Adventure, baby!

Outdoor Play

The Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

Ahhhhh Easter, the chocolate holiday is here again! In our household, we like to celebrate chocolate over the Easter long weekend, as well as spending as much time as we can with family and friends.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

This year we finally made it to the Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt. It’s a great, active day out for families in Sydney, and at $17 per participating child, it’s an affordable outing, too. That’s right, no fee for adults, or age requirements, just a $17 fee per child who wishes to have a map and collect chocolate eggs along the way.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The egg hunt is suitable for kids of all ages. More than an egg hunt, it’s a multi-stop engaging quest to follow the map along a specially designed course to it’s fabulous conclusion – the Easter bunny (and bilby!) and chocolate, of course!

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

To take part in the Easter egg hunt, you’ll need to choose your start time, 9am and 3pm, and buy tickets accordingly. Entry to the course is timed in 15 minutes increments to ensure that it’s never too crowded.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

Registration for the course is at the start point, the Learning Centre, Education Precinct, Dickens Drive. Arrive right at the beginning of your time slot – you amy only collect your map and begin the course during your 15 minute time slot. You may, however, take all the time you need along the course to get to the end.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The course consists of five station, with an egg and spoon race (don’t worry, it’s a rubber egg!), hop scotch activity, ring toss and egg hunt for kids to complete at each station before the final stop, where they get a photo with the Easter bunny and bilby and collect their big chocolate prize.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me
Upon completing each station along the way, kids are given a stamp on their map and a little chocolate egg. The completed map must be presented at the last stop to receive the big chocolate prize – which, this year, was from sponsor Darrell Lea.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me
The information on the website suggests that the course will take between 30-45 minutes to complete. It took our kids a lot less time to finish, but they had a fantastic time. Each activity was very well suited to our group, with kids aged 2, 4 and 6.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

At the beginning of the course, in the Learning Centre, was a large room with tables and chairs, and bilby colouring in sheets plus crayons for families to take a break out of the heat. Nearby, a Combi Van food truck was parked to provide refreshments, and public toilets just beyond.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

I would suggest planning to make a big morning or afternoon of the event, by bringing a picnic lunch, bread to feed the ducks (watching the docks, eels, fish and turtles in the lake entertained our lot for minutes! Lots of them!), and anything else your family needs to spend a few hours enjoying the gorgeous Centennial Park.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt is held yearly in Sydney over Easter weekend.

Disney Summer Frozen Garden Party

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A few months ago, I entered a competition to win tickets to a Disney Summer Frozen Garden Party in Sydney. I didn’t think much of it again, until, amazingly, I received an email letting me know that I’d won two tickets to the party. What good luck!

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Cheese chose her Anna Frozen Fever outfit after I persuaded her that it was too hot for anything else and promised I’d even do her hair like Anna’s. One YouTube tutorial later and a hairdo that kind-of passed for Anna’s we were walking into Kurzon Hall with the blaring Frozen soundtrack welcoming us.

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Kurzon Hall in Sydney, where the party was held, kind of resembles a castle, making it the perfect choice for a royal garden party. While summer in Sydney can be anywhere from around 20 degree days to 40, the party day was a particularly scorchingly one, with temps of almost 40dC. It was one of the hottest summer days we’d had – quite ironic to be going a Frozen party in such mad heat!

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Thankfully the Disney team were well prepared for the heat, with parasols at the entrance, umbrellas covering most of the seating, paper fans dispersed to guests, and free gelato.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

As we chose a table for our special afternoon tea, a hostess greeted us and brought us a giant picnic basket full of delicious goodies. The generous serving could have fed another two of us! We received a vegetarian basket, with quiches, a wrap, a vege roll, brownies, fairy bread, a Frozen cupcake, blue lollies, juices, apples and bananas.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

The party had a tight schedule of events that kids could choose to participate in: face painting, horse and carriage ride and meeting Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. In between these events the kids were free to play a variety of old fashioned games like giant naughts and crosses, Jenga and Connect Four. I have to say here, a huge props to the very professional Frozen crew who were decked out in winter costumes and barely looked like they were sweating.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

I had thought the highlight event would be meeting the Frozen crew, who looked almost identical to the cast from the movie but then I looked down at the schedule of events and saw that the gorgeous Aussie singer, Ricki-Lee was scheduled to sing a selection of Disney songs. WHAAAAAAAT?!

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Sure enough, Ricki-Lee turned up and, in sweltering conditions, put on an amazing show. She really has such a gorgeous voice, but, even more than that, she looked like she truly loved the songs, and engaging with the kids. The kids – oh my, they were in heaven. It was like a real life princess from a Disney movie was singing to them. They just couldn’t believe their eyes.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

Ricki-Lee sang a few Frozen faves (Do You Want To Build A Snowman? and Let It Go) as well as other well-loved Disney songs, such as Beauty And The Beast, Part Of Your World and A Whole New World. Without a doubt, she made Cheese’s day by putting the microphone in front of her during one song so they could sing the song together. For a kid whose dream right now is to be a performer like Katy Perry, it was the most amazing gift to be given.

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Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

At the end of the party, we were sent home with a gorgeous present – a Disney snowflake necklace – as if all the amazing entertainment wasn’t enough of a gift! A huge thank you to Disney for putting on the Frozen Summer Garden Party. We really had the best afternoon – one that I don’t think my daughter and I are likely to ever forget.

I highly suggest keeping your eye out for future competitions like this, as, you never know, you might win tickets to the next one!

Barangaroo: The Best of Sydney For Families

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Barangaroo Reserve is Sydney’s newest park, located on the north-western tip of Sydney’s Central Business District. What was once a flat strip of concrete that was used as a container wharf has been transformed into a six-hectare waterfront parkland on Sydney Harbour, with 6,500 sandstone blocks placed along the foreshore and 75,000 100% native trees, shrubs and plants.

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Underneath the reserve is a giant new cultural space called the Cutaway, two levels of car park and two of Australia’s biggest water tanks (so Barangaroo Reserve can be a self-watering park).

Barangaroo Sydney via christineknight.me

The new reserve is named after an important Aboriginal women at the time of early colonial settlement, Barangaroo. One of her husbands was Bennelong, after whom Bennelong Point (where the Sydney Opera House sits) was named. The Barangaroo precinct was use for fishing and hunting by the Gadigal people, the Traditional Owners of the Sydney city region.

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While the park is not yet complete, visitors can enjoy the first two sections of the Wulugul Walk that are open to the public. Wulugal is the local indigenous word for kingfish, a fish with a golden band on its green-blue skin – similar to the appearance of the new foreshore at Barangaroo.

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When the Barangaroo precinct is completed in 2022, the Wulugul Walk will run for the entire 2kms of foreshore from Walsh bay to Darling Harbour. At the moment, the walk has two sections open to the public – Barangaroo Reserve at the north of the precinct and a second section in Barangaroo South linking up to King Street Wharf.

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With the opening of the reserve, this particular part of Sydney’s waterfront district is open to the public for the first time in over 100 years.

Barangaroo Sydney via christineknight.me

The entire of Barangaroo is very accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. It really is the perfect stress-free outing for families with elevators, gently sloping paths from top to bottom, plus clean bathrooms that have baby changing facilities.

Barangaroo Sydney via christineknight.me

A visit to Barangaroo to take a walk or picnic is already a great day out, but if you visit over the next week you’ll have a chance to experience the Sydney Festival’s Ephemeral City in the Cutaway. French artist Olivier Grossetête is overseeing the construction of a city of boxes, built by volunteers of all ages, using a whopping 9,000 boxes – or more than 10 tonnes of cardboard. The buildings will be demolished on Australia Day, January 26, so get in and stick together a box or two before they go.

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We had a fantastic time at the BOXWARS section of the city, where kids can build their own tiny city out of cardboard.

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You can see our little homes above!

Older kids and adults will also enjoy the free Flying Fox at ‘The Ephemeral City’. Zip-line over the box city and, upon landing, grab a roll of sticky tape and get building.

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Open: 8–24 January, 2pm–8pm (closed Mondays), at The Cutaway. Price: Free.
Minimum weight requirement for the Flying Fox is 30kg.

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Barangaroo
Getting there: Walk The most enjoyable way of arriving on foot is from Circular Quay. The direct route is to walk through the Argyle Cut and along Argyle Street to the reserve entrance at Munn Street Reserve (1.2km).

Wilson Parking operates a public car park at Barangaroo Reserve between 6am – midnight, 7 days per week.

Sydney’s Best Playgrounds: James Ruse Reserve Playground

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Super hot Sydney days call for playgrounds with water features! The James Ruse Reserve Playground is almost brand-spanking new (it was built in 2014), and has a fantastic water play area, which is under cover. You can’t beat that! Taking into consideration how important shade cloth is in summer, this could be my favourite playground in Sydney right now.

The playground was named after James Ruse (1760-1837) who arrived on the first fleet and was said to be one of the first convicts to be sent to Rosehill (now Parramatta) who had an understanding of agriculture. After his time as a convict was up, he became a self-sufficient farmer. James Ruse Reserve now occupies part of where is property, which he called Experiment Farm, used to be.

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James Ruse Reserve Playground
Harris St, Parramatta
Bathrooms: One portable only
Picnic tables: Yes
Shade cover: Yes
Cafe: No
Skatepark: Yes
Off-street parking: Yes
Children’s playground: Yes
Water features: Yes
Water park hours: September – May: 9am-8pm, June – August: CLOSED
Get Directions

Tips for Bushwalking with Preschoolers

Tips on bushwalking with preschoolers via christineknight.me

I recently took Cheese, aged four, on her first proper bush walk in Katoomba. We had an amazing walk to the Minni Ha Ha Falls (you can read about it here). It got me thinking about how different it is bushwalking with little kids – not better or worse, but different.

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Tips for bushwalking with small kids:

Over estimate the time it will take
The walk we did was 1.3km and should have taken an adult 15 minutes, it took us over an hour. Make sure you have plenty of time when you set out so there isn’t any rushing involved on either end of the walk.

Go slow and enjoy the journey
When I do bush walks on my own, I tend to rush through the bush to get to the waterfall at the end. When walking with Cheese, however, the walk is about the leaves and skinks and butterflies we encounter along the way. She enjoyed all the elements of the bush just as much as she did the waterfall at the end. Don’t set a time limit, just enjoy the journey.

Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me

Pack extra clothes
Particularly pack extra shoes and socks in the car (or backpack if you travelled by public transport) and shorts/dress if your child is like mine and won’t wear anything else. Even on days when it hasn’t rained in weeks, we often find mud on the trails, and are always glad to have spare shoes to change into.

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Prepare for swimming
If there is the potential for a dip, bring swimmers and a small quick-dry towel, plus a wet bag. Waterfall pools can be incredibly cold, even in the middle of summer, so there is a high chance of swimmers being worn and no actual dips happening. Do be aware of slippery rocks when there is water involved.

Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me

Stock up on food
Bush walks make for hungry kids. We stopped at the base of the waterfall for a picnic so Cheese had energy for the return trip. We packed a sandwich, rice crackers, banana, apple and many bottles of water.

Get ready for the elements
Don’t get caught out – the bush is a dangerous place. Wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and a short that covers your shoulders to prevent sunburn. take plenty of water even if it’s only a short hike. Also take wipes or tissues incase a bush wee presents itself!

Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me

Conserve strength for the end
There is always carrying involved for us. Our daughter was a champ on this walk and did most of it on her own, but still needed to be carried for the last three-quarters of a kilometer. We often bring a baby backpack carrier that takes kids of bigger weight for this exact reason.

Have you been bushwalking with your kids? I’d love to hear your favourite walks.

Sydney Day Trips With Kids: Minni Ha Ha Falls, Katoomba

Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me

The Blue Mountains are full of insanely beautiful waterfalls, many of which are well known and full of tourists, like the Katoomba and Wentworth Falls. We like to get off the beaten path a bit and avoid selfie sticks, so took a stroll one fine summer’s day out to the adorably named Minni Ha Ha Falls in North Katoomba (and yes, I wanted to visit them just so I could say over and over again “Minni Ha Ha”!).

Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me

The Minni Ha Ha Falls (also known as Minniehaha Falls and Minnihaha Falls) are just past the main Katoomba city centre turn off, on the opposite side of the road. From the Great Western Highway turn onto Civic Plaza, then turn left to the Station Street and follow Victoria Street until South Street, where you need to turn right. Turn left onto Minni Ha Ha Road and drive until you reach the small car park at the end of the road. This is Minni Ha Ha Reserve – a large park with a small playground and a few picnic tables.

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The 1.3km trail to the Minni Ha Ha Falls begins in the reserve. There is only one trail to follow until right before the falls come into view, so it’s very easy to find, although the path is very steep in the second part, very rocky, and, if it’s been raining, like it had been just before we visited, very slippery and filled with muddy puddles. Right before the waterfall are several sections with steep stairs and handrails. Cheese was a bit scared to do down them but, with a bit of encouragement, she descended them successfully.

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Don’t be put off by this description. While the walk was hard with a preschooler, it was absolutely do-able and Cheese had an amazing time. We helped her over the hardest bits, or where the path was flooded, but she otherwise walked the entire route there and back again on her own.

Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me

The trail leads right to the base of the falls, which are a pretty impressive 20-metres tall. If you’re brave enough (and don’t feel the cold!) you can swim in the pool at the bottom, right underneath the waterfall.

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Be warned: there are no bathrooms nearby, so go at the service station on the highway or be prepared for bush wees.

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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.

Summer at the Sydney Opera House

Summer at the Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

This January, the Sydney Opera House is jam packed with free fun for kids. Drop by the House to enjoy this free fun (you don’t need to be seeing a show to play – just pop on in!).

Summer at the Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

Creative Play: The Unbroken Line
January 2016, 10am-4pm
Kids can try to break un unbreakable digital line on a massive interactive digital wall. The line twists into patterns as it is pulled and pushed by participants, turning into a glorious array of colour and light. I visited with other kids aged from 4-6 and it was torture removing kids from this play area to take them home. This play space is a wonderful respite from the heat on hot days, so take advantage of it!

Summer at the Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

‘Salsedine’ Summer Playground
January 2016
This month, the Western Broadwalk and Foyers at Sydney Opera House have been transformed into an Italian Riviera. Enjoy alfresco dining and family-friendly entertainment by the Hot Potato Band, Kiki and Pascal and The Jitter Bugs, set against, stunning Sydney Harbour views.

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Food choices included fruit cups $7 and pastries from $5, or Italian dishes like antipasto, panini and pizza cooked in a coal oven from 12pm till late.

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Lounge in the sun (or, like us, under a shady patch) and enjoy free family-friendly performances, or take a breather while kids build castles in the sand pit. We caught Kiki and Pascal’s performances and were very entertained. Suitable for kids and adults, their comedy/magic/acro act was light and uplifting.

Summer at the Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

Kids can also get close to nature with Nature Play at the House. The nature corner lets kids use all their senses in play, from smelling plants in the garden, building with wood and decorating garden-themed colouring pages.

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Sydney by Sea: All Aboard the Sydney Ferry

sydney-opera-house

The best way to see Sydney is by sea. I love to hop aboard an iconic Sydney ferry and enjoy the sea breeze in my face as we sail through the iconic harbour. Circular Quay is the hub of the ferry network (right next to the train station). Take your pick from 37 other wharves to sail to, ranging from Manly at the northern end of Sydney Harbour, through to Eastern and Lower North Shore suburbs, suburbs adjacent to the Parramatta River, the Balmain peninsula and Darling Harbour.

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A few destinations the Sydney Ferries can take you to: Balmain, Double Bay, Manly, Parramatta, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour and Cockatoo Island. Honestly though, with a view like this, the journey can be even more beautiful than the destination.

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A note about accessibility:
Stroller and wheelchair accessible wharves:
Circular Quay* wharves 2, 3, 4 and 5, Abbotsford, Balmain (Thames St), Cabarita, Chiswick, Cremorne Point*, Darling Harbour Terminal, Garden Island, Kissing Point, Manly, Meadowbank, Milsons Point / Luna Park, Mosman Bay, Neutral Bay*, Parramatta, Rose Bay, Rydalmere, Sydney Olympic Park, Taronga Zoo and Woolwich.

Wheelchair accessible wharves are also indicated on the Sydney Ferries network map.

* Assisted access may be required at low tide.

Get more info on Sydney Ferries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Sydney’s Best Beaches For Kids: Parsley Bay

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Parsley Bay Reserve
Parsley Rd, Vaucluse NSW
Get Directions

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.