Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Four Bucket List Destinations Worth Saving Up For

Four Bucket List Destinations Worth Saving Up For

Travel is expensive. There, I’ve stated the obvious. It costs a lot of money to travel around the world, particularly when you’re based in Australia and faced with expensive flights and exchange rates that are usually not in my favour as an Australian.

While I’ve talked in the past about ways I save money to travel more, the best way to afford to travel is really to cut back on things you don’t need and put the money away for what you really want – such as a holiday to one of these incredible locations. Have a look at these gorgeous spots that I love, and then get some info on how you can slowly pay off your dream holiday with Layway Travel.

Disney Aulani Resort & Spa via christineknight.me

Hawaii
We’ve been to Hawaii four times over the years and are planning our fifth trip because we love it so much. The islands of Hawaii are warm, welcoming and relaxing. We love to swim and laze the days away (our hotel of choice is Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, because of it’s incredible facilities and quiet location).

Observations on living in New York christineknight.me

New York
The Big Apple has a big piece of our hearts after living there for almost four years. It’s a vibrant, exciting place to visit and there’s so much to do! From museums to art galleries, incredible food (hello cupcakes!) incredible shopping and the most gorgeous carousels I’ve ever seen, it’s impossible to ever be bored in New York.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

Singapore
An easy flight from Sydney, Singapore is a great place for a warm family vacation. Kids will adore the futuristic Gardens by the Bay, the beaches on Sentosa and trying hand cut noodles in Chinatown, as well as Universal Studios, the incredible S.E.A Aquarium and the brand new ArtScience museum.

Wat Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Thailand
We absolutely adored the temples in Chiang Mai and the laid back beaches of Phuket. Families in particular will love the beach-front resorts Phuket has to offer as well as the natural beauty nearby. The days in Phuket fly by with a combination of resort relaxing and pool-time play, and exploring local treasures such as Phang Nga Bay. An added bonus – the Australian dollar is strong in Thailand so your money goes further.

How can you make your dream holiday happen?

When you book through Layway Travel, your entire trip, including flights, accommodation and transfers are included in the total price, you can also ad on extra for spending money when you get there! Simply select the variables such as destination, number of people and room type and you will see the payment schedule, broken down into weekly, fortnightly and monthly instalments depending on length of the layby. Choose your layby payment period from 3 to 24 months, start date and book on the spot.

Layway Travel get wholesale prices from their vendors so you pay a great rate, and can start paying off your dream holiday from only a few dollars a day.

What are you waiting for? Where are you headed next?

This post was produced in conjunction with Layway Travel.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids #sanfrancisco
San Francisco is a town with many faces and a long, fascinating history. Originally a Spanish mission and pueblo, it joined the United States in 1846, and became a thriving city with the Gold Rush in 1848. San Francisco is known for its diversity and tolerance. While it’s no longer the hippy city famous for the 1967 “Summer of Love”, it’s still a place where activism is part of the culture, particularly gay and women’s rights. Walking the streets of San Francisco is a stroll back through time to historic moments in history that gained media attention worldwide.

Today, San Francisco is also a hotbed for the tech industry, so it’s not surprising that the city boasts numerous science and cultural centres both in the city and outlying suburbs. When visiting San Francisco with kids, you’ll be spoiled for choice with activities everyone will enjoy. From incredible museums and kid-friendly galleries to lush parks and innovative playgrounds, San Francisco is a city that welcomes families with open arms.

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids

Downtown San Francisco
The heart of San Francisco, Downtown/Union Square is the busiest part of town. Filled with restaurants, shops and hotels the constant stream of people in the area makes downtown an assault on the senses (and the wallet!).

Union Square, San Francisco

Union Square
A busy plaza that was set aside for public use by the city’s first mayor in 1849, Union Square is in the heart of the shopping district of San Francisco. We love the public art and kids adore the Disney Store (39 Stockton St, San Francisco) where upstairs they can watch Disney videos and colour in and the Lego Store (Westfield San Francisco Centre, 865 Market St C41, San Francisco) which has various Lego stations set up for free play.

Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets

SF MOMA, San Francisco

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Give kids an early education in modern art at SFMOMA. Head to level five to explore the Oculus bridge, sculpture garden, kid-friendly cafe and eye-popping Pop Art. Our fave was
Richard Serra’s Sequence sculpture on Floor 1 in the Atrium, which is kind of like a labyrinth. Best of all it’s free to enter off the street and explore. Kids under 18 are free to enter the SFMOMA.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 3rd St, San Francisco
sfmoma.org

Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Yerba Buena Gardens
An oasis in the heart of busy downtown San Francisco, Yerba Buena Gardens is a place to find culture and green space. Galleries, museums and cafes frame landscaped lawns with a stunning waterfall at the back, a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the warmer months, free performances are held in the park.

Children's Creativity Museum, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Also housed in the park are the Children’s Garden, play circle and Children’s Creativity Museum, an ice skating rink, bowling and the historic Leroy King Carousel, built in 1906.

Children's Garden, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

The Children’s Garden, located on the top of the Moscone Center, features a sand play area, water play, several climbing structures and slides.

Yerba Buena Gardens
750 Howard St, San Francisco

yerbabuenagardens.com

Children's Creativity Museum, San Francisco

Children’s Creativity Museum
Children’s Creativity Museum is a hands-on, multimedia arts and technology museum for kids of all ages. Little kids will enjoy the lower level, filled with hands-on activities that including building, shaping and dressing up. Older kids will enjoy the singing studio, animation studio, tech lab where they can program robots, and the innovation lab that encourages curious minds to solve problems. It’s impossible to leave the museum without taking a ride on the Leroy King Carousel outside.
Read more about our experience here.

Children’s Creativity Museum
221 Fourth St. San Francisco, CA
creativity.org

Lombard St, San Francisco

Lombard Street
This topsy-turvey street is like something out of a Dr Seuss book. Lombard Street is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns past beautiful Victorian mansions. Be warned, kids will want to bolt down at high speed.

Lombard Street, San Francisco

sftodo.com

Painted Ladies, San Francisco

The Painted Ladies
This postcard-perfect row of houses is located on Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park. While this particular row of houses is known as the “Painted Ladies”, the term actually refers to any set of Victorian or Edwardian houses that use three or more colours to show off the detailing of their architectural design. Over 48,000 houses were built in this stye between 1849 and 1915, with the famous seven constructed between 1892 and 1896.

Alamo Square, across the street from the Painted Ladies is prime viewing position as well as the perfect location for a picnic. It also has a gated playground that will occupy kids.

Painted Ladies
710 to 720 Steiner St, San Francisco

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf 
This is considered the “touristy” part of town, but I think it’s worth a visit as it’s right next to the aquarium and has a few fun things for kids to see.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me Visit the California sea lions at Pier 39, where several hundred sea lions like to doze in the sun (be warned, they smell and are very loud!).

Eat at Boudin’s Bakery, home of the most delicious sourdough bread. This is their flagship location.

Ghiradelli Square, San Francisco

Dine and shop at Ghirardelli Square. Formerly headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, the factory was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is now a retail and restaurant complex. On the lower floors of the Clock Tower you’ll find the Ghirardelli chocolate shop.

Fisherman’s Wharf
fishermanswharf.org

Aquarium by the Bay, San Francisco

Aquarium of the Bay
This little aquarium has over 20,000 marine animals to visit. With a focus on conservation, kids will learn a lot about taking care of our water and the animals within, while getting up close to exotic and local aquatic life. Highlights include 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels with marine animals from San Francisco Bay and nearby waters and Touch the Bay, featuring touch pools with sharks, rays and sea stars. Our fave exhibit was the feisty river otters. It’s a small aquarium and we were in and out in under an hour.

Aquarium of the Bay
2 Beach St, San Francisco, CA
aquariumofthebay.org

Alcatraz via christineknight.me

Alcatraz Island
A very popular day trip, Alcatraz Island is located 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco. A visit to Alcatraz offers a close-up look at the site of the first lighthouse and US built fort on the West Coast as well as the infamous federal jail.

As well as being steeped in history, the Rock is also home to tide pools, bird colonies and stunning views of San Francisco Bay. Wear very comfortable shoes, bring a light jacket no matter how warm the day begins, and be sure to book your tickets well in advance.

Buy tickets for the cruise across to Alcatraz online.
Ferries depart from Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33.

Alcatraz Island
nps.gov/alca

Embarcadero
The Embarcadero is the eastern waterfront of San Francisco.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Cupid’s Span
Kids absolutely love this sculpture by artist Coosje van Bruggen on the Embarcadero along San Francisco Bay. The art work was inspired by San Francisco’s reputation as the home port of Eros.

Exploratorium science museum, San Francisco

The Exploratorium
More than a museum, the Exploratorium is a hands-on laboratory designed to help visitors learn about the world through science, art, and human experience. A heavy focus on science will engage curious minds for hours. The Exploratorium is divided into six main galleries, with each one focused on a different area of exploration. Our favourite exhibits included a hurricane maker, spiral drawing creation and light play. Be prepared to spend the whole day tinkering, exploring and learning about how the world works.

The Exploratorium
Pier 15, The Embarcadero & Green St., San Francisco
exploratorium.edu

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Golden Gate Park
You could easily spend a week just exploring everything Golden Gate Park has to offer. This 1,017 acre urban park is open to the public for free (however there is an entrance cost for some of the attractions). Be sure to check out the American bison who have happily lived in the park since the 1890s.

Other attractions of note include Golden Gate Park Aquarium, Strawberry Hill (where you’ll find a waterfall and gorgeous views), Koret Children’s Quarter with its new and improved playground, Japanese Tea Garden, Carousel, windmill and tulips and the California Academy of Science.

Golden Gate Park
goldengatepark.com

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Japanese Tea Garden
The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States is a fun place to explore. Kids can discover giant koi carp in ponds, climb the steep drum bridge and search for serenity at the zen garden.

Japanese Tea Garden
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco
japaneseteagardensf.com

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground
In the southeast corner of Golden Gate Park you’ll find a fantastic playground filled with climbing structures for all ages, a sand pit, slide and sea-themed structures for bringing imaginations to life. The playground opened in 1888 as the Sharon Quarters for Children, and is thought to have been the nation’s first public playground. It was a groundbreaking idea for the time, to have an area dedicated to children’s play.

The playground was renovated and reopened in 2007 as the Koret Children’s Quarter with new features including the climbing wall shaped like waves and a rope climbing structure. The historic concrete slide remains as a remnant of the original playground.

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Also located in the Koret Children’s Quarter is the Herschell-Spillman Carousel, the last of three carousels to be housed near this location. It was built in 1914 and, after operating at amusement parks in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, was installed in Golden Gate park in 1940. The carousel features 62 colourful animals including a camel, dragon, cat, ostrich, horses, dogs and roosters.

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground
Martin Luther King, Jr and Bowling Green Dr, San Francisco

De Young Museum, San Francisco

de Young Fine Arts Museum
Kids will love running around the sculpture garden which is free for the public to enter and the extremely kid-friendly cafe. The museum, located in Golden Gate Park, also offers families hands-on art making activities designed by the Museums’ artist-in-residence.

de Young Fine Arts Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco
https://deyoung.famsf.org

California Academy of Science, San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum in that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens – 40,000 of them live. Inside the one building is an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and rainforest – all under one living roof (literally – the roof is alive!).

The Academy has plenty of hands-on exhibits and activities for kids to explore. Our favourites were the Shake House section of the Earthquake exhibit where kids can experience what it would feel like to be on top of an earthquake, the aquarium with its immersive glass tunnels, the dinosaur in the foyer, and the rainforest with live butterflies and birds.
Read more about our experience here.
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco
calacademy.org

The Mission
The centre of Latin culture in San Francisco, the Mission is an eclectic and hip neighbourhood in San Francisco. Mission Dolores, the oldest original intact mission in California and the oldest standing building in San Francisco, is located in the northwest of the area.

The Mission, San Francisco
Street Art

The Mission District is full of vibrant murals, particularly between 17th St. and 18th St., and Mission St. and Valencia St. Our fave was on the Women’s Building, a women-led non-profit arts and education community center at 18th Street.

Paxton Gates Curiosities, San Francisco

Paxton Gate Curiosities
A whimsical store where you’ll find a wide range of creative, educational and interactive toys, games and projects for children.

Paxton Gate Curiosities
766 Valencia St, San Francisco
paxtongate.com/curiosities

Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco
Bi-Rite Creamery
Delicious ice cream, hand-made in small batches in flavours such as the extremely popular salted caramel. Take your ice cream to go and eat it on the benches outside (there is an additional “eat in” tax if you stay inside!).

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St, San Francisco
biritecreamery.com

Tartine Bakery, San Francisco

Tartine Bakery
A bakery famous for their pastries and cakes. There is often a long wait to buy treats, but on the day we went there was no queue at all.

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco
tartinebakery.com

Mission Delores Park, San Francisco, USA
Mission Delores Park

This lush, 16-acre green park lies in the vibrant Mission District. Located two blocks south of Mission Dolores at the western edge of the Mission District. You’ll find sprawling lawns, shady trees, a soccer field, six tennis courts, one basketball court, a multi-use court, a playground, and two off-leash dog play areas.

Mission Delores Park, San Francisco, USA

Helen Diller Playground
The newly renovated Helen Diller Playground inside Mission Delores Park contains seperate play areas for preschoolers (kids aged 2-5) and school ages (kids aged 5-12), plus a sand garden, wooden climbing structure, shipwrecked boat, nets and stones for climbing and swings, plus a 45-foot long super slide. The park has bathrooms and water drinking fountains.

Mission Delores Park
Dolores St & 19th St, San Francisco

Mile Rock Beach, San Francisco

Coastal Trail to Sutra Baths
We started the trail at Lands End, behind the Legion of Honor Museum. The trail goes along the headland to Mile Rock Beach, Lands End Viewpoint and Labyrinth, to Sutro Baths.

Labrynth,Land's End, San Francisco

Part of a much longer trail, we found this section to be easy to do with a child in tow at about 2km in length in one direction, not including the detours to each look out, and included plenty for her to enjoy.

Sutro Baths, San Francisco

Take plenty of water for the trail, and enjoy a late lunch at the end of the trail at either the historic (and slightly pricier) Cliff House or Louis’ Cafe (a traditional American Diner).

Legion of Honor
100 34th Ave, San Francisco
legionofhonor.famsf.org

Sutro Baths
1004 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco
nps.gov

Marina District

Palace of Fine Arts
While the Palace of Fine Arts is actually home to art exhibitions, visitors also go to enjoy the beautiful structure (originally built in 1915), walkways and lagoon. The palace is iconic in San Francisco, and is a popular destination for family and wedding photos. Kids will particularly enjoy spotting the swans who live in the lagoons. Bonus: it’s free to walk around the grounds.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA
palaceoffinearts.org

Crissy Field, San Francisco

San Francisco Beaches
You’ve got to be pretty tough to swim at the beach in San Francisco but they do have fantastic views of Golden Gate Bridge, and provide ample space for kids to run around on, splashing in the waves and digging in the sand. Dip tiny toes in the Pacific Ocean at Crissy Field, Baker Beach and China Beach, three beaches in San Francisco city.

Crissy Beach is the easiest to access: an 100-acre shoreline park and restored marshland along the Bay, you can reach it by strolling alone the shorelines from Fisherman’s Wharf.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Golden Gate Bridge
And lastly … don’t forget to check out Golden Gate Bridge. While the bridge can be seen from Alcatraz and various points on around San Francisco Bay, my favourite place to photograph it is Battery Spencer, on the Marin Headland just north of the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

You can also get fantastic views from Crissy Field and any areas on the coast line in the marina and Presidio areas, and at Lands End.

If you have enough energy, hire bikes from Fisherman’s Wharf and bike over the bridge into Sausalito, then catch the ferry back to the wharf. We used Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals, who have plenty of options for kids including kids bikes, trailers, tag-a-longs and baby seats.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

How to get around
The Cable Car is fun but expensive ($7 per person a ride, $21 for a day pass) and limiting in the directions it goes in, as well as slow due to the wait for a ride. You can also use the Muni Public Transport System. We found it easiest to walk and use Uber. When requesting an Uber, it costs $10 extra to request a car seat for kids up to 48 lbs. or 52 inches.

San Francisco Cable Car

San Francisco Cable Cars
It’s a must to ride the last of the world’s manually operated cable cars. There are three San Francisco Cable Car lines, each going to a different location: the Powell-Hyde Line, the Powell-Mason Line and the California Line.

The Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason lines both begin at Market Street and stop at Union Square. The Powell-Hyde Line ends near Ghiradelli Square, and the Powell-Mason Line ends at Bay Street in Fisherman’s Wharf. The California Street Line runs east-west from Van Ness Avenue to the Financial District. Maps and stops here.

Note: the cable cars are NOT accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. If you bring a collapsable stroller, as the conductor if there is room before boarding – there may not be space to place it onboard.

Riders can board at the beginning/end of each route or anywhere along the routes where you see the brown and white stop sign. The cable cars are cash only – pay the conductor directly when you board, or buy a 1-day Visitor Passport before boarding if you’re planning to take more than three rides in a car ($7 per person for a single ride, $21 for a 1-Day Passport). More information on fares.

We found the cable cars to be fun but they’re so popular that it can be a long wait (30 minutes or longer) to get on board, so I would suggest taking a ride on one in one direction for the experience, but then catching an Uber back as they’re faster and cheaper, particularly if there are several people in your party. (an Uber from Fisherman’s Wharf to our hotel in downtown cost $15).

Exploratorium science museum, San Francisco

CityPASS
We used the San Francisco CityPASS to save money on visiting attractions. The $89 adult/$66 child pass (ages 5-11) includes Cable Car and Muni Bus Passport,entry to the California Academy of Sciences, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, Aquarium of the Bay and entry to either the Exploratorium or de Young Museum.

The regular pricing for adult entry to these is: Cable Car/Muni pass $32, California Academy of Science $35.95, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure $31, Aquarium of the Bay $24.95, Exploratorium $29.95, de Young Museum $15 = $153.85. If you’re like me and want to see and do everything, this is a massive money saver.

You can also do what we did and substitute our Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure for tickets to Alcatraz. Read the instructions here carefully regarding purchasing your CityPASS if you want to do the same.
citypass.com

Sutro Baths, San Francisco

What to pack
San Francisco has unpredictable weather all year round. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 14°C (57°F) and the coldest is January at 10°C (50°F). No matter what time of year you visit I recommend jeans, comfortable sneakers and several layers such as a tee, light sweater and jacket. Even in summer you will find yourself wearing a jacket and scarf. It can also get hot in summer, so be sure to pack light layers, sunscreen and a hat.

What to tip
While tipping isn’t mandatory it’s an intrenched part of American culture and is deemed extremely bad form not to tip. A 10% tip is the absolute minimum and usually indicates bad service. If you’ve received good service, 15% is the norm. Tip hotel porters $1 per bag carried and leave $2-$3 USD per day in your hotel room to tip service staff. I prefer to leave the money daily rather than a tip at the end as there are different staff who service the room each day.

The View, Marriott Marquais, San Francisco

Where to stay
We stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis this time, located on Mission St, near Union Square. The location is fantastic for a stay in San Francisco; all the major shops, restaurants and amenities like grocery stores all a few blocks away. Be warned however about hidden charges at this hotel – $100 a week for internet and $15 per packaged delivered. We did enjoy The View bar and lounge inside the hotel is open from 4pm and has them most incredible views over the city, as well as being super kid-friendly.

San Francisco Marriott Marquis
780 Mission St, San Francisco
Find the best prices and book online.

Other popular places to stay include Fisherman’s Wharf, which I find too touristy and out of the way apart from a few attractions, and Nob Hill, which is nicer than downtown, but means a lot of walking up and down the steep hill it’s located on or catching a lot of cable cars.

Find, compare and book your hotel in San Francisco online.

Thank you to CityPASS for the complimentary passes to explore San Francisco. They are a genuine money saver and we will use them again in other cities we visit. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book through my website I will receive a small commission from the vendor at no extra cost to you.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

For a slice of luxury in historic Rocks district, you can’t go past the The Langham, Sydney. A few blocks removed from the hustle and bustle of the CBD streets, The Langham feels like a peaceful world unto itself, with luxurious furnishings, elegant rooms and attentive staff.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

The Langham Sydney is a renowned 5-star hotel. It used to be called the Observatory Hotel before it was bought by the Langham brand. A recent refurbishment has resulted in luxury, opulence and chic elegance.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

While the hotel is incredible quiet, it’s only 1.5 km from the Queen Victoria Building and 1.9 km from the Sydney Opera House, making it a fantastic location for a Sydney stay.

The Langham Sydney is a smaller hotel with only three floors. Each sophisticated room or suite is massive by regular room standards. Suites add living areas, and upgraded suites add kitchenettes, dining areas or bars. Some of the rooms have private terraces or balconies.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

All of the deluxe rooms fit up to three people. We chose the cheapest room available for our stay which was a “City View” room, with an option of two double beds or one king bed.

Each room at The Langham Sydney features excellent air conditioning and free Wi-Fi, a flatscreen TV, wardrobe with a safe, iron, and ironing board, refrigerated private bar, Espresso machine plus tea, and coffee making facilities. 24-hour room service is available with a decent range of options. Valet parking is available for $50 a night.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

If you decide to dine in, there is a restaurant downstairs, but if you step outside the hotel there are lots of options a few metres down the road, or a little further into the Rocks area.

Other facilities in the hotel available to guests include a stunning indoor heated pool, a fitness centre and a tennis court.

While we have stayed at The Langham previously as a couple, it was our first time staying as a family. We loved all the kid-friendly features of the hotel that we had never noticed before.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

The lolly buffet at reception was popular with kids and adults alike.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

In our room, we found a giant freckle chocolate and a complementary orange juice.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

A kids welcome pack was left for Cheese, which included a kid-sized robe and slippers to use, and a back pack and badge for her to keep.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

If you love high tea (like I do!) then I would suggest booking into the hotel for an afternoon tea.

Hotel Review: The Langham Sydney, Australia

The Langham continues to impress. It will continue to be our go-to hotel in Sydney.

The Langham Sydney
89-113 Kent St,Millers Point,
Sydney
(02) 9256 2222
Book online

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book the hotel through my link I will be paid a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my website.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Sydney School Holiday Activities: Thai-riffic! at the Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre

Sydney School Holiday Activities: Thai-riffic! at the Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre

The Sydney winter school holidays are always the hardest holidays to entertain kids. With a strong possibility of cold days needing to be spent indoors, I always recommend families book into at least one activity where possible so there is a guarantee of a fun day out where no one is freezing.

During the Sydney June school holidays, I highly suggest taking kids to see Thai-riffic! presented by Monkey Baa Theatre Company. The show is an adaptation of the Oliver Phommavanh book by the same name.

Sydney School Holiday Activities: Thai-riffic! at the Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre

The show faithfully brings the beloved Thai-riffic! book to life, along with the humour and pathos that made the book a classic story of growing up and trying to fit in.

Thai-riffic! is very much a tale of the challenges many kids face when growing up: the search for acceptance, struggling with cultural identity and learning to love yourself for who you really are.

Sick of being his father’s curry guinea pig, Lengy longs to eat pizza and transform his image from the kid who lives in a Thai restaurant to a cool and popular Aussie teen.

At school, Lengy tries to hide his Thai background in order to fit in. However he finds that his past can’t be escaped when his teacher sets a group assignment that focuses on culture, and Lengy’s best friend decides to become Thai for a day for the project! Through a series of hilarious incidents Lengy comes to the realisation that being Thai is actually pretty awesome after all.

Thai-riffic!, a production by The Theatre Division is presented by Monkey Baa Theatre Company at the fully accessible Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre.

Monkey Baa are Australia’s widest-reaching touring company, having conducted over 25 national tours to 135 regional and remote communities across every state and territory of Australia, 3 international tours and over 2,500 performances, and engaged with 1.3 million young people.

Make a day of it
Monkey Baa usually has free craft activities and books inside the foyer for kids to enjoy prior to the show.

You can also get lunch at a nearby cafe or bring your own to picnic on the grass if the day is fine.

A Day In The Darling Quarter #darlingharbour #Sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Darling Quarter Playground is right outside the theatre, a great spot for kids of all ages although it can get very busy so keep a close eye on kids.

Getting there
Catch the train to Town Hall and walk down to the theatre or, if you’re driving, park at the Darling Quarter Car Park (weekend rates are excellent).

Thai-Riffic!
Dates: 4 – 8 July, 2017
Times: 10.30am & 12.30pm
Relaxed performance: Thursday 6 July, 12.30pm
Suitable for ages 7 – 14
Duration 60 minutes
Tickets (no booking fees) $29 (adult/child), $104 (family of four), $125 (family of five) $19 (relaxed performance)
monkeybaa.com.au/shows/thai-riffic

This post is a collaboration with Monkey Baa. All opinions are my own. I genuinely love attending shows at Monkey Baa and always find them to be the highest quality and really entertaining.

 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Vivid at Taronga Zoo 2017, Sydney

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Vivid at Taronga Zoo is back! One of our fave family nights of the year, it’s also our top pick for taking kids to see to see the lights at the annual Vivid festival of lights in Sydney.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

While you do pay an entrance fee for Vivid at Taronga Zoo, the timed and ticked sessions mean that the crowds are way less and it’s much better managed than the other areas of the festival.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

In line with Taronga Zoo’s focus on conservation, this year’s light show, “Lights for the Wild”, aims to entertain, but also educate the public on 10 of the special animals they are trying to save from extinction in the next 10 years. Each light installation and sculpture tells an important story about conservation.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

“Lights for the Wild” is a spectacularly interactive and immersive event. The sculptures have been especially designed to interact with a state-of-the-art wristband worn by visitors, making for a very special evening where you can become the light the wild needs (more on the wristbands below).

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Our favourites this year included the new buzzing bees, the chameleon from last year that now is even more interactive (you can use your wrist band to activate it!) and a giant interactive Port Jackson Shark that “swallowed” us.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Everything you need to know about Vivid at Taronga Zoo 2017

Getting there
While you can catch the ferry, we prefer to drive and park there for $9 after 4pm. We never have any problems finding parking or with traffic either getting there or going back home again.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Pick your session
There are two sessions each night: the more kid-friendly 5:30pm-7:30pm slot and 7:30pm-9:30pm.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Buy tickets in advance
Buy your tickets from the Taronga Zoo website.
Prices: Adult $21.95 + booking fee, Child (4-15 years) $16.95 + booking fee, Child (under 4) are free.

A limited number of Blue Pass tickets are available each night and include a round trip on the Sky Safari. The Blue Passes cost the same as the regular tickets so I suggest getting them if possible. The Sky Safari DOES NOT STOP, it runs along a loop from the top of the pack back to where it started from.

While I saw a lot of people heading straight to the sky safari when they entered, I suggest seeing the other lights first to get ahead of the crowds, and taking the Sky Safari last before you go home when there is no queue.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Make a day of it
If you plan to visit the Zoo during the day before your evening Vivid outing, either buy the tickets online in advance at the same time as your Vivid tickets, or you can buy your Zoo day entry tickets at the Zoo ticket desk on arrival to enjoy a 30% discount off General Admission prices*

Please note: Taronga Zoo closes at 4.30pm and Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo commences at 5.30pm. If you are staying on you will be asked to come up to the main entry plaza to get ready for the beginning of your Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo experience. There is a cafe in the main entry plaza and plenty for the kids to enjoy while you’re waiting for the Vivid lights to turn on.

The Zoo Admission ticket is only valid for use on the same day as your Vivid ticket.

Pack food
While there are cafes open with basic food if you don’t have time to do this, we always like to bring our own.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Get there early
This is really my mantra for anything we go to! Arrive well before the lights go on at 5:30pm so you get in ahead of most of the people in your timed session. The lights are projected onto the entrance well before 5:30pm so if you arrive early you can watch this screening and then head through, check out the sculptures that are placed before the ticketed gate, and be first in line when 5:30pm strikes and the doors open.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Watch the show at the entrance
The front entry wall has a spectacular light show projected onto it that many of the kids say is always the highlight of their evening. We often watch the show at the beginning before heading in, and then linger longer as we are existing. The wall comes to life with animals and colour, all moving over the entrance gates. Well worth watching the entire show cycle through at least once.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Collect your wrist band
This year, all visitors get a very high tech wristband that changes colour over the course of the light trail through the zoo. When you approach sculptures the colour on the wristband changes.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Follow the trail
The trail winds throughout Taronga Zoo on a circular path. It is completely stroller and wheelchair accessible. The multimedia light sculptures are dotted along the path.

Vivid at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia

Recycle Your Wristband
The interactive wristbands are recyclable, but they need to be sent to a specific facility for this to happen. On your way out, drop your wristband into the dedicated bin in the top plaza (the location can be found on the Vivid map). Wristbands are free to all paid ticket holders. Additional wristbands can be bought on site for $5 each.

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The light trail takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete. The whole trail is extremely stroller and wheelchair accessible.

There are family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible bathrooms available for use at the entrance at throughout the trail (please check the map).

Catch Vivid at Taronga Zoo from May 26th to June 17, 2017.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Canberra Australia With Kids

Australia’s capital city is pretty much a playground for kids to engage in art, history and nature. You won’t be short on ways to spend a fun (and educational!) few days in Canberra with kids.

Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) is the national art museum of Australia and is home to than 166,000 works of art, including over 7500 works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We particularly enjoyed the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works including a lovely Waterlillies by Claude Monet and one of Degas’ exquisite sculptures of a dancer, and the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

Outside, in the grounds surrounding the NGA, are 26 sculptures on display by both Australian and International artists. It’s an extremely pleasurable experience to walk through the bush discovering these incredible works of art, and also a very easy way to introduce kids to art if you’re a bit nervous of taking them inside a gallery with their sticky hands.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

The NGA often has dedicated sections for children to engage in the arts. Check their website closer to your visit to see what they are currently offering.

Get more info HERE.

National Gallery Australia
Parkes Pl E, Parkes
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: Free
nga.gov.au
Parking: Free underneath the gallery on weekends.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia
Questacon National Science and Technology Centre

Questacon has been THE place to take kids to learn about science since I was a kid myself and it’s amazing how over the years it’s changed but kept the same wonderful focus on engaging kids in science and technology.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Questacon is filled with more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology. There’s plenty of hands-on fun to be had, from robots to slides, simulated earthquakes and science experiments.

Get more info HERE.

Questacon
King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm including holidays. Closed 25 December.
Prices: Adult $23.00, Concession $17.50, Child (4 – 16 years) $17.50, Child (Under 4 years) Free, Family (2 Adults + 3 Children) $70.00 ($8.00 for each additional child)
questacon.edu.au

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Parliament House
Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. The building was opened on 9 May 1988 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The distinctive grass ramps on the sides recreate the shape of Capital Hill before Parliament House was constructed. They’re a lot of fun to run up and roll back down again!

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Of the 4,700 rooms in Parliament House, many are are open to the public. It’s incredibly easy to just turn up at any time and visit Parliament House – no booking or tours are required. There is a short queue to get through a brief security check, and then you’re on your own to discover the house. Be sure to take the elevator to the roof for an incredible view.

Get more info HERE.

Parliament House
Parliament Drive, Canberra
Hours: Parliament House is open every day except Christmas Day.
Non-sitting days 9am-5pm, sitting days Monday-Thursday 9am-6pm
Prices: Free
aph.gov.au/Visit_Parliament

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

National Arboretum Canberra
The National Arboretum Canberra is one of the world’s largest living collections of rare, endangered and significant trees. With over 44,000 trees from over 100 countries are growing across the huge 250 hectare (618 acre) site, it’s a place to visit to to feel at one with nature and enjoy discovering trees from around Australia and the world.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

Its easy to drive into the Aboretum and up to the visitor’s centre where there is a cafe, incredible Pod Playground (more on that on that HERE) and maps to the various sections and sculptures. You can walk around the Aboretum, from feature to feature, if you have the time and legs that enjoy walking. If you have a little one in tow you will find driving between the significant features much easier and quicker. Make sure to visit the ‘Nest III’ and ‘Wide Brown Land’ sculptures before you leave.

Get more info HERE.

National Aboretum Canberra
Forest Dr, Canberra City
Hours: The Arboretum grounds and Pod Playground are open daily from 6am to 8:30pm during Daylight Savings Time and from 7am to 5:30pm during Eastern Standard Time (Non-daylight Savings Time).
Prices: Free entry
nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Old Parliament House
A visit to Canberra is a journey through our nation’s past. It’s impossible to visit Australia’s Capital City without recognising where we’ve come from and, also, where we’re going. An important place to make a stop to learn about our past is Old Parliament House, the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House has incredible programs for families all-year round as they are is committed to engaging families and young people in conversations about democracy and their voices in it. From free Family Action Packs to the PLAY UP and DRESS UP sections designed specifically for kids, there is plenty to engage little ones at the House.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

We particularly loved the outdoor rose gardens, which are free to visit and a beautiful spot to scoot through or have a picnic.

Get more info HERE.

Old Parliament House
18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: $2 adults, $1 children (free for children under 5 years old) and concessions, $5 family
The Old Parliament House Gardens are open to the public year round: Summer hours (during daylight savings): 7am to 8pm, Winter hours: 7am to 5pm. Entry to the gardens is free.
https://moadoph.gov.au/

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is Australia’s national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving Australia.

Australian War Memorial
Kids Story Time, Hands on History and Craft Public Programs, 7/10/2016

The Memorial caters to children, aiming to educate and engage them in history through story time, museum theatre shows, family tours, holiday workshops and drop in craft. A Discovery Zone has been set up as an educational space for visiting school groups (and the public on certain days and times), featuring five environments inspired by Australia’s military history.

Get more info HERE.

The Australian War Memorial
Treloar Cres, Campbell
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm daily. Closed Christmas Day.
Prices: Free
https://www.awm.gov.au
Additional image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Lake Burley Griffin
This ornamental lake was built in the centre of Canberra and is the perfect spot to scoot or ride a bike around, stop for a picnic and meet the wild swans and ducks. In autumn the leaves around the lake are stunning.

Australian Institute of Sport
Photo courtesy of http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Australian Institute of Sport
A guided tour is the only way to go behind the scenes at Australia’s premier elite sports precinct. As well as getting an overview of what goes on at the Australian Institute of Sport (and possibly seeing some of Australia’s top athletes in training), all tours include a visit to Sportex, an interactive sports exhibit. Guided public tours depart daily from the AIS Visitor Centre at 10am, 11:30, 1pm and 2:30pm and go for 90 minutes. Bookings are not required.

Australian Institute of Sport

Leverrier Street, Bruce
Hours: Tours Desk is open Monday to Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm, Weekends and public holidays 10am-4pm.
Prices: Adults $19.50, Children (5 – 17 years) $11.50, Student/Seniors $14.50, Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) $55.
http://www.experienceais.com/

Cockington Green Gardens
Photo courtesy of http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Cockington Green Gardens
Cockington Green Gardens is a park of miniatures set in beautifully landscaped gardens. This family-owned and operated attraction has been running for over the past 35 years. Take a look at the highly detailed miniature versions of popular attractions around the world on a stroll through these delightful gardens.

Cockington Green Gardens

11 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm
Prices: Adults $19.50, Seniors $14.50, Children (4-16 years) $11.50, Family $56 (2 adults & up to 3 children) Extra children with family $5,
Miniature Steam Train Rides $3
cockingtongreen.com.au

3inFun Canberra Pass
If you’re planning to visit Cockington Green Gardens, Questacon and the Australian Institute of Sport, the 3inFun Canberra Pass offers a saving of 25% on the usual price plus a free return visit to one of the participating attractions.
http://www.3infun.com.au

Places To Eat in Canberra

Patissez, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Pâtissez
Home of the freak shake as well as delicious food, we highly recommend visiting one of Pâtissez two locations for brekkie and a shake.
http://www.patissez.com.au

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

Agostini’s
We discovered this new gem at the base of the East Hotel and loved it so much we ate there twice. An absolutely delicious family-friendly Italian restaurant.
6/4 Giles St, Griffith
http://www.agostinis.com.au

How To Get Around

I would advise driving in Canberra if you can either drive to the city in your own car, or hire one when you arrive. The attractions are far apart and the hotels are not within walking distance. If you don’t drive, there is a local bus service you can use. For more info: http://www.transport.act.gov.au

Where To Stay in Canberra

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

East Hotel
This boutique hotel is 2.3 km from Parliament House and 2.9 km from the National Gallery of Australia. The East Hotel is vibrant, contemporary, and very artsy, offering free bicycle rentals and dishing out lollies in reception.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

A big draw of the East Hotel, beyond the contemporary aesthetic, are the bright rooms that feature either kitchens or kitchenettes, balconies, free limited Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines. There are one and two-bedroom apartments that have full kitchens, and fantastic rooms for kids with bunk beds, bean bags and Xbox 360 video game consoles.

Get more info HERE.

East Hotel
69 Canberra Ave, Kingston ACT
Book your stay at the East Hotel

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Novotel Canberra
The Novotel Canberra is a 4 ½ star hotel with 286 rooms. It’s located 0.2km from the city centre, entertainment and retail precincts and 8km from the airport, making it a very central base for a Canberra stay.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Bring your swimmers to make the most out of their newly renovated indoor swimming pool. Kids will love the play space in the lobby and the awesome Angry Birds welcome pack.

Get more info HERE.

Novotel Canberra
65 Northbourne Ave, Canberra
Book your stay at the Novotel Canberra

Want even more info on things to do in Canberra with kids? Check out this list from the Kid Bucket List.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you book using my links. It will not cost you any extra. Thanks for supporting Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Canberra Travel Guide: Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

A must-visit in Canberra, the Australian War Memorial is Australia’s national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving Australia.

It’s a sobering visit that requires attention and time, and I would advise leaving aside the majority of a day to adequately explore its shrine, museum and garden.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Memorial’s purpose is to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war and to help visitors interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

Covered in detail are Colonial Conflicts, the First World War, the Second World War and
Conflicts 1945 to today, with halls dedicated to the Anzacs, aircraft and valour (distinguished service people). The stories are told through dioramas, artefacts, photographs and videos. It’s a confronting, emotional experience to walk through the halls and learn about the sacrifices made for future generations to live in peace.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Hall of Memory, set above the Pool of Reflection, is the heart of the Australian War Memorial. The walls surrounding the pool is the Cloisters, where the walls have been created as a Roll of Honour, inscribed with the names of 102,000 people who have given their lives in the service of this country. Inside hall lies the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, a place to stand still and contemplate all that’s past in the hopes of future peace.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

For a place of quiet contemplation, I suggest visiting The Memorial Sculpture Garden, located to the west of the main building.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

I would suggest timing your visit to co-incide with the closing of the Memorial to witness the beautiful farewell ceremony that is carried out daily. At the end of each day, at 4:55pm AEST, the Memorial farewells visitors with its moving Last Post Ceremony.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The ceremony begins with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by the poignant strains of a lament, played by a piper. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names etched on the Roll of Honour is told. The Ode is then recited, and the ceremony ends with the sounding of the Last Post. It is an incredibly moving experience.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

Visiting the Australian War Memorial with Kids

The Memorial caters to children, aiming to educate and engage them in history through story time, museum theatre shows, family tours, holiday workshops and drop in craft. A Discovery Zone has been set up as an educational space for visiting school groups, featuring five environments inspired by Australia’s military history: a trench on the Western Front in France from the First World War, the Australian home front during the Second World War,
an Iroquois helicopter hovering in a field in Vietnam, an Oberon Class submarine, searching for enemy targets and a peacekeeping mission in a war-ravaged community.

Australian War Memorial
Kids Story Time, Hands on History and Craft Public Programs, 7/10/2016

Children can climb, jump, crawl, touch and explore in all areas of the Discovery Zone. It’s open to the public from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on weekdays and all day during weekends, public holidays and ACT school holidays.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Australian War Memorial
Treloar Cres, Campbell
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm daily. Closed Christmas Day.
Prices: Free
https://www.awm.gov.au
Additional image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

12 Tips For Travelling with Kids

12 Tips For Travelling With Kids

When kids come along, it’s an adjustment in many, often unanticipated, ways. If you’re like us, a couple who loves to travel, there’s no reason why you can’t keep journeying around the world with your new sidekick in tow. A bit of planning (ok, a lot of planning), and these helpful tips will help make your next family holiday run smoothly.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Make lots of lists
Preparation is always the key! A few weeks before a big trip write down a list of everything that you need to buy, pack and prepare for your trip and categorise it according to the timeliness. It should include things like “empty the fridge”, “take out the garbage”, “buy batteries”, “charge cameras”, “put on mail hold” as well as a packing list. Check everything off and leave the house stress-free knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Check visa requirements
Do you need a visa to travel? Contact the consulate of the country you’re planning to visit well in advance. You might need to apply for an ESTA if you’re visiting the United States or an eTA if you’re heading to Canada. Don’t leave it to the last minute to apply. Visas can take months to organise.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Know your baggage limits
Check your baggage limits for each flight before packing, including the number of bags allowed and weight per bag. We have a portable luggage hand scale (like this one) that we keep in our suitcase to make sure we don’t get hit with excess baggage fees at the airport and always pack a foldable bag inside our luggage to bring home loot we accumulate.

Barcelona: Montserrat Day Trip via christineknight.me

Buy advance tickets to attractions online
Not only are many attractions cheaper if you buy them in advance, it also means you don’t risk spending hours queuing or miss out on seeing something entirely. Many tourist attractions are also cheaper see when you buy a combination city attraction pass that includes many of the top sights in a city. Even if you can’t buy your tickets online, at the very least double check the attraction is open on the day and time you’re planning to visit. For example, many museums are closed on certain week days, like Mondays or Tuesdays.

Barcelona, Spain Get travel vaccinations
Are your vaccinations up to date? Do you need additional vaccinations depending on the countries you’re visiting? Schedule an appointment with your doctor at least two months before your flight dates to get info on any destination-specific vaccines you and the kids might need. Find out more about vaccinations on the Australian Government website smartraveller.gov.au.

Buckingham Palace #London via christineknight.me Buy travel insurance
Absolutely never travel without insurance! Worst case scenarios can absolutely happen and you need to be protected in case of serious illness, accidents and bag loss or theft, plus if your trip is cancelled or postponed. Some policies cover dependent children and grandchildren without charging any extra, so check if your policy offers this benefit and, if so, what the conditions (if any) might be. Lastly, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully to make yourself aware of what is and isn’t covered. Get more info on travel insurance.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia Use the hotel concierge
Your hotel concierge will be a top source of information on your destination, so don’t be afraid to ask for their tips on where to eat and visit with kids.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Watch out for different safety standards
Stay vigilant when it comes to the different safety standards when travelling around the world, including child safety standards for pools, balconies, car seats and play equipment, which could be much laxer than they are in Australia.

Augusta, Margaret River, Western Australia

Read up in advance
Find family travel blogs on your destinations! I usually find that blogs, combined with the destination’s tourism sites, are the best way to find out what attractions are the best suited for kids, as well as finding out about hidden gems that are off the tourist path, like really great parks or playgrounds, kid-friendly eateries and events for families. A few of my fave family travel blogs for international destinations include Travel Babbo, y Travel Blog and Boy Eats World.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

Pack the essentials
We never leave home without: wipes (both baby and anti bacterial), sunscreen, mosquito repellant, children’s pain killers, empty refillable water bottles, a backpack (we use this one that folds into a small pouch), plastic bags like nappy sacs or doggy bags for emergencies, ziplock bags for half eaten food or snacks, kid headphones and universal power adaptors.

I also pack emergency medication for the whole family, including kiddie and adult Nurofen and Panadol (which are hard to find overseas), broad spectrum antibiotics, rehydration sachets, plus a medical kit for scrapes and cuts with disinfectant and wound dressings. We actually used these on our trip to Dubbo, in the photo below, when Cheese slipped on a log and took a giant chunk out of her leg.

Staying at the Zoofari Lodge, Taronga Western Plains Dubbo Zoo, Australia

Find out what your hotel includes
Some hotels charge extra for rollaway beds or crib hire. Rollaway beds in particular can also be rented on an “as available” basis rather than a guarantee and can attract a surcharge. Check with the hotel in advance and ensure there are enough beds for your whole family.

What To Pack When Flying With Kids

Prepare for flights
Read up on what you can take on board or check in as part of your free baggage allowance. The usual rule is that strollers, portacots and car seats can all be checked in for free, and car seats are usually allowed on board as additional carry on luggage. Check with your airline in advance, however, to confirm this is the case. You will also need to request a baby or child special meal in advance of your flight date, or have your travel agent do so at the time of booking. Travelling with a toddler? You might also want to try one of the new travel inflatable cushions to help your child lie down flat during overnight flights.

Ready to fly? Tell me where you’re heading to next!

Are you heading off soon on an adventure? Use this checklist to ensure your trip runs smoothly.

Not sure if travelling with kids is a good idea? Head this way to find out some great stories on adventurous families.

This blog post was produced in partnership with Westpac. All tips and opinions are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Canberra Travel Guide: Old Parliament House

Old Parliament House, ACT, Canberra

A visit to Canberra is a journey through our nation’s past. It’s impossible to visit Australia’s Capital City without recognising where we’ve come from and, also, where we’re going. It’s one of the best things about visiting IMHO. An important place to make a stop to learn about our past is Old Parliament House, known formerly as the Provisional Parliament House, was the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Old Parliament House is now a Museum of Australian Democracy, and an exciting place to visit to really get a feeling what life was like in politics during this period.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The house itself is a fine example of 1920s architecture and design, and the museum offer  a range of exhibitions and engaging activities which explain how the building, its spaces and objects connect us with Australian democracy.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

We visited on Easter Sunday when they were running a free Easter Egg hunt that involved an educational scavenger hunt through the house to find answers to clues, finishing up in the gardens with an Easter treat and free games. Such a fun way to spend a day.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House has incredible programs for families all-year round as they are is committed to engaging families and young people in conversations about democracy and their voices in it.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

If you’re bringing kids to Old Parliament House you needn’t worry they’ll be bored – there’s plenty for kids to keep them occupied.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

My favourite were the free Family Action Packs, available to borrow at the information desk. There are two packs to choose from: Stanley Action Pack and Press Gang Action Pack.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Stanley Action Pack takes kids outdoors and into the grounds of Old Parliament House in search of Stanley, the Superb Blue Wren, and his feathered friends. Kids receive a safari hat, binoculars, magnifying glasses, a notebook to observations of Stanley and his friends in the collaborative bird-watching journal, and modelling clay to make their own Stanley.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

 

Press Gang Action Pack sends kids hot on the heels of a breaking news story throughout the inside of Old parliament House. Step back in time to a world of typewriters and shorthand and catch a glimpse of what it was like to be a reporter inside at Old Parliament House.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Littlies will enjoy the PLAY UP section of the house, which is a hands-on space for kids to dress up, get creative and play. It’s an evolving space curated for, with and by children.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

 

Next door to PLAY UP is the DRESS UP space, where kids can discover the changing fashions of Democracy.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Outside, the Old Parliament House Gardens are a gorgeous spot for a picnic lunch, a wander among the roses or a scoot along the wide, flat paths. The gardens are located in the heart of the Parliamentary Zone on either side of Old Parliament House. They feature seating pavilions, pergolas, rose arbours, pathways, gateways, tennis courts and a bowling green.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Old Parliament House Gardens are comprised of two separate gardens: The House of Representatives Garden, which features the Ladies Rose Garden (Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses)and Macarthur Rose Garden (China, Tea and Noisette roses), and the Senate Garden, which is home to the Broinowski Rose Garden (Shrub roses) and Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden (Asian and European history of the rose, includes roses by Australian rose breeder Alister Clarke). 

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Old Parliament House
18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: $2 adults, $1 children (free for children under 5 years old) and concessions, $5 family
The Old Parliament House Gardens are open to the public year round: Summer hours (during daylight savings): 7am to 8pm, Winter hours: 7am to 5pm. Entry to the gardens is free.
https://moadoph.gov.au/

 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

ACT Travel Guide: National Arboretum Canberra

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia
The National Arboretum Canberra is one of the world’s largest living collections of rare, endangered and significant trees. With over 44,000 trees from over 100 countries are growing across the huge 250 hectare (618 acre) site, it’s a place to visit to to feel at one with nature and enjoy discovering trees from around Australia and the world.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

Its easy to drive into the Aboretum and up to the visitor’s centre where there is a cafe, incredible playground (more on that below) and maps. It’s very easy to walk around the Aboretum, from feature to feature, if you have the time and legs that enjoy walking. If you have a little one in tow you will find driving between the significant features much easier and quicker.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

The addition of sculptures to the National Aboretum has turned the collection of forests into an outdoor art gallery of sorts.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia
Of particular note are  ‘Nest III’ sculpture on Dairy Farmers Hill, a metal sculpture of an Australian wedge tail eagle on its nest that was created by Richard Moffatt in 2007, and the ‘Wide Brown Land’ sculpture near the Himalayan cedar forest.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia
The three words that make up the ‘Wide Brown Land’ sculpture come from the famous poem ‘My Country’, written by Dorothea Mackellar in 1908, when the poet was 22 years old and living in England, homesick for Australia.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia
As a side note, Mackeller became the first female writer to be honoured on UNESCO’s Australian Memory of the World Register when UNESCO included the manuscript of ‘My Country’ in the Register of Australian Literature in 2017. If you want to see the manuscript of My Country, it’s on display to the public at the State Library of NSW.

The sculpture was inspired by both Mackellar’s poem and handwriting, and created by Marcus Tatton, Futago Design Studios and Chris Viney in 2010. At  35 metres long and 3 metres high, it’s quite the sight to behold!

“Wide Brown land” comes from the second verse of the poem:

“The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!”

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia
The National Aboretum is famous for it’s incredibly designed Pod Playground. With inspiration taken from nature in its design, the playground is challenging and exciting, encouraging kids to climb, explore, and, most of all, have fun.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia
Designed for children of all ages, giant acorn cubbies in stilts, connected by net tunnels, appeal to older adventurous children, while the nest swings, banksia pods, sand and musical instruments engage the littlies in age-appropriate play. There is a large climbing net that is also most suitable for older kids and a musical bridge that appeals to everyone.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia
The Village Centre with a cafe is nearby if you need a coffee break, and there are bathrooms in the middle of the playground for easy access.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia
National Aboretum Canberra
Forest Dr, Canberra City
Hours: The Arboretum grounds and Pod Playground are open daily from 6am to 8:30pm during Daylight Savings Time and from 7am to 5:30pm during Eastern Standard Time (Non-daylight Savings Time).
Prices: Free entry
nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!