Laid-back, vibrant and gorgeous, Sydney is the cosmopolitan capital of New South Wales. But Sydney is so much more than a Bridge walk and visiting Bondi Beach. With food to rival any in the world, cutting-edge design, chic hotels and excellent restaurants, I’d be shocked if you came away saying you were bored. However our criteria for what is and isn’t on the activity list and what qualifies as an affordable family friendly accommodation option changes dramatically when you throw in toddler temper tantrums, pram accessibility and breastfeeding to the mix.
That’s where we come in.
Where to stay with kids in Sydney:
The brand new Four Points by Sheraton Sydney is located in Broadway, in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Chippendale, which will appeal to families seeking a city stay at affordable rates. But more than just price alone, the recent design-led revival of the suburb has made this neighbourhood the latest sweet spot for foodies and families alike.
Right on the doorstop of the hotel are two astonishing buildings – one old, one new – surrounding a wide open grassed park space. The newer building is a tower of apartments by the French architect Jean Nouvel. Its tall flanks are coated in foliage – not so much a vertical garden as a perpendicular forest, thickly wooded and leafy. At the top of the tower is a cantilevered overhang, an architectural peaked cap. At night, it becomes a downward-facing artwork, aglitter with coloured lights. The older building, meanwhile, is the Tooth & Co brewery and a fabulous piece of industrial architecture. It is soon to be restored and converted, but for now it is a magnificent ruin.
But beyond that, it’s easy to get out and about where ever you want to go. With easy, undercover onsite parking, it is also it’s minutes from Central Station’s buses, trains and light rail, all connecting to you to anywhere to mood takes you.
The Four Points by Sheraton Sydney is a study in clean lines and lacquered black surfaces, with two hundred and ninety seven minimalist guest rooms and forty five suites, that—despite the somewhat spartan design—feel totally appropriate. In other words, there is pure elegance in it’s simplicity and it makes a big difference when you focus on the little things.
The uncomplicated and comfortable guest rooms at the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Central Park are bright and welcoming, outfitted with signature bedding, a sitting area (with a couch that folds out into a bed), workstations and mini bars. The suites offer an enhanced level of comfort, ranging from 41 sqm to 72 sqm in size, they are an urban retreat in the heart of bustling Sydney.
The best room options for families are either the Studio Suite that has a large sitting area with a couch that folds out into a bed and large seperate bath/shower. Alternatively there is also a connecting room option when you book the Executive One Bedroom Suite that features a seperate lounge area and bedroom room for the kids.
Surrounding the hotel, your food options are endless, and around the midday lunch call to arms, creatives emerge blinking from their design agencies, and university kids drift south from the campus to grab lunch at the nearby Spice Alley, with it’s string of hawker stalls – Malaysian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai – where the menus include chatterbox chicken rice, okonomoyaki pork, and a ‘Big Buddha combo’ of plump Cantonese dumplings. If your kids like Asian food this is hard to go past. Grab to go and then head to the grassed area of Central Park for a picnic in the sunshine with the kids.
As dusk falls and the kids start to get tired, don’t compromise on taste just because you have to eat and early dinner. The Central Quarter is more than just your average hotel restaurant and in a city where there’s a new restaurant, cafe or bar opening every night of the week, it takes serious muscle to make a name for yourself. This modern Australian eatery combines premium, local produce with a relaxed setting. The menu is centred around seasonal produce and is presented in a creative yet simple way.
Enjoy a pre-dinner drink on the outdoor terrace before heading in to savour one of the specialty dishes on the menu such as the Scallops and Pork or the Charcuterie Board as an entrees and the comprehensive range of grill options that will be sure to keep Dad satisfied for mains. The kids menus also score points on the Out & About Baby scale although to be honest, the kids are always just happy sitting in front of a bowl of fries (queue collective groans of health conscious mums everywhere).
After a peaceful night’s sleep high above the hustle and bustle of the city, head back down to the restaurant again where the space is transformed into a buffet breakfast that covers all bases. There is absolutely no way you’ll leave hungry.
What to pack for your stay
A versatile, crease free dress, fresh sneakers to get you from A to B and a blazer will get you everywhere as a mum in Sydney. But when you are packing for your kids it’s all about layering, colour and a little bit of sparkle.
Things to do in Sydney with kids
The list of things to do in Sydney with kids could be endless but if we had to just narrow it down to 4 things to do these are the activities that make the cut:
1. Taronga Zoo
It would be hard to find a better setting for a zoo in the world than Taronga Zoo, situated right on Sydney Harbour in a natural bushland setting.
Taronga Zoo is just 12 minutes from Circular Quay by ferry which offers amazing views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
2. Catch the Ferry
You can’t visit one of the best harbour cities in the world and not get out on the water! Jump on the ferry at Circular Quay and visit Manly on the Northern Beaches for the day. The short ferry ride is a great and cheap way to experience Sydney Harbour with stunning views along the way.
When you arrive, walk down the palm tree-lined Corso, hit the promenade on the beach for an ice-cream, or walk around to picturesque Shelly Beach for lunch at The Boatshed.
Alternatively you can catch the ferry to Cockatoo Island. What was once an island covered with red gums and frequented by the sulphur-crested cockatoos which gave the island its name, it is now the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic and running around it’s abandoned prison buildings and shipyards which are now recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
3. Darling Harbour
You can spend an hour or half a day in and around Darling Harbour, a lively harbour side precinct that’s just a 10-minute walk from the CBD or quick ferry ride. It offers activities for all the family but of particular note is Tumbalong Park featuring slides, swings, a flying fox and climbing ropes. Darling Harbour is also home to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, the Wildlife Park, and IMAX theatre. For eating and drinking, be careful of the tourist traps right on the water and head to Fratelli Fresh for an Aperol Spritz and pizza session post park hang.
4. Powerhouse Museum
It takes an interactive museum to keep kids engaged and The Powerhouse Museum is one of the best for kids and adults alike with a hands-on approach to learning. There are always new exhibitions going on but even the permanent exhibitions, like Experimentations (experiment with heat, light, chemistry, electricity and movement), Locomotive No. 1 (brings to life the age of steam travel), and Wiggles World are a hit with the kids.
Thank you to Four Points by Sheraton Sydney for hosting us.
Also thank you to Jenny, Jake, Mila and Seb from Mynder for being our model family.
Photos by Caroline McCredie
Styling by Designer Style List
Hair and Makeup by Keli Stack