What can we say about the Land Down Under? Giant crocodiles! Cute koalas! Feisty kangaroos! Huge mountains! Sand dunes! Majestic beaches! The allure of trying to find Nemo! All this and more was in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia! We visited Sydney in November 2019, taking a 16 hour nonstop flight there. We didn’t have any jet lag. Yay!
We did a hop on hop off to get the lay of the city and to check out for a neighborhoods. As ways, I put together an itinerary that had us all over Sydney and its surrounding areas for the 7 days we were there. If you want to see more pictures from the trip, be sure to follow us on Instagram. IG: Raising Nomads.
1. Sea Life Aquarium and Wildlife Zoo
- Our first full day in Sydney required a trip to the Sea Life Aquarium. With dreams of finding the fish Nemo and others dancing in their heads, the girls raced from exhibit to exhibit in this popular aquarium in Sydney harbor. You can touch starfish, dig for dinosaur bones and take a short indoor cruise to get a closer look at the penguins. You’ll need about a half a day to visit. Prices are $36.80 for one day, if purchased online. It’s better to buy an attraction pass where you can get two or attractions for a lower price than purchased individually. They are open 7 days a week.
- After leaving the aquarium, we skipped next door to the Wildlife zoo. It was at the zoo we felt like we’d hit Australia since we got to pet a kangaroo and see a koala up close and personal. There is a giant crocodile that looks like it is just waiting to make you its meal! The zoo is small but fun and a great place for kids 5 and under. Buy a citypass so that you can save on the price to visit both the aquarium and the zoo. https://www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/ and https://www.wildlifesydney.com.au/
2. Dune Riding
If you’ve got a car or access to transportation, take a drive 2 hours north of Sydney to Port Stephens. There you can hit the sand dunes! We rode up and down the dunes and stopped to take pictures on a high dune that overlooked the ocean. It was awesome. We used Sand Dune Adventures Quad bikes for an hour long ride. Since our kids are under age 7 they had to ride tandem with us. The cost was $148 AUD for 1 Adult x 1 Child Doubled. https://sandduneadventures.com.au/tours/quad-bikes/
3. Bondi Beach
As much as we love aquariums we also love the beach. We are going to spend the day lazing on a beach whenever we can. Bondi Beach, just minutes outside of Sydney, is spectacular. We spent our Thanksgiving (US holiday) there. The water was a bit cold but if you stayed in a while, you adjusted. The sand is soft and the water is blue. You can walk along the concrete trail from Bondi to Manly beaches to check out amazing views of the beach and some beautiful rock formations along the way. No trip to Sydney complete without a beach day. You can even do a hop on hop off bus to Bondi. There are several places to eat nearby. https://us.sydney.com/things-to-do/beach-lifestyle/bondi-beach
4. The Blue Mountains
The town of Katoomba is a gateway to the Blue Mountains. These mountains are millions of years old and contain some really cool rock formations. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, December 2019, several wildfires were burning in the mountains and we could see the smoke from our trail. I got to hike all the way down to the 3 sisters rock formation. The kids were a bit too scared so hubby took them back to the overlook. We even got to hike the trails and see Katoomba Falls, one of many cool waterfalls in the Blue Mountains. To get to Katoomba, take route M4 to the Great Western Highway. The drive is an hour and half. Parking is available for a small fee near the visitor center. There are shops for snacks and souvenirs nearby. https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/blue-mountains/blue-mountains-national-park
Featherdale Wildlife Park
I know I know. We’ve talked koalas and kangaroos already. But, it’s Sydney; you’ve got to soak up as much of these majestic animals as you can. One our last full day in Sydney we took a 45 minute drive outside of the city to Featherdale Wildlife Park. You can feed the kangaroos, of all sizes. We even took a picture with joey. There are dingoes, crocs, and, of course, many koalas. The park is open 8am-5pm and cost $95 AUD for a family of four. https://www.featherdale.com.au/
OH THERE’S MORE!
There you have it: round one of our visits to the Land Down Under. There is so much more to see, like the Outback and the Great Barrier Reef. Australia, we will be back! In the meantime, here are some more pics we can all enjoy!
Ok, ok. We know many people go to Sydney to see the famed Sydney Opera House. Well, we went too! We did a tour of the Opera House and walked along the boardwalk, taking in all the shops. It was a cool experience so, just go!