Tag Archives: Ferry

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 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!