Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Social Hideout Waterloo: Sydney Cafe Reviews

Social Hideout Sydney Australia

Could this be Sydney’s most Instagrammable cafe? Social Hideout, located in Waterloo and Parramatta, delights the eyes and senses with its floral decor and beautifully designed dishes.

Social Hideout Sydney Australia

We visited the Waterloo cafe on a busy weekend around 11am. The cafe is a decent size with jam-packed indoor and outdoor seating. The indoor seating is where you want to be to take the pretty shots of yourself and your food (if that’s your thing!). 

Social Hideout Sydney Australia

Outside the cafe is a set up with a pretty wall and bike in front of it for taking photos, as well as plenty of table where you can sit with your dog if you want to bring it along. There is even a pet menu for Fido.

Social Hideout Sydney Australia

Inside is where the real magic happens, however. The cafes is decked out with 17,000 flowers, neon lights and a gorgeous Audrey Hepburn wall. 

Social Hideout Sydney Australia

The menu is small but designed to bring the “wow” factor. We ordered the Avocado Smash (poached eggs, cherry truss tomatoes, danish feta, dukkah, basil, sourdough, $16.90), the Mafia Hot Chocolate and Red Velvet Eggs Benedict.

Social Hideout Sydney Australia Social Hideout Sydney Australia Social Hideout Sydney Australia

If you order The Green Frenchy, staff come to your table with a blow torch and caramelize the banana at your table. 

Social Hideout Sydney Australia

The colourful lattes are stunning, and the milkshake that comes in a bathtub is so cute.

My only negative about the cafe is how unfriendly it is for families. There’s no kids’ menu and while there are some ides they can order from on the breakfast menu, there is nothing on the lunch menu that kids can eat – the lunch menu is served from 11:30am onwards at Waterloo, while Parramatta has all-day breakfast.

We asked for a piece of toast and a side of avocado for Cheese fifteen minutes before the changeover of menu and had the staff come back to us a minute after changeover to say they couldn’t do it as it was now the lunch menu being served. When I explained that we had ordered it before the changeover time and there was nothing else my daughter could eat on the lunch menu, the staff member shrugged and said, “Yes it’s a real problem, we have nothing to serve kids, parents are always asking for a kids’ menu”, and that was it. 

Since there is a dog menu, I’m not sure why there can’t be a kids’ menu too, particularly when there is a demand from their customers for it?

Social Hideout Waterloo
Shop 4/5/25-33 Allen St, Waterloo
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-3:30pm, Sat & Sun 8am-3:30pm.

Social Hideout Parramatta
2a/20 Victoria Rd, Parramatta
Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-3pm, Sat & Sun 7:30am-3pm
socialhideout.com.au

Two Sis & Co. Pyrmont: Sydney Cafe Reviews

Two Sis & Co. Pyrmont is a bright cafe on busy Harris Street serving up all-day breakfast, delicious lunch and colorful creations.

Two Sis Cafe Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia

We visited on a rainy Sunday and were surprised to see that even on a day when the rain was coming down like cats and dogs that the cafe was packed and there was a wait for tables. 

The cafe is quite small, with not many tables and only three tiny outdoor tables. Dining here with little or multiple kids would be a challenge due to the size of the cafe which would not be able to accommodate strollers, plus there is only one high chair on offer to patrons. 

The staff are extremely friendly and the service is fast and faultless. Considering how busy the cafe is and how small the kitchen, we were amazed with how fast the food arrived.

Two Sis Cafe Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia

We ordered their signature Mermaid pancakes (mermaid tail, whipped mascarpone, chocolate rocks, fresh raspberries, dragon fruit balls & peanut butter sauce, $23.50), Our Pick Smashed Avocado (medley tomatoes, Danish feta, dukkah with sourdough $15.50, plus poached egg $2.50), Free Range Eggs Any Style On Toast ($9.50) plus Side of Avocado ($3.50), Dukkah Eggs (smashed avocado, poached eggs, lemon dukkah, balsamic glaze $18, with roasted mushroom, crispy bacon or cured salmon, $18.90), Iced Rose Latte ($7.90).  

The Mermaid Pancakes were quite a surprise. The actual pancakes themselves were not sweet in the slightest – Cheese thought they tasted like blueberry. The whipped mascarpone added a bit of sweetness but not overwhelmingly so, which was great because there was a lot of fairy floss and chocolate rocks to go with them. The only element we didn’t love was the peanut butter jelly / syrup. Even though I love peanut butter I wasn’t a fan. I would have preferred Nutella!

Two Sis Cafe Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia

The Ice Rose Latte was divine – not only theatrical and gorgeous, it tasted like the most amazing rose in a glass. Delicious and beautiful.

Two Sis Cafe Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia Two Sis Cafe Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia Two Sis Cafe Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia

The food was not just well presented, it also tasted amazing. Really good serving sizes and beautifully presented.

A gem of a cafe in Pyrmont that is highly instagrammable but just as delicious.

Two Sis Co. Pyrmont
306 Harris St, Pyrmont
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat & Sun 7:30am-4pm
Phone: 0451 594 665

The DVC Point Rental System Explained

The DVC Point Rental System Explained

Stay at Disney hotels around the world for less by booking a Disney Vacation Club Rental (aka DVC Rental). Save around 30-50% off Disney premium hotels by booking a room through the DVC point rental system. 

The DVC Point Rental System Explained

On our recent trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, we saved a lot of money by using the DVC point rental system. It was daunting to try a system that wasn’t through the official hotel channel, but worked out extremely well so I can now highly recommend it.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

The basics of DVC Point Rental

People buy points from the Disney Vacation Club, like a timeshare arrangement. They are then the owner of these points. If they aren’t using the points themselves, the owner may choose to “rent” the points to a rentee, in exchange for payment. The amount of the payment is determined by the number of points needed for the reservation. The cost per-point is agreed upon by both parties – or by a third party who mediates between the two. The owner of the points then makes a reservation for the rentee under the rentee’s name. 

The rentee also benefits from free parking, which is included for Disney Vacation Club members. At Aulani, parking costs $37USD per day so it’s quite a saving.

One other cost-saving benefit is paying no taxes or resort fees (except for in Hawaii where there is a very small tax on the room that is paid at check in. It was about $19 from memory). Free wifi is also included.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

Where to rent DVC points from

While you can rent points directly from members this can be a riskier exchange. I prefer to rent Disney Vacation Club points from either DVC Rental Store or David’s Vacation Club Rentals. I used the later on my last trip. Both are reputable businesses and are pretty similar, however DVC Rental Store has a few advantages do not require a deposit to search for availability and they offer point protection (insurance). I was extremely happy with David’s however and I would use them again.

You can use this tool to search for resort availability before even contacting DVC Rental Store or David’s.

Some of the sites require a refundable fee of $50 -$75 USD to perform the search for room availability. If they find you an available room then the amount is applied to the overall rental price. If there is no availability found then the money is refunded.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

DVC Point Rental = lack of booking control

This was the biggest concern for me (after the concern about the booking not going through at all). Since the owner of the points booked the room for us, we had no control over the reservation whatsoever. I put in a request for the type of room we wanted, which the broker (David’s) passed on to the renter, who passed it on to the resort. It gets quite convoluted, fast. Luckily we got exactly the type of room we were after, but we didn’t know what we would get until we arrived. Likewise if we had wanted to make any changes to the reservation, we would have had to go through the broker to ask the owner to submit any changes for us again. You cannot call the Disney Vacation Club directly as they will only speak with the member themselves. 

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

Pay in advance, no refunds given

This is a biggie – you must pay the full amount of the booking upfront, and there are no refunds given. I highly suggest looking into travel insurance and dig into the details to make sure it covers timeshare rentals like this. 

Which resorts can you book?

Disney has three types of resorts – value, moderate and deluxe. The Disney Vacation Club villas are located at the deluxe resorts only. This includes Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, the Grand Californian at Disneyland, at WDW the Polynesian, Contemporary & Grand Floridian at the Magic Kingdom, Disney Beach Club, Boardwalk, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Old Key West  and Saratoga Springs. The other resorts (value and moderate) have cheaper rooms that might be on-par cost wise with renting DVC points at these deluxe resorts.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

Included amenities with DVC point rentals

Staying on points at a Disney hotel means you get all the benefits of a traditional booking, plus a few extras.

Free parking
In Florida, free transportation from the airport through Disney’s Magical Express
Magic Bands
Booking Fastpass + 60 days in advance
Booking dining reservations 180 days in advance,

The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland California

When to book to secure a room

Getting the room you want requires being extremely organised and booking ahead – 7-11 months is ideal. There’s a limited supply of rooms on offer. The reason for this is that a perk of ownership for a Disney Vacation Club Member is that they are able to book a room at their home resort (the resort they own the points at) 11 months in advance. At 7 months out, every DVC Member is able to book at any resort, so the remaining rooms get booked quickly at this point.

We booked 11 months out to secure our room at Aulani.

Staying in a DVC Villa: what to expect 

The rooms are a bit different to the traditional hotel rooms. Our studio was basically the same as it had a queen bed and a pullout couch, plus a mini-fridge and microwave, however the larger rooms have extra amenities like a full kitchen in a 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom or grand villa plus a washer/dryer.

Housekeeping is performed on days four and eight rather than daily. Stays seven nights or less days receive “Trash and Towel Service” on day four, where housekeeping empties the rubbish and puts in new bin liners, brings fresh towels, replaces shampoo, facial soap and bath soap, paper towels and toilet paper, coffee, sugar, cream, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, sponges, and laundry detergent as needed.

Stays eight nights or longer receive a full cleaning on day four that includes changing the bed linen, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen/kitchenette, and Trash and Towel Service on day eight.

If you need extra towels or amenities you can call housekeeping and they will be brought to the room. While there may be an additional charge listed for this service, it’s often given for free. If you would like daily housekeeping, you can request it at the front desk for an additional fee. 

The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland California

Staying on DVC points: our experience

We have stayed at Aulani as regular visitors and through using the DVC point rental system and definitely noticed a bit of a difference. Using the DVC points we were able to line up at the from desk in the DVC member queue which is shorter, and were greeted effusively “back home” by the cast members. At the pool we were given a sparkly band for DVC members only which was a lot prettier than the regular bands! While the cast members are always extremely friendly and courteous I did notice they were even friendlier than usual when they knew we were DVC.

Related posts

Read more about our most recent stay at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa here.

Read a full review of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa here.

Read a full review of the Grand Californian Hotel here.

Get tips for Disneyland first-timers here.

Read about celebrating Halloween at Disneyland here.

Find out about celebrating the holidays at Disneyland here.

The DVC Point Rental System Explained

 

A Day At The National Museum of Australia, Canberra

National Museum of Canberra Australia

 

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

The National Museum of Australia, in the nation’s capital Canberra, preserves and interprets Australia’s social history, exploring the key issues, people and events that have shaped the nation. 

The museum’s National Historical Collection is home to an impressive 210,000 objects representing Australia’s history and cultural heritage.

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

We particularly loved the 3x10m cast of the Aussie dinosaur Muttaburrasaurus in the main hall. The fossilised dinosaur was found on a sheep property near the town of Muttaburra in central-west Queensland in 1963. Palaeontologists named it Muttaburrasaurus langdoni. The Muttaburrasaurus was a herbivore who lived lived about 100–110 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, when Australia was part of the Gondwana supercontinent. 

Highlights at the National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Journeys Exhibition

 
Explores the journeys of people across Australia and into the Pacific including Indigenous trade, exchange and ceremony, early explorers and settlers, migrants, travellers and tourists, plus modern day sportsmen and women, artists and scientists.

First Australians

The stories and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be found in the largest gallery in the museum. 

Landmarks

 
Australian history can be found in this exhibition, which tells the stories of first British colonies established on Aboriginal lands and how settlers spread across the country, discovered gold, developed our democratic government, grew agriculture, developed mining and manufacturing, and created our urban nation.
 

Old New Land

 
The land is the focus of this exhibition, including Australia’s diverse and unique plants and animals.

Kspace

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

An absolute must for kids! Kspace is an interactive adventure game for kids aged 5-12. Adults are welcome to participate too. Kspace lets visitors build their own time-travelling robot and then blast off into a mystery location in Australia’s past. Kspace takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Kspace is fun to play multiple times as each time you play the variables are different. You can create the robot differently and be sent to a different time period such as Victorian goldfields of 1854 or Sydney in the 1930s when the Harbour Bridge was being built. We were sent to the time of the dinosaurs. 

The Antarctica Experience

A virtual reality film, screened daily, the Antarctica Experience costs $20 for admission and takes 30 minutes to complete. Not recommended for children under the age of 13.

 

The Museum Cafe

The cafe has a stunning view of Lake Burley Griffin. The menu features locally-made cakes and pastries, seasonal light meals and daily specials.

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent

Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Cafe: Daily 9am–4.45pm

Prices: Free
Parking: 8.30am to 5pm weekdays, $2.90 per hour or $14 per day. Short-stay machines accept Visa, MasterCard and coins.
Online

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Canberra, Australia

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a 54.5 square kilometres protected area, on the fringe of Namadgi National Park in Canberra, Australia. Tidbinbilla is home to a wide range of wildlife including koalas, emus, kangaroos, platypus, wombats, potoroos, wallaroos, possums, water birds, echidnas, snakes and much more.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Located around 35km or 40 minutes drive from the Canberra CBD, Tidbinbilla is a fantastic spot to escape the city and enjoy wildlife and nature. 

Visitor Centre

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The first stop is the Visitor Centre, where you can pick up a map, shop for a unique gift or grab a coffee or light snack in the kiosk. There are many picnic and barbecue areas throughout Tidbinbilla however no proper cafes, so either grab a snack such as ice cream, hot pies and sausage rolls, cold drinks (vegetarian options available) or BYO food.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Pick up a map of the reserve and a kids nature trail. It has a list of animals to tick off and makes for a fun activity to encourage kids to keep their eyes peeled.

Tidbinbilla manages breeding programs for the critically endangered Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, the Tasmanian Bettong and the Northern Corroboree Frog, the last of which you can see at the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre. The Rock-wallaby is shy but may be glimpsed in the Rock-wallaby habitat. 

To enter the reserve requires passing through a gate and paying an entry fee. There are numerous walking trails throughout the reserve. The park rangers can advise on which is best for your individual needs and desires. 

We wanted to see wildlife and a not-too-long walk so were recommended parking at the Ribbon Gum car park to access two walks, the Koala Path and Sanctuary Loop.

Koala Path

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The Koala Path is a 700m return walk that takes around 20 minutes and is graded easy. There are plenty of koalas to be spotted here, as well as wombats, potoroos and wallabies.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Sanctuary Loop

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The Sanctuary Loop is a 2.1 km return circular track that takes around 90 minutes and is graded easy. It consists of a series of interconnected habitat zones which are linked by a wheelchair-friendly walking trail. The Sanctuary is surrounded by a predator-proof fence, providing a safe refuge for the wildlife within. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The trail takes winding turns through various habitats including wetlands and bush. Animals such as Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies, platypus, echidnas, birds, and other animals can be seen here. We were lucky enough to spot platypus swimming and other visitors we ran into saw a large snake. We also saw beautiful swans and pelicans. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Nature Discovery Playground

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

A last stop on the way out, the Nature Discovery Playground is perfect for kids. I would suggest this area for a picnic after seeing the animals on the other walks. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The playground is sprawling and features various zones with a nature theme. There are play areas for different ages including slides, a flying fox and climbing equipment.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Know before you go

There are no bins at Tidbinbilla so take your rubbish with you.

No pets allowed.

No camping in the reserve.

Fires only permitted in authorised places.

Drive carefully and observe the 35 km speed limit for the safety of the wildlife.

A vehicle is required to access Tidbinbilla with a 15km ring road taking you through the Reserve.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Paddy’s River Road,
Paddys River ACT

Access is off Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek). An alternative route via Drakeford Drive, Woodcock Ave and Point Hut Crossing (Gordon) allows access via Tidbinbilla Road. Drive time is less than 20 minutes.

Hours: Visitors Centre daily 9am-5pm. reserve gates daily, winter 7:30am-6pm, summer 7:30am-8pm.
Parking: Entry fees are required to enter the park. A day pass is $13 for a vehicle with seats for up to 8 people.
Download the guide here.
tidbinbilla.act.gov.au

Find more things to to in Canberra here

Blasting Off Into Space At The Canberra Deep Space Centre

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is a working Earth station located in Tidbinbilla in the ACT. Housed within the complex, the Canberra Space Centre features exhibits on the past, present and future of space exploration.

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex opened in Tidbinbilla, about 35kms southwest of the city of Canberra, in 1965 to track the Apollo Lunar Module. 

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Canberra Space Centre

Canberra Space Centre offer visitors the opportunity to learn about Australia’s role in the exploration of space. The centre is not extremely large – its basically two large rooms joined together, but the rooms are packed with exhibits and information. 

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Of particular note are the piece of moon rock over 3.8 billion years old, Solar System images, spacecraft models, space hardware and special items of memorabilia from across the years. We all found it fascinating reading about what astronauts eat in space, seeing their authentic clothing and space suits and reading about disasters, challenges and victories made in space.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Several of the exhibits are interactive, making it a fun spot to take kids, as well.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Space enthusiasts will particularly enjoy seeing the largest steerable parabolic antenna in the Southern Hemisphere.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

The Moon Rock Cafe is an excellent spot to have lunch or afternoon tea. We really enjoyed our meal and would highly recommend dining in.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

The cafe has an indoor and outdoor under-covered seating area. The outdoor area is next to the fenced playground, which has a shade cloth, and is next to the public toilets.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

I would suggest combining a visit to the Canberra Space Centre with seeing nearby Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Together they make an excellent day trip.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

It takes about 45 minutes to drive from the Canberra CBD to Tidbinbilla. It’s a very remote area so please note that mobile coverage in the area is limited, the roads are rough and the nearest petrol station is 25km away. Please drive carefully as it’s an area with lots of wildlife.

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
421 Discovery Dr,
Paddys River ACT 

Visitor Centre
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
Prices: Free
Moon Rock Café
Hours: Daily 9:30am-4pm. 
cdscc.nasa.gov

Find more things to do in Canberra here.

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures Australia

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Fly through the tree tops at Illawarra Fly, the highest zipline tour in Australia. Illawarra Fly is located 2 hours south of Sydney, and also includes a 1.5km Treetop walk.  

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The perfect day trip for a special occasion, Illawarra Fly offers Australia’s highest zipline tour for adventure junkees, and a stunning accessible walk with views of the Southern Highlands and Pacific Ocean from an elevated treetop walk. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The zipline tour includes three flights, two suspension bridges and five cloud stations connecting them. The price for the zipline tour also includes admission to the self-guided treetop walk. 

I would recommend booking your zipline tour in advance as the time slots book out – plus the tickets are cheaper when you book them online. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Arrive at your time slot 15 mins early to check in, fill in the waiver forms, use the bathrooms and store your belongings in a free locker. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

At your allocated start time, a guide will give your group a 15 minute safety briefing which includes suiting up in safety harnesses and helmets, before walking down to the start of the zipline course, accompanied by two guides.

All loose belongings must be left behind. Cameras that are attached by a strap are allowed. I took my GoPro plus my DSLR with me on the course. Illawarra Fly offers GoPro hire for $30 and Dri-Pouches for $10 that you can put your mobile phone in to hang around your neck. Sunglasses or glasses are allowed to stay on. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The zipline experience from the start of the course takes roughly around 45 minutes – one hour and ends at the start of the treetop walk.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Participants must be over four years of age and over 105cm tall, have a reasonable degree of physical ability, be under 117kg and not be beyond the first trimester of pregnancy. Enclosed shoes are required.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Treetop Walk

After the zipline tour, we took a stroll along the treetop walk, a 1.5km walk that takes visitors through the rainforest including 500m of steel walkway nestled in the tree canopies 20-30m above the ground. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The best views can be found at the top of the Knight’s Tower, a spiral tower 45m above the forest floor. The tower is the only part of the treetop walk that is not accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

There are two swaying springboard cantilevers included in the walk, each suspended 25 metres above the forest floor which are pretty exciting to stand on, especially when the wind is blowing!

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

As a family who cares deeply about the environment, we were happy to read along the walk that the treetop walk was built on an existing fire trail so no trees being cut down during construction, and both the treetop walk and zipline were constructed without causing any damage to the trees they are attached to.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Magic in the Treetops

When we visited there were some incredible fairy and elf houses scattered along the rainforest floor. Pick up a kids’ activity guide at the front desk and fill in the letters at each fairy station to reveal a mystery word and receive a magic sticker when complete.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Rainforest Ranger Trail

Ask at the front desk for the Rainforest Ranger Trail booklet for kids who are budding junior rangers. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

There is a decently-priced cafe on site plus plenty of tables to enjoy a picnic meal brought from home. We ordered a kid’s honey sandwich which was made fresh to order for $4.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Getting to Illawarra Fly

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures is located on top of the Illawarra Escarpment, on the South Coast on NSW, about 2 hours drive south of Sydney. There are no direct public transport options to the Illawarra Fly.

FROM SYDNEY YOU CAN COME VIA CAR OR TRAIN.
If you are travelling by car – travel down the Hume Highway and take the Bowral turn-off, then drive through the lovely Southern Highlands to Robertson and follow the signs from the Famous Robertson Pie Shop. OR travel down the picturesque Grand Pacific Drive – take the Illawarra Hwy (Macqaurie Pass) towards Robertson. Turn left at the ‘famous’ Robertson Pie Shop onto Jamberoo Mountain Road. Travel 10 kms and turn left at Knights Hill Road. Alternatively drive through Albion Park towards Jamberoo, taking the turnoff at Jamberoo Mountain Road, and follow the signs to the Illawarra Fly.

FROM THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS
15 minutes from Robertson, via Jamberoo Mountain Road, taking the turn opposite the ‘famous’ Robertson Pie Shop towards Kiama.

FROM KIAMA – SOUTH COAST
35 minutes from Kiama, via Jamberoo and Jamberoo Mountain Roads- 15 minutes past Minnamurra Rainforest – towards Robertson.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

How to get the best value tickets to Ilawarra Fly

Book online to receive 10% off the treetops walk or 20% off the zipline tour.

The MYFLY pass option lets Illawarra and Southern Highlands residents revisit Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures free for 12 months after their first paid visit.

The absolute best value however is to buy an annual Merlin Pass which includes 12 months admission to Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, WILD LIFE Hamilton Island and Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium. 

Merlin annual pass details

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures
182 Knights Hill Rd, Knights Hill
Online 

We were hosted by Merlin Entertainment. All opinions are my own.

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

A day at the Australian Museum

A day at the Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

A day at the Australian Museum

When it opened in 1897, The Australian Museum became the first museum in Australia, with an international reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology. 

A day at the Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

The museum’s dinosaur exhibition, containing 10 complete dinosaur skeletons and eight life-sized models is very popular with kids.

A day at the Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

The dedicated Kidspace area is a hit with littles aged five and under (as well as the slightly bigger kids who still like to sneak in!). It’s full of nature-themed toys and games.

Australian Museum, Sydney

The Search & Discover public research centre is a hit with older kids. The permanent exhibition has a recommend time of one hour to see everything, however we have easily spent a lot longer than this in the single room, exploring all of the specimens and activities on offer.

Australian Museum, Sydney

Hundreds of objects, animals, minerals and fossils at your fingertips in this interactive, hands-on learning space, plus a colony of stick insects on display.

Australian Museum, Sydney

If you visit on a Tuesday morning you can watch the museum staff changing their leaves and help keep an eye peeled for escapees!

Australian Museum, Sydney

Kids can touch and interact with museum objects such as their easy-to-use microscopes. Those with assignments or a passion for science will enjoy the vast selection of identification guides, information sheets and books (including pictures books) that cover all areas of the museum’s areas of expertise; zoology, geology and anthropology. Books extend to other topics including botany, astronomy and general science.

Australian Museum, Sydney

The specimen drawers were a hit with my future naturalist. The neatly arranged drawers hold a wealth of specimens letting curious minds get up close to tiny creatures.

Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

Other permanent exhibitions at the Australian museum include Surviving Australia, Pacific Spirit, Dinosaurs, Birds of Australia, First Australians Galleries and the latest addition, Wild Planet.

A day at the Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

The dinosaur exhibition features the world’s first anatomically correct model of a T-Rex – a dissected 11-metre long replica created for the documentary, T-Rex Autopsy.

A day at the Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

Wild Planet features nature’s giants such as an elephant, rhinoceros, giraffe, lion, tiger and bear as well as a wealth of other smaller animals.

A day at the Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

Head to the cafe on level four for a bite to eat. They have cute kids meals and basic meals for adults, with a stunning view of Sydney.

Australian Museum, Sydney

Check out the museum’s calendar for upcoming events. Keep the museum top of mind for things to do in school holidays in Sydney as they always run excellent science-focussed programs.

Australian Museum
1 William St, Sydney
Hours: Daily, 9:30am-5pm.
Online

The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids, Hawaii

The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids

Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands. It’s a wonderland of fun for families, with Haleakala National Park, thrill-seeking adventures, 30 miles of beaches and aquatic wildlife galore. There are plenty of things to do in Maui with kids!

Family-friendly Activities

Surfing Goat Dairy

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

Surfing Goat Dairy is a dairy farm located on the slopes of Maui’s Haleakala Crater in lower Kula, Hawaii. It produces more than two dozen goat cheeses, many of which have won national awards and are used by hotels and restaurants on the island.

The dairy was was established in 1998 by German expatriates Thomas and Eva Kafsack.

Visitors are welcome to drop by the dairy and try the cheeses or meet the goats near the main office. I highly recommend taking a daily tour. The walking tours last for 30 minutes and take visitors around the working farm and dairy and includes petting and feeding the working goats and meeting the dogs and cats.

Read more about our experience visiting Surfing Goat Dairy here.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

Ali'i Kula Lavender, Maui, Hawaii

A sweet-smelling place to stop on the slopes of Haleakalā, Ali’i Kula Lavender grows 45 varieties of lavender. It’s a gorgeous spot to wander through the different lavender plants and smell the differences. There is a kids’ trail on offer. Try the lavender ice cream for something different!

Get more info on visiting Ali’i Kula Lavender here.

Haleakalā National Park

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakalā, or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive volcano that forms more than 75% of Maui. Haleakala is home to some of the world’s rarest and most endangered plant and animal species. The mountain summit is one of the few easily-accessible parts of Hawaii where their rare and endemic species can be found to survive and thrive.

Driving to the summit takes 2-3 hours. Sunrise is the most popular time to visit, however any time of day is beautiful. 

Read about driving to the summit of Haleakalā here.

Napili Beach

Napili Beach, Maui, Hawaii

A gorgeous spot with sloping sand and plenty of trees for shade, Napili Beach is a top spot for families. The enclosed bay keeps the beach protected from waves, making it a gentle, flat beach, perfect for kids and snorkelling. With plenty of reef areas to the left of the beach, Napili is a great spot to float around looking for fish.

Napili Beach, Maui, Hawaii

There is an outdoor shower at the exit/entrance to the beach and restroom amenities. parking however is a challenge and we had to park a long way down the road. Bring a picnic lunch as there is nowhere to buy food and set up for the day in a shady spot.

Ka’anapali Beach

Kaanapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii

This gorgeous beach is home to seven resorts (we’ve stayed here twice!) and plenty of restaurants. The key attraction however is the beautiful golden sand that stretches for three miles and the soft waves that crash upon it.

There are plenty of trees not far back from the waters edge so there is plenty of space to set up towels or chairs for the day. Morning is the best time to visit to get shade. 

Ka’anapali Beach is a fantastic snorkelling spot as there is a reef just beyond the wave break. Take along a snorkelling set and spot beautifully coloured fish and even the odd green sea turtle.

There are outdoor showers to rinse off at several spots along the beach near the resorts. Kahekili Beach Park has outdoor showers and restrooms to change in. 

Whalers Village

Whalers Village, Maui, Hawaii

This beachside mall has it all! Plenty of boutique shops, restaurants, a whaling museum, cultural activities such as lei making and hula lessons, free movie nights, live music and a kids play area featuring a climbing structure and splash play area. 

Whalers Village, Maui, Hawaii

Get more info on Whalers Village here

Maui Ocean Centre, The Aquarium of Hawaii

Maui Ocean Center, The Aquarium of Hawaii

The Maui Ocean Center is an aquarium and oceanography center located on the island of Maui, Hawaii, and is the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere.

Maui Ocean Center, The Aquarium of Hawaii

The Maui Ocean Center mission is to foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawaii’s marine life with local residents and visitors from around the world. The center is home to many of Hawaii’s unique marine life, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The Maui Ocean Center is at the top of our list for things to do in maui with kids. 

You can read more about our visit to the Maui Ocean Center here.

Ziplining

Ziplining over the beautiful island of Maui is a popular activity for visitors to the island. If you want to take kids ziplining, try Maui Zipline Company, who offer side-by-side zip lines over a tropical plantation for kids ages 5+ and adults.

Get more info on ziplining with kids here.

Horseback Riding

Kids need to be aged seven and up to horseback ride at most ranches on Maui. Try Ironwood Ranch – they have an excellent location and offer rides of various lengths.

Get more info on Ironwood Ranch here.

Ho’okipa Beach

Hookpia Beach, Maui, Hawaii

A world-renowned windsurfing destination, Ho’okipa Beach is also a prime turtle-spotting location. Hawaiian green sea turtles can usually be found at the north end of the beach near the rocks. Be mindful that they are wild animals and stay 6-10 feet away. 

Pa’ia

Paia, Maui, Hawaii

This little town on Maui’s north shore is big on charm. It’s a great spot to stop for lunch and to check out the little art galleries, boutiques and street art. 

Paia, Maui, Hawaii Paia, Maui, Hawaii

We dined at the Flatbread Company, who serve hand-made pizzas cooked in clay ovens. Kids can watch the pizza dough being stretched and toppings being added.

Luau or hula show

Westin Hula

An absolute must on Maui is a hula show or luau. The Whalers Village at the Kaanapali Beach Resort has free hula shows, as do some hotels such as the Westin Ka’anapali Beach Villas. If you have a dancer in the family like we do, catching a hula show should be at the top of your list for things to do in Maui with kids.

Soak up a true Hawaiian experience at the Old Lahaina Luau.

Lahaina Banyan Court

Lahaina Banyan Tree, Maui, Hawaii

Kids will love running underneath the famous banyan tree in Lahaina. Measuring over 60 feet high, and looks like a mini forest with several tree trunks.

Maluaka Beach: Turtle Town

Turtle Town, Maui, Hawaii

Stronger swimmers will love seeing Hawaiian green sea turtles in their natural habitat at Maluaka Beach, also called “Turtle Town”.  Maluaka Beach is located adjacent to the Makena Beach & Golf Resort and has nearby amenities like a grassy park area, bathrooms and snorkel gear rentals on site. The entrance to Maluaka Beach and Turtle Town are both unmarked and easy to miss. 

Early morning is the best time for snorkelling as the water is calmest then. The reef at the south end of the beach is where you’ll find marine life including angelfish, butterfly fish, moray eels, octopus, trumpet fish, triggerfish and Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Maluaka Beach has a sandy-bottom, shallow area that is ideal for swimming with young kids. There is shade, picnic tables and an excellent view of the Molokini crater in the background.

More things to do in Maui

Have older kids? Try the Road to Hana – get info here

Where to eat with kids

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Ululani's Shave Ice, Maui, Hawaii

Shave ice is an iced-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. Flavoured syrups are added to the top. Ululani’s can be found in a few locations across Maui.

Ululani's Shave Ice, Maui, Hawaii

The first store is located on Front Street at the Lahaina Market Place.

Get more info on Ululani’s here.  

Island Cream Co.

Island Cream Co. Maui, Hawaii

A delicious spot for gelato and ice cream, at the Lahaina Gateway. Add fun toppings like gummy bears for some extra fun.

Get more info on Island Cream Co. here

Hula Grill

Hula Grill, Maui, Hawaii, Whalers Village

A fun, beach-side eatery in Ka’anapali at Whalers Village, we loved dining at their barefoot bar, which was reminiscent of eating at the beach thanks to the sand underfoot.

Hula Grill, Maui, Hawaii, Whalers Village

The excellent kids’ menu with activity sheet left the little one happy, while the adults loved the cocktails, fish tacos and goat’s cheese pizza (cheese from the local Surfing Goat Dairy).

Hula Grill, Maui, Hawaii, Whalers Village

Hula Grill, Maui, Hawaii, Whalers Village

Get more info on Hula Grill here

Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop

Leoda's Maui, Hawaii

Famous for their pies and sandwiches, Leoda’s is so good we could have eaten there every single day.

Leoda's Maui, Hawaii

The little one liked the grilled cheese on brioche bread while the adults enjoyed the massive, freshly made sandwiches. Don’t leave without a sweet pie, they are delicious!

Leoda's Maui, Hawaii Leoda's Maui, Hawaii

Get more info on Leoda’s here

Kimo’s Maui

Kimo's Maui, Hawaii

Home of the original Hula Pie, Kimo’s is a Lahaina institution.

Kimo's Maui, Hawaii

A seafood restaurant, Kimo’s has vegetarian options and a great kids’ menu. We ordered a vegetarian sandwich and burger for the adults and mac and cheese for the little one.  The view is impossible to beat.

Kimo's Maui, Hawaii Kimo's Maui, Hawaii

Order the Hula Pie to share!

Kimo's Maui, Hawaii

Get more info on Kimo’s here

Flatbread Company

Paia, Maui, Hawaii

We dined at the Flatbread Company in Paia, who serve hand-made pizzas cooked in clay ovens. Kids can watch the pizza dough being stretched and toppings being added.

Paia, Maui, Hawaii

Get more info on the Flatbread Company here.

How to get around on Maui

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

I think car hire is a must on Maui unless you intend to never leave your resort or only plan to do so with guided tours that pick up at your hotels. We used our car every day to pick up groceries, head to a new spot for lunch and visit attractions. There are many different car rental providers at Maui airport that are all quite similar. You can get a free shuttle bus between the car hire places and airport. I would suggest booking car hire in advance.

Where to stay on Maui with kids

Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas, Maui, HawaiiWe chose the Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas because all rooms or “villas” have a full kitchenette as well as excellent resort facilities including six outdoor pools. 

You can read more about our stay at the Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas here.

Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel

Ka'anapali Beach Resort, Maui, Hawaii Often called the “most Hawaiian of Hawaiian hotels”, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel offers an authentic Hawaiian experience with plenty of aloha warmth from staff. We loved the hotel’s location and friendly staff.

Ka'anapali Beach Resort, Maui, Hawaii

Read more about the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel here.

The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids, Hawaii The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids, Hawaii The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids, Hawaii

 

Haleakalā National Park: Driving To The Summit

Haleakalā National Park, Maui, Hawaii: Driving To The Summit

Haleakalā National Park, Maui Hawaii: Driving To The Summit

Haleakalā, or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive volcano that forms more than 75% of Maui. Haleakala is home to some of the world’s rarest and most endangered plant and animal species. The mountain summit is one of the few easily-accessible parts of Hawaii where their rare and endemic species can be found to survive and thrive.

Driving to the summit

Depending where you get started from on Maui, it can take two to three hours to drive the Haleakala Highway (HI 37) and then up the winding Haleakala Crater Road leading to the summit of Haleakala.

Kahului1.5 – 2 hours
Kihei1.75 – 2.25 hours
Kaanapali and Lahaina2.25 – 2.75 hours
Kapalua2.5 – 3 hours

The Park Visitors Center is located at 7,000 feet. Continue past it to the Haleakala Visitors Center at 9,740 feet.

Visitor information 

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakalā National Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except during severe weather closures.

There are 24-hour available restrooms at the two visitors centres.

Park Headquarters Visitor Center (7,000 feet/2,134 meters) is open 8am-4pm. Haleakalā Visitor Center (9,740 feet/2,969 meters) is open sunrise to noon. Kīpahulu Visitor Center (coastal) is open 9am-5pm.

The visitors centres have naturalists are on duty during business hours to answer questions.

Entrance fees

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Daily passes are required to enter the park. Have a credit card handy to use for payment of entry fees at the Summit and Kīpahulu entrance stations.

Private Vehicle: $25. Valid for 3 days. Admits private, non-commercial vehicle (14 pax capacity or less) and all occupants to Haleakalā National Park including both the Summit and Kīpahulu Areas.

Motorcycle: $20. Valid for 3 days. Admits a private, non-commercial motorcycle to Haleakalā National Park including both the Summit and Kīpahulu Areas.

Per Person: $12. Valid for 3 days. Admits one individual with no car to Haleakalā National Park including both the Summit and Kīpahulu Areas – typically used for bicyclists, hikers and pedestrians. Youth 15 and under are admitted free.

If you arrive at the park at a time when the entrance station is closed, please pay the entrance fee at the automated fee machine using cash.

Sunrise and sunset at Haleakalā

Haleakala Sunrise, Maui, Hawaii

Watching the sunrise over Haleakalā is an incredibly special experience, one which now requires reservations to keep the crowd numbers down. If you want to visit at sunrise, reservations open up online 60 days in advance at recreation.gov.

Sunset at Haleakalā is just as beautiful and requires no reservations.

Before sunrise and after sunset the temperatures plunge dramatically, so you will need to pack extra layers like coats, beanies, gloves and possibly even blankets if you plan to visit then.

Get more information about sunrise at Haleakalā here.

Haleakala Visitor Center and Pa Kaoao Trail

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Elevation: 9,740 ft. (2969 m.)

Features: Ranger Station, Wheelchair Accessible, Restrooms, Water
 

This small Visitor Center is perched right at the edge of a cliff. Leave your car here to walk the Pa Kaoao Trail, which leads 100 ft. (30 m.) up to an overlook with a remarkable view. The change in altitude on this short trail is very noticeable.

 

Puu ulaula Summit

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Elevation: 10,023 ft. (3,055 m.)

 
Features: Wheelchair Accessible Drive up to Haleakala’s highest point, Puu ulaula Summit, to enjoy 360-degree views of the alien Haleakala landscape. This is the spot to stick around and watch the sun set from.

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii
Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii
Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Important information before driving up to Haleakalā

  • Dress warmly. Be prepared for all kinds of weather. Temperatures at the Summit are at least 20 degrees colder than at sea level and often drop below freezing.
  • Fill up your gas tank and bring food. Neither are available in the park.
  • Bring water, sunscreen, and wear sturdy shoes.
  • Pay the entrance fee with a credit card.
  • Always respect speed limits. The park road goes through endangered species habitat.
  • Please leave natural resources and cultural artefacts, rocks, and structures alone.
  • No climbing/ walking off the marked trails as this can destroy habitats and scare wildlife.
  • Please be quiet and respectful. The Summit is sacred to Native Hawaiians.
  • The Summit is remote. Emergency medical assistance is at least one hour away.

Safety information care of nps.gov

Haleakalā National Park, Maui, Hawaii: Driving To The Summit