I’m here to tell you, if you don’t already know, that Sydney is literally a breathtakingly beautiful city. When do we get to move there?! It felt like a mix between Seattle and San Francisco (except so much more), and Matt and I felt at home.
The first leg of our BIG VACATION 2015 was a few days spent in downtown Sydney, Australia, exactly how I always want our city vacations to be spent – that is, we forked over the cash to be comfortable and make things convenient. First, we were lucky enough to get Business class tickets direct from AUH – SYD, with car service to and from the airport at both locations (I love you, Etihad Airways). Then we stayed at a hotel right in the heart of CBD, a block from the harbour and Opera House. If there is any way to travel with a toddler, I would say this is it. Cushy surroundings, less walking/hauling, and more people to help along the way? Yep, sign me up for life. Sadly, this is definitely not the norm.
But I have always read/said in the past that if you’re traveling to a big city, try to stay very central, and that’s what we did this time and it worked out nicely. Being a block away from public transit in the form of buses, ferries, and metro, was so convenient, as well as being able to quickly get around to shop and eat, but more importantly to see some sights!
I’m totally lacking on photos of everything, since we were too busy having fun, but here’s a rough itinerary of what we did in the three full days we were there:
Day One: Met up with my middle school BFF and ferried it over to Taronga Zoo! Then spent the evening catching up over drinks/snacks at the hotel.
Day Two: Hours meandering around the Opera House and Botanical Gardens, and a bit of wandering around some shopping areas of downtown. Then we met up with my friend and her husband in the Newton area to visit a brewery (I think it was Young Henry’s) and grab dinner.
Day Three: We managed a good city “death march” true to our nature and walked all around The Rocks, then down to Darling Harbour where we took the little one to the Aquarium. We had a nice lunch afterward at one of the places lining Darling Harbour, then we walked down to Paddy’s Markets in Chinatown, and finally all the way back up to our hotel, with a bit of a wander around downtown again…oh, the lure of good shopping.
So, the kid slept so well on the 14 hour flight over (*angels singing*) and we figured with the time change and us arriving in the evening, he’d basically nap and be up around 2am. Of course we’d then be up at that time, so Matt and I were like…let’s roll with it and go take pictures of the sunrise over the Opera House. Well, he-who-doesn’t-EVER-sleep-in-no-matter-the-time-zone decided to snooze all night, for another 14 hours, and we had to wake him up in order to make it to breakfast before it was too late. I, on the other hand, was too excited to sleep so I got a lot of good reading in for once 🙂
Only the first morning would have been perfect for sunrise shots at all, the rest of the time was a bit rainy and overcast. One night was even super stormy! All of this being exciting because we live in the desert now.
All in all, it was a pretty low-key visit to the city. We couldn’t do too much exciting touristy stuff (like climb the Harbour Bridge, tour the Opera House, or visit museums or cathedrals) because of the toddler and/or time restraints, but honestly taking him to the zoo via ferry ride? Awesome! What views! And the aquarium was great! It was just fun doing stuff as a family, and to learn more about Australia through those kid activities was perfect. Being able to hang out with my friend multiple times and introduce our little families was SO AWESOME, and that was definitely, DEFINITELY, a highlight to the trip.
We left Sydney for New Zealand, but returned a couple weeks later, staying at a place in Coogee Beach. I’ll get to all that as soon as I can gather and edit some photos 🙂
If you have a toddler/children and are going to spend some time in downtown Sydney, here are is a list of a few places that might be of interest to you, in no particular order:
- Taronga Zoo (complete with ferry ride to the zoo!)
- Sydney Aquarium (and more at Darling Harbour)
- Australian Museum
- Powerhouse Museum
- Luna Park
- Sydney Opera House (walk around, go on a tour, or go to a show)
- Botanical Garden
Also to note:
- If you have children in car seats, they must be in a car seat to ride in a vehicle. Taxis with car seats are readily available!
- There are Parent Rooms (for changing diapers, feeding, potty, etc.) all over the place – airports, parks, stores – which was really great to have available.