Toddler Friendly Road Trip Around Sydney
Planning for a road trip with a toddler is never easy and requires many thoughts and considerations. This year, we planned yet another 2 weeks long road trip around Sydney to escape the 365-day long summer in Singapore.
Upon arriving in Sydney Airport on the first day, we drove on to our first pit stop of the trip, Martys at Little Beach located at Nelson Bay which took around 2 hours 45 minutes. This was not a very wise choice as we realized that (1) there is nothing much at Nelson Bay for a toddler to do and (2) accommodations around Port Stephens and Newcastle have strict regulations that children between 2-12 of age are required to have a bed of their own (most other hotels/motels typically allow children of the same age to stay for free if they are sharing the existing bedding). Fortunately, we only had to spend one night before we proceed on to Port Macquarie the next morning.
Port Macquarie is a beautiful place to visit for families with young children with its local attractions such as Koala Hospital and Roto House. There is a big grass area around Roto House that the little one can run around freely. Another place in Port Macquarie that shouldn’t be missed by young children is the Pancake Place. There is a nice corner set up for children with stuffed toys and story books during their time there.
After a nice two nights rest at Sails Resort Rydges, we drove on to our third pitstop of the road trip, Best Western Hunter Gateway at Hunter Valley. Hunter Valley is well known to many for its vineyards but family with young children should not miss visiting Hunter Valley Gardens, a man made garden with beautiful landscape and a storybook land that features many childhood fables children are familiar with. For wine lovers, Keith Tulloch winery is not to be missed with good wines and scenery.
Following a leisurely 3 nights stay at Hunter Valley, we took a 3 hours drive to Lithgow, a small town nestled between Blue Mountains and Genolan Caves. Be prepared to dress warmly in Lithgow as temperatures can drop to as low as -2 degrees in the cold August nights. Genolan Caves is located an hour’s drive away from Lithgow and provides ample time for your visit to Genolan Caves without having to leave before the sun sets. Another day trip worth making is Blue Mountains. This is my second time visiting the attraction but first being there with Colin and Ashley. Do avoid peak hours as it can get really crowded with big tour groups. For parents who want to indulge their little ones, you should definitely drop by Lolly Bug, a haven of sweets and lollies loves by kids.
Before making our way back to Sydney, we drove down from Lithgow to Wollongong for a 2 nights stay. I guess most of you must have wondered at this point. What is an Australian holiday without any visits to a wildlife park? Needless to say, we made Featherdale Wildlife Park a must stopover for Ashley in the journey down south. Personally, we felt that Featherdale wildlife park is a little more like mini zoo than wildlife park as most animals are in cages (we had high expectations as we had a total different experience with Ashley at Cleland Wildlife Park when she was one and a half years old). Luckily, Ashley still had an enjoyable time feeding the kangaroos despite the weekend crowd. Our pitstop at Wollongong was Best Western City Sands conveniently located near restaurants and supermarkets. A must visit down south are Cathedral Rocks, Kiama Blowhole and Coolangatta Estate Winery that can easily fit into a nice day visit from Wollongong. On the way back to downtown Sydney, we made Calmsley Hill City Farm our last attraction stop for more up close and personal time with the farm animals and kangaroos before concluding our relaxing 13 day road trip around Sydney.