Tag Archives: family

Sydney school holiday activities for kids

14 Apr


There are so many things to do in Sydney these April school holidays that we are spoiled for choice.

Even though we are born and bred Sydneysiders we love playing tourist and head into town most weekends to get a dose of colour, culture, food and fun.

Here’s some of the activities the Hungry Family have been up to lately. Some are just on during the school holidays while others are on year-round.

Elizabeth Bay House


Many moons ago I used to live in Elizabeth Bay, a posh harbourside village in Sydney and used to pass Elizabeth Bay House frequently. Just seeing this stunning mansion, with its multi-million dollar view of the harbour, is enough to take your breath away.

In 1835 the colonial secretary Alexander Macleay was determined to build an iconic splendid home. That he did but there is more to this mansion than just another Sydney-real-estate-is-crazy-expensive story.


On our recent visit we were extremely lucky to be taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the place by a guide. She even took us up the ‘servants stairs’ into the attic where staff used to sleep – an area that is usually off limits.

As part of school holidays activities there was a free craft table with a butterfly focus for kids to get creative – score!





The Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay has free entry, with the exception of special exhibits. We visited a few days ago, stopping first on level four to eat at the wonderful MCA Cafe. With a view over to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House it is a great pace to sit and soak up the environs on Sydney Harbour. Find a table – you can sit indoors or outside – then line up to order. Service is relaxed and friendly and you can order a glass of wine or coffee, too.


After we were satiated – I highly recommend the avocado and tomato cottage loaf – we headed downstairs to the children’s art trail. The gals were given a clipboard, worksheet and pencil and told which art woks to look at it. After they had finished their assignments they were grated access to an amazing room where they made collages. This room had a jaw-dropping view over the harbour, but the little people were so occupied with cutting, gluing and creating that I doubt they noticed.



The Australian Museum


This place has long held a special place in our hearts and we have been so many times to ‘the dinosaur museum’ (as Miss8 has dubbed it) that it feels like a second home.


The recently opened Trailblazers exhibit is a round up of some of Australia’s best and bravest pioneers. The feats these people have undertaken is nothing short of inspirational – in fact, you find yourself wondering what you’re doing with your time when you see what these amazing people have achieved.


This is a hands-on exhibit that even includes a mini rock-climbing wall. My gals LOVE rock climbing so they were thrilled to have a go – and The Hungry Dad joined them 🙂


Kids have free entry into Trailblazers on weekends. See http://australianmuseum.net.au/trailblazers-australias-50-greatest-explorers

Other activities:

The Sydney Opera House always has a free creative play event in The Western Foyer during school holidays. The activity changes each hols and some are more engaging than others. We always check it out, even if we aren’t headed there to see a show. www.sydneyoperahouse.com


We visited the Sydney Harbour Icons Lego exhibition late last year and had a blast, though I have no idea what happened to the many photos I took! I suggest booking online and reserving an early morning spot. Get inspired by the Opera House and Luna Park models, then have a go making your own creation with the umpteen Lego bricks.


Speaking of… Luna Park has been thrilling youngsters for generations. It is free to walk through the gates but you will need to buy a pass to go on rides. To be honest, a couple of hours is enough here. I suggest either taking your own food – there are picnic tables on the harbour foreshore – or heading into Kirribilli to eat. Food here is expensive, carnival clichéd, and options are limited. Your best bet is to walk under the Harbour Bridge to the other side of Kirribilli for food.










Sydney school holiday idea for kids: Australian National Maritime Museum

7 Apr

maritime1 School holidays in my opinion are a delicate line between ‘yay, a chance to spend some time with the kids without stress’ to ‘what on earth are we going to do all day every day?’ Continue reading

Hungry for Travel part two – family holiday to Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

23 Oct


We as a family are blessed. This time last year we visited Disneyland, California and it was the trip of a lifetime. This time two weeks ago we visited Tokyo Disney. I still can’t quite comprehend that we have visited two of the happiest places on Earth in the space of 12 months.

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The two parks are same, yet different, to borrow a phrase. The technology used in the Japanese park is light years ahead of Disneyland CA. For instance, getting into the park each day in Tokyo was less of a palaver than in CA but at the same time there was minimal flexibility using multi-day passes. In Tokyo you need to inform the Disney powers that be which days you intend to go to Disney vs DisneySea (their version of California Adventure Park) for the first 3 days of your pass.


Trying to change the days around resulted in a difficult, frustrating conversation with the lady in the ticket window who couldn’t comprehend what we were trying to say. Thankfully a lovely man behind us in the queue came to our rescue and helped guide the conversation – the basic idea being we could pay to switch the days around. No thanks.

We weren’t sure if you could flit between the two parks as we did in CA as our Japanese and their English didn’t allow such a conversation to take place.


The crowds. Oh.My.Lord – I have never seen anything like them. Coming from big, empty Australia it was a total shock. Even rides like the carousel had massive, never-ending lines. Fast passes were often sold out by 10am for the really popular rides. There were rides that, despite us being there for four long days, usually til closing time, that we just didn’t get a chance to go on – I’m looking at you, Jungle Cruise.

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The Japanese are extremely patient and adept at queuing so it wasn’t stressful, just time-consuming. Everyone is super polite and friendly and we managed to have a few conversations in broken Japlish which was fun. And the many beautiful babies to look at helped pass the time – I am a real sucker for babies and they were everywhere!

Where the parks really differ is the parades. We thought the CA parades were amazing, but they pale in comparison to the Tokyo parades. It seems that people spend the day at Disney in Japan just waiting for them – from the time the park opened each day people would stake out a good position, whip out a plastic mat, and just sit and wait. I have never seen anything like it!

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There is also a jaw-dropping projection on the castle twice a night called Once Upon A Time, which combines all the princessy highlights from various Disney films. There was even a glimpse of Miss6’s beloved Anna and Elsa from Frozen – you probably heard her shrieks of delight from across the planet. It was narrated in Japanese but it was easy to get the gist. It was so lovely, it made me cry. PS – I am a sap.

I had read on different Disney blogs that showtimes were the best times to hit rides, and it is true. For instance, we walked straight on to Star Tours (the family’s fav) during one show, came off, went straight back on the line, and waited 45 minutes. It was unbelievable.


DisneySea is the newer park and despite having some incredible rides I personally preferred the Disney park propr. I felt the same about California Adventure – I love the old school themes and rides (hello spinning tea cups) and the magic feeling.

To give you an idea – we spent just one day out of four at DisneySea and we saw most things. It probably didn’t help that it was stinking hot the day we were at DisneySea and there was very little shade and so much concrete.

If you have young kids you’ll want to kill time at King Triton’s Playground. It is a massive subterreramn area with an eatery with good food, and plenty of rides for younger types. We spent hours in there.


Food-wise Disney Tokyo wins hands down over Disneyland. The food is Japanese twist on fast foods – no sushi (boo) but plenty of seafood options (yay). Lots of places have cute plates or bags you could get I you paid extra – guess who lugged home many of these items?

I had my birthday in Kyoto but was sick so decided to have a do over at Disney. We lunched at Queen of Hearts, which is all about Alice in Wonderland and located next to the teacups. Again we queued for ages. And ages. It is a funny set-up – sort of like cafeteria style but then you are shown to your table.

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For my bday dinner we went to the Blue Bayou, the restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean. I wanted to go in CA but it was so expensive. We tried to book a table but were told just to show up. I think I waited at least 45 minutes. The prices in Tokyo Disney were much more reasonable and I even had my most favourite food – lobster. The children weren’t keen on the kid’s set menu so they just had soup and a salad each and it wasn’t a problem. I was worried there would be a minimum spend but it wasn’t the case. In fact they were plied with bread rolls by the (somewhat overly keen) staff. We had been sitting for about 2 minutes when we were asked if we were ready to order.

We didn’t meet any main charcaters as again, you had to queue and queue and queue. We spent countless hours meeting all the princesses and fairies and Mickey and Minnie in Disneyland last year so didn’t feel the need. We did met random, minor characters such as Jiminy Cricket, Wendy from Peter Pan, and Goofy’s Cousin (whaaaaa?).

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Do not miss rides include:

Pooh’s Honey Pot – an incredible ride that it is so much fun. I went on it three times and each time it was different. Get a fastpass and go on it – you’ll want to experience it more than once. Even with a fast pass I think I queued for about 20 minutes.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth – in DisneySea, one of the most exhilarating Disney rides I’ve ever been on. Miss6 hated it and was almost in tears. I did not know it was going to be a rollercoaster-type ride. #badMother

Aquatopia – again, DisneySea. You are in water on some type of vehicle that races around to different areas, often heading in the opposite direction that you were anticipating. We went on it a few times, including at dusk, where it was beautiful.

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Toy Story Mania – the Hungry Dad queued for a fast pass while we went on a ride. I say queue but it was more a sea of people. Despite it being first thing in the morning our pass wasn’t until very late in the afternoon.

Peter Pan – I just love it.


Star Tours – we loved it in CA and we loved it in Japan. It was the first and last ride in Tokyo and I was even chosen to be the spy on my do over bday! Gals were so envious.

Hungry for travel – a family holiday to Japan

13 Oct


The Hungry Family recently returned from a trip to Tokyo, Kyoto and Tokyo Disney. It is fair to say that we are all smitten with this amazing country. The food was incredible and fresh and inexpensive, the people were friendly and polite, and everything was spotless – even the toilets at train stations were immaculate. And the shopping. Oh.The.Shopping. Our suitcases were bulging at the seams on our return with Japanese lollies (candy), various spicy sauces, whisky, clothes and Disney everything!  Continue reading

Great kid’s day out in Sydney – Powerhouse Museum

10 Jul

The Hungry Family loves a good museum and the Powerhouse in Sydney is one of our all-time favs. It was the first museum both gals went to as babies – Miss8’s first visit was to see an exhibition of costumes by Kylie Minogue [fan gal!] while Miss6 was so tiny that she was transported via baby carrier.

Recently we explored the Games Masters exhibition, dedicated to the art and history of video games. I’ve never been a fan but the Hungry Dad was positively drooling at the sight at row after tow of everything from old school arcade games like PacMan and Sonic the Hedgehog to Minecraft and more.
On our way from Parking at Darling Quarter [hint – there are clean toilets near the entrance to the car park and also a myriad of places to eat] we stumbled across the very pretty Winter Wonderland scene, complete with ice rink. Miss8 especially thought it was divine.


Then it was to the Powerhouse, were we took in the Strictly Ballroom exhibition, which made me fall in love with the classic Oz film all over again. The feathers! The costumes! Arms, Clary!


Next stop was the free science talk where Miss8 was pulled from the audience to be a volunteer to help make slime. What a wonderful assistant she made, creating gooey sticky green mess ☺

Finally it was time to check out what we came for – video games. Try as I might I just can’t get excited by them but the gals enjoyed exploring games created waaaay before their time.


Miss6 and I lined up to have a boogie to one of those dance games [you can tell I’m just not that into it] and we also hit a small room to jam to a Faith No More song [thanks, Hungry Dad]. Miss6 loved getting her riffs on.



See powerhousemuseum.com/gamemasters/