving for miles out of the city… or so I thought.

Continue reading Manly Dam

Top 10 tips: How to pack an easy picnic

One of the advantages of travelling on your own doorstep is having all the conveniences of home at your fingertips. Picnics are much easier when you have access to table wear, your picnic rug, access to your own kitchen and/or know where to go to get all the best picnic food locally. Picnics are also a hell of a lot easier when you have your own car to carry your load of picnic gear to your chosen destination!

Many of my suggestions for things to do in Sydney are based around picnics, so here is my fuss-free guide for packing the most delicious (and practical) picnic. Continue reading Top 10 tips: How to pack an easy picnic