Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sydney for Families in a Weekend - Our Family Minibreak at the Cambridge Hotel...

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Cambridge Hotel.

Very recently my family we were invited by our favourite interstate pad, the family-friendly Cambridge Hotel in Sydney's Surry Hills, to come and experience all the fun and excitement that its CBD location has to offer.

Naturally, we were thrilled to oblige! After all, who doesn't appreciate a weekend away in another city? Especially one as fabulous as Sydney.

It wasn't our first stay with the Cambridge Hotel mind you. We were lucky enough to visit beautiful Sydney just under a year ago and you can read all about our weekend in Sydney previously.

Our visit and plans were quickly set in concrete, (excitement is a great motivator) and in no time at all we found ourselves flying out of Melbourne one late Autumn morning, (a typically bleak, wet and Wintery one) and landing a little over an hour later in a sunny and balmy Sydney with a top temperature of an unbelievable 24 degrees!

Our room with a view - what a glorious sight!

"Hello Sydney!"
Having conquered the area surrounding our hotel previously, we wasted no time feeling the unfamiliar disorientation travellers commonly experience in a new place and made ourselves right at home in our room pretty much straight away - Love that! Plus we were desperate to rid ourselves of the coats, boots and Melbourne gear that encumbered us and in a hurry to change into some lighter clothing to cope with the sudden climate change pronto!

Now kids as a rule have no trouble making themselves at home anywhere really and our big, bright room on the upper level at the Cambridge was no exception. Within minutes of opening the door, clothing was strewn everywhere, the kids were all over and the mini bar was in the process of being raided.
Did I mention we really did make ourselves at home?!
A quick pic of the pristine bathroom before the kids made it resemble ours at home!

In the blink of an eye, our toddler spotted the complimentary handmade chocolates in our room and began an earnest attempt (which lasted a good 15 minutes!) to break into the pack. Thank goodness for the ribbon on the box! Those babies would be exclusively for Mum and Dad to enjoy with Champagne at a later time.

Funny thing about flying, even relatively short distances - It's so tiring! After shedding the mega-cold gear, the fatigue set in (and the sugar lows hit the kids thanks to their multiple lollipop consumption.) Those beds looked so inviting.

Things got even cosier when the kids discovered the latest instalment of the Lord of the Rings on television. Should we sit and watch TV? (So tempting!) Or do we head out and make the most of our weekend visit?

Eventually our stomachs were what motivated us to get moving out into that glorious sunshine as well as the realisation that we had a whole lot of Sydney sightseeing to cover across our two night stay.

TV would have to wait for our worn-out evenings.

First up, we armed ourselves with a tourist map kindly provided to us by the Cambridge. We decided on a walk around neighbouring Oxford St which is around a minute's stroll from the hotel door. We checked out the shops and looked for a suitable family eatery which would satisfy everyone's cravings. While Hungry Jack's was conveniently close, we steered the kids into Wok on Inn Street Noodle Bar with a bit of a guiding push! (And a bit of a shove!)

This eatery was smack-bang in the heart of the bustling Oxford Street action and owing to the great weather, the café's folding doors were wide open when we visited, allowing the noise of the traffic to stream right in. (Sydney buses are abundant and SO loud!) Ordinarily this might have been a big turn-off however I am so glad we stayed-put because the food here was outright fabulous!

Wok on Inn Street Noodle Bar, 80 Oxford Street (corner of Crown Street), Darlinghurst, NSW.
The Wok on Inn is a cramped little corner café with a Japanese style interior and one of those photographic Asian menus where you choose your meal from an image and adjust the ingredients to match your preferences with your waiter. The meals were piping hot and prepared as we ordered in giant woks. Oh my - absolute goodness! We had to hold back from eating here every day because travellers should experience the diversity of their surrounds...

With full stomachs, we took to more strolling along Oxford Street to check out the stores and it was about now that the weather began to look a little on the off side. Actually - massive understatement - a huge thunderstorm threatened, (which would unfortunately follow us for our entire weekend stay). And so we made our way back to our room, but not before checking-in to collect some delicious Chandon at the boutique supermarket and bottle shop across the road from our base. Woo Hoo!

Our early evening on day one in Sydney was spent sipping sparkling while watching the hail rain down from our balcony while the kids watched the replay of Lord of the Rings on the TV. Bliss? Yes!

"Cheers! Here's to you crazy Sydney storms."
Now, last time we stayed at the Cambridge, we didn't give the indoor pool so much as a squiz, but this time, I made sure that the pool was going to be a daily enjoyment for everyone. The kids were beside themselves with excitement about an evening swim each day and it was a case of me too! We spent around 2 hours in the pool and spa on this night (and the following night), mostly on our own too which was fantastic!

This was our eight year old son's first time in glorious Sydney, (he stayed at home last time we visited), so we knew we had to give him a crash weekend course on the sights to see.

First stop on the morning of day two, we headed straight to Circular Quay (via a quick train ride from Museum Station, just 10 minutes walk from our hotel). Circular Quay is where all those famous Sydney landmarks reside. (Breakfast was an uneventful stop at the Hungry Jack's at Circular Quay. We didn't want to delay our sightseeing and the weather was just plain awful so it was a case of eat and run!)

Sydney gets the thumbs up from this little guy!
At Circular Quay we walked to the Sydney Opera House and checked out the beautiful views of the Harbour Bridge (in solid rain!) before taking a walk to The Rocks where the markets are located. The kids loved shopping here (I might have too, wink) and we picked up all kinds of souvenirs and fun stuff - like one of these fab metal aliens. (Plus handmade jewellery, fossils, soaps and glass ornaments by master craftsmen...)

"I'm on a boat!"

The rain grew even worse (!) and so we jumped onto a ferry at lunchtime with the Family Funday Sunday saver pass (best family transport deal ever) and headed to picturesque Darling Harbour. The ferries are a very special way to experience Sydney and I don't think a visit to Sydney would be complete without a trip or two on them. The bonus of this mode of transport is of course, the photo opportunities you can catch from the beautiful vantage points they give.

No caption required...

Darling Harbour is where many of Sydney's best family museums and attractions lie. Sydney Sea Life Aquarium and the National Maritime Museum as well as the Powerhouse Museum are all within an easy get-to distance here.

Originally we'd planned to visit Madame Tussauds here, however, we arrived hungry and spotted a great eatery and decided we'd retreat from the weather and crowds and dine with a view at the Helm Bar.

The weather may have been miserable but we certainly were not. We felt dry, warm and even a little smug seated here watching the hoards of tourists get drenched. Lunch at the Helm was perfect and the entire family was content with the menu of pizzas and fries with a luxe, gourmet flair. There are great views of Darling Harbour at this bistro and it's a fantastic place to relax while you plan your next sight-seeing venture, which is exactly what we did.

Family friendly dining! Helm Bar, 7 Wheat Rd, Aquarium Wharf, Cockle Bay, Sydney.

Darling Harbour has a stunning picturesque city skyline and there are loads of eateries here. After lunch we wandered across the bridge and around the Maritime Museum's exterior to check out the boats docked there. We still didn't feel inclined to actually spend an afternoon inside any of the attractions though, as we were finding the discovery of our surrounds far more exciting.

The kids spotted a souvenir store here just before we boarded a ferry back to Circular Quay and it was one of the better ones we've come across in our travels in Sydney. It was huge! Ruben chose himself a softie crocodile and helped to select some cute items for his other siblings back at home in Melbourne.

Thank god we spotted the ferry coming in the distance because this kid can really spend and didn't want to leave!

Ruben eyes-off just one of his items purchased in Sydney. (Our pram was tipping under the weight!)
As the sun set on our final night in Sydney, we ventured into Gloria Jean's on Oxford Street for a quick hot chocolate and donut pit-stop. We were tired, happy...and ready for our evening swim!

Home sweet home. A chance to finally rest and relax.

Sunset falls over Sydney as viewed from our balcony (with a wine and more TV of course!)
Naturally, the day you plan on leaving a holiday destination, the weather takes a turn for the better.

Monday and home day had arrived and we awoke to a beautiful sunny day glistening through our room window. We packed up our room quickly and decided to make the most of our late 11am complimentary checkout. We planned to find breakfast and take a final walk about our surrounding area before our transport arrived to take us back to the airport.

I can't tell you how thrilled we were to discover this brilliant little café in the back streets behind our hotel! We passed several great cafes but none lured us half as much as this one. (It also had a pram friendly entrance which helped seal the deal.)

The Factory is a gorgeous little find located at 1/133 Bourke Street, Surry Hills and is probably 10 minutes from the Cambridge Hotel. The breakfast menu couldn't have been better and we all enjoyed dining here. (There was room service available at our hotel but we were happy to get out in all that sunshine and make our holiday weekend last that little bit longer.)

At The Factory, we enjoyed freshly squeezed juices in generously sized Mason jars, bacon and eggs and homemade muesli served with gorgeous appeal. Absolutely stunning! Next time I'm up Sydney way, I will be back here for sure!

Still craving this beautiful breakfast...
After breakfast we took a long stroll up Oxford Street to Paddington and back to see the stores. (Note - most of the shops in Paddington open after 10am.)

Checkout was inevitable and sadly it was time to head home to Melbourne and back to real life. Just before we departed our hotel, I took this sweet pic of the younger kids playing with their Sydney souvenirs while we waited for our airport shuttle to arrive.

I got this...and this...and this...
We had a truly wonderful weekend in Sydney and had a thoroughly enjoyable stay at the Cambridge Hotel which we once again, highly recommend. The Cambridge Hotel is so central to everything worth seeing and doing in Sydney and very warmly welcomed our family. We wish to extend a huge thank you to the Cambridge for our lovely invitation to enjoy your services and city!

Cambridge Hotel.
212 Riley Street,
Sydney NSW, 2010.
Toll free: 1800 251 901
+612 9212 1111.
*Disclosure: Six Little Hearts were happy guests of the Cambridge Hotel for a wonderful complimentary two night stay
in exchange for this feature.
We can't thank you enough for your hospitality. XX
All opinions expressed are those of this blog's Author.
Where would you suggest families visit in Sydney?
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  1. I love seeing my home town through freash eyes- reminds me of how gorgeous Sydney can be! I can actually see my work in one of your photos! :)

    1. You are very lucky that this is your hometown! Very amusing to hear that you can see your work in my images - I am wondering where?!

  2. I live in Sydney but never tire of visiting the Rocks markets and riding on ferries.The kids also love visiting and dining at Darling Harbour, especially in summer when they have the nightly fireworks. Sounds like you had a great little mini break!

    1. How lucky you are to be near all the action! I adore those markets and really had to hold back from spending a fortune there. Nightly fireworks sounds fantastic. Hope we can visit in Summertime sometime.

  3. I love staying some where familiar so as you don't spend half the time trying to negotiate the area, but not too familiar that there is nothing left to discover.
    We spent a wonderful 5 days in Sydney when my son was a toddler he loved those ferries.

    1. Yes, like you, I love to visit the same pad over and over again - you always know what you're in for and what to expect and learning the local area makes it all so much more cosy.

  4. The Factory looks like it has great atmosphere. I'm glad you had some sun when coming over this way. We thought it would rain this past weekend when we drove from Newy to Sydney for my son's birthday at the zoo. We were all prepared with his newly purchased aldi gumboots. But it was sunny all day. How lucky. Have you been to the zoo in Sydney? I love Melbourne zoo too.

    1. The Factory was great - really great. I have never been to Sydney's Zoo - there's still many places to explore for us. :D You should visit Melbourne as there's plenty of gumboot weather here sadly!

  5. Looks like you had a great time, despite the rain. And what is it about hotel rooms - they look so pristine when you first walk in and it takes less than 2 minutes for it to be a mess?!

    1. Yes, hotel rooms don't take long to look trashed by occupants! I love leaving the 'make up my room' signs on the door and then coming back to a clean apartment most of all - I wish it were like that at home!

  6. What a great little adventure you had! I would love to take the kids to Sydney one day for a holiday. They haven't seen it at all.

    1. We did have a fantastic time. Actually only half of my kids have visited Sydney so far - we don't all fit in a hotel room so I only take half of them each time we travel! :D It works! Hope you get to this sexy city sometime. x

  7. What an amazing post and adventure! I plan on taking the kids to Sydney, hopefully later this year so this was great! Gee I love hotels, and this one looked lovely X

    1. Mmm I love hotels too! Your kids and yourself will love Sydney. There's so much to see and so many great eateries.

  8. What a fun trip! I would have been tempted to buy my Ogre one of those fab metal aliens, too.

    1. Those aliens are really wonderful. A great reminder of our trip for my Son.

  9. What an amazing trip, my husband has always wanted to travel to Sidney!!!
    Thanks for sharing on the #OMHGWW this week!!

    Hope you have a great week!

  10. Wow! loads of fun photos looked like a fab trip :-)

  11. Awww that trip looks amazing! You did a lot. All of your photos are lovely too =)

  12. Looks like you guys had the most fabulous time chick. I love seeing Sydney through the eyes of visitors - it gives me a whole new appreciation for the city I take for granted xx

    1. It was fab! I am the same when I read all about Melbourne. It's great fun discovering a city.

  13. It looks like you had such a wonderful weekend. We live in Sydney but are moving so we are going to be making the most of these school holidays and have a "staycation" and visit our favourite places. x

    1. I am still thinking about it and re-living the fun parts (which was all of it!) You are moving? Sounds like you're moving? Sounds like you are moving quite a way away...

  14. Oh I love The Factory café, such a good menu and a cool little set up. Sorry we couldn't put on better weather for your stay! Although with an indoor pool at your disposal I guess the weather didn't really matter :)

    1. Clearly you live nearby and I am a wee bit envious. I wish we ha somewhere nearby that was half as good as that café.

  15. We stayed there for a weekend around this time last year and it was AWEOME!! Looks like you guys had a fab time too xx

  16. It looks like you had a wonderful time on this break. Love the photo of the bathroom before the kids got in there! Thanks for sharing these lovely pics of the other side of the world! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  17. I love inner city food. The hotel looks funky :) I love that feeling when you've made the room your own too :) We'll have to do coffee one time you're up.

  18. Sydney is a very nice place for weekend family tours. The best part is that there is no accommodation problem for stay in Sydney due to the availability of lots of serviced and furnished apartments Parramatta, Castle Hill, Homebush Bay and many other locations of Sydney that can be opted for long term & short term according to the trip duration.

  19. Sorry you got such a dose of terrible weather (seems like it's never ending this year!), but looks like you still made the most of it. I'm going to have to try out the Factory cafe next time I'm in the city - it looks marvelous!


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