Not having kids of my own, I was a bit concerned about what we could do to entertain the three visitors - and at 8, 12 and 15 there is a bit of a difference in their preferred activities.
But in the end we didn't get anywhere near through my list of things to do, partly because it rained so much. So I have more choices for the next visit. The things we did get to do though were all pretty good, so here are my suggestions.
1) Watch the New Year's Eve fireworks. Ok, so that is clearly a suggestion for next year! But we went to Mort Bay Park, where there were surprisingly few people (we had a good spot all to ourselves), a family friendly atmosphere and a great view to the bridge. You can also get there and back quite easily on a bus down Darling St in Balmain, although we drove in early and then took the car home after the 9pm fireworks.
|Our view from Mort Bay Park - slightly obstructed but good none the less!|
|Some of the 9pm fireworks|
We visited the Susannah Place Museum, which was also really interesting. Four houses have been kept almost as a time capsule, stretching back to 1844. You have to take a tour, you can't just look around, but the tours run on the hour, and it wasn't too hard to book in. I joined Sydney Living Museums, and when you join as an adult you can add up to four kids under 16 for free - which certainly makes for a cheap visit if you want to go to a few places. They include museums such as The Justice and Police Museum, and the Museum of Sydney, plus Vaucluse House, Elizabeth Bay House and The Mint to name just a few.
|Part of the Susannah Place Museum|
3) Take a ferry - anywhere! Particularly on a Sunday, when all the travel you can fit in only costs a maximum of $2.50 on your Opal card. There is something so wonderful about being on Sydney Harbour, looking at that iconic vision of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House - you just can't beat it.
|The view from the Balmain East Ferry wharf.|
4) Go to the Big Bash League Cricket - although this might soon be over for the season. Kids general admission tickets to Sydney Thunder matches are the princely sum of $5.07. There is free face painting and activities, and they hand out flags and those annoying inflatable "thunder sticks" for free. You can take in food that is "non commercial" - which I asked about and is simply no take away food such as Macdonalds or KFC. And you can take drinks that aren't in glass or cans. We had great fun, and if you take photos at the ground and then post them to social media with the hashtag "thundernation" #thundernation - the pictures then appear on the big screen at the ground - which is quite fun in itself.
|If you are lucky you can make the big screen at the stadium.|
6) Parks and playgrounds! There are playgrounds seemingly around every corner in the inner west at least. We visited Blackwattle Bay Park (next to Jubilee Oval in Glebe) and enjoyed talking to people with dogs, looking at the water, and playing on the equipment. The park voted "best park of the holiday" was Livvi's Place playground at Timbrell Park in Five Dock. Built for children of all abilities, the stand out ride (and even I had a go!) was the motorised carousel, which has chairs and space for wheelchairs to be secured. The electronic system allows the carousel to be started and the kids had great fun counting down until it started.
6) Well this one is not to do with Sydney - but boardgames are fun. Our favourite is Sequence, which may not be familiar to as many people but it is quite simple for kids to pick up. Again, I've put a link below if you are looking for a good gift - I gave this to my nephew a few years ago and he still loves playing it. We also played UNO and Billionaire card games, and when we visited a friend for the day they had Cluedo and Hedbandz (like Celebrity Head but with objects, the kids seemed to enjoy this one)- which were all popular!
Other things on my list that we didn't get to for this visit included -
- Visiting the Sydney Observatory
- Visiting the Dawn Fraser baths in Rozelle or the Cabarita pool (both lovely harbourside pools)
- Visiting an op shop (charity shop) and buying clothes for a dress up "fancy" dinner
- Visiting Manly by ferry
- Free activities at Olympic Park
|My salted pretzel milkshake|
|The menu - perhaps not kid friendly either.|