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Sydney

Sydney Restaurants: Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour is the perfect spot for casual dining, particularly with the family. Enjoy vibrant, affordable Italian food and family-friendly menus in a bright, large dining area.

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

With the tagline: “Fratelli Fresh, A Place For Everyone”, you’d expect no less, and the restaurant offers up delicious food with enough variety to please even the pickiest of eaters.

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

Located directly underneath the ICC building, Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour is the ideal location for a meal when seeing a show, or visiting the nearby Darling Quarter playground.

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

While we were sorely tempted by the hand-tossed Neapolitan pizzas (they looked amazing), we were having a light lunch and chose a build-your-own salad and kids’ pasta.

Fratelli Fresh frequently has excellent deals such as kids eat free on Sundays and school holidays, plus daily deals for the adult menu. On the day I visited, the build-your-own salad was $10 ($15 with soup) and kids ate free as it was school holidays, so our meal cost only $15. Crazy cheap, especially considering the excellent quality and generous portions.

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

There is a games area that would suit older kids. During the school holidays Fratelli Fresh puts on free kids’ activities too, making it a no-brainer in my opinion!

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

We loved the gelato and dessert bar and indulged with truly delicious gelato after our meal.

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

Fratelli Fresh, Darling Harbour

The Darling Quarter playground is only a few steps away, making this our new fave restaurant when visiting the area.

Get more info on the Darling Quarter Playground here.

Fratelli Fresh
2/14 Darling Dr, Darling Harbour
Phone: 02 9259 5600
Hours: Daily, 7am-12am
Website: fratellifresh.com.au/venues/darling-harbour

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.

The Tramshed Cafe, Narrabeen Lake, Sydney, Australia

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

Jump aboard a beautifully restored 1930s tram at The Tramshed Cafe on Narrabeen Lake, an approximately 40 minutes drive from Sydney’s CBD.

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

The tram is open for visitors to walk through, including the drivers’ areas. You can even order your meal to go and eat it on the tram if you can persuade the kids to go inside and sit at a regular table.

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

This old tram, number 1753, carried passengers between North Sydney and the Spit Bridge from 1933 until 1958.

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

Inside the actual cafe, you’ll find a brightly lit, open space, with plenty of tables and booths. The cafe serves up Modern Australian breakfasts and lunches, specialty roasted Little Marionette coffee and a very decent kids’ menu.

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

The Tramshed Cafe ie licensed and BYO. Breakfast is available 7-11.30am and Lunch 11.30-3.30pm.

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

Alec and I both ordered The Tramshed Big Brekkie (Eggs your way, bacon, roast tomatoes, mushroom, hash brown, avocado, chorizo, tomato relish and sourdough, $20). I asked for mine with vegetarian substitutes. Cheese has the kids’ eggs on wholewheat toast ($8).

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

Our food was delivered to us quickly by the extremely friendly waitstaff. We were pleased with the portion sizes and how fresh the food was. Beautiful bright colours, really delicious flavours. Note: If ordering toast and you like butter on it, you’ll need to ask for it.

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

The Tramshed Cafe has a number of environmental initiatives in place that I really appreciated. They use BioPak Green packaging for takeaway orders, which can be recycled, they use only paper straws, compost as much as they can, recycle where possible and support local suppliers to reduce freight.

Tramshed Cafe Narrabeen lake

While the cafe itself sits on an extremely busy road, it’s positioned next to Berry Reserve, which has a large playground (currently under renovation and reopening soon) and the beautiful Narrabeen Lake.

Narrabeen Lagoon, Sydney

At the lake is an entry point to the 8.4km Narrabeen Lagoon Trail that can be walked, biked or scooted. A bit far for us to complete, we walked and scooted the 1.2km to Bilarong Reserve, which has an excellent playground with play equipment and mythical beast sculptures.

Narrabeen Lagoon, Sydney

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

The Tramshed Cafe
1395a Pittwater Road, Narrabeen
(02) 9970 7486
Hours: Daily, 7am-5pm
Online

Wild Ropes at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Is your family looking for a thrill on their next outing in Sydney? Take adventurous kids and adults to Wild Ropes at Taronga Zoo for a challenging walk among the trees, with the best view in Sydney to boot.

Wild Ropes is located right in the heart of Taronga Zoo Sydney, winding through the treetops above the Australian Walkabout. It’s seperate entry to the zoo, however, so if you want to visit the zoo as well, you will need to buy a combined ticket that includes entry to both.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

The entry to Wild Ropes is right through the historic Taronga Zoo entrance on the left. Look out for the big signs, you can’t miss them.

There are six courses, two children’s courses and four adult / junior courses.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Children’s Courses

The two children’s courses, Koala and Possum, are suitable for kids aged 3 – 8, up to a height of 140cm. Children are allocated one hour to complete both courses as many times as they like during the session. The Koala course must be completed before kids are allowed to attempt the harder Possum course.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

The hour time session includes briefing and being fit with safety gear, so actual climbing time is around 45 minutes.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Parents can observe their kids from a viewing platform but are not able to assist kids if they get stuck. Kids should feel confident about being separated from their parents in order to complete the courses by themselves.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Cheese was a month shy of her 7th birthday when completing the Wild Ropes Children’s Courses. She found the Koala course easy and Possum challenging in places. She repeated the courses over and over again until her time was up and we had to make her stop.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

She loved the courses and has enthusiastically recommended them as a fun activity for kids. Two thumbs up, five stars.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Adult and Junior Courses

Juniors aged 8 – 17 and adults aged 18 + can take on the four full Wild Ropes courses. There are two low and two high courses to complete. The two low courses are slightly easier than the high ones, and the courses sit above each other, so the “high” ones are a few metres higher than the low ones.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

When signing up for the courses you can choose between the Adventure Package, which includes one low course and your choice of a high or low course, and the Ultimate Challenge, which includes entry to two low and two high courses.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

If you decide to do more courses you can add them on when you are there, but it’s always cheaper to buy things in advance!

Juniors must be at least 8 years and 140 cms tall. Juniors aged between 8 and 13 years old must be accompanied by a climbing Adult on the course. There is a minimum ratio of 1 x Adult per 4 x Juniors allowed.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

A low course must be completed before climbers can take on a high course. Each course contains approximately 17 challenges, including bridges, tunnels, aerial rock climbing walls, flying fox and even a hover board (I found this particularly nerve-wracking!).

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Depending on your group size, allow around 60 minutes to complete two courses. If there aren’t any people ahead of you and your group is particularly agile, it can be completed in about 30 minutes.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

I did the two adult / juniors courses while Cheese was taking on the kids’ courses and I found it an exhilarating challenge. Physically, muscles I hadn’t used in years were required to come out of retirement to complete the various challenges, but the biggest challenge I found was mental. It’s quite mentally challenging to get over a fear of falling, even though your rational brain is telling you that you’re hooked up to a harness and completely safe!

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

The courses were incredibly fun and I would absolutely return to do the other two courses. I enjoyed feeling challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone. I’m usually watching from the sidelines these days instead of participating in activities like this, so it was really fun and exciting to take on a physical and mental challenge for the first time in years!

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Information about safety

All safety equipment is supplied and participants must complete a safety briefing before beginning the course. Safety equipment includes:

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Harness
Continuous belay system
Pulley
Helmet
Once fitted with all necessary equipment participants will receive a comprehensive safety briefing from an instructor. Once you have demonstrated that you are safe to go, you will be allowed onto the courses.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

What to wear / bring

Fully enclosed shoes with rigid soles must be worn on the courses.
Hair should be pulled back.
Jewellery (including piercings) must be removed or taped over.
Glasses, including prescription glasses, may only be worn with a strap.
You must remove anything that could fall off or out of your pockets before accessing the Wild Ropes course. This includes: keys, coins, phones, cameras, bags, watches, loose jewellery. Free lockers are provided to participants.
Genuine Chest and Helmet Go-pro mounts are the only attachment allowed for actions cameras on the courses for safety reasons.
No exposed skin from the ankle down.
Your waist should be covered and any piercings should be taped over or taken out.

Plan to arrive at Wild Ropes at least 15 minutes prior to your session start time. If you are entering Taronga Zoo from the ferry allow an additional 20 minutes to ascend to the top entry where the entry to Wild Ropes is located. A trip on the Sky Safari is included in your Wild Ropes ticket. Note the Sky Safari operates from 9.30am and may not operate due to bad weather. Please note that Children 15 years or under must be accompanied by an adult on the Sky Safari Cable Car.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Opening Times
First session starts at 9.30am
Last session starts at 3.00pm (May – Aug) and 3.30pm (Sept – Apr)

Wild Ropes is open 7 days a week, 364 days a year (closed Christmas Day).

Wild Ropes is open during wet weather, but activities may be cancelled in cases of heavy winds or lightning. Please arrive 20 minutes earlier than your booked session time. Your Wild Ropes challenge can be completed on it’s own or added to your same-day Zoo experience.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Prices

Head to the website for the latest prices and to book. I highly recommend booking online as it’s cheaper, and you also don’t have to worry about sessions selling out.

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Wild Ropes, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Get more info on Wild Ropes at Taronga Zoo online.

We were hosted for our visit to Wild Ropes. All opinions are my own. 

The Hunting of the Snark: Theatre Review

The Hunting Of The Snark

Come on a voyage of the ridiculous in the weird and wonderful world of Lewis Carroll. Will our fearless adventurers find the mythical snark on their voyage? Or will they find something else more important instead?

From July 7 – 22 at the Sydney Opera House, the entire family can enjoy searching for the legendary snark in this hilarious quest adapted from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.

Life-like puppets, fantastical creatures, lively songs and a knitting beaver sidekick will enchant the young and young at heart in this modern adaptation that blends a classic tale with current and local references. We couldn’t help but be swept up on this silly but heartfelt journey.

Join Boy, the Banker, the Butcher, the Baker, the Bellman and the Beaver as they sail across the ocean to Snark Island in search of the mythical creature. Can the snark be caught? And should it be caught? Are there more important things than the money to be made from such a capture?

The Hunting Of The Snark

This fast-paced show will please little ones and their adults alike with its humour, catchy songs and colourful puppets.

Cheese, who is almost 7, and I saw the show and both really enjoyed it. As we left the theatre she turned to me unprompted and said, “I loved it!”. You can’t get a better review than that.

The Hunting Of The Snark

Before and after the show, kids will enjoy the free, immersive Creative Play that has returned to the Western Foyers with Reach Out Sounds. This interactive installation encourages kids to make music through connections. Complete a circuit with your little one to create fun noises on the sound pods.

The Hunting of the Snark show days and times:

Tuesday, 17 July at 2.30pm
Wednesday, 18 July at 12.30pm and 2.30pm
Thursday, 19 July at 12.30pm and 2.30pm
Friday, 20 July at 10.30am and 12.30pm
Saturday, 21 July at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday, 22 July at 10.30am and 12.30pm

Show runs for apprx 70 mins (no interval)

Appropriate for ages 6+

Get more info and tickets for The Hunting Of The Snark here. 

Presented by Sydney Opera House, RG Media and Alice House Theatre.

Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point Sydney

You can reach the Opera House by:

Car – park in the onsite Opera House car park. For discounted parking, book online with Wilson car parks and check the Sydney Opera House website for any current promo codes.

Buses, trains and ferries – all service nearby Circular Quay which is an easy 5-10 min walk to the Opera House.

A huge thank you to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us on this fantastic day. All opinions are my own.

20 Rainy Day Activities For Kids in Sydney

Rainy Day Activities For Kids In Sydney Australia

Kids + rainy weather = cabin fever! When it’s too wet for the beach or parks, entertain the junior set with one of these 18 rainy day activities for kids in Sydney.

20 Rainy Day Activities For Kids in Sydney

See a movie

Event Cinemas, Australia

Is there anything more relaxing than cozying up watching the latest flicks on the big screen? Check movie times at a cinema near you by clicking here.

Image credit: Event Cinemas

Watch a live show

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

Check out what’s on at the Sydney Opera House, the Capitol Theatre, Sydney Lyric Theatre or Parramatta Riverside Theatre. Each venue shows for all ages and demographics.

Check out the Monkey Baa Theatre Company for shows the kids will love.

Image credit: Daniel Boud

Zap and chase at laser tag

 

Dashing through the dark with neon lights and laser guns sound like fun? Team up and challenge your friends and family to a game of laser tag.

M9 Laser Skirmish at Darling Harbour, laser tag at AMF (various locations), laser tag at Kingpin Bowling (North Strathfield and Darling Harbour), Laser Siege (Turrella), laser tag at Strike Bowling (various locations)

Indoor skydive with iFLY

iFLY, Australia

See what it feels like to fly without jumping out of a plane at iFly in Penrith (second location coming soon to Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. Anyone aged 3 and up can iFly!

Let the wind take you higher in an state-of-the-art, fully-controlled, ultra-safe vertical wind tunnel.

How does it work? Just lean into the wind inside our giant glass tunnel and a column of air lifts you up! You’ll float effortlessly into flight, guided by qualified instructors.

Get more info on iFLY here.

Image courtesy of iFLY.

Strike it lucky at ten pin bowling

Retro fun all across Sydney. Challenge the whole family to a game of ten pin bowling.

Check out locations and prices at AMF Bowling (various locations) Ten Pin City (Lidcome), Strike Bowling (various locations), King Pin Bowling (various locations).

Find your inner Pac-man playing arcade games

Go old school with classic and new arcade games. From air hockey to dodgem cars and a bit of Street Fighter, there’s something for everyone to play.

Find arcade games at Playtime (various venues) and Archie Bros Cirque Electric at Alexandria for a circus-themed arcade extravaganza.

Tee Off at Mini Putt Putt

Holey Moley

Putt putt has gone upmarket with crazy mini golf courses! Holey Moley turns traditional putt putt into a multi-sensory labyrinth of unique holes that’ll keep you on your toes across the craziest round of golf you’ve ever played. Choose between 9, 18 or 27 holes, or try karaoke at one of Holey Moley’s three Sydney locations: Newtown, Darlinghurst or Castle Towers.

Putt Planet in Miranda is indoor miniature golf course is travel themed and accessible, so a great option for strollers or wheelchairs. The theme of the mini golf course is a trip to Mombasa, with a plane at the entrance symbolising the start of your journey.

Putt Planet, Miranda

The Putt Planet website says, “Discover another time and place when you board your Putt Planet flight from Miranda to Mombasa. Putt through the bustling market places, homes and even the sewers of Old Mombasa whilst exploring this ancient doorway to Eastern Africa. We’ve put a roof over the charming streets and laneways so any time is a good time to visit; the weather is always fine!”

Get more info on Putt Planet.

Image courtesy of Holey Moley.

CHANNEL YOUR INNER NINJA

Ninja 101

Try one of several ninja courses or parkour centres popping up all over Sydney. They’re suitable for kids (generally over aged 5) and adults and are designed to test agility and build strength.

Find a ninja gym or parkour centre in Sydney on this handy list of indoor play spaces.

Burn off steam at an indoor play centre


Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney
Kids going bananas? Take them to an indoor play centre to run out their crazies. There are plenty all around Sydney to choose from!

Check out this list of indoor play centres in Sydney to find one near you.

Bounce the day away at a trampolining centre


Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Alexandria
Visit an indoor trampolining centre to literally bounce your cares away. Check each centre to see that facilities they have for kids before taking little ones – some have special toddler times available.

Find a trampolining centre in Sydney on this handy list of indoor play spaces.

Test your agility indoor rock climbing

Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Alexandria

Kids and adults can all enjoy scampering up walls at indoor rock climbing centres. Start at the easiest level and work your way up to pro. Kids can try the beginner walls or special areas designed just for little ones.

Find an indoor rock climbing gym in Sydney on this handy list of indoor play spaces.

Spend the day at an art gallery or museum

Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia

Enjoy the peaceful calm of one of Sydney’s excellent museums and art galleries. All are extremely kid-friendly as well as having top-notch exhibitions year-round. The Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art, the Powerhouse Museum, the Early Start Learning Centre and the Australian Museum head up a long list of excellent galleries for kids in Sydney.

Check out this list of Sydney’s art galleries and museums to find one near you.

Take a dip in an aquatic centre

Ryde Pool Sydney Aquatic Centre

It may seem counter intuitive but rainy days are perfect for getting even wetter indoors! Swim some laps and take kids to splash in the water features of these excellent centres all across Sydney.

Check out this list of aquatic centres in Sydney to find one near you.

Chase sharks at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Australia

Get up close to a more than 700 species of Australian aquatic life in 12 themed zones at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. An impressive 13,000 animals live in the aquarium in six million litres of water, including dugongs, rays, tropical reef fish and sharks. A popular exhibit is Penguin Expedition, allowing guests to sail past a colony of King and Gentoo Penguins on a boat ride. The SEA LIFE aquarium is top kids attraction in Sydney and can get busy on public holidays and school holidays.

Get more info on Penguin Expedition and on SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

Image credit: Sydney Aquarium

Catch a croc at Wild Life Sydney Zoo

Wild Life Sydney Zoo via christineknight.me

Meet iconic Australian animals at Wild Life Sydney Zoo. This small zoo is the perfect size to take young kids, and is easy to navigate with a wide, flat path, perfect for strollers. Get up close to the Cassowary, echidna, sugar gliders, koalas and kangaroos, plus a giant croc!

Get more info on Wild Life Sydney Zoo.

Up your selfie game at Madam Tussauds Sydney

Madame Tussauds, Sydney, Australia

A wax museum where visitors can take a selfie with Barak Obama in the oval office, or shake it off with Taylor Swift. Aussie legends like Steve Irwin and Ned Kelly are also photo-ready.

Madam Tussads Sydney

The Justice League exhibition is especially fun, an immersive and interactive experience to make you feel like you’re in the movies with your favourite stars.

Get more info on visiting Madame Tussauds Sydney here.

Image courtesy of Madame Tussauds.

Get your Tonya Harding out ice skating

Macquarie Ice Rink, Sydney

Trying to twirl on ice is the perfect way to forget miserable weather outdoors. Spend a few hours getting exercise as well as having fun working on your triple axel.

Check out this list of ice skating rinks in Sydney to find one near you.

Image courtesy of Macquarie Ice Rink.

Read a good book at a library

State Library of NSW Australia

Head to the stunning State Library of NSW to check out their exhibitions or read a book. Established in 1862 it’s the oldest library in Australia. I personally love the idea of reading when it’s raining, so a library always tops my list of things to do in Sydney on a rainy day!

Get more info on visiting the State Library of NSW here.

You could also visit your local library! Check this site for the City of Sydney libraries and locations. You can also visit here to find the location of every library in NSW.

Find your inner Picasso while plaster painting

Plaster Painting Sydney

Little and big kids will love painting up a masterpiece at one of these plaster painting studios across Sydney. Candyland Playhouse even offers ceramic painting, which is where the art work is baked in a kiln after being painted.

Check out your nearest plaster painting venue: Little Plaster House (Bella Vista), Candyland Playhouse (Hawkesbury) who offer plaster and ceramic painting, Plaster Painting Studios (Moore Park), Plaster Master Fun (North Bondi), The Little Plaster Shop (Concord).

Head to the shops

Most of the major shopping centres have indoor play areas for kids, mostly of the soft play variety. It’s easy to pass several hours with snacks, free fun and a bit of shopping – with free parking to boot – at your local shopping centre. A top pick with us for rainy day activities for kids!

Tried and tested shopping centres with free indoor play areas:

Rhodes Waterside
Harbourside, Darling Harbour
Westfield Liverpool
Supa Centa Moore Park
Westfield Bondi Junction
Broadway Shopping Centre has a small play are for kids aged five and under.
Westfield Warringah Mall
Birkinhead Point
IKEA (Tempe and Rhodes)

IKEA is such a gem. Drop kids aged 3 – 9 years of age off at their Småland Magical Forest that includes a ball pit, slides and watching kids movies. Age: 3 – 9 years old, time limit: 60 minutes.

Find your closest Westfield here.

Rainy Day Activities For Kids In Sydney Australia

Do you have any more ideas for rainy day activities for kids?

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.

Find the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Sydney here.

The Best Things To Do In Parramatta And Western Sydney With Kids

Things To Do In Parrmatta and Western Sydney, Australia, with Kids

I grew up in Sydney’s South West suburbs, so have spent much of my life in the Parramatta and Western Sydney area. Sydney’s South West and Western suburbs are an incredible mix of history, nature and delicious food, a perfect place to bring up kids or visit for the day. Check out the best things to do in Parramatta and Western Sydney with kids!

The Best Things To Do In Parramatta and Western Sydney With Kids

Livvi’s Place Ryde

Livvi's Place Ryde, Yamble Reserve, Sydney, Australia

Livvi’s Place is a full-enclosed playground located in Yamble Reserve, Ryde. The reserve features formal gardens, deciduous trees, picnic shelters, large green grassed areas, barbecues and the excellent all-abilities playground, Livvi’s Place. Livvi’s Place playground includes a water pump play area, dual flying fox, nest swing, musical instruments, climbing frame and tunnels.

Read more about Livvi’s Place Ryde here.

Ollie Webb Reserve Parramatta

Ollie Webb Reserve Parramatta

Parramatta’s first all-inclusive playground opened in early 2019. It features climbing structures, water play with a splash play area and water pumps, an elevated sandpit, an accessible carousel, swings, BBQ facilities and excellent bathrooms.

Read the full review of Ollie Webb Reserve playground here.

The Central Gardens Nature Reserve Merrylands

Central Gardens, Merrylands: The best of southwest Sydney for families via christineknight.me

The Central Gardens Nature Reserve, also called the Central Gardens, is a nature reserve in the southwest Sydney suburb of Merrylands. The 12 hectare park features two playgrounds, animal enclosures, BBQ areas, a flat path perfect for scooters and bikes, plus a small waterfall feature.

Read more about visiting the Central Gardens Nature Reserve here.

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre Sydney
Located in South West Sydney, the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is a place to experience the arts including performances and exhibitions. 

Casula Powerhouse, Sydney Australia

As well as featuring six galleries with rotating exhibitions, the Powerhouse also has a pair of three-story decommissioned tanks that are open to the public as legal graffiti spaces.

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre Sydney

The Casula Powerhouse runs family-friendly art programs throughout the year. Check out their upcoming events and workshops here.

Get more info on visiting the Casula Powerhouse here.

Image credit: Casula Powerhouse

Casula Parklands Adventure Playground

Casula Parklands Sydney

The brand new Casula Parklands has something for everyone, from toddlers to adults. Located near the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, the park features play equipment and fitness training for all ages.

Casula Parklands Sydney

The $15 million park includes a ninja warrior training course for teens and adults, toddler climbing equipment, older kid / tween climbing equipment, flying foxes, swings, on and off-leash dog parks and a fitness area.

Get more info on visiting Casula Parklands Adventure Playground.

Blaxland Riverside Park

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

A gorgeous spot for families with one of the biggest playgrounds in Sydney set among three hectares of rolling hills and big open spaces. The playground caters for kids of all ages and abilities with a fantastic water play area (the largest outdoor water play facility in NSW), moving play elements, high and steep landforms and hidden and confined spaces. There’s a double flying fox, mega-swing, tunnel slides, scramble wall, spinning play disk, Viking swing and a multi-level tree house to be discovered and enjoyed.

Get more info on Blaxland Riverside Park.

Museum of Fire

The Museum of Fire, Penrith

Enjoy exhibits focusing on fire safety and firefighting and explore historic fire trucks at the Museum of Fire in Penrith.

Junior firefighters will enjoy puzzles, dress-ups, fire safety activities and computer games.

Get more info on visiting the Museum of Fire here.

Image credit: Destination NSW Adam Hollingsworth

Museums Discovery Centre (MDC)

Inside the Museums Discovery Centre you’ll find millions of treasures and the opportunity to learn about museum collecting, conservation and research practices.

Get more info on the MDC here.

NSW Rail Museum

NSW Rail Museum Australia
Bring your locomotive-loving kids to get up close to trains at the NSW Rail Museum in the historic town of Thirlmere. Since 1975 this little town has been home to a large collection of NSW’s railway heritage, including over 100 vehicles that move on a railway including locomotives, railroad cars and more.

Get more info on visiting the NSW Rail Museum here.

Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan

The Australian Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan via christineknight.me

Explore Australia’s unique plant life at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, a 416-hectare botanical garden located in Mount Annan, between Campbelltown and Camden. The wide, flat paths are a delight to follow as they weave in and around the garden areas, as are the grassy hills to roll down!

The Australian Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan via christineknight.me

The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan has free entry, picnic shelters, barbecues and a playground with an excellent flying fox, making it the perfect outing for families.

Get more info on visiting the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

Featherdale Wildlife Park

The Best Place To Meet A Koala in Sydney
A privately-owned zoo in Doonside, near Blacktown, Featherdale Wildlife Park specialises in Australian native wildlife and birds, as well as reptiles and marsupials.

Get more info on visiting Featherdale Wildlife Park.

Calmsley Hill City Farm

#Calmsley Hill City Farm via brunchwithmybaby.com

The place to introduce city kids to a farm! Calmsley Hill City Farm has plenty of farm animals to get up close to, plus tractor rides and interactive shows such as sheep shearing, a small playground, picnic area and cafe.

Get more info on visiting Calmsley Hill City Farm.

Skyline Drive-In Blacktown

Skyline Drive-In Blacktown Sydney

Watch a movie under the stars at Sydney’s last remaining drive-in movie theatre. Introduce kids to the movie experience of a bygone era complete with a Happy Days-style diner, spiders and choc-tops. The gates open at 5:30pm, with parking allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Tune your car’s FM radio or bring along a portable radio to hear the movie. Before you leave home, check session times for what’s on.

Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park

The site of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games is now a monument to sporting legends and a peaceful parkland. Visit Cathy Freeman Park to see the Olympic Cauldron that was used throughout the games and has been transformed into a water feature that kids love to play under in summer, located next to a shady playground and vast grassy field.

To get there: Take a 30 minute train trip from Central Station to Olympic Park Station or a ferry from Circular Quay to Sydney Olympic Park Wharf.

Get info on visiting Sydney Olympic Park here.

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre

©Sydney Olympic Park Authority
©Sydney Olympic Park Authority


While adults will enjoy swimming in the same pool that Ian Thorpe won his Olympic gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, kids will go wild over the water slide, Splasher’s Water Playground that caters for kids aged toddler and up, and Rapid River Ride that caters to all ages. Comfortabley heated to 26 degrees, the Aquatic Centre is year-round fun.

Get more information on visiting the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

To get there: Take a 30 minute train trip from Central Station to Olympic Park Station or a ferry from Circular Quay to Sydney Olympic Park Wharf.

Bicentennial Park

Bicentennial Park, Sydney, Australia

A fave for families with its wide expanses of undulating hills, plenty of shade and picnic spots. Bicentennial Park is a beautiful location that combines mangrove wetlands with 40 hectares of gentle hills, meadows, lakes, playgrounds and picnic shelters. Driving to this park is the best option but parking can also be a challenge so arrive early.

Ryde Park Playground & Scooter Track

Ryde Park, Sydney, Australia
What a gem of a spot! Ryde Park has a shaded playground and a new scooter/bike track. The park also has sporting fields and picnic areas.

Get more info on Ryde Park here.

Western Sydney Parklands

Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me

An urban park and nature reserve located in Sydney’s western suburbs, the Western Sydney Parklands contains various parks and attractions that are perfect for families to enjoy.

Plough and Harrow

Plough and Harrow: Best of Southwest Sydney for Families via christineknight.me

This popular picnic spot is surrounded by bush and features a playground, cafe, high ropes course and wide open spaces for kids to run free. The playground’s hamster wheel is particularly popular!

Get more info on visiting Plough and Harrow.

Lizard Log

Lizard Log, Sydney, Australia

A nature-themed playground with a bush setting, Lizard Log also features walking and cycling tracks plus barbecue stations.

Image credit: Western Sydney Parklands Trust

Treetop Adventure Park

TreeTop Adventure Park Sydney via christineknight.me

Adventurous kids will adore getting up high in the gum trees with the Treetop self-guided rope courses. With rope ladders, wobbly bridges and zip lines to navigate, it’s the perfect place for kids to test their problem-solving ability as well as push physical boundaries. Kids must be aged three and older to participate, with the children’s rope course designed for ages 3-9. Treetops Adventure park is located at the Plough and Harrow park.

Get more info on visiting Treetop Adventure Park.

Raging Waters Sydney

Wet 'n' Wild, Sydney, Australia

Cool down at Raging Waters Sydney (formerly Wet’n’Wild SYDNEY), a water theme park filled with over 40 slides, a zone dedicated to kids under 5 and a sandy beach. Popular with younger kids is the Nickelodeon Beach water splash park area that features characters like Dora, Spongebob and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Get more info on visiting Raging Waters Sydney.

Image credit: Havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Bungarribee Park

Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands
Opened in 2017, Bungarribee is a 200-hectare recreational space that features walking and cycling tracks, 20 barbecues, 13 picnic shelters and a playground with a climbing tower, flying fox, plenty of slides, swings and a water play area. Since this photo was taken, shade sails have been put up in the park.

Get more info on visiting Bungarribee Park.

Bigge Park, Liverpool

Bigge Park, Liverpool, Sydney, Australia

Bigge Park in Liverpool, a south-west suburb of Sydney, received a $5 million upgrade a few years back. The upgrade included a fantastic free water play area. Bigge Park also includes an accessible playground, a regular playground and climbing equipment.

Get more info on visiting Bigge Park.

Variety Livvi’s Place, Bankstown

Variety Livvis Place Playground Bankstown Sydney Australia

The Canterbury-Bankstown area’s first all-abilities playground opened in late 2018, a joint project between Variety, the Children’s Charity, and the Touched by Olivia foundation. The fully-fenced playground features picnic and bbq facilities, bathrooms, Variety Livvi’s Place includes a sensory zone, flying fox with accessible seats, a climbing net, trampoline, swings with accessible seats, water play area, a climbing tower with ground level play features, two nest swings, roller table, accessible carousel, slides, a nature trail, sand play and a lizard log carved from wood.

Get more info on visiting Variety Livvi’s Place here.

Fairfield Adventure Park Playground

Fairfield Adventure Playground Sydney

Especially designed to provide a play space for kids of a variety of ages, the Fairfield Adventure Playground brings the “wow” factor in spades. The park opened in 2015 after a $1.4 million council investment. With the star attractions designed specifically for teens, this is a unique playground that provides a much-needed recreational space for older kids.

Get more info on visiting the Fairfield Adventure Park Playground here.

Parramatta

Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park

The second oldest city in Australia, Parramatta was founded in 1788 – the same year as Sydney. Walk up Church street to discover its vibrant, multicultural food scene, or walk along the river to discover the city’s rich history.

Parramatta CBD Riverside Foreshore Park

Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park

We love this playground with its tall slides and sand play area, situated right on the banks of the Parramatta River.

Get more info on the Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park here.

James Ruse Reserve Playground

James Ruse Reserve Playground via christineknight.me
Our go-to when it’s hot, this playground has an undercover water play area that is a fave of ours. It also features climbing structures.

Get more info on the James Ruse Reserve Playground here.

Parramatta Park

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park: The best of southwest Sydney for families

This World Heritage Listed park is a must see. Gazetted as a People’s Park in 1858, Parramatta Park been a place for locals to enjoy for over 150 years. It’s also home to Old Government House, a historic site and museum and Australia’s oldest surviving building.  Parramatta Park also features wide open spaces with shady trees for picnics, a large formal rose garden, a creek and two playgrounds. Get info on upcoming events in Parramatta Park.

Gatehouse Tea Rooms, Parramatta Park

Gatehouse Tea Rooms: High Tea Parramatta

Enjoy high tea in the historic Gatehouse, located in beautiful Parramatta Park. Choose from a traditional high tea, savoury high tea or kids high tea. Gluten-free high tea, dairy-free high tea and vegan high tea are available.

Parramatta Park is rich in colonial history. In 2007 the park and Gatehouse building were granted World Heritage Listing by UNESCO.

Built in 1887, the Gatehouse is one of the oldest high tea venues in Australia, and my favourite spot for high tea in Parramatta.

Get more info on the Gatehouse Tea Rooms here.

Gatehouse Tea Rooms, Macquarie St Gatehouse, Parramatta Park, Parramatta

Domain Creek Playground Parramatta Park

Domain Creek Playground, Parramatta Park: The best of southwest Sydney for families
The largest and most modern playground in Parramatta Park, the Domain Creek Playground is nature-based and features mazes made from branches and wires, water pumps and sand diggers, a flying fox and sunken trampolines.

Get more info on visiting Domain Creek Playground.

Paperbark Playground

Parramatta Park Playground

Paperback Playground is the newest playground in the park and has some inclusive features. Located in the historic Gardens Precinct near the George Street Gatehouse, the playground is best suited to children and toddlers. Features include an accessible sandpit, swings and a carousel which kids with varied mobility, including wheelchair users, can use, as well as the ‘explorer dome’ centrepiece – a maze made of nets, ropes, ladders and tubes best suited to older children. The playground floor is covered with ‘Softfall’ pavements and there’s plenty of seats for parents and carers.

Parramatta Park Playground

Thank you to Have Wheelchair Will Travel for the images. 

Elizabeth Farm

Elizabeth Farm, Sydney, Australia

Built in 1973 for John and Elizabeth Macarthur, Elizabeth Farm is one of the oldest homes in Australia. Inside the house you’ll find reproductions of furnishings and objects that belonged to the home’s original owners. Wander the recreated 1930s garden or enjoy a Devonshire tea at the tea room. The scones are some of the best we have ever tasted.

Elizabeth Farm, Sydney, Australia

Elizabeth Farm runs year-round family tours and programs to engage kids in the history of the property and introduce them to what life was like during the early 19th century. Kids will get a kick out of trying to do the laundry in a tub, throwing quoits or doing some craft. Get info on upcoming events and programs here.

Carnes Hill Community & Recreation Precinct & Skate Plaza

Carnes Hill Skate Plaza October 2016

This lively community precinct includes an excellent library with large kids’ area, excellent playground, community centre, outdoor fitness stations, gym, cafe, sports courts and picnic areas. The Carnes Hill Skate Plaza is also located in the precinct, a fab spot for kids to bring their scooters and bikes and enjoy a sprawling park that is suitable for all ages and levels of experience. 

Images courtesy of Liverpool City Council

Things To Do In Parramatta and Western Sydney, Australia, with Kids

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.

Visiting Sydney? Find places to stay here.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Oh la la it’s a fancy outing today! It’s off to the classy Shangri-La Hotel Sydney in the Rocks for a very pink high tea with friends. From June 15 – 29 2018, the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney is hosting a very special Barbie High Tea, created by their executive pastry chef, Anna Polyviou.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Anna Polyviou is often called the Punk Princess of Pastry, and with her bright pink mohawk she is the perfect poster girl for a new Barbie cookbook, which Polyviou has created in collaboration with the iconic Barbie brand and The Australian Woman’s Weekly.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

The cookbook is a fantastic edition to a young chef’s collection, containing a combination of recipes that range from simple enough for kids to do either on their own or with help from adults, to some harder ones that definitely need adult intervention, but that are so imaginative that they will inspire kids to create their next birthday party around the designs.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Our young Barbie (and Anna Polyviou!) fans were keen to try some of the special recipes, which are reflected in the Barbie High Tea.

Each young guest is given their own Barbie Cookbook to take home, which our three discerning diners perused eagerly while waiting for their tea, choosing which recipe they would try at home first.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

High teas are best experienced with friends, and for this special Barbie outing, we invited our usual high tea accomplices, with whom we’ve been sampling sugary treats in fancy frocks for quite a few years now. There is something so special about getting dressed up and having tea in delicate china cups that little girls just adore, and it’s a really wonderful occasion for both us mums and the kids.

The three-tiered silver stands arrived quickly, brimming with so much pink that the girls’ eyes popped out of their heads.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

It’s clear that Polyviou knows her target audience well, and the creative, beautiful AND delicious menu was 100% on pointe with this young audience who are drawn to all things pink and sparkly.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Adults and kids can both order the Barbie high tea. If you’re dining with a few other adults or kids however, you might want to consider ordering the Barbie tea for the kids and the traditional high tea for the adults, and then trying a bit of everything! You can read about our delicious experience trying the traditional high tea here.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea

Barbie Shake

Coconut Raspberry jelly pops
Rocky road cup
Finger bun doughnuts
Rainbow cupcake

Cheesy chicken strips
Vegetable frittata
Ham cheese stars

(As vegetarians were given a slightly different savoury option, with a deconstructed egg sandwich, beetroot tart and cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches.)

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

The savouries are a great kid-friendly twist on a traditional high tea. Super accessible for even the fussiest of kids to enjoy.

The sweet treats were a hit, both visually and also to eat. The rainbow cupcakes were the fan favourite, with the added bonus of sprinkles spilling out of the middle when they were bitten into.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Mine and my friend’s favourite dessert was the rocky road cup – a mix of packet chips and lollies covered in chocolate, it was so nostalgic of our childhoods that we just kept going back for more. Note: the rocky road cup does contain nuts.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Another favourite was the Barbie shake. The strawberry milkshake base on its own was delectable, and with the addition of the Persian fairy floss and lollies it was just a mouth-watering treat that was devoured by all parties.

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

The Barbie High Tea is available from 15 June to 29 July 2018 at $45 per child. It includes a complimentary Australian Women’s Weekly Barbie Cookbook which features some of Polyviou’s Barbie inspired creations. For adults, it is priced at $55 per person with a glass of sparkling and at $65 per person with a glass of Champagne.

The Barbie High Tea is available daily at The Lobby Lounge, between 11:30am and 1:30pm and between 1:45 and 3:45 pm.

Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
176 Cumberland Street,
The Rocks, Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9250 6000
Prices: $$$
Bookings are essential. Please call (61 2) 9250 6144 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com
Get more information on the Barbie High Tea here.
Get Directions

Barbie High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel-Sydney

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.

Thank you to the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney for hosting us for this very special high tea. All opinions and sugar-high kids are our own. 

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

The beachside suburb of Maroubra is 10km south-east of Sydney’s CBD. It’s less developed than its neighbours Bondi and Coogee, giving it a more relaxed vibe than its popular cousins. Maroubra Beach and nearby Mahon Pool are a beautiful part of Sydney, making for the perfect day out in any season (ok, maybe not when it’s raining …).

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Maroubra Beach

“Maroubra” comes from the Aboriginal word meaning “like thunder”, which is the perfect name for this beach with giant waves that pound the shore. One of Sydney’s most popular surfing spots, Maroubra is also one of only two National Surfing Reserves in Australia.

The beach has two surf life saving clubs and is patrolled year-round by lifeguards.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Maroubra is less sheltered than other beaches, with can result in bigger waves. Swim between the flags only, as the waves can be dangerous. If you or your family aren’t strong swimmers, consider visiting another nearby more sheltered beach.

Despite its strong waves, Maroubra is still an excellent beach for families.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

The kilometre-long sandy stretch of beach has a wide, flat path running adjacent to it, bathroom facilities at the surf club, a large, nautical-themed fenced playground and excellent skate park.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

We were really impressed with the skate park and kids in it. There were a lot of younger kids from ages 3 to about 10, then teenagers and even a few adults, all skating in the park. The older skaters took a lot of care around the younger kids, which was so great to see.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

There’s also a free outdoor gym, free BBQs, outdoor showers, changerooms and bathrooms.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

A cafe-kiosk on the beach provides an excellent location for sitting in beanbags and enjoying the waves. You can also walk across the street to the strip on cafe and restaurants that are located on Marine Parade, directly opposite the beach.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

We walked up the hill to try Pool Cafe, located across the road from Jack Vanny Reserve. The cafe is excellent. Delicious food, fast service, cute wall art and really fun vibe. Highly recommend. Note there is no kids’ menu, but lots of food kids will eat.

Pool Cafe is located at 94 Marine parade Maroubra. Get more info on the Pool Cafe here. 

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Free parking is available behind the beach and in its side streets. The parking closest to the beach is 4 hours, side streets unlimited. There are also car parks north of the beach at Jack Vanny Reserve and at South Maroubra Beach.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

In the middle of the beach is a large Rubix cube. While this may look like an art work it’s actually a storm water drain cover. The Rubix cube is popular for climbing.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

If you have time, go exploring. South of the beach lies Arthur Byrne Reserve and headland, Broadarrow Reserve is to the west and Jack Vanny Memorial Park, Mahon Pool and the rocky headland are situated to the north.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Mahon Pool

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

The spectacular Mahon Pool is located 500 metres north of Maroubra Beach, up a steep-ish hill. Enter via Jack Vanny Reserve. Follow the path and steep steps leading down from the reserve to the pool.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Mahon Pool was carved into a rock flat in 1932, a 30-metre pool where you’ll find waves crashing over the sides at high tide. Visit at low tide to enjoy the pool with calm water (and plenty of fish inside!).

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

There is a free car park, toilet block with showers and change rooms located at the top of the reserve.

The rock flat is a great place to climb rocks up to the headland. An excellent view of the coast is available year-round, and migrating whales can be spotted from here between June and July.

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

Jack Vanny Reserve
15R Marine Pde
Maroubra

Get more info about Maroubra Beach here and here

Tips For Visiting Maroubra Beach and Mahon Pool, Sydney, Australia

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.

Top Tips For Visiting and Photographing Vivid Sydney

Top Tips For Visiting and Photographing Vivid Sydney, Australia

Vivid Sydney is, without a doubt, one of my favourite times of year. 2019 marks the 11th anniversary of Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas. From 25 May to 16 June the event lights up Sydney over 11 precincts, each featuring their own unique light sculptures.

Top Tips For Visiting and Photographing Vivid Sydney

What’s on at all 11 precincts

This year Vivid Sydney is spread across 11 precincts. Each features their own specific light installations.

Barangaroo
Photo by Ken Leanfore

This incredible, giant puppet, was made by Erth, the creators of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo. It has to be seen to be believed!

Read about Vivid Sydney at Barangaroo

Chatswood
Vivid Sydney
Photo by Steve Christo

The octopus returns! Chatswood is a top pick for taking kids to see Vivid. Lights go on at 5:30pm at Chatswood! Perfect for taking the kids. Grab some food at around 5pm and you’ve got yourself the perfect early night Vivid experience.

Read about Vivid Sydney at Chatswood

Circular Quay

Vivid Sydney

The best view of the Sydney Opera House is from the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Read about Vivid Sydney at Circular Quay

City and Surrounds

Vivid Sydney

A must-see tis year is the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie projection on the Customs House.

Read about Vivid Sydney in the Sydney CBD

Darling Harbour

Vivid Sydney
This year Darling Harbour will feature an inclusive light playground, Tumbalong Lights. The light display has four interactive play installations that give children of all ages and abilities an inclusive and accessible experience.

Darling Harbour is a top pick for families.

Read more about Tumbalong Lights.

Read more about Vivid Sydney at Darling Harbour

Harbour Lights

Vivid Sydney: The Highlights via christineknight.me

Read more about Vivid Sydney Harbour Lights

Kings Cross

Read more about Vivid Sydney at Kings Cross

Luna Park
Vivid Sydney
Photograph by Dallas Kilponen

Read more about Vivid Sydney at Luna Park

Taronga Zoo

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

We attend Vivid at Taronga Zoo every year. Their “Lights for the Wild” display focuses on animal conservation. Over 100 sculptures are ready to be discovered on a light trail through the zoo.

Read more about Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

The Rocks

Vivid Sydney

Duck in and out of historic laneways and discover a treasure trove of light sculptures.

Read more about Vivid Sydney at The Rocks

The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
Vivid Sydney
Photo by Steve Christo

Always a beautiful location to see light sculptures by the ocean, with the Sydney Opera House in the background.

Vivid Sydney
Photo by Steve Christo

This year, grab a cupcake ($7) from a Sprinkles cupcake vending machine on the trail.

Read more about Vivid Sydney at The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

General Vivid Sydney Tips

Vivid Sydney

Arrive BEFORE the lights turn on

Find a prime position near the lights that you want to see the most without a hoard of people and wait patiently until the lights get switch on. BAM – lights minus the crowds.

Lights go on at 6pm at all locations other than Taronga Zoo, where the lights go on at 5:30pm.

Hit up the most popular installations first

This has always been a key for me in conjunction with the point above. I circle back to those that it’s easy to see even with a crowd last, such as the Customs House, MCA and Sydney Opera House.

See the lights without the crowd

There are a few spots where you can see Vivid lights that are away from the general crowd. For a good view of the Harbour head to the top of the Cahill Expressway (lift at Circular Quay).

You can also visit the Observation Deck of the Sydney Tower Eye for a birds-eye view of the lights, zero crowds!

Lastly, walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s free to walk the pedestrian and bike path. I would suggest walking in one direction from The Rocks to Milsons Point, and catching the train back again.

Dedicate several nights to see it all

I’m sure it’s possible to see everything in one go, but why do it if you can spread it out? With so many locations, Vivid really needs at least three nights to see everything. Break it down into sections that can be covered together. Taronga and Chatswood or Luna Park, Circular Quay, Martin Place and Botanic Gardens plus Barangaroo and the Rocks, and lastly Darling Harbour, which can be done with another of the options with a bit of commuting in between.

Rug up!

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

It gets cold at night, especially near the water. Dress warm including a coat and a beanie and gloves.

Take the kids to Taronga

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

This is my pick for kids because it’s ticketed, so less people, and the lights go on earlier than the other locations.

Read about what to expect from Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo here.

Don’t bypass the smaller Vivid locations, especially with kids

With kids in tow, the locations such as Darling Harbour and Chatswood are also an excellent idea as these spots don’t get as large crowds as the CBD does.

Pick a quiet day to go

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

We always go the first weekend or Monday to Thursday. The first few days are always the quietist, before photos start appearing in the news and reminding people that it’s on. The second weekend, from Friday onwards, is when it starts to get really busy. If there is a big event on elsewhere while Vivid is on, that is also a great night to go!

Take public transport to the city or pre-book parking

Pre-book a car spot if you ca’t take public transport as parking is an absolute nightmare. When taking public transport, be aware that Circular Quay train station might be busy and be prepared to walk to another station if needed.

Find the best places to park for Vivid here.

Bring carriers or strollers for kids

This is for two reasons – one, because it’s night time and little people get tired, but also to keep them out of the way of being stepped on by adults.

Eat food first

We always arrive early in the city and eat before the lights even turn on. My pick is Gateway Sydney for casual, great food.

Tips for seeing Vivid with kids

Vivid Sydney: The Highlights via christineknight.me
Take them to Taronga or Chatswood, where lights go on at 5:30pm instead of 6pm and the crowds aren’t as bad. Darling Harbour, with its interactive light playground, is an excellent choice for families as well.

Take a stroller or baby carrier for little ones.

Feed them first or bring plenty of food for on the go.

Pick up free Lost Child Wristbands for the kids at info booths located on near the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Customs House and Darling Harbour.

Dress kids in high visibility clothing and keep them in sightline at all times.

Photography Tips

Take a good camera

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Take the best one you have. If you have an SLR, bring it. If the best you have is a point and shoot or your phone, then that will do. One of my old photography teachers once said “the best camera is the one you’ve got” and I’ve always remembered it!

A better camera will however produce better results, so when you’re in a tricky lighting situation such as an event after dark, I find it’s always worth bringing the best camera you’ve got.

Turn off the flash

Please, please, please turn off your flash! A good flash on an SLR camera only has a range of about a metre, so a flash on a phone is even more ineffectual. Use light from the installations to illuminate your subject matter rather than the flash.

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Caveat: If your subjects are standing in front of an extremely large light sculpture and you want them facing the camera with the object BEHIND them, then this is the one time when I would suggest using the flash. There is a photography op at Taronga with gorillas that is exactly this circumstance.

Use the sculptures to light faces

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Instead of using the flash, position people near the sculptures with the light directing onto them faces. Move yourself into a position where you can see the faces illuminated. Then take the photo.

Take a tripod 

Obviously this is a “if you have one” scenario. In any lowlight situation a tripod is your best friend to providing camera stability and resulting in sharper images without needing to over compensate for the low light by adjusting other camera settings as much.

Lean on fences or props

If you don’t have a tripod or, like me, don’t take one because they’re quite hard to manage with a crowd or you’ve got kids in tow, wedge your camera on solid, immovable objects to get sharper shots. I use fences, the backs of chairs, you get the picture.

Bump up the ISO

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

If you have manual settings on your camera, bump up the ISO A LOT. I bump mine way up to ensure that the photos are in focus. The photos are grainier as a result, but at least they’re in focus.

Give kids an old camera or phone

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

I gave Cheese my iPhone to shoot with this year and I loved the photos she came up with. Kids have a different perspective to adults so the angles and perspectives she shot were completely different to mine.

Get more info on Vivid Sydney here.

Tips For Visiting Taronga Zoo Vivid Sydney 2019

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo Vivid Sydney is back for its third year! 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.

In 2019, Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo runs from May 24 – June 15, Wednesday to Sunday evenings, plus the Queen’s Birthday public holiday, Monday 10 June.

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

The beautiful light show on the entrance is back this year, which is mesmerising for kids and adults alike. Set aside time at the beginning and end for this light show.

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo  Vivid Sydney is the only ticketed light show. 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 Sydney at Taronga Zoo

In line with Taronga Zoo’s focus on conservation, the 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 Sydney at Taronga Zoo

While “Lights for the Wild” isn’t as interactive as it was last year (sadly the multimedia bracelets have gone), with only one sculpture that can be touched and manipulated, it’s still a beautiful series of light sculptures in an extremely family-friendly environment.

What you need to know about Taronga Zoo Vivid Sydney 2019

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

What’s new this year?

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

While many favourites from the past three years return again, there are four new lanterns to experience: Sumatran Tiger cubs, a pride of Lions, a Koala and laser gardens.

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

The Taronga Centenary Theatre once again shows an multi-award winning animated film, presented as a 270-degree cinematic experience. It’s a great place to stop for a rest beneath a canopy of stars and a glowing planet earth as designed by children, before continuing on the journey back to the top of the zoo.

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Getting there

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

While you can catch the ferry, we prefer to drive. If you stay under 90 minutes it’s free. Unlimited parking is $18. We never have any problems finding parking or with traffic either getting there or going back home again.

Pick your session

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

There are TWO sessions each night for Taronga Zoo Vivid Sydney: 5:30pm and 7:30pm, with last entry at 8:30pm. Zoo closes at 9:30pm

Buy tickets in advance

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

Buy your tickets from the Taronga Zoo website. There is a slight price increase this year.

Dates: Wednesday- Sunday, Mon 10 June public holiday

Prices:
Adult – $26.95
Child (4-15 years) – $19.95
Under 4 – 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.

Make a day of it

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

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

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

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

Get there early

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

This is really my mantra for anything we go to! Arrive before the lights go on at 5:30pm so you get in ahead of most of the people in your timed session. I would suggest 5pm. Kids can watch the light show on the entrance and see the first batch of sculptures inside the entrance before the sessions begin, and you’ll be first in line when 5:30pm strikes and the doors open.

Follow the trail

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

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.

Final Taronga Tips

Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo

The light trail takes about 60-90 minutes to complete. While the whole trail is stroller and wheelchair accessible there are some steep sections.

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 25th to June 15, 2019.

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Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Vivid Sydney Tips

Arrive BEFORE the lights turn on

Find a prime position near the lights that you want to see the most without a hoard of people and wait patiently until the lights get switch on. BAM – lights minus the crowds.

Hit up the most popular installations first

This has always been a key for me in conjunction with the point above. I circle back to those that it’s easy to see even with a crowd last, such as the Customs House, MCA and Sydney Opera House.

Dedicate several nights to see it all

I’m sure it’s possible to see everything in one go, but why do it if you can spread it out? With so many locations, Vivid really needs at least three nights to see everything. Break it down into sections that can be covered together. Taronga and Chatswood or Luna Park, Circular Quay, Martin Place and Botanic Gardens plus Barangaroo and the Rocks, and lastly Darling Harbour, which can be done with another of the options with a bit of commuting in between.

Take the kids to Taronga

This is my pick for kids because it’s ticketed, so less people, and the lights go on earlier than the other locations.

Don’t bypass the smaller Vivid locations, especially with kids

With kids in tow, the locations such as Darling Harbour and Chatswood are also an excellent idea as these spots don’t get as large crowds as the CBD does.

Pick a quiet day to go

We always go the first weekend or Monday to Thursday. The first few days are always the quietist, before photos start appearing in the news and reminding people that it’s on. The second weekend, from Friday onwards, is when it starts to get really busy. If there is a big event on elsewhere while Vivid is on, that is also a great night to go!

Take public transport to the city or pre-book parking

Pre-book a car spot if you ca’t take public transport as parking is an absolute nightmare. When taking public transport, be aware that Circular Quay train station might be busy and be prepared to walk to another station if needed.

Find the best places to park for Vivid here.

Bring carriers or strollers for kids

This is for two reasons – one, because it’s night time and little people get tired, but also to keep them out of the way of being stepped on by adults.

Eat food first

We always arrive early in the city and eat before the lights even turn on. My pick is Gateway Sydney for casual, great food.

Get more info on Vivid Sydney here.

Additional images thanks to DNSW.