Living on Lord Howe Island


Sharks, stingrays and clown fish... in Sydney

Posted by Dani Rourke – Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Sydney Aquarium

Our holiday got off to a pretty slow start. Luckily for you, I didn’t take any photos of the numerous trips to the dentist, doctor and hairdresser which are always a boring but necessary part of our family trips to Sydney. We also spend a lot of our time in Sydney at the supermarket and the local 50 metre pool – again, not very photogenic, but if you have kids, you’ll understand.

On Tuesday we took the kids to Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour. I know it sounds a bit strange to take kids who live on a sub-tropical island to see an aquarium. In theory, I could just as easily take them out on a glass bottom boat at Lord Howe to see the southern-most coral reef in the world with its amazing array of tropical and sub-tropical fish. But have you ever tried to keep a 2 year old still for two hours on a small boat with 15 other people? It would be a complete nightmare. The aquarium is great for kids because you can run for two hours and still see most of the exhibits.

There’s so much to see at the aquarium and it’s years since I went there last. Everyone remembers the big grey nurse sharks, but I had forgotten about the dark and murky platypus exhibit, the tiny dancing seahorses that look like they are made of lots of fluttering ribbons, the luminous jellyfish, the little penguins that dive, swim and bask on the rocks and the sole dugong with its sad face, eating fresh cos lettuce for lunch. There was also an amazing Great Barrier Reef exhibit where we saw Nemo, Marlin, Dory, Bruce and Mr Ray all in the one spot.

Almost as much fun was the people watching. There were some very over-excited school groups, a few young couples holding hands, lots of little kids in prams and some with their grandparents. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. The only part of the day that I wasn’t so sure about was the full-on commercial bit (but of course that’s how the Aquarium makes its money...). There was a young woman at the door with a big camera to welcome us and to try to get us all in a photo together (pretty difficult with hyperactive kids, so we managed to get away). Around every second corner there seemed to be another friendly girl with a colourful display of lollies right at toddler eye level. And then, when I thought we had finally escaped, the only exit involved walking through a very large toy shop overflowing with stuffed Nemos, grey nurse sharks and dugongs and staffed by very friendly people who were all trying to sell us the photo they hadn’t managed to take at the entry. Exhausting!

We have a couple more days here – what’s your favourite Sydney excursion with kids?






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About Dani Rourke

HELP! I have 2 children, 25 staff and up to 75 guests. I was a lawyer for 10 years, but escaped. My husband and I moved from Sydney to beautiful Lord Howe Island to run Pinetrees Lodge, which has been in my family for 6 generations. I'm writing about family business, island life and the whole work/family disaster. Did someone say balance? When I'm not writing, my lovely staff do it for me - they see more of the island than I do.

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