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Sydney Life

Balmoral Beach Sydney: Sydney’s Best Beaches

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

Balmoral Beach Sydney is our absolute favourite beach. There is something special about this quiet beach in the north shore suburb of Mosman. Despite its popularity, Balmoral still feels like a quaint seaside town, with low rise properties, lack of giant hotels, and just the right amount of quaint cafes to dine at.

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

Balmoral Beach Sydney

The little harbour beach of Balmoral has been a popular spot since well before the colonisation of Australia in 1788. Local Aborigines lived in the area before they were displaced by white settlers (you can find their cave preserved near the entrance to the oval).

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

In the late 1880s artists, including Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts, were lured to Balmoral by it beauty and set up camps at the water’s edge at the foot of Awaba Street and nearby Sirus Cove.

Today, Balmoral Beach Sydney is even more popular than ever. A huge draw is its calm water, making it the prefect beach for families.

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

Balmoral is technically two beaches, split in the middle by Rocky Point Island. South of the island is Balmoral Beach, with an enclosed swimming area and playground, and north lies Edwards Beach, where you’ll find the heritage-listed 1920s Balmoral Bathers Pavilion, which houses the Bathers’ Pavilion Restaurant.

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

A wide esplanade runs behind both beaches, perfect for scooting, pushing prams and wheelchairs, walking and walking dogs.

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

Behind the esplanade, adjacent to the bridge that joins the path to Rocky Point Island, is the Balmoral Beach Rotunda, popular for weddings as well as for kids to play in. We recently discovered a statue of a dog named “Billy” near the rotunda. It was erected a few years back to recognise the work of a local street sweeper, Cliff “Inky” Williams, and his canine companion, a dog called Billy.

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

There are plenty of shady spots for a picnic at Balmoral Beach Sydney, or you can choose a local face for dining in and takeaway.

How To Get To Balmoral Beach Sydney

The easiest way is to hop on a ferry at Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo and catch a connecting bus. You can plan your trip here.

If you drive, prepare for a parking battle as the beach gets very popular particularly on weekends. Parking near the beach costs $7 an hour, but you can park in the backstreets for free.

Or bring a picnic hamper and relax in the pretty parklands next to the beach. Getting to Balmoral Beach is easy by public transport. Hop on a ferry at Circular Quay and glide across the sparkling harbour to Taronga Zoo in Mosman for a connecting bus. The total trip takes about 30 minutes.

While we love scooting and exploring on foot, you can also learn to sail or hire kayaks, sailboards and stand-up paddleboards from the Balmoral Surf School.

There are plenty of changing and bathroom amenities available at Balmoral Beach.

Find more Sydney beaches to visit here

Check out some of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia Balmoral Beach Sydney Australia

Balmoral Beach 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.

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Chinese Gardens of Friendship, Sydney, Australia

A peaceful way to spend a few hours in Sydney is with a stroll through the Chinese Garden of Friendship at the south end of Darling Harbour.

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour

Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

The gardens were built in 1988 as a symbol of friendship between Sydney and the southern Chinese city of Guandong. It was designed and built by Chinese landscape architects and gardeners to reflect the “yin-yang” Taoist principles and the elements of earth, fire, water, metal and wood.

Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

The two lions at the entrance, guarding the gardens, also represent yin and yang. If you’re into in Feng Shui, you’ll be interested to know that the garden is also designed to encourage the flow of “qi”, or “life force”.

Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

We really enjoyed strolling through the gardens. They are serene, even when travelled through at high speed by a six-year-old. The gardens feature waterfalls, lagoons with lotus plants, lakes, pavilions, sculptures, and wildlife such as koi carp, birds and water dragons.

Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

A feature we particularly liked was the Dragon Wall with its two imperial dragons. The brown dragon represents Guangdong and the blue New South Wales, playing with the pearl of friendship. It’s just stunning.

Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Kids will enjoy the free Emperor’s Quest, a self-guided adventure for ages 5-12. The quest takes visitors to find the 12 animals of the Chinese lunar calendar hidden throughout the garden. Each animal has a clue to help find it, and information on it once it’s found.

Visitors, both adult and children, can also dress up in traditional Chinese costumes from the Ming and Ching dynasties (costs and extra $10 adult $5 kids).

Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

The gardens holds plenty of free programs throughout the year including school holidays, with activities such as tai chi classes and lantern painting.

Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Visitors can also enjoy the daily koi feeding at 11:30 am.

Last stop before leaving the gardens is the Teahouse, where a range of traditional Chinese refreshment are served. I’ve heard the scones are fantastic.

Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Chinese Friendship Gardens Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Chinese Garden of Friendship
Darling Harbour
Hours: Open daily 9:30am-6pm (Apr-Sep), 9:30am-5:30pm (Oct-Mar). Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day. 
Cost: Adult $6, kids under 12 $3, family (2 adults, 2 kids) $15, concession $3, senior $4.50.
Accessibility: the lower pathways and pavilions are very accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. The steps and rocky pathways in the upper garden are more difficult.  
Facilities: Accessible toilet and baby change facilities.
Online: chinesegarden.com.au

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.

12 Of The Best Ocean Pools in Sydney

Ocean Pools Sydney Australia

Cool off in one of these 13 spectacular ocean pools in Sydney. These seaside pools offer a great way to relax, unwind, and splash at leisure, while admiring breathtaking ocean views of Sydney harbour and beaches. Most ocean pools are great for kids, making these spots a top choice for families in hot weather.

12 of the Best Ocean Pools in Sydney

Ocean Pools in the North

Dee Why Rockpool

Dee Why Beach, Sydney, Australia

A popular spot for families, the 50-metre rock pool and toddlers pool likes at the southern end of Dee Why Beach. The toddler pool is one of the best in Sydney for kids – especially designed with littlies in mind, it’s shallow and perfect for splashing around. Facilities nearby include public toilets and showers.

Image credit: Destination NSW

Fairy Bower Ocean Pool, Manly

Fairy Bower Manly, Sydney
Take a ferry from Circular Quay for a gorgeous day out to Manly Beach and the Fairy Bower ocean pool. Walk south down the coastal path past the beach to find the ocean pool, where locals have been frolicking in the water for almost 100 years. As well as being a great option for families to splash around, Fairy Bower is also home to plenty of marine life. In the water next to the pool lives plenty of fish, seadragons and coral, so bring your snorkel.

Get more tips on a day at Manly Beach.

Image credit: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

Palm Beach Rockpool

Sydney Day Trips: Palm Beach

Just over an hour’s drive from the CBD, Palm Beach is Sydney’s northernmost suburb. At the southern end of Palm Beach lies a rockpool that graduates from shallow to deep water. As the southern end of Palm Beach is protected from rough seas, the ocean pool water is calm – perfect for kids. The rockpool is 50 metres long, and has change rooms/showers/toilets nearby.

Get more tips on a day at Palm Beach.

Whale Beach Rockpool

Whale Beach, Sydney, Australia

A small beach located 40km from Sydney’s CBD, Whale Beach features a 25-metre pool and a natural rock pool area to explore. One of the best rockpools for kids, the Whale Beach Rockpool is shallow and calm, only filling at high tide. There are public toilets, showers and a playground nearby.

Image credit: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

Ocean Pools in the East

The Geoff James Pool (Clovelly Ocean Pool)

Clovelly Beach, Sydney Australia

At the southern end of tranquil Clovelly Beach lies the Geoff James Pool, a 25-metre saltwater lap pool. Clovelley itself is extremely calm to swim, making it a popular spot for families. The area is also home to plenty of marine life, making it a great spot for snorkellers.

Image credit: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

Bronte Baths

Bronte Beach and BathsAt the southern end of Bronte Beach lies the Bronte Baths, an ocean pool built into the cliff face in 1887. Stairs lead down to the pool, which starts shallow and gets deeper. In rough surf conditions the pool isn’t suitable for smaller kids due to the waves crashing over the wall and into the pool. Nearby you’ll find toilet and changing facilities, plenty of cafes, and a large park with shady trees for picnics.

Image credit: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

North Bondi Wally Weekes Pool and Mermaid Baths

Bondi Beach, Sydney

At the northern end of Bondi you’ll find the Wally Weekes Pool, a modified tidal rock pool that was the first ocean pool south of Sydney Harbour. The Wally Weekes pool borders the North Bondi Children’s Baths, also called Mermaid Baths. There are plenty of cafes nearby and bathroom facilities at the surf club. The Bondi Children’s Pool is one of our top choices for ocean pools in Sydney.

Get more tips on a day a Bondi Beach.

Bondi Icebergs Pool

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
Australia’s most famous and photographed ocean pool, the Bondi Baths have been a popular landmark for over 100 years. The baths are located below the start of the Bondi to Coogee cliff walk, making it a popular spot for tourists to rubberneck the swimmers. They include a 50-metre saltwater lap pool and smaller kid’s pool, with a lifeguard on patrol all year round.
Casual entry to the pool is $6.50 at time of publishing. You cannot visit and not swim at this ocean pool in Sydney.

Visiting Bondi with a wheelchair? Check out Have Wheelchair Will Travel for tips.

Ross Jones Rockpool, Coogee

Coogee Beach #sydney #australia via christineknight.me

At the southern end of Coogee Beach lies the Ross Jones Memorial Pool. Built in 1947, the “pool” is actually two adjacent pools, jutting out from the rock face. The pools get a lot of crashing waves from the ocean and are quite deep. You can find the Ross Jones Memorial Pool directly underneath the Surf Life Saving Club. Bathroom and change facilities are easily accessible and there are lots of cafes nearby.

Get more tips on a day at Coogee Beach.

Wylies Baths, Coogee

Wylies Baths, Coogee, Australia


A few hundred metres south of Coogee Beach, you’ll find Wylie’s Baths, a heritage-listed tidal swimming pool. Established in 1907, Wylies Baths was among the first mixed-gender bathing pools in Sydney. You’ll pay a few dollars each to enter the baths, which is worth it along for the retro Australian vibe at the baths and kiosk perched above. There are bathroom and shower facilities for use (hot water shower will cost you a small fee), and a free shower for rinsing off on deck.

Image credit: Destination NSW

McIvers Ladies Baths, Coogee

Australia’s last remaining ladies only seawater pool, McIver’s Ladies Baths, are located between Coogee Beach and Wylies Baths, perched on a cliff face and rock platform. Steps lead down to the baths from Grant Reserve. The baths are open to women and children only, and cost a small fee. Facilities include a brick sunbathing area, change rooms and amenities, plus a small clubhouse.

Mahon Pool, Maroubra

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

Walk a few hundred metres north of Maroubra Beach Jack Vanny Reserve, and follow the steps to Mahon Pool. Built in 1932, this 30-metre-pool was carved into a rock flat at the base of a steep hill. During high tide the pool is unsafe to swim, so be sure to visit at low tide when the water is calm. Because it’s such an unusual spot, Mahon Pool is one of our top choices for ocean pools in Sydney.

Get more info on visiting Mahon Pool here.

Coogee Beach, Sydney

Tips for visiting Sydney ocean pools

Go early or off season
Sydney summers are brutally hot and the beaches get packed in peak season. If you’re going in summer particularly on a weekend arrive early if you want to be able to park your car anywhere remotely near the beach. I particularly love Sydney’s beaches in spring and autumn as there are less people and they’re also less hot!

Be prepared for the heat
Pack well with long-sleeved rashies and cotton cover ups, plus wide-brimmed hats and slip off shoes (Natives or Crocs are good).

Slap on sunscreen
Not just once: reapply SPF 30+ sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming.

Stay hydrated
Take large bottles filled wiht ice cubes or frozen overnight. We have insulated water bottles that stay cold for 12 hours.

Take a break at high noon
When the sun is at its most brutal, get out of the heat. Have lunch at a cafe or sit under a tree with books or games.

Find out the best beaches to visit in Sydney here.

Ocean Baths 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.

Chinamans Beach, Mosman: Sydney’s Best Beaches

Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia
The beautiful residential suburb of Mosman, on Sydney’s north shore, is home to several stunning beaches including Chinamans Beach. We happened upon this little gem on a hot summer’s day, when we weren’t able to find parking at nearby Balmoral and thought we’d give its smaller neighbour a try instead.

Chinamans Beach is a smaller beach, a 250m stretch of sand that sits inside Middle Harbour. The result is a quiet, calm beach with very gentle water, perfect for families with little kids.

Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia

It was named after the areas local Chinese residents who once organised market gardens in the park.

If you want to visit both beaches, Balmoral is only a 1km walk around the rocks to the south. On the day we visited the water was too high so we didn’t attempt it, but it is possible.

Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia

There is no shade on Chinamans beach, so bringing an umbrella or tent is advisable. We were lucky enough to score a spot at the south end of the beach under a tree up on some rocks near the path. Not an idea spot, but at least we had some shade.

Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia

You also won’t find any cafes or kiosks on Chinamans Beach, so bring plenty of water and food (and sunscreen!). A very enterprising person was selling beach patrons snacks and ice blocks from his little boat when we visited.

Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia

There are no lifeguards at Chinamans Beach, however the water is so calm that it’s considered a very safe beach. It does, however, get quite deep as it goes out further into Shell Cove, the bay in front of the beach that is popular for yachts to park.

Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia

At the south end, the rocks that lead to Balmoral Beach are fun to climb on and have small rockpools with sea life in them. Be careful as the rocks are slippery and have sharp barnacles on them.

Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia

Behind the beach is Rosherville Reserve, a large, quiet park area, perfect for picnics or barbeques. It has plenty of trees and shade, a small playground and decent shower and toilet.

Chinamans Beach, Sydney, Australia

Getting to Chinamans Beach

CAR
The park has a very small car park which is metered (paid). You can also park for free on the streets surrounding Rosherville Reserve, which has a path to the beach.

PUBLIC TANSPORT
Catch a bus that goes through Mosman from the Sydney CBD and Neutral Bay. Check bus timetables here.

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.

Sydney Aquatic Centre Round-up

Sydney Aquatic Centre Round-up, Australia

On hot days, head to the pool! Sydney aquatic centres are great as they’re indoors, so sheltered from the sun, and most have some great splash facilities for kids. Check out this Sydney aquatic centre round-up for a great pool near you.

Sydney Aquatic Centre Round-up

Ryde Aquatic Centre, Sydney

Sydney CBD

Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic Centre

Cook and Phillip Park Pool Sydney

 

Choose from three indoor heated pools, including the 50-metre lap pool with ‘easy steps’ for assisted entry and hoist (26.5°C) and leisure pool leisure pool (30°C) with a ‘beach style’ entry and 35-metre wave pool that is activated on weekends from 12pm.

Read more about visiting Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic Centre.

Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic Centre

Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool

Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool and Poolside Cafe Sydney

This outdoor leisure centre consists of a 50m lap pool plus smaller pools for little kid lessons and play time. The shallow pool as shade cover. 

Read more about visiting Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool.

Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool

Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre

Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre

Facilities include three indoor heated pools, including a 50-metre lap pool and a leisure pool with a spa, water fountain and bubbles. There’s also a spa, sauna and steam room.

Read more about visiting the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.

Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre

Inner West

The Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre

Enjoy the 50m indoor pool, heated learn-to-swim pool and splash pool with play features for kids.

The Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre

Leichhardt Pool and Aquatic Centre

Choose from 6 pools including indoor and outdoor heated. kids’ pools (including an outdoor mushroom pool with an aquatic playground area) and a dive pool.

Leichhardt Pool and Aquatic Centre

South West

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre

 

Visiting Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Center

Take a dip in the indoor heated pool in this state-of-the art facility. Kids will love the huge family aquatic playground area with spurting volcano and water slide, while serious swimmers can try the competition pool, training pool, utility pool or diving platforms. The Sydney Olympic park Aquatic Centre is our number one pick on this Sydney aquatic centre round-up.

Read more about visiting Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre

North Shore

Lane Cove Aquatic Centre

Facilities include an indoor 25 metre eight-lane pool, outdoor 50-metre 7 lane pool and leisure pool for families with splash play features.

Lane Cove Aquatic Centre

Willoughby Leisure Centr

Try the eight-lane, 25 metre indoor heated or children’s pool.

 

Willoughby Leisure Centre

Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Centre

A new aquatic centre featuring with three heated pools, splash play for kids, a cafe, gym and water slide.

Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Centre

Northern Beaches

The Warringah Aquatic Centre

Dive into the indoor Olympic-size swimming pool or diving pool. Outdoors you’ll find a 25 metre solar-heated lap pool and kids’ splash pad area.

The Warringah Aquatic Centre

North West and West

Ryde Pool Sydney Aquatic Centre
Ryde Aquatic and Leisure Centre

One of our top picks for aquatic centres in Sydney, it features a 50m indoor Olympic pool, , 25m indoor pool, warm water program pool, 40m wave pool, children’s wading pool, bubble whirl pools, Rapid River and 56m giant water slide.

Ryde Aquatic and Leisure Centre

Ripples Leisure Centre, St Mary’s

Enjoy the indoor pool that’s always heated to 29dC! Facilities include a 25 metre lap pool and a designated children’s area that includes a slide, water buckets, plus a mini spa.

Ripples Leisure Centre, St Mary’s

South Sydney

Hurstville Aquatic and Leisure Centre

Try the 25 metre 8-lane pool, leisure pool that includes a splash area for kids, warm water program pool, sauna, steam room and spa, plus the indoor and outdoor slide.

Hurstville Aquatic and Leisure Centre

Sutherland Leisure Centre

Facilities include a 50-metre outdoor pool, outdoor utility pool, indoor programs pool,  indoor children’s play area/pool, indoor 25-metre pool, spa, steam room and aquatics inflatables. All pools are heated.

Sutherland Leisure Centre

 

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.

Kids’ Theatre Review: Brainiac Live

Brainiac Live

Live at the Sydney Opera House, for a short time only, kids who love science and explosions can catch the wildly entertaining show Brainiac Live.

Based on the British documentary TV show Brainiac: Science Abuse, the show is a fast-paced journey through a series of experiments that answer a question or challenge a common conception, or just simply makes a big bang.

Brainiac Live

Brainiac live is an action-packed hour of science on speed. Impressive explosions, loud rock music, high energy action and daredevil stunts are the perfect way to engage kids in science and remind them that chemistry, biology and physics are not only important, but also a whole lot of fun.

Brainiac Live

The show contains a lot of loud noises and music, so might not be suitable for sensitive kids. After the show I found out that there were earplugs that could be collected and used for free – it would have been good if they had been passed to us as we were walking to our seats however, as the noises were extremely loud during the show and we could have used them.

Brainiac Live

As the parent of a daughter, I was happy to see a woman in the cast of Brainiacs, even though she was a minor character. It’s important for girls to see women in careers in science to encourage them to dream of a career in the sciences themselves.

Brainiac Live

The cast are an engaging crew in general, and kept the kids highly entertained for the duration of the show. My very sensitive daughter was concerned that people were going to get hurt while conducting the experiments, so either think twice about taking super sensitive kids, or prepare them in advance that what they will see on stage is a performance, with no one in danger.

Brainiac Live

Brainiac Live
Duration: 1 hour
Suitable for ages 6+
Dates: Tuesday 16th January – Thursday 25th January, 2018.

 

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.

NSW Rail Museum: Things To Do In Southwest Sydney

NSW Rail Museum: Things To Do In Greater Sydney

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.

NSW Rail Museum Australia

Thirlmere is approximately 90km from Sydney in its southwest region, a town built with the arrival of the Great Southern Railway in 1863 to 1867.

The NSW Rail Museum is divided into three sections:

NSW Rail Museum Australia

The Main Exhibition Building  
This is the indoor building where you’ll find plenty to learn about life on the railways, their purpose and development and information on their engineering and design. Kids will love the interactive elements in this building, such as the train play table, colouring in, crafts and train carriages that can be entered.

NSW Rail Museum Australia

We enjoyed looking at ​the Governor General’s Carriage, which looks like a palace on wheels, the Prison Van, even though it freaked out youngest member out a tad, the Steam Machine which kids can pretend to drive, and the mail van, which led to discussions about how mail was and is delivered.

NSW Rail Museum Australia

In this building you’ll also find Steam locomotive E18; built in 1866, this is the oldest train in the collection.

Worker’s Walk
Linking the Main Exhibition Building to the Great Train Hall, this is where you can learn about the jobs that keep the railways running.

NSW Rail Museum Australia

The Great Train Hall
Here you’ll find the biggest collection of “rolling stock” (which means anything that runs over railway tracks) in Australia.

​Keep an eye out for:

6040 Garratt: The heaviest and most powerful steam train to ever turn a wheel in Australia.

Steam locomotive 1905: The first train to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Rail Pay Bus: Used to transport employees’ wages, some carriages are able to be boarded.

Roundhouse
Take a look at the trains being restored and maintained inside the Roadhouse.

NSW Rail Museum Australia

Special Events
Several times a year, the NSW Rail Museum runs special events (check their page to see what’s next), such as their Day Out With Thomas the Tank Engine, Annual Festival of Steam and Summer Heritage Train Rides.

NSW Rail Museum Australia NSW Rail Museum Australia NSW Rail Museum Australia NSW Rail Museum Australia NSW Rail Museum Australia NSW Rail Museum Australia NSW Rail Museum Australia NSW Rail Museum Australia

NSW Rail Museum
10 Barbour Road
Thirlmere NSW 2572
​Tel: 1300 11 55 99​
The NSW Rail Museum is open 7 days a week.
Hours: Open daily, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat & Sun 9am-5pm
nswrailmuseum.com.au

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.

Sydney’s Best Playgrounds: Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands

Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands, Australia

The Western Sydney Parklands is a top spot for local families to stretch their legs and really enjoy the great outdoors. The newest park in the precinct, Bungarribee, opened in March 2017 – a 200-hectare recreational facility that gives locals plenty of wide open space to play, cycle, scoot, walk, run and even walk their dog at one of Sydney’s largest off-leash dog areas, the Warrigal Dog Run.

Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands

At Bungarribee you’ll find plenty to entertain the family all day. The ultra-modern playground will be a total hit with the kids, with its 14-metre-high playtower, 50-metre-long flying-fox, giant and baby swings, water play area and sand pits.

Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands

The playtower is unlike anything we’ve seen in a Sydney playground before, with multiple levels giving kids challenges to climb over and through various levels. It’s a great space for tweens to enjoy in particular.

Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands

Other facilities at Bungarribee include walking/cycling/scooting tracks, 20 barbecues, 13 picnic shelters (8 are available for hire, the rest are free of charge, on a first-come first-served basis), plenty of car parking (the area we parked had free all-day parking), large, clean bathrooms, and wide open fields to run around.

Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands

Personally, I thought the space was pretty good, but could use a few improvements:

  1. The park needs better shade cloths instead of the rather weird netting that was used.
  2.  The park has no all-ability features in it. I can’t understand why 15 million dollars was spent on a huge new park that excludes kids with disabilities.

Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee Western Sydney Parklands

Get more information on Western Sydney Parklands Bungarribee here.

Bungarribee
Western Sydney Parklands
Entrance Intersection of Holbeche and Doonside roads, Bungarribee.

 

Kids’ Theatre Review: Operation Ouch!

Operation Ouch

Science-loving kids will highly enjoy this new show about the incredible human body, Operation Ouch!, based on the hit ABC Me series.

Twin doctors, Dr Chris and Dr Xand, have brought their incredible medical stunts and crazier experiments to Sydney in a kid-friendly live show.

Operation Ouch
The 75 minute show is packed with fascinating facts about the body, such as our ears, eyes, digestive system and brain. It’s education at it best – highly entertaining and informative all at once.

Operation Ouch

We went into the show with no knowledge of the TV program. While I do think it’s beneficial to watch the TV show first so you have a connection to the doctors and know what to expect, it’s not crucial to enjoying the performance.

Dr Chris and Dr Xand are extremely personable as well as smart, and it was really interesting hearing their stories about growing up, not being so good at school, and how and why they became doctors. I thought it was great for kids to hear from successful people how they overcame adversity to become professionals in a demanding field.

Operation Ouch

I also thought it was great for kids to see science presented from a kid-friendly angle but not dumbed down in any way. All the proper medical terms were used for each part of the body, and the experiments were equally interesting for adults as they were for the kids.

My favourite part of the show involved the doctors explaining how germs spread and the importance of vaccinations in an interactive and easy-to-understand way. We’ve been trying to explain this for a while to the 6-year-old, but it’s a lot of concepts that aren’t easy to visualise, so big props to Dr Chris and Xand for making the topic accessable.

 

Operation Ouch! is entertaining for the whole family – including the adults. The husband and I found it highly enjoyable to watch and both learnt a few things along the way, too!

Sydney Opera House

Operation Ouch!
Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 1.15pm and 3.45pm
Sunday, 7 January 2018 at 10am and 12.45pm
Show length – 75 mins
Suitable for ages 6+
Book your tickets here.

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.

Learn & Play! teamLab Future Park at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum #Sydney Australia
This summer, the Powerhouse Museum is presenting one of the most incredible exhibitions Sydney seen: the innovative, playful and completely immersive Learn & Play! teamLab Future Park. Exclusive to the Powerhouse Museum, Future Park is the latest exhibition by Japanese art collective teamLab.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

The exhibition feature eight interactive light installations that respond to real-time interaction. A stunning blend of science and creativity, Future Park challenges visitors to dream up collaborative artworks in a playground for children and adult alike.

Future Park is broken up into the following distinct areas or activities:

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

Sketch Town allows participants to create their own vehicle or building that, when scanned, comes to life on a massive screen as part of the town. Creators can interact with their designs or print them out to take home and create as a 3D model.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

Light Ball Orchestra was a winner with us – two pits of large and small light balls that are suspended from the ceiling and rolling around loose on the ground. As we interact with them, they change colour, creating an ever changing brilliant light show.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

Graffiti Nature – Mountains and Valleys was incredibly hard to photograph but looks incredible to the eye. A digital environment populated by visitor drawings of plants and animals, add your own creature and slide into the imaginary world filled with giant, colourful creatures that have come directly from your own imagination.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

Hopscotch for Geniuses is one for the music lovers – or those of us who remember hopscotch from our own childhoods! This digital twist on an old favourite game changes the rules and transforms a standard hopping game into a pathway to create an interactive dance and musical symphony.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

Connecting: Block Town! lets participants create their own townscape by moving physical wooden blocks on the table. As each block is moved, cars, trains and buildings appear in the landscape.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

Sketch People gives visitors the opportunity to draw themselves or a completely new character and then see them move on a large screen right in front of them. The drawings interact with other drawings, forming relationships. Sketch people respond to being touched, so give yours a (gentle!) poke and see what actions you get in return!

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

A Table Where Little People Live was our other firm favourite installation. While it looked the least impressive from the outset – a dark room with pretty plain looking round tables – it was actually incredibly fun for us both.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

On each interactive screen tabletops, little people run around rather similar to the old computer game Lemmings. By placing physical objects on the table, visitors an interact with the little people, prompting them to jump, climb and fall accordingly.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

This activity really did provide outbursts of giggles as the little people responded in silly ways, and together we created bigger and crazier object towers to see what would happen to the little people (and these strange random cows that popped up!) next.

Just before the exit, kids can create their dream car of the future through Principal Partner Toyota’s global Dream Car design competition. The winning designer will travel to Japan to present their Dream Car to Toyota.

teamLab FUTURE PARK at the Powerhouse Museum

Future Park is an exhibition that absolutely has to be on your must-see list this summer. It’s engaging, creative, exciting, and, most importantly, fun! Cheese and I played together with each installation, and it was such a pleasure for us to spend quality time doing something we both enjoyed equally.

Learn & Play! teamLab Future Park
24 November 2017 – 30 April 2018
Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007

Book online for a session taking place between 24 November–10 December and save 10% using the code FUTURE10.

Book your tickets online.