the emu at the zoo...
possible, choose a bright, clear day to visit Taronga
Zoo. You'll need a full day here. This tourist
attraction is the largest of its kind in the Southern
Hemisphere, covering 33 hectares, or 75 acres. Take
the ferry from Circular Quay, ride the skylift up to
the main entrance, then walk down, down, down in a wide
sweeping arc to take in all the wonders of wallabies,
kokoda dragons, echidnas, snow leopards, emus and the
cute platypus. Twice a day (10.30am, 1.30pm) you can
have your photo taken with a koala. (Bradley's Head
Rd, Mosman, tel: 9969 2777; http://www.zoo.nsw.gov.au).
up, up, up...
really terrific way to see Sydney is from up high. How
high? How about the top of the Harbour Bridge? Children
from age 12 are allowed up with BridgeClimb,
it's very safe, highly organised and awesome at sunset.
Not quite as high
is the Bridge Pylon Lookout,
open daily. There are 200 stairs with rest stops on
the way up showing displays of the history of the construction
of the Bridge. (South Eastern Pylon, Cumberland Street,
The Rocks, tel: 9247 3408).
champs and stars...
If your children
want to walk in the footsteps of champions, take the
train or ferry to Olympic Park,
Homebush Bay, to see Stadium Australia, Sydney SuperDome
and the terrific Aquatic Centre. Or check your paper
for sporting events at the Park. Take the Olympic Explorer
bus around the 10 stops (every 30 minutes from 9.15
am - 3.45pm, seven days per week) and check out Aussie
champions in the Hall of Champions at the State Sports
Be dazzled by the
stars! At night, take kids aged about eight and up to
the Sydney Observatory
and planetarium, at Observatory Hill in The Rocks. Please
note: these night tours must be booked in advance (tel:
full day excursion is to Old
Sydney Town, one hour north of the city.
Come see how we used to treat our visitors! It's a vision
of the emerging colony of Sydney as it was between 1788
and 1810, with strolling townsfolk, soldiers and mock
duels (tel: 4340 1104).
Nearby, is the Australian
Reptile Park, crocs and all (tel: 4340 1022).
Then, to fully appreciate Australia's unique fauna,
visit Featherdale Wildlife Park,
one hour west (217 Kildare Rd, Doonside, tel: 9622 1644),
and see koalas, kangaroos and emus. A similar distance
away is the Koala Park,
where you and your kiddies can hold these (deceptively)
cuddly looking animals, as well as discovering the secrets
of rainforest and Australian flora (tel: 9484 3141).
rain go away...
Besides the Aquarium,
there is still plenty to do with kids in Sydney if it
rains. Try the award-winning Powerhouse
Museum (tel 9217 0111) which looks at arts
and sciences, technology and the changing world, as
well as the Sydney Children's
Museum (one hour west). Both offer lots of
"hands-on-please-touch-me" exhibits and play
areas, covering all ages from toddlers up. Combine a
few hours at the Powerhouse with a great meal at nearby
has some excellent indoor heated pools with special
areas for kiddies of different ages. At Cook
and Phillip Park, right in the city, there's
a wave pool and a cafe (tel: 9326 0444), while the International
Aquatic Centre at Olympic Park, Homebush
Bay, is the jewel in the crown of indoor pools. Get
there by Rivercat, bus or train.
The Leichhardt Park Aquatic
Centre (Tel: 9555 8344) has an 18-metre pool,
a toddler pool and cafe -- but you're better off enjoying
a great Italian meal in Norton Street after your swim.
The National Maritime Museum
at Darling Harbour offers a look at Australia's relationship
to the sea, with many interactive exhibits as well as
a destroyer and sub to explore (Tel: 9298 3777). For
the older kids, visit the huge screen Imax
at Darling Harbour (Tel: 9281 3300), then have lunch
at one of the many fine restaurants at Cockle Bay. Or
try nearby Chinatown for great yum cha (dim sum) which
is loud, raucous and delicious. Choose your dishes from
the trolleys wheeled around the restaurant. It's best
to go about 11.30am, before the rush sets in.
the tiny ones...
Children age five
and under have very special tourist needs --here are
a few of my favorite tried and tested suggestions for
this age group...
Island at the Australian Museum
offers a well equipped, self-contained (ie: caged) area
for the littlies with puzzles and sunken treasure.
Lollipop Land at
Fox Studios has a
whole room full of stuff, from a gentle cup and saucer
spin-ride, and dress-ups to computers and a great climbing
contraption for 3-6 year olds.
Plaster Master is
a local (Rose Bay, in the east) favourite for children's
parties and rainy-day fun. Kiddies can paint plaster
animals or cartoon characters, a plate or a mug; dance
in the disco room and munch a bunch of popcorn (Tel:
9130 4855). A perfectly well-rounded excursion!
Oz for kiddies...
I'm an Australian
Journeywoman who thought travelling moms would be interested
in this web link tip. There is a whole website in Oz
dedicated to things you can do with kids in Sydney.
Look for it at: www.sydneyforkids.com.au.
The Family Fun
section is updated weekly and has all the events for
the coming fortnight, with venue details, costs, ages
etc. They're working on a directory with careers, schools,
etc. They also have a special section for teachers.
site is fabulous for anyone with kids, travelling or
not, who are looking to spend time in Sydney.
Kiki, Vaucluse NSW, Australia
Special note from Melanie in
Sydney: For the best and most informative
written guide for kiddie activities, pick up a copy
of Sydney's Child, published monthly. Free from most
libraries, the Opera House, many museums, toy shops
or chemists (Tel: 9484 5334).
There's lots more woman-centered information
about Australia. Click