I have been to Sydney many, many times and it’s amazing to still discover new sights in the city now that I have young kids.
Sydneysiders may diss the touristy blandness of Darling Harbour but if you’ve got children then there is no better place to hang out in the CBD thanks to the exceptional playground at Tumbalong Park.
Tumbalong Park is right by the water so keen transport watchers (which describes most kids I know) will love watching the boats come in and out of the dock. There’s an old-fashioned carousel by pier ($4 per person, under 2s free) which Lady AB really wanted to go on but when I tried to hoist her up on a horse she was too afraid to sit! She was quite happy sitting on my lap in one of the carriages and watching the horses bob up and down in front of her.
The playground itself is very busy on weekends but there is enough equipment to keep most kids happy. It’s probably more suitable for older kids as there are lots of (very high) climbing structures, flying fox, a jumbo swing and big slides, but there are still toddler swings, a mini rope climbing frame and sandpits (with sand diggers) for little ones.
The best part of Tumbalong Park is the water play area and thanks to Sydney’s generally temperate climate Lady AB was still able to enjoy kicking about in the water in the middle of winter. There’s water jets, miniature pools and rivulets to splash around in plus pumps, swinging gates, dam walls and channels to move the water around.
The kids could have spent hours there and it was hard trying to convince them to leave.
There are public toilets nearby to get changed but as I hadn’t prepared a change of clothes for Lady AB I just let her clothes dry in the sun while she ran around.
The kids will be hungry after burning off all that energy. On the edge of the playground is a McDonald’s plus a series of other restaurants. Between my friends and I we had 3 kids and a baby in tow so it was pretty hard to go past the quick and easy fast food option. So Lady AB had her first Happy Meal on the large grassy area nearby, a much more pleasant dining experience than inside the raucous restaurant. What she didn’t know was that her fruit bag could be replaced with fries and the milkshake can become a soft drink. She was very, very happy with her lunch.