and Aussie mom, Melanie Hershon America has been a journalist
and writer in Sydney for more than 15 years. She was the editor
of the annual Sydney Morning Herald Weekend's Away magazine
and of Portfolio, the first women's business magazine in Australia.
We're delighted to have Melanie as part of our Network. She
the sparkling harbour city, is a giant outdoor playground.
When the sun shines in Sydney -- which is very often -- it's
as if the entire place is grinning. Kids and Sydney go together
like ice cream and hot fudge. In summer, the beaches and parks
beckon, while in crisp winter, when the wide Australian sky
beams its blueness we, Aussies, hit the streets and parks
in droves -- to stroll, bike or throw a ball. While the city
excels at kid-friendly outdoor activities, there are also
plenty of indoor fun things to see and do. In Sydney, it's
easy to enjoy the city, your children, and Aussie culture
all at the same time. Here's how...
are the best...
Locals will all
tell you to hit the beach for a good day out. If you
really want to taste Sydney, grab some take-away fish
and hot chips -- wrapped in white butchers paper, sprinkled
with salt and vinegar -- and sit in a park overlooking
the ocean. If you and JourneyKid go into the water,
remember to explain the cardinal rule of swimming at
an Aussie beach: always stay between the flags (these
designate the safe areas, away from dangerous rips and
(east) is our most famous stretch of sand. It's clean,
it's lively and buzzy, it has restaurants, change rooms,
a good fenced playground and our famous lifesavers patrolling
to make sure that all is well.
North Bondi is where the families hang
out and the south end is for surfers. Balmoral
is a calm north harbour beach, with lawns, restaurants
and sedate families at play. Clovelly
Beach (south) is a good place to snorkel
and great for kids. Bronte Beach
(south) is full of verve: teenagers strutting, families
barbequing, surfers showing off. This is where you'll
find trendy cafes and excellent fish and chips. There's
also a really great playground at Bronte Beach and on
weekends a cute little train operates here. Cronulla
(south) is real surfie paradise, but there
are also cool coffee shops and two ocean pools for those
who prefer quiet seawater. Lots of teenagers, so beware!
Manly, on the north
side of the Bridge, offers four beaches, as well as
calm waters, the chance to stroll under towering Norfolk
Pines, a terrific restaurant at gorgeous, tiny family-friendly
Shelly Beach and
a small Oceanarium (take a ferry or Jetcat from Circular
Park, in Sydney's east, is a well-loved local
haunt where you can sip a latte, have a gourmet lunch
or a simple picnic, hire bikes (or skates nearby) or
go horseback riding. There's a special bike track for
the little ones, as well as a couple of playgrounds
to cavort in. During school holidays, park rangers offer
interesting night tours looking at nocturnal animals
-- great for teenagers! (admin tel: 9339 6699; Centennial
Parklands Restaurant tel: 9360 3355; Centennial Parklands
Equestrian Centre tel: 9332 2809)
whole family can enjoy the enormous Botanical
Gardens on a bright sunny Sydney day. Enter
via the NSW Art Gallery gates, feed the black swans,
throw a frisbee and stroll around the harbour foreshore
to the Opera House for lunch.
playgrounds can also be found at Double Bay Park; Lyne
Park Rose Bay; Centennial Park; Federal Park/Jubilee
Park at the end of Johnston St, Annandale; Queens Park
at Darley Rd, Randwick; Darling Harbour near the carousel;
one of the best things to do with kids in Sydney is
Taronga Park Zoo.
Take a ferry there from Circular Quay, then take the
cable car to the top and walk down in a zig zag fashion.
Take ferry back to the city (Circular Quay).
food and fun...
Harbour offers restaurants, shops, playgrounds and a
lovely merry-go-round (carousel). There is the National
Maritime Museum (tel: 9298 3777) and the
really fabulous Sydney Aquarium
(tel: 9262 2300). The latter is one of the best places
in the city for children of all ages, with a touch pool
and often only a huge sheet of glass between you and
the most stunning colourful fish as they flash above,
below and beside you. There are sharks, seals and crocs
too. Afterwards, stroll around the corner to King Street
Wharf for more restaurants.