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Singapore, Perth and Sydney mums - help!

(19 Posts)
ravenousbugblatterbeast Sun 12-Dec-10 19:31:57

Hi all,

DH, DS (7) and I are heading out from this grim British winter to Oz for DH's best mate's wedding. What are the must sees/just don't bothers and the cheapest ways to do things (nicely)?

For example, inSingapore we thought to do the science centre and maybe the Sands SkyPark instead of the Flyer as that might be a bit boring since we don't actually know what we're looking down on? We're staying by the Marina, so places to eat would be good to know.. Will the zoo be absolutely heaving as it'll be New Year's Day and the following day we're there.

Perth - would like to do Rottnest Island but that looks pricey - is it worth it? We're not outlandishly outdoorsy people, but obviously wd be looking to do what's best which in hols.. Also thought about Caversham Wildlife park and Hillarys beach? Actually, any beach recommendations would be great - we're in Perth staying with friends for a week, and will be amusing ourselves during the day, travelling by bus from northern Perth, and we'd like to spend some time at the beach, but especially need beaches with lots of places to shelter from the heat!

Finally Sydney, although we've got quite a few ideas already, especially the Powerhouse. Main query is whether the Blue Mountains are worth doing with a 7 yr old? And is it best going with an organised minibus tour or by rail and then open top/tour bus? It seems a looooong drive (by UK standards!), and while I'm quite keen, DH is, by his nature, a hermit, and tends to have to be forced to venture far afield.

Any hints and tips would be HUGELY appreciated!

sunnydelight Mon 13-Dec-10 03:25:32

I think the Blue Mountains is worth it for a very Australian experience. With a 7yo you want to go to Scenic World (as long as nobody is scared of heights). We first went there with kids 3,8, and 13, last time they were probably a couple of years older and they all loved it. If you can combine it with a visit to the Jenolan Caves you're on a winner. To do both it would have to be a daytour. If you don't fancy that you could get the train to Katoomba then do the open top bus which would also show you some other sights, just make sure you can get off and spend time at Scenic World then hop back on. It really isn't a long journey by Australian standards grin

Back in Sydney you can get a ticket that will give you admission to both the Aquarium and Wildlife world at Darling Harbour, both are good for a child that age. The Maritime Museum is also worth a look. Other things I would recommend: I love the Sydney Fishmarkets at lunchtime for a wander then some yummy fish and chips by the water. Take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly for a stroll along the Corso and icecream on the beach. Taronga Zoo is good, but Singapore is better if you've already been there. During the Summer the Rocks Markets on a Friday night are lovely, finish with dinner at Zia Pina pizzeria. Take the L90 express bus out of the city to Palm Beach, enjoying the breathtaking views of the Northern Beaches along the way. You could also get off at Avalon a few beaches down for some lovely funky shops, great cafes and restaurants and a less glitzy beach experience. Bondi is vastly overrated in my opinion and transport too much of a pain in the packed Summer holidays to make it worthwhile. Don't bother with the Australian Museum either if you've ever been to the Natural History Museum in London.

In Singapore the "duck tour" is great fun. There is a wonderful "hawker centre" just behind the Marina Mandarin hotel that is a fantastic, cheap, way to feed kids. The satay is to die for.

SonicMiddleAge Mon 13-Dec-10 03:32:16

Perth: Rottnest can be a bit packed in the summer hols. Caversham is always a winner with my girls (get there early while the roos are still hungary, not full and disinterested - it opens 8:30). Kings park Synergy playground is nice for slightly older kids (scale model dinosaurs). I hate Hilaries and think it's overpriced and tacky. Swanbourne beach has a nice cafe on it (nake fig) to get out of the sun, cottesloe is obviously lovely.

Defintely go to the blue mountains - no need for a tour, train from sysdney is cheap, easy and confortable.

thelittlestkiwi Mon 13-Dec-10 03:37:10

Singapore zoo is amazing- try the night safari if it fits on with jet lag.

Livinginoz Mon 13-Dec-10 03:43:08

The zoo in Singapore is very very good, its a 40 min taxi ride out there. We got free tickets with our stopover hotel deal, so look into that.

We live in Manly in Sydney which is an amazing place to visit, but I'm obviously biased! I can recommend Oceanworld though as they have just renovated it and it has a live "reef" where over 5s can snorkel. Its really good, and only $20 each. You can also hire bikes quite cheaply in Manly and there is also the Manly-Spit Scenic walkway, which is a bush walk that goes around the harbour (just start from the Spit rather than Manly or you end up waiting for a bus back in the heat)

Hope this helps!

ben5 Mon 13-Dec-10 06:23:43

perth- scitech is good , kings park, cottesloe beach are all go. jump on the CAT buses. thes are free and gopast most things. the train system is goodand cheap. if you make it to rockingham ( about 45 mins south of perth) give us a shout!!!
don't bother with dolhin tours as you will see them swim around anyway
sonicmiddleage where abouts are you?

papooshka Tue 14-Dec-10 06:02:32

In Singapore, definitely the zoo/night safari as mentioned...the zoo has a fantastic water play area so take stuff for your son (and you!)

Also Sentosa is good, there is a luge - basically a long go-cart ride, and you go up to it on a big chair lift. There is also a surf place where you can surf on manmade waves if that makes sense!

In the cbd there is Lau Pa Sat which is a massive hawker centre, not far from Marina...

Haven't been up to the sky park but my DH has and said it was great..

have a great time!

SonicMiddleAge Tue 14-Dec-10 06:12:59

ben - we're in subi. At least the lady here has got some nice perth recommendations - when I first moved here and asked on mumsnet, all I got was comments like "oh I thought you meant perth scotland, I was going to recommend a lovely child friendly cafe" !

ben5 Tue 14-Dec-10 11:26:44

i also like the muesum and the libary normally does something over the holidays.
could be worth going to the information booth to see if they are doing the city pass. this is great and makes things cheaper. we have also been up the swan tower

ravenousbugblatterbeast Tue 14-Dec-10 21:18:59

All these look fantastic, thank you all so much.. I'll have a mooch through the ideas over the next few days and be back with any queries! Thanks!

slim22 Tue 14-Dec-10 23:10:11

Zoo definitely. Science centre is also fab but just pick one as they are both far from marina (weather may dictate what you do)
$20/person to get to the skypark is a rip off if as you say you don't care so much since you would not know what you are looking at.
Just walk around the bay from marina, walk around the esplanade theatre waterfront then accross the old bridge towards the fullerton hotel. see the merlion and continue the loop on the new marina baysands waterfront then into marina bay sands for some air conditioned break and lunch in the foodcourt where you can sample all things south east asian. Back to marina square accross the helix bridge.

The food court at esplanade is very good (Makansutra gloutton bay is the name!) but evenings only.Best for barbecued seafood and very good value.

If you have time, the botanic is lovely for a late afternoon stroll then you can walk down Orchard road and see the christmas lights and all designer things that glitter and mad singaporeans running after a bargain.

ravenousbugblatterbeast Wed 15-Dec-10 11:44:05

Ooh, walking routes, I like this!

Is there any point in taking an umbrella with us, or just plan to avoid the rain by sheltering in the nearest sales emporium..? Esp. in Singapore..

empirestateofmind Thu 16-Dec-10 12:12:11

Other ideas for Singapore- take a boat ride up the river at night for lovely views, visit Universal Studios on Sentosa if you like theme rides, Clarke Quay at night has some good restaurants plus there are fountains for the children to play in.

It does rain quite suddenly and heavily at the moment. A couple of small umbrellas in your bag would be a good idea if you are out and about. It is not easy to get taxis when it is raining.

gregssausageroll Thu 16-Dec-10 20:04:00

Definitely recommend Caversham. Take swimmers with you and a picnic. There is a huge outdoors area just off the car park with playpark, bbq/picnic areas and huge splash pool.

King's Park is lovely. You can't go wrong at any beach really.

Perth zoo is ok.

Taking a picnic to the beach one evening at sunset is lovely.

Any park is well catered towards children.

If you are going to the beach then after lunch is great as the breeze comes in so makes a 40 degree day better!

The wineries in Swan Valley are worth a visit but difficult to get to if no car.

Trains are frequent and cheap. CAT in the city is free.

People always say go to Cottesloe but I never see the attraction. Way too many people and the place (especially the showers and toilets) are grotty.

If you want a day out of the sun then there are quite a few softplay places in Joondalup

Have fun.

ravenousbugblatterbeast Fri 17-Dec-10 18:56:11

I've come across Desert Storm 4WD outside Perth which DS thinks looks fabulous. Is it possible to get to Lancelin by public transport? Have any of you Perth peeps heard of it? Or is there another way of doing the desert and sandboarding, if that's worth it? It'll make a change from snowboarding (or rather trudging through snow and slipping on lethal ice!).

Cheers all..

ravenousbugblatterbeast Wed 22-Dec-10 20:02:02

Any ideas about Lancelin? How to get there? Their website says it's 127km north of Perth - given that Australia is "A Big Place", would it be unreasonable to even ask our friends if they fancied a trip out that way one weekend? Or how expensive is car hire, as opposed to paying for a full day tour inc. desert, which is about £300..

israel Wed 29-Dec-10 19:16:06

Lancelin is easy to get to...get there and back in a day......from Perth.....either ask yr friends...or hire a car for the day.
Not sure about public transport....buses run up to two rocks.....from the most northern train station at clarkson....maybe there is a bus to lancelin.
If yr going that way though...I would hire a car....and stay for one night...and also visit the pinnacles....wonderful rock formations,
Whereabouts in Perth are you staying?

ravenousbugblatterbeast Sun 02-Jan-11 14:40:50

God, Singapore is fab.. DS has decided he wants to live here now, even though we've told him he still has to go to school..! Thanks so much, esp Slim22, we screwed up our courage for local food in the Marina Square Lofts yesterday, and went to Gloutton Bay tonight, DS was uncharacteriscally adventurous..

Packing for Perth now, we're staying with friends near Karrinyup. I'll probably be back agonising about Perth or Sydney days out soon, thanks so much so far

slim22 Mon 03-Jan-11 02:30:20

Glad you enjoyed it! I so miss my singaporean street food!
Have a safe flight!

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