Over the school holidays, I decided to take a last minute trip to Sydney with the family. Wanted to get away from the Gold Coast, but just a short escape so deciding where to go, Sydney was a good option. There is a lot to do and the weather is not too dissimilar to Queensland at this time of year. The other option was Melbourne, but I felt like there was more to do in Sydney, particularly if the weather didn’t co-operate.
First – Where to stay? Location was a priority as I decided not to hire a car and just take advantage of either walking or the Ferry services. The Intercontinental in Macquarie Street was ideally located near the freeway to get out of town, near Pitt Street Mall, near plenty of restaurants and of course less than a block (about a 2 minute walk) to Circular Quay to take the Ferry to many Sydney attractions.
It’s the first time I have stayed at this particular hotel after many visits to Sydney and all I can say is WOW. This place is fantastic. Yes location is perfect, but the hotel itself I can’t fault. The base of the building is the old Treasury building so there is a lot of history and it is just gorgeous. Then on top of this is 31 floors of rooms topped with an amazing Club at the top. I chose an East Harbor View room with Club access. Can’t recommend this enough. There is limited access to the club and it’s based around your room, so was never too busy. The Club offers breakfast, all day snacks and then from 5-7pm supper and cocktails and the view, just amazing. It’s easily one of the best in Sydney. The service was also incredible, so just cant fault this place and if you can spare the extra dollars, definitely suggest upgrading your room type.
Entertaining teenagers in Sydney is fun. There is always something going on and plenty to do. We had one day of rain so this was a good excuse to go shopping in the city. Not only is there the Pitt Street Mall and all the high end department stores and shops, but there are so many quirky, cute arcades and laneways full of great shops with lots of treats. Needless to say, it was a well-earned glass of wine after a day hitting the shops with two teenage girls.
Activities for Families
Luna Park is only a 6 minute Ferry Ride directly over from Circular Quay. It’s not a modern day, Disney type park, but more like an old fashioned park straight out of the past. You don’t actually have to pay to get into Luna Park, anyone can walk through the streets and enjoy the color and activity of the place. For me, I wasn’t overly interested in going on any of the rides, so just bought unlimited ride passes for the girls for $50 each. This let them on any ride, as much as they wanted for the whole day. Plenty to keep them entertained. Probably not a place for the thrill seeker, although some of the rides were definitely stomach droppers. Either way, a fun day and worth the trip over.
Taronga Zoo again is only a short Ferry ride directly from Circular Quay. I’m not sure exactly what to say about this place. I haven’t been to a lot of zoos, and after spending the day at Taronga, I have mixed feelings. First impressions were that it was a great day out. Absolutely prime location with killer views back to Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge with lots of great animal enclosures. However, looking back at my pictures, at pretty much most of the main enclosures, gorillas, giraffes, etc the animals had their backs to the public viewing fences. One little girl even commented that the gorilla’s “looked sad”. The zoo is not for profit, but I just wonder how much is for the benefit of the actual animals and how much for the paying public.
One great attraction at the zoo was the Wild Ropes which is a zip line, high ropes course that weaves its way above the zoo. It was $27 per child to complete two of the 4 courses which took about 45 minutes. The girls absolutely loved it.
Bondi Beach. Every time I visit Bondi I realise why it is so popular. Firstly, it caters for the masses. The beach itself has plenty of room but behind the beach is a huge grass hill where you can get takeaway from one of the many cafes or shops, and enjoy on the hill overlooking the beach. This is also the start of one of the most spectacular beach walks from Bondi to Bronte Beach which is 3km one way. Walking along beautiful pathways and cliff tops, I would definitely recommend making the time to complete this walk. There are also plenty of shops and a small market to meander through. Bondi Junction is another great shopping center to try.
As far as food, wow, Sydney has so many options. There is everything from fantastic food courts to 6 star dining (with 6 star prices). We tried a little bit of everything and honestly found a couple of the more expensive restaurants a little bit pretentious. You don’t necessarily need to go to spend a fortune to get a good meal. A couple of places I would recommend however are :-
The Meat & Wine Co – Intercontinental Hotel
Spice Alley – Chippendale (really cool Asian food set in terrace houses. Worth the visit for the location alone.
China Doll – Woolloomooloo
Ottos Italian – Woolloomooloo