Former yellow Wiggle, Sam Moran, lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and four-year-old daughter, Eloise. When he’s not recording catchy tunes to entertain kids all over the world, he’s enjoys riding his bike around his city with Eloise in tow. He gives suitcases&strollers his travel guide to a holiday with kids in Sydney.
Why should parents plan a holiday with kids in Sydney?
I've often tried to explain Sydney to overseas visitors as a little bit San Francisco, a little bit L.A., a little bit Vancouver and a little bit European. But the problem is that none of those comparisons really fit. That's because Sydney is really a world city of its own style that can't be compared. I would definitely describe it as a daytime city with outdoor sights that make the city so spectacular. We have so many beaches, parks, tourist attractions. Perfect for families and children to explore.
Where is your favourite place to take kids in Sydney?
I think the Taronga Zoo in Sydney is a wonderful place to take kids. It's spread out over a wide area and educates through a child's own curiosity of animals. Plus it has one of the most spectacular views of Sydney Harbour available.
Where is your daughter’s favourite place in Sydney to hang out?
Young children like mine are so captivated by anything around them. Her favourite place can be anything new. She loves riding on Daddy's bike to the markets or a cafe, but she also loves getting on a ferry and going to Luna Park.
What is the best free activity to do with kids in Sydney?
The best free activity would be visiting Centennial Park. Such a huge space to play ball games or have a barbeque. My daughter loves to feed the ducks in one of the ponds, usually with some small pieces of old bread from home.
Where is the best place to take kids in Sydney when the weather is bad?
There are many indoor play centres throughout Sydney that are great and there is always a movie available to see. However, I've always found the Australian Museum, Powerhouse Museum and the Sydney Aquarium great indoor places to visit with children.
What are some of the city secrets that tourists might not know about but shouldn’t miss on a holiday with kids in Sydney?
Well it's not much of a secret but can be tricky to find if you're a tourist walking around. The original Harry's Cafe De Wheels is a street pie vendor that has been in Wooloomooloo since 1945 serving returning servicemen their traditional "Tiger" Meat Pie as they arrived home from World War II at the nearby Naval Base. It has remained an institution of Sydney since then and is covered with photos of visiting celebrities enjoying their wares. Even if your kids don't appreciate the history, they'll enjoy the meat pies!
What’s the best way for children to have an authentic Sydney experience?
If you only have one day and want to experience the quickest Sydney experience, I would recommend going to Circular Quay and seeing the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, explore the history of The Rocks nearby and then get a ferry through Sydney Harbour to Manly and spend the afternoon at Manly Beach. That is a pretty good family vacation day.
Which is the best place to stay if you are on family vacation in Sydney?
Sydney has accommodation for families of every budget. If you want to be close to tourist areas and restaurants, you could stay at the Ibis or Novotel in Darling Harbour. However, if you want an authentic Sydney beach experience, I would suggest staying in Bondi, Coogee, or Manly (all are about 30 minutes via public transport from the city CBD).
What is the ideal time frame for a holiday to Sydney with kids?
Time frame really depends on the age of children and what you want to see or experience. I think for most families you can see and experience the best of the city in a relaxed 5 to 7 days. A busy, highlights-only package [could be done] in 3 to 4 days.
When is the best time of year to travel with kids to Sydney?
Any time it's raining is not a great time to be in Sydney since it's best experienced outdoors. Unfortunately Sydney is also remarkably unpredictable with weather. My best guess to ensure that you will probably have the most comfortable weather…I would say April or early September. However, if you happen to be in town late May or early June, the city is filled with the most amazing light shows for the Vivid festival.
Where are your top 3 places for family-friendly meals in Sydney?
· Bill and Toni's in Stanley Street, Darlinghurst is cheap and cheerful and been there forever – no frills Italian food in a famous food strip with complimentary orange cordial on the counter.
· Pub food in Sydney has had a bit of a renaissance of late and pubs (particularly in the family-laden and pub-infested Inner West) are increasingly embracing young, local families in their bistros. The food is often far better than the traditional pub grub and most often they have a kids’ meal available as well.
· Darling Harbour, while a little pricey, has [every] type of food option you could imagine for a family to choose from, all with amazing views and a great atmosphere for any Sydney tourist. It's also closer to a lot of the tourist attractions [so it makes] for a convenient lunch while exploring.
What are your tips for kids' shops in Sydney?
I love taking kids shopping at the gift shop at the Museum of Contemporary Art in The Rocks. Seriously! It is full of quirky educational games and toys that inspire creativity. I've found many great gifts there for grown-ups too.
What is the best way to move around Sydney with kids?
If you are visiting Sydney with kids and wanting to see the main tourist sites, then public transport is your best bet. There is a huge network or trains, buses, light rail and ferries that can take you to almost any part of Sydney. It can be a little confusing and tickets for each don't work on the whole network (yet). But there are plenty of people at each location that will explain how to make it work for you. Another option is always the Explorer buses which circle a large area of the city and hit all the major tourist landmarks with a guide talking you through the sites. These buses are "hop on/hop off" so you can ride the bus around the circuit to get you back where you started and can often use your ticket for 24 hours or even for multiple days.
What are your top 3 tips for families travelling to Sydney with kids?
• Pack light;
• Bring your swimsuit;
• Wear comfortable shoes for lots of walking.
To read about Sam Moran's family holiday tips, see the suitcases&strollers interview here. For more on cheap or free things to do in Sydney with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story Family Days Out In Sydney.
To catch Sam Moran on tour, visit his official website here.
Image: Destination NSW; Andrew Gregory; James Horan; Sally Mayman; Tony Yeates