So our family just came back from a short trip to Sydney two weeks ago, and I finally have some time to write about it.
To be technically correct, our trip wasn’t short. We spent nine days in Sydney but because the main purpose of our trip was to attend Hillsong Conference 2015 (yes we brought our kids for it!), five days was spent at the conference itself. Out of the four days left, one day was when we arrived in time for dinner, and another was when we were preparing to leave Sydney. So effectively, we only had two days to explore Sydney.
We probably didn’t get to see a lot of Sydney’s famous places in those two days, but we decided to make the best of it, bearing in mind that we were traveling with our five year old and 14 month old kids, and the fact that it was winter. Before we left Singapore, we were given many suggestions on where we should go with the kids. Ben and I decided that if we wanted to make the best of the trip and to let Phoebie, our five year old learn about a foreign land, we would have to bring her to see things that Singapore didn’t have.
Before that, we figured out the train system in Sydney, which wasn’t too tough.
(Picture taken from https://transportsydney.wordpress.com/tag/south-west-rail-link/)
Every train station has a lift, so traveling with our two young children was made a lot easier since we had to bring a stroller with us.
Once we had the traveling and transiting figured out, we went to one of the places we wanted to bring our kids – Taronga Zoo. Why go all the way to Sydney and bring the kids to a Zoo? Because we wanted them to see Australian animals that we don’t have in Singapore.
To get to Taronga Zoo, we had to take a train from our hotel and then take a ferry at the harbour, which turned into a fun experience for Phoebie.
When we arrived at the pier where Taronga Zoo is, there was the option of either entering the Zoo from the bottom of the hill or to take a bus up to the main entrance. We decided to take the bus up to the main entrance. That turned out to be a good idea because the main entrance was where we managed to get more information about the Zoo. It was also at the main entrance that we purchased tickets for our family to go into a Koala enclosure to get up close with these beautiful Australian animals.
We had some time before our appointed time with the Koalas, so we looked at the other animals first.
After we had a quick lunch, we made our way to the Koala enclosure.
There it was, a beautiful and adorable Koala up close! Only one small group is allowed into the enclosure at any one time, so we could enjoy being with these quietly sleeping animals by ourselves, and the zoo keeper of course.
While Breyen probably had no clue what was going on, Phoebie got to ask the Zoo keeper questions about the Koala. It was certainly a different way for her to learn about this animal.
The kids also got to meet other native Australian animals up close. We learnt to differentiate the kangaroo from the wallaby, and I introduced Phoebie this this interesting bird called the kukabarra. Thanks to this bird, I taught Phoebie a song I learnt back in primary school:
Kukabarra sits on the old gum tree. Merry merry king of the bush is he. Laugh, kukabarra laugh. Kukabarra, gay your life must be.
Another thing we loved about the Taronga Zoo was the children’s area. All kinds of farm animals were in close proximity to the kids.
Taronga Zoo has two Pelicans and we were all amazed to see how big these birds actually are. These birds were beautiful and they even “danced” in the pool. Phoebie also observed and told us that the pelican has webbed feet. What a learning experience.
By the time we got to the Pelicans and seals and penguins, we were at the bottom of the hill that Taronga Zoo sits on. We decided to exit the Zoo from there and made our way to the wharf to catch a ferry back to the city of Sydney.
I have to admit, though, that I felt underwhelmed when I saw the Opera house. Perhaps I was expecting more because it is such an iconic landmark of Sydney.
The ferry rides and the zoo outing marked one day we had in Sydney. We went to another kids-friendly attraction the next day and I shall share about that in the next post.