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Beaches

Wattamolla Beach, Royal National Park, NSW, Australia

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

One of the absolute best things about living in Australia is the stunning natural environment we live in. A hour and 15 minutes south of Sydney is a gorgeous spot called Wattamolla, located in the Royal National Park.

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

While it’s well-known as a spot to swim, snorkel, picnic and generally laze about, it’s also an historic area, with “Wattamolla” being the name the local Aboriginal people gave it many years before Europeans arrived.

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

“Wattamolla” means “place near running water” – a highly appropriate name for an area that is a cove, lagoon and beach. In 1796 Matthew Flinders, George bass and William Martin came across the cove while exploring, and recorded its name as “Watta-Mowlee”, but is today spelt Wattamolla.

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Today, Wattamolla is a popular spot for families, as well as groups of all ages, due to it’s wide variety of activities to do there. The beach has sparkling clear water, edged by rocks that are fun for climbing.

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Then there’s the lagoon deeper into the cove, which is perfect for little kids to swim in. It’s shallow and calm, so kids of all ages can paddle, swim and play at its shore safely. Adults love to bring giant floats and canoes to the lagoon and wile away the day floating around.

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

A pretty waterfall flows over the rocks at the back of the lagoon, and is a popular spot for daredevils to jump from into the water below, despite a large fence being erected and big warning signs cautioning people not to dive or jump from the rocks.

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Tips For Visiting Wattamolla
Arrive early! Wattamolla is extremely popular and there is limited parking near the beach. We arrived at 10:30 and the parking lot was almost completely full. I would suggest arriving no later than 9:30 to enjoy the beach with few people there.

It’s a 250m walk from the car park to the beach along a narrow rocky path with lots of stairs.
There is no stroller access or paved path on the beach.

The lagoon is edged with plenty of trees to set up a blanket and picnic spot, but many visitors choose to bring their own tents with them.

There is no food available at Wattamolla, so bring a picnic with you down to the beach, or use the free barbeque areas near the parking lot to make your own lunch.

There is also no water available, so bring plenty with you.

While there are bathrooms at Wattamolla, they are located next to the parking lot so go before you walk down.

The beach is free to visit but entry to the Royal National Park costs $12 per vehicle per day and payment is cash only.

There is little to no mobile reception at Wattamolla.

The Royal National National Park is open 7am to 8.30pm but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents.
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Wattamolla Beach
Royal National Park, Coast Track, Sutherland Shire NSW 2232
More info
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Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Sculpture By The Sea, Bondi 2016

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Sculpture By The Sea is the largest free public sculpture exhibition in the world, and in 2016 celebrated its 20th anniversary. The exhibition runs for two weeks every year in October/November, along the cliff top walk from Tamarama Beach to Bondi Beach.

While the majority of the sculptures are not able to be touches, each year there are several that are designed to be interacted with by visitors, be it walking through them, on them or climbing over them – the placards in front of the sculptures lets people know which ones are able to be touched and which ones are too fragile.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

A big hit this year was the ship with wooden blocks that were able to be manipulated, so visitors were able to change the shape of parts of the ship.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Please enjoy the photos of this spectacular exhibition, and scroll down to the bottom for tips on attending.

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Tips for attending Sculpture By The Sea

  • Go early, like 6am early. We arrived at 7am and it was already really busy. If you arrive at midday, forget about being able to get near a sculpture without 20 people right on top of you.
  • Parking is a nightmare. Go early and look for a spot around Tamarama or Bronte.
  • Bring lots of water, sunscreen and a hat. The sun is brutal on the walk and there is no shade.
  • Bathrooms are located at Tamarama Beach, Mark’s Place and Bondi Beach.
  • Food is also located at Tamarama, Bondi and Mark’s Place. In 2015 and 2016 The Grounds of Alexandria had a pop-up cafe at Mark’s Place.
  • The walk is not stroller friendly at all. If you cannot bring your child in a baby carrier, walk/drive to Mark’s Place – it’s the only stroller accessible point of the walk.
  • Try for dawn or sunset for pictures with truly stunning light and less people around.
  • There are two kids’ playgrounds on the walk – one at Tamarama Beach and one at Mark’s Place.
  • Week days are much less busy than weekends.
  • Keep an eye on small children. Not only is the walk crowded, it runs along the cliff tops where there are no guard rails or barriers to stop children from falling over the edge.
  • Not all scuptures are designed to be touched. Please respect the signs and only touch those that are designated for interaction.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Photography tip: It might look like we were pretty much by ourselves on the walk but this was thanks to careful shooting and editing. For pics like these, be extremely patient and wait until other people leave the frame, or step around them and find an angle with no-one in it. If you can’t do either, then crop in close.

Sculpture By The Sea

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

With hundreds of stunning beaches running up and down the NSW coast, it’s hard to choose which one to visit.

On a sparkling Sunday we chose Palm beach, the northernmost suburb of Sydney, for a day trip. It’s an hour’s drive from the Sydney CBD, making it the perfect spot to get away from the hustle of the city without an epic drive to get there.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

Palm Beach is often called the “jewel” of the Northern Beaches. Situated on a peninsula it has a gorgeous combination of lush evergreen bushland, beaches with soft golden sand and surrounded by the bright blue Pacific Ocean on one side, and calm Pittwater waterway on the other.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

The beach might look very familiar if you watch a lot of soap TV – in particular Home & Away. The show has been filmed on location here since its beginnings in 1988. As a result the beach has been a popular tourist attraction, particular for Brits.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

There’s plenty to do at Palm Beach to spend a gorgeous day outside. The main beach is soft and inviting – be sure to swim between the flags, or take kids to the south end to paddle where the water is most shallow.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

If swimming in the waves isn’t your cup of tea, try a dip in the 35m ocean pool. It’s perfectly designed for both lap swimmers and also paddling with children in the shallow end.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

For more exploring, follow the path around the pool where there are rock pools to be found. Be careful with the timing of your rock pool walk, however, as it can be unsafe when the tide comes back in.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

When it’s time for lunch there are a few cafes to try. We enjoyed a late breakfast at 2108 Espresso, with an Aussie standard dish of toasted sourdough, avocado, fresh tomato and feta for $14 (eggs an additional $3).  For the kids there is a grilled cheese toastie and babyccino with a cute blue marshmallow.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

For dessert, we decided to give the cafe next door that serves scooped ice cream a miss and go old school with Gaytimes.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

To walk off the ice cream there are a few options for the afternoon. Nearby is a large grassy park with a sprawling playground. While there were picnic tables in the park we didn’t spot any bathroom amenities, and the playground equipment didn’t have much shade.

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

The more athletic option for the whole family is to take the scenic 1.2km walk from the beach to Barrenjoey Head to visit the historic lighthouse that sits on Sydney’s most northerly point. It’s a 25 minute walk each way so take water and go to the bathroom before hand (no bathrooms at the top!). From the top you’ll have a great view of Broken Bay, the Central Coast and the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

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 to Palm Beach

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Sydney’s Best Family Day Trips: Watson’s Bay

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me

With stunning harbour views and gorgeous beaches, Watsons Bay is a great place for a day trip with kids.

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me
Where to eat: Doyles on the Wharf Seafood Takeaway & Bistro

Doyles is famous for their seafood. Being vegetarian this isn’t a great option for me, but if you do like your fish and chips, Doyles is the place to go in Sydney.

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me

At Doyle’s on the Wharf, you can get fresh seafood in generous portions at reasonable prices – and enjoy a world-class view inside Doyle’s al fresco seating areas or picnic in Robertson park. A basic fish and chips is $13.80.
Doyles on the Wharf Seafood Takeaway & Bistro
Hours: Daily from 10am until 5pm.
Fisherman’s Wharf, Watson’s Bay

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me

Where to play: Robertson Park
Right in the middle of Watson’s Bay is Robertson Park. A very large park with large trees and wide green spaces, it’s a popular place to picnic and for visitors to play games. The park has a breathtaking view of the harbour, too.

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me

Families love the gated playground with shade cloth on top, positioned right next to bathrooms.

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me Robertson Park
Marine Parade, Watsons Bay

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me
Where to swim: The Beach or Watson’s Bay Baths
Sydneysiders have been bathing in this harbourside tidal pool since 1905. After a significant renovation in 2010, the baths now include a new Olympic-size pool with two floating turning board/sunbathing pontoons, boardwalk, better seating, Australia’s first deep water wheelchair access to a tidal harbour pool and increased views of the harbour.

Head to the adjacent Teagardens for shaded outdoor kiosk seating, toilets and change room facilities.
Watson’s Bay Baths
Marine Parade, Watsons Bay

 

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me

Where to indulge: Gelatissimo
Gelato made fresh in store every day from an authentic family recipe. Flavours include Salted Caramel, Pistachio, Mango, Chocolate Truffle, Burnt Caramel & Pecan and Lychee. Ask for a tiny scoop for kids – it’s not on the menu and is slightly smaller than a regular single scoop and a bit cheaper, too.

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me
Gelatissimo
Military Rd, Watsons Bay

Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me Sydney's Best Family Day Trips: Watson's Bay via christineknight.me

Watson’s Bay
Limited on and off street parking
Get there by car, ferry or bus

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Sydney’s Best Beaches For Kids: Parsley Bay

Parsley Bay: Sydney's Best Beaches For Kids via christineknight.me

Parsley Bay Reserve in Sydney’s east is a tiny little slip of a beach at the very pointy end of Vaucluse. It’s right next to the very popular Nielsen Park, and yet has remained under the radar thus far. We dropped by on New Year’s Day, as is not only our custom, but most of Sydney’s, by the looks of how popular some of the beaches were that day.

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The bay is popular with local families due to the enclosed swimming area, picnic facilities and children’s playground. I also enjoyed the cafe that was happily open on New Year’s Day and the clean changing facilities.

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While most families set up their rugs and picnic chairs and bunker in for a day on the beach, if you’re more athletically inclined there is a short bushland circuit (15-20 minutes return), that takes you to a waterfall at the head of the gully. We did try to find it from one direction, but ended up back on the main road so I think we accidentally took a scenic exit rather than the circuit that leads to the waterfall. In any case, there are no signs to tell you where to go on the bush trails.

There was, however, a sign to also let us know that in summer Eastern Water Dragons sun themselves along the watercourse. We sadly didn’t see any water dragons, but that wasn’t too surprising considering how many small children were out that day.

 

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Parsley Bay: Sydney's Best Beaches For Kids via christineknight.me
Most people drive as it’s the easiest way to get to Parsley Bay. Parking in the eastern suburbs, however, is an entirely different matter. We were happily surprised at how quickly and easily we found unmetered street parking in the shade, right next to the stairs that lead down into the bay. There is also a small carpark available from Parsley Road (Horler Avenue).

If you park on the street like we did, there is pedestrian access available from The Crescent, Hopetoun Avenue and Horler Avenue.

Parsley Bay Reserve
Parsley Rd, Vaucluse NSW
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Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.