• Alison Fenton

10 days in Sydney

Updated: May 25

13 - 23 January 2019


We encouraged our son to start playing chess to stretch his brain. He loves it and here we are at the Australian Junior Championships for a third year. Oliver thrives on the competition, while the rest of us enjoy a brief holiday. This year we are in Sydney, but having recently spent six months travelling, it is about the last place we want to holiday. The hustle, bustle and expense of a capital city is exactly the type of holiday we try to avoid.


My challenge is to find some alternative and inexpensive things to do on a family holiday in Sydney.


Travelling to Sydney

Tip #1: check that your children are actually seated with you on the plane and if you are vegetarian notify the airline somehow.


Tip #2: kids won't go stir crazy if your accommodation has a yard. We stayed in at The Loft in Ashbury which was excellent and met our needs perfectly.


Tip #3: make sure your accommodation has a pool if you are visiting during the summer. Swimming is a great way to settle down energetic kids and provides them with something to do if you are having a quiet day.


Tip #4: make sure your accommodation has a BBQ so you can cook easy meals. Not only is eating take-away or restaurant food every day unhealthy, but it will also cost you a lot of money.


Day 1 - Spit Bridge to Manly Walk

An iconic walk along classic Sydney coastline.


Day 2 - Sydney Opera House to see a show

Right in tourist heartland, but it's hard to go past the Sydney Opera House. We saw there's a ghost in my suitcase which we all enjoyed.


Day 3- Bondi to Cogee Walk

Another classic Sydney walk, starting with a swim at famous Bondi Beach and ending up with drinks at Coogee.


Day 4 - Quiet day

Travelling parents know that it is important to have down days. Kids don't have the same stamina as adults, especially when you take them on adventurous holidays.


We visited the Ashfield RSL for dinner. The buffet was surprisingly good, catered well for vegetarians and was great value.


Day 5 - Movies and chess championships

Today was the start of the Under 12 division of the Australian Junior Chess Championship. Ollie played and won two matches.


I took Chase to see Dragons 3 at Burwood cinemas. I am still getting over the shock of the ticket prices. Almost $10 more than we pay in Adelaide for the same experience - outrageous.


Tip: if the kids want to see a movie, wait until you get to Adelaide. It's so much cheaper!


Day 6 - Parkrun and chess championships

Chase and I got an early start and caught the bus to Cooks River Parkrun. We ran 5km along the river with 150 other runners and walkers. The humidity was tough, but we slugged it out. We topped it off with breakfast at a nearby cafe.


Ollie had an impressive second day at the chess championship, with a win and a draw against two of the top ten seeds. At the end of today's rounds he is sitting in fourth place. Still plenty more chess to go.


Day 7 - Sydney street art

Today Chase and I spent the day tracking down street art in suburban Sydney and visiting Nick Cave's Until, a festival exhibition at Redfern's Carriageworks. Afterwards we found some huge recycled art transformers and ate gelato in Newtown.


Ollie had a good day at the Chess with a narrow loss after 2:25 hrs and a quick win in the afternoon. He is sitting in fifth place out of 76 very smart kids.


Day 8 - Fun at Darling Harbour Playground

I decided on a visit to Darling Harbour Playground today. We bought some bento boxes from a close-by Japanese restaurant. Apparently their miso soup was better than mine.


Ollie had some ups and downs today winning a 3 hour match against a highly rated player and losing his afternoon match. One more match to go!


Day 9 - Quiet day & chess wrap-up

Chase and I had a quiet start to the day before catching up with Ollie and Drew at the chess championship. Ollie finished 8th out of 76 kids and was very happy.


We walked to Summer Hill and celebrated with a meal at a nice cafe. Afterwards the kids went swimming and later took their nerf guns to the school across the road for some more outside fun.


Day 10 - Some Sydney hotspots

I booked late flights so that we could cram in some more classic tourist hotspots today. We started with coffee and cake at Ashfield, caught the train to Darling Harbour, visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, walked the Harbour Bridge and had fun at Luna Park. We even managed to squeeze in vietnamese for dinner before heading to the airport.