Exploring Sydney with teenagers and children

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Seen from through the sails of Sydney Opera House on June 1, 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Seen from through the sails of Sydney Opera House on June 1, 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images


Vive la Sydney! When you’re hosting an exchange student from Lyon, it makes sense to show him Australia’s second-greatest city. And Sydney honoured us by turning on four perfect days.

So it’s me and three teenagers, one French. We start our visit with a walk to the Harbour Bridge and then over to the Opera House, to check the major icons off the list.

Next day we walk from Icebergs at Bondi to Tamarama, where we lie on the beach trying to work out which house we would buy if we could.



Ferry to Manly

We spend another stunning day catching the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly, which is a huge hit with the kids.

Manly Surfboards

  • Shop 3, 49 North Steyne, Manly

We hire surfboards and wetsuits and have a surf in small waves – much warmer than we Melburnians are used to.


  • 48 North Steyne, Manly

We follow this with a post-surf light lunch and some good coffee at the cool and welcoming Hemingway’s, which has some great photos of the writer on the wall.

Harbour Bridge climb

The highlight for Sydney visitors, whether from Melbourne or France, has to be the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb.

Small group tours take climbers 134 metres above the harbour, offering spectacular views while the climb leaders reveal the secrets of Sydney and its famous bridge.

You can join 3.5 million climbers from more than 137 countries who have had this experience.




QT Bondi


This is a good option for parents with a young family. The newest in the QT stable of stylish, boutique hotels, QT Bondi offers single rooms with options to bring in rollaway beds, suited to families with younger children.

As with the other QTs, it’s style all the way; retro chic chairs, couches, pillows, surf magazines and a riot of pastel colors everywhere. Super cool. There are also some funky items you can buy such as The Deep Ocean men’s trunks and women’s briefs and thongs in string daypacks.

Make an espresso on the DeLonghi machine and enjoy it on the balcony, while sitting in those butterfly sun-chairs everyone had in the 1970s. Reliably chic.

QT Bondi - Lobby and Shaun Gladwell Art Installation. Photo: Supplied

QT Bondi – Lobby and Shaun Gladwell Art Installation. Photo: Supplied

Just out the door is Bondi Beach, where we take in some sun on our towels, before heading off on a coastal walk. Wonderful.

For surfers in the family, the hotel is offering a special package including accommodation in a king deluxe room (minimum two-night stay), a surf lesson and your own photographer, who will snap you shredding and then supply the shots on a USB stick. It’s a great way to get into the water and be safely supervised.

The QT also has an Over The Baby Moon Package, which includes accommodation in a king deluxe room (minimum two nights) and Vanessa Megan Garden Wonderland Pregnancy/ Morning Sickness Perfume.

QT Sydney Malin Goetz Amenities. Photo: Supplied

QT Sydney Malin Goetz Amenities. Photo: Supplied


Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney


An excellently appointed, practically located two-bedroom apartment, it features a good-sized living area where the kids could hang out and watch TV while I read at the dining table. Great when you need separate bedrooms.

Rates vary according to the season but start at $199 for a studio room, $229 for one-bedroom apartments and $499 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Adina Harbourside. Photo: Supplied

Adina Harbourside. Photo: Supplied



Mr Wong


Mr Wong in the city has become one of the must-do Sydney experiences. Dark and huge (it was once a nightclub) but still cosy, with many nooks and corners, Mr Wong has what The Sydney Morning Herald described as “1930s Shanghai teahouse vibe”.

There’s a room devoted to drying ducks, which becomes part of the theatre of the night.

The food is extraordinary, as you’d expect from a place that’s been described as Sydney’s answer to the Flower Drum, and the kids loved it, too.

Make sure you book well in advance, it attracts a very cool Sydney crowd.

Mr Wong. Photo: Ben Dearnley

Mr Wong. Photo: Ben Dearnley




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