christmas morning!

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morning-13

good morning! hope you all had a very merry christmas last week! we enjoyed a nice relaxing (well as relaxing at it goes with three kids) day here together in new york.  i don’t think anything can really top a christmas with little kids.  the night before, when josh was making ginger cookies with eleanor and samson in the kitchen to christmas music while i was nursing conrad to sleep in the other room, the energy was just insane with “christmas spirit.” haha! cheesy as it sounds, it was happening. i loved it.

eleanor and samson left a plate of cookies and a mexican coke (oh yeah!) on the coffee table for santa claus and then even though it was far past their bedtime, they kept wanting to read more and more christmas books together and i just couldn’t say no, so we stayed up extra late all cuddled together by eleanor’s bed reading stories.  and then once they finally were asleep and all was quiet, josh and i enjoyed stuffing stockings and hanging out together talking about plans for 2016.

our big christmas gift to one another was booking a family trip to australia for this january and we are going bonkers with excitement as we plan it! it’s been the top of our list for ages now and we decided we just needed to book it and go this year, before eleanor begins kindergarten in the fall. it’s summer in australia right now, too, which is exactly when we want to enjoy it. so we’ll be heading that way in a few weeks (to sydney, the great barrier reef and also melbourne) and we can’t wait.  it’s been fun in the evenings to plan it together. if you’ve been, i would so love any recommendations you might have for any of those places. you guys always know the best spots and places to recommend. thank you in advance!

christmas morning in our apartment was extra special because samson and eleanor decided to sleep in a little! it was actually kind of bizarre because that never happens (usually when they stay up past their bedtimes they still somehow wake up at the same time every morning.) once samson woke up, we decided to all wake up eleanor together because i couldn’t let samson into the front room to see what santa brought without his sister! (issues of having a small apartment.) when all three little ones came out together, samson excitedly exclaimed when he saw the eaten cookies and the empty coke bottle, “eleanor, check this out!” haha! it was very sweet.

i just love this time of year and the chance we have to reflect on our savior’s birth, to take note of our blessings and the joy around us, and to share gifts with those we love. it’s the best way to end the year and i hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well. a few photos we snapped of our christmas morning below (ps. for all of you interested in our matching christmas jammies, they are 60% off right now on hanna andersson!)

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he can never escape the kisses! those cheeks were truly made extra soft and squishy for my kissing! i can’t help myself!!!!!!!! look at him!

morning-2

salted caramels from my love. each and every last one was delicious! it’s the right way to end 2015. with as much sugar as i can ….because i’m going to be saying goodbye to most of it in the new year. :(     …. (i shouldn’t put that frowny face there, because i’m actually really excited about it! and i’ve been wanting to do it for a while now. i’ll have to share more about it later…)

morning-5 morning-3 finally, a crepe pan! and for the crepe master himself! this guy has become quite the pro at making crepes for us, since eleanor requests them almost daily.  figured it was about time we had the proper equipment for such a thing.  and since josh tends to get really into kitchen gadgets and dishes and cookware, it was kind of perfect. ;)  just look at his face!

morning-6

did we tell you that when we got so sick the last few days of our peru trip in october, we didn’t know what to do with the kids while we laid in our hotel beds all helpless while occasionally racing to the bathroom toilet. so josh decided it was the perfect time to start a star wars movie marathon! he downloaded several of the old star wars movies for them on the iPad and we let them basically just have a full day in our hotel room of watching the old star wars movies. (i don’t know how i felt about it at the time, but josh and i both were too sick to really do anything else for them, besides ordering them food.) they are now as obsessed as you can get. which makes josh super happy. i’ve actually never even seen any of those star wars movies all the way through. once i asked eleanor which one i should watch if i were to watch one. she said, “hmmmm. probably number six.” i asked her what happens in number six. she replied, “well, i would tell you, but you’d probably get too excited!!!!” haha! i loved that. anyway, safe to say a few star wars themed gifts were a huge hit this christmas.

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when all of conrad’s gifts somehow made it into samson’s hands! haha. fortunately conrad didn’t seem to mind.

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also, headphones with a speaker on them. per eleanor’s request via her letter to santa.  these have been a big hit the past few days, too! because we are always pretend operating a space shuttle or airplane or some kind of controls system and needing to finish our sentences with “over.” she also likes to facetime with them plugged into the phone!

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i love this family of mine so much, and i’m so excited to see where 2016 takes us! hope you had a very merry christmas!!!! and also, don’t forget i’d love any and all of your recommendations for our australia trip happening in a few weeks if you have anything to share! thanks so much for taking the time! xoxo

  1. Dara

    Jealous of the Australia trip!!!!

  2. Anna

    Hello dear Naomi,
    I have been following your blog for years now.
    You will go crazy in Australia. Sydney is my favourite city, the people are so kind-hearted and nice, it is just wonderful.
    To warm you up to the Australian attitude, just check this homepage: gormanshop.com.au
    The first time I went to Sydney, I immediately thought of you when I saw their ultra stunning clothes!!:) I love them!!!!

    And I like you and your blog so much, you are an inspiration for me!
    In particular, I love your colourful outfit combinations so so much!!

    a big hug, Anna

  3. So excited about Australia!! Also, this was truly wonderful to read and it instilled the holidays ALL over again. ANDDDD I’m so curious about your sugarless lifestyle you’ll be embracing soon. I did a yoga challenge and a cleanse this entire month of December (it was hard), but I feel SO grateful. I’m sure you’ll experience the same <3 x

    http://www.chevronsandeclairs.com/blog

  4. How fun! What an amazing trip that’ll be! I’m taking a few trips this year myself..first one in new orleans for mardi gras with a couple girlfriends and then to europe (amsterdam, paris, & london) in july! if you have any recs please send them my way.

    also, can’t believe your little love E will be starting kindergarten this coming year! where did the time go?!

    all my love,
    allie

  5. Megan

    It looks like such a wonderful Christmas!! Gosh, I am so excited to see and read all about your Australia trip! So exciting!

    Happy Monday // http://lifeplusbe.com/

  6. Kendall Jennings

    I’m American and live in Melbourne if you need recs! Happy to help!

  7. Paige

    Merry Christmas Naomi! You guys are such a fun, bright spot on the internet. I always find you guys so inspiring! I don’t have any Australia recommendations, but I know you guys will make it an incredible trip!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  8. rach

    So excited to see how the trip goes!! Glad to see you guys had a Merry Christmas

  9. Fabulous photos as always. Australia will be amazing, and perfect time to get to travel before commitments with school. Add a Scottish trip to your list of must dos in 2016. Highly recommend it!

    http://www.heysparrow.com

  10. Jenn

    I’ve tried the Whole 30 and I’ve tried paleo… how do you do the no sugar diet? What are your rules?

  11. Gorgeous fam Naomi! Have fun in Australia! And score on that Mexican Coke! hahaha

  12. felisha

    I love the idea of a family vacation! That’s what we plan on doing next year – it just makes so much more sense than buying a ton of gifts.

    http://www.smallestthing.com

  13. Hey Naomi, I will be moving to Sydney Australia in January! How fun we will both be there at the same time! here’s hoping I run into an old Woodland Hills friend :) much love to you and your family, have a cheerful new year.

  14. Kadi

    Have a great time in Australia. When you visit Melbourne, have a little time and are interested in street art, see Hosier and Rutledge lane near Federation square.

  15. Emily

    Australia?!?! THAT’S AWESOME! I’m excited to see your posts!

  16. Cynthia Sue

    I dream about opening Christmas presents with my unborn children. Looks like sooooooooooo much fun! Lol.

  17. Ashleigh

    In Sydney you should visit Taronga Zoo – all of the Australian animals are just so unique and interesting (make sure you see a wombat!) and you must catch a ferry to Manly and have an ice cream! Coops shot tower in Melbourne is also a sight to see – its a beautiful old building standing within a protective newer glass structure + the Melbourne museum is brilliant. New Zealand is also a rather nifty place to visit too :)

  18. bridget allen

    spent 2 years in sydney with little ones. balmoral beach and chowder bay are gorgeous beaches north of the harbour bridge (quieter and more child friendly than the busy Bondi and Manly)
    The children will love the ferrys (and you will love the views from them) Can get a ferry to Taronga Zoo which you can then access by cable car so you get a view of the zoo by cable car before you enter (if zoos are your thing)
    If you can get childcare I really recommend the Spit to Manly walk. About 10 k walk with stunning scenery and quiet bays to swim in as you walk round.(but not suitable for little ones due to steep steps)
    Sydneysiders pride themselves on their coffee, It is delicious. Have it with banana bread for a truely sydney breakfast.
    Enjoy!

  19. jemima

    I am a Sydney girl now living in London – but my four siblings, parents and friends are still in Syd! In fact we got married in Sydney only two months ago before heading back to work in London. I have SO many reccs! We have used yours every time we’ve gone anywhere – Paris, Amsterdam, etc! So hopefully these help…

    Taronga Zoo in Mosman – an absolute must to get the best of the Australian wildlife and will be definitely a full day for you all. You can catch a ferry from Circular Quay, which takes about 20- 30 mins or so. On the ferry you’ll go past the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and takes you to the bottom of the Taronga Zoo park! Absolutely a must do for your fam!

    Koala Park in Thornleigh – here they’d have the opportunity to cuddle actual koala bears! So much fun. It’s a smaller and less fancy place, but very cute and lots of fun.

    The Blue Mountains ‘Scenic World’ – it’s a little further out of Sydney (we’re talking 1.5 hrs or so on the train?) but is absolutely gorgeous – lots of fun activities for the kids, beautiful hikes and treks that are family friendly and you’ll get to see some of Australia’s most unique landscapes. You can take the kids on an amazing old train and cable car over the Australian bushland.

    Luna Park – placed right next to Sydney harbour, there’s no entry fee, and I suggest going at 6pm as the sunset views of the harbour bridge are amazing. Some fun amusement park rides and experiences for the kids, but it’s a beautiful walk whether you’re just taking a peek or whether you plan on hitting any rides.

    Food:

    Sydney Fish Markets – so much fun. Go early-ish in the morning with the kids, so much noise and activity and it’s Sydney’s freshest seafood. You can buy some to take away and cook wherever you’re staying OR eat there! An absolute favourite.

    Gelato Messina – amazing gelato…. There are a few dotted around the city.

    The Marigold restaurant in Chinatown – Sydney’s ChinaTown is one of the best China Towns in the world! Our proximity to Asia means the Asian food is always great. The Marigold is my personal favourite and a staple of my family for any celebratory meals. Amazing dim sum/yum cha and such a great atmosphere.

    Darling Harbour is nice for kids to walk around in, lots of fun things to see and do around there, and decent food, although a little touristey.
    Fun,though!

    Aria is an amazing restaurant, though not cheap… Would be a fabulous date for you and Josh.

    Our favourite pizza is left of field but it’s a little place in the suburb of ‘Hornsby’ in Sydney’s north, called ‘Zi Therese’ pizzeria… I’ve tried to get pizza that resembles it in Rome, Venice, London and New York and it’s my all time favourite pizza, hands down.

    Am full of many, many more tips if you want any! It’s making me homesick…!

    So excited for you all. And good luck with the jetlag ‘cos it is no joke! but you guys are becoming seasoned travellers so I’m sure you’ll confront it with bravery!

  20. Jane

    How exciting that you are coming to Australia! I live in Sydney and I’m sure you guys will love it! The beaches are beautiful (Balmoral, Manly and Coogee are extra family friendly), the cafes are great (The Grounds of Alexandria is amazing – they have a fresh flower market, animals etc). The Rocks in the city is a nice area to just wander around, and the Harbour Bridge and Opera House are right around the corner. Melbourne is really cool as well, hopefully you are there for some of the tennis! And the Great Barrier Reef? Literally the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life. Lizard Island is stunning but expensive to stay – perhaps they do day trips out there? I’m not sure. Have an amazing trip! Sorry for the long comment, I could recommend places all day but I’m sure you will find some great spots to visit xxx

  21. Til brown

    Hello! I am from australia and have been reading here for years! I live in Melbourne! It’s the best city! You should take a drive down the great ocean road it’s so beautiful! Also check out gorman clothing it’s an amazing brand we have here!!! There are trams around the city which are super easy but maybe not with a pram. Also you will love all the little alley ways full of cafés and resturants they are the best! Defiantly try chin chins in the city it’s a thai restaurant and it’s amazing! Also if you want a delicious burger a new place just opened up called 8bit! Enjoy your stay here! It’ll be hot but be prepared for Melbourne weather because you can get 4 seasons in 1 day!
    Enjoy!
    Merry christams

  22. Cindy

    How exciting that you are coming to Australia!
    I am Australian and while I don’t really know Sydney, I was raised in Melbourne and think it is an amazing city for families to visit.
    My top pick would be the Melbourne Museum, especially the Wild exhibit. Google it, it’s incedible! My 6 year old also adores the bugs alive exhibit, think lots of spiders and bugs up close!
    The museum is in a beautiful park with lush green lawns and an awesome playground nearby so we always take a picnic and let the kids burn off some energy before going inside to explore.
    Other picks in the city would be the Royal botanic gardens (the children’s garden is amazing), The queen Victoria market (for people watching and amazing food) and St Kilda beach if you want to visit a beach close to the city, Acland street is near the beach and is famous for great food.

    If you are keen to venture out of the city I highly recommend Phillip Island for a more authentic wildlife experience. It is a great place for families with lots to do. It’s famous for the little fairy penguins which come back to shore each night, but the Koala Conservation Centre is also great. There is s big focus on eco tourism and rather than the cheesy holding a koala thing they have built a walkway near the treetops so you can see them up close in their own environment where they are most comfortable.
    The beaches, scenery and nature walks on the island are also incredible so it’s a lovely place to spend a night or two out of the city.

    I hope those tips are helpful, have an amazing trip!

  23. Maddie

    Hi! We are former New Yorkers living in Melbourne with our two little ones. Here’s my suggestions for what to do in Melbourne with the kids especially

    Fairfield Boathouse is gorgeous. Feed the ducks, get a coffee, go for a boat ride, ride antique toys

    Collingwood childrens farm is so much fun and also very pretty!!

    You aren’t Aussie unless you go for brekkie and get your kids a babycino

    Go see the Penguins at Philips island. It’s a day trip but so special.

    Another day trip is to go to Healesville animal sanctuary. Pat a wombat!

    We love the Dandenong forests. Hiking and all the beautiful gardens. We go nearly once a month.

    Go to the Royal botanical gardens and don’t skip the children’s garden. Splash in the river. Bring your swim suits!

    Visit the laneways in the city to check out melbournes graffiti.

    Visit the Andy Warhol Ai Weiwei exhibit. It’s perfect for children. The cat room is too cool.

    Lots of sunscreen and hate everyone! It’s hot in January.

  24. Becky Boger

    If you make it down to Hobart do not miss the night tour of the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary! You get to feed and cuddle all the animals. All proceeds go to a great cause. Our 3 year old loved it :)

  25. Joy

    Australia; how fun! When I was in Sydney I loved going to the botanical gardens next to Sydney Harbor–it was such a great view of the harbor bridge and the opera house, and also would be a great place for the little ones to run around. Also, if they are into Nemo at all they’d probably enjoy the aquarium…I actually really liked it, and I still remember seeing a duckbill platypus in real life, which was kind of insane! Have fun!

  26. S.W.

    The Whitsunday Islands if you can swing it! Specifically Hamilton Island.
    I also really love Byron Bay (such a great small beach town that feels like local Australia). Unfortunately it’s not close to Sydney or Melbourne. So fun for your family!

  27. Kate

    Australia!! I went to Australia about five years ago, and it’s still one of my favorite vacations. There is an amusement park called Luna Park that I loved. Also, if you and Josh want to or are able to spend a few hours without the kids, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an amazing experience (but it is for people age 10 and up). You should check out what’s going on at the Opera House when you’re there. And there’s a place with crazy milkshakes called Patissez. I didn’t go when I was there, but I’ve seen it on Instagram and it’s on my list for next time. Have a great time! Happy holidays!

  28. Anne

    Oh wow, Australia – my second home. I hope you will have a wonderful time. How can you not – Australia is seriously the best place ever. I lived in Melbourne some years ago and visited Melbourne, Sydney and Port Douglas for the first time in July when it was winter down under. But honestly, winter down under is just like spring here in Scandinavia, haha. When I lived in Melbourne I worked as an au pair where I babysat 4 amazing sisters – I met them this July which was so much fun since they are all grown up now. Anyway, I got a bunch of tips for your trip Naomi.

    Melbourne:

    – Eat dinner at Pellegrinis on Bourke St. in CBD (Pellegrinis is a Melbourne institution where they serve the most authentic Italian pasta in classic Italian style – say hi to the owner Nino from me)

    – Play wee and soak in the tense atmosphere at State Library of Victoria on Swantson St. (I used to come here all the time with the 4 sisters who loved to play wee and hang out on the lawn watching people and pick at the birds)

    – Go for a long walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens on St. Kilda Road (the park is divine and you easily rent bikes and drive around the park on the running track – the park also has a great childrens flower museum)

    – Head with tram 86 to Fitzroy and get off at Brunswick St. and Gertrude St. Fitzroy is pretty similar to Williamsburg in NY. Very arty and hipster ish with many cool cafés, awesome street art on every corner and a wonderful relaxed atmosphere. Johnson St. and Smith St. in Fitzroy are also both streets worth walked down.

    – Walk from CBD to Lygon St. (the Italian area of Melbourne). Lygon St. is a very long street with countless of Italian restaurants. Have cake at the legendary Brunetti on Farringdon St. which is a street crossing Lygon St. The cakes are amazing!

    – Look at the cute baby hippo in Melbourne Zoo next to Princess Park (the most trams from Elizabeth St. in CBD will take you to the zoo/park).

    – Take any tram going down St. Kilda Road to St. Kilda. St. Kilda is a surburb right next to the water front in Melbourne. Achland St. is the main street in St. Kilda with beautiful restaurants and great cafés. Also Luna Park – the famous amusement park – is located in St. Kilda.

    – Catch a tram from Elizabeth St. in CBD or walk down the street to visit the amazing Queen Victoria Market – a gigant food market with lots of awesome food. They are also open at night time during summer where they usually have family and childrens activities.

    – Head to South Melbourne via Southbank to visit Mart (an adorable café located at a tram stop right next to Albert Park). Albert Park is also a must visit – you can walk/bike around the lake and there are also several playgrounds located around the lake.

    – Visit Degraves Lane right next to Flinders Street Station – a must visit when in Melbourne. Degraves Lane has beautiful shops, cute cafés and great Melbourne atmosphere.

    – Hoiser Lane across from Federaion Square is also a must visit – check out the hidden tapas bar in the lane -Movida. They make great tapas.

    – The Ian Potter Museum on Federation Square usually has a lot of fun activities for children

    – NGV on St. Kilda is free of charge and offers many great exhibitons

    – Melbourne Museum located in Fitzroy Gardens (at the Exhibition Building) is a great museum for children and adults. It is a natural history museum.

    – Sydney Rd. in Brunswick (catch a tram from Elizabeth St. to get there) is a very long street with many middle eastern restaurants. A very up and coming part of the city.

    – Toorak/Aramdale (I lived in Armadale) – to very posh however beautiful areas of Melbourne (catch a train from Flinders Street). High St. in Armadale has many small local shops, and also a bunch of cute cafés.

    – Pharan (take the train to South Yarra and you are right in the heart of Pharan). Chapel St. is the main street in the area, however not as trendy as it used to be when I lived there. Eat lunch at the Stables of Como (a tram will take you the front door).

    Sydney:

    – Grounds of Alexandria (a very popular Sydney institution – a city farm combined with café, restaurant and fun childrens activities – the place gets very busy during the weekend)

    – Bondi Beach – have lunch at the Iceberg pub – they make a great cecar salad

    – The Australian Museum – great natural history musuem in the heart of CBD

    Have a blast Naomi!

    Best,
    Anne, Denmark

  29. Maddie

    Hi! We are former New Yorkers living in Melbourne with our two little ones. Here’s my suggestions for what to do in Melbourne with the kids especially

    Fairfield Boathouse is gorgeous. Feed the ducks, get a coffee, go for a boat ride, ride antique toys

    Collingwood childrens farm is so much fun and also very pretty!!

    You aren’t Aussie unless you go for brekkie and get your kids a babycino

    Go see the Penguins at Philips island. It’s a day trip but so special.

    Another day trip is to go to Healesville animal sanctuary. Pat a wombat!

    We love the Dandenong forests. Hiking and all the beautiful gardens. We go nearly once a month. For sure do puffing billy the steam train.

    Go to the Royal botanical gardens and don’t skip the children’s garden. Splash in the river. Bring your swim suits!

    Visit the laneways in the city to check out melbournes graffiti.

    Visit the Andy Warhol Ai Weiwei exhibit. It’s perfect for children. The cat room is too cool.

    Lots of sunscreen and hats everyone! It’s hot in January.

  30. Anne

    Oh and I totally forgot, visit the Collingwood Childrens Farm in Melbourne (take a train or tram), and last and least: GO WATCH A FOOTY MATCH AT THE MCG. Footy is an extremely popular sport in Australia, but especially in Melbourne because the majority of the teams are from the city. Footy is also a family sport so families always go during the weekend the cheer for their favorite team. I go for Hawks aka Hawthron!

  31. GJ

    You must visit the Blue Mountains and the three sisters by cable car. (Scenic world) and while you’re there. You should eat lunch at a beautiful little restraint called The Yellow Deli where I always eat when I’m in Katoomba. Oh, and catch the train there from Sydney- there is such beautiful views!

    Also, I second the rec to take ferries across to Manly and Taronga Zoo. And when you’re in darling Harbour or the Rocks, eat at Pancakes on the Rocks- yum!
    The Centrepoint Tower restaurant is also amazing for a delicious dinner and incredible views of the city. It slowly rotates as you eat though so don’t leave your handbag on the floor or anything.

    I also love the Powerhouse Museum, the Chinese Friendship Garden, the Martitime Museum, and the crazy fun playgrounds near Darling Harbour. All in Sydney.

  32. Elise

    Also scienceworks museum for your kiddos while you’re in Melbourne- I feel they would love it :)

  33. Chelsey

    The Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is amazing. Easy to do with the kiddo’s and if you pack swimmers you can swim at the Bronte Rock pool at the end. Don’t miss the famous Bondi Icebergs pool – the best! You can have lunch at the Icebergs Club too. Oh – Gelato Messina (locations in Bondi, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills) will rock your world. Enjoy!

  34. Chelsey

    One more foodie tip for you ;)
    Home Thai on Sussex St, Sydney is insanely swoon worthy Thai X

  35. Claire

    I’m so excited you’re coming to Australia! Can’t wait to see your take on my homeland!

    My favourite place to visit in Sydney is the Queen Victoria Building (https://www.qvb.com.au). History, food, boutiques, and an interactive clock I’m sure your kids would love :)

    Hope you have a wonderful time here! :)

  36. Amy

    Merry Christmas! I love Christmas but it’s just not the same without kids around! My youngest sibling is a lot younger than me so we had those special, magical Christmases for longer than the average family!

    I have never been to Australia so can’t help you there but just booked a trip to Belgium today!!! (Stay tuned!!) Enjoy your trip!

    http://www.lifewithleroy.blogspot.com

  37. Cannot wait to see your pictures from Australia! How exciting! And Conrad’s face when opening presents is just too cute to handle ;)

  38. Billie

    Hi Naomi!
    I’ve been following for years, and just moved back to the states from Sydney, Australia. I was also a nanny over there + lived in Bondi and know the area/city well.

    Not sure if you’ll get it or if it will be of much use to you, but I’m going to send you a more detailed email of places you should go!

    xx

  39. Lauren

    I’m so excited that you’re coming to Australia! I think you’ll love it here.

    My tips for the places you’re going:

    Reef

    Try and get on a small boat to take you out to the reef. There are large ones that take out groups of 200, which makes for some crowded snorkeling! There are plenty of smaller options, though, with groups of 20 or so, which really makes the whole experience much more personal.

    If you’re able to get to the Daintree Rainforest when you’re up north, the Jungle Surfing is a must: http://junglesurfing.com.au/

    It’s a little bit of a drive from the coastal reef towns, but Paronella Park was a highlight of my trip in the area, and the top rated tourist experience in the country! I think your little ones would absolutely love exploring it. http://www.paronellapark.com.au/

    Sydney

    The Fine Food Store at the Rocks in Sydney is one of my favourite places to eat in the whole country. I seriously dream about their hot chocolate, it’s so damn good! https://www.pinterest.com/thefinefoodstre/

    The Sydney beaches are definitely worth a visit in summer. There’s a great walk you can do from Coogee beach to Bondi beach, and finish off with a swim! bonditocoogeewalk.com.au

    The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has some great exhibitions, and a really solid collection of Australian art.

    Melbourne

    Top attractions (especially with kids): the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne Museum (super interactive), St Kilda, any of the sport that’s on when you’re visiting (cricket at the MCG or tennis if the Aus Open is running), The Magic Lantern Studio shop in Fitzroy (amazing handmade toys, puppets and all round incredible things!).

    There are so many great places to eat in Melbourne, but my favourites are: Hell’s Kitchen (hidden down the Centre Pl laneway, upstairs), Lygon Street for traditional Italian fare and Atomica Cafe in Fitzroy.

    If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, the Brooklyn Arts Hotel in Fitzroy is like a home away from home: http://www.brooklynartshotel.com.au/

    Have an amazing trip, I can’t wait to read all about it!

  40. sophie wilson

    I hoe you enjoy Australia, I am a Sydney girl and would recommend:

    Lunch by the water. Opera House – Opera Kitchen, out in the sun. I just do not get sick of the view of Sydney Harbour from there. Watson’s Bay Hotel is another great one. Nielsen park cafe is also great to take kids for a swim and fish and chips – a netted harbour beach with no waves near Rose Bay.

    If there’s one thing Australia does better than anywhere else it’s coffee and brunch. Bill’s in Bondi, Mecca, The Copper Mill and The Grounds in Alexandria, Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills for the sweets, Edition Coffee Roasters Darlinghurst, you will go home with a caffeine and avo on toast addiction. Time Out Sydney will tell you the ones closest to where you are staying.

    Bondi – Bronte coastal walk, or continue all the way to Coogee – go early or mid week, this is busy on a sunny weekend. In Coogee the roof of pavillion is nice for lunch. Coogee is a good choice of beach for swimming with little ones too. Bronte and Tamarama are also great beaches.

    A ferry ride to Manly from Circular Quay is a must and an early evening visit to Luna park for a ride on a ferris wheel with a view.

    Enjoy x

  41. Ashley

    Hi! I actually live in Australia now, about 2 hours north of Sydney in Newcastle. Newcastle is another great city to visit depending on how much time you have. There are heaps of beautiful beaches in Newcastle. Ok so for some suggestions…

    Sydney – aside from the obvious ones like the Opera House and the zoo, some other great spots are Newtown and Watsons Bay. You can take a ferry from Circular Quay (where the opera house is) to Watsons Bay – it’s a super cute little area with a beach, park and restaurants. The Grounds is a new place sort of near the airport with cafes, shops, etc and they have a petting zoo there. Also, if you like coffee, be prepared to be ruined for average coffee haha. They take coffee VERY seriously in Australia :)

    I’m not as familiar with Melbourne, but definitely go to Sofia’s. They have great Italian food and a huge, assorted flavor gelato dessert that’s so good.

    Other Aussie things to know: they don’t have a tipping culture there in restaurants, they abbreviate everything (i.e. McDonald’s = Maccas), and it will be very hot when you’re there so be extra aware of sunscreen (the sun is extremely strong there).

    If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know!

  42. Jacinta

    Hi Naomi,

    I love your blog and have been reading it for years. I live in Melbourne (I have all my life). Its a great place to travel with kids (I have three kids aged 8, 5 and 4). Easy to get around and tonnes of great places to eat and visit.

    I recommend exploring the The Ian Potter Children’s garden at the Botanical Gardens – there is a splash play area there too. You may get to see some Tennis. The Australian Open has day passes that are great fun. You can go from court to court watching some great matches. Depending on how long you have, a trip to Geelong is fun – and The Great Ocean Road. Williamstown (where we live) is nice. You can catch a ferry across for lunch (Siam Orchid Thai is fabulous). So much to see and do, I could go on forever.

    My best recommendation is to pack clothes that you can layer. It is not uncommon for the weather to be 40+C one day and 18 the next!!

    Happy to answer any questions you may have about more things to see and do with kids,
    Jacinta

  43. grouchiegrrl

    Hey don’t give up sugar right before going to Melbourne! Some of the best food you will EVER eat in Melbourne, and it would be such a shame to miss out on the deserts!

  44. grouchiegrrl

    Oh and suggestions – well it’s kinda obvious I guess, suggesting this about Melbourne, but the Queen Vic markets. I am going with my three year old to stay with friends in Fitzroy next month, and that is the place I am drooling about going to. My friend and I are foodies and cooking junkies, so I suspect Josh would love the markets. But there is something for everyone there.

  45. Aneka

    Hi Naomi,

    I stumbled across your blog looking for Christmas pajamas, I love yours they are so cute ! I live in Australia in a beautiful spot called Coffs Harbour, I have 3 kids that are similar ages to yours, we recently had a holiday to the barrier reef, a beautiful and very family friendly place to stay is Hamilton island, you fly directly there or get a boat, it’s a beautiful island with a range of accommodation options, lots of dining options, beautiful beaches and lots of swimming pools (5 I think). There are no cars so you get around via little golf buggies which the kids loved ! Lots of activities to do and an Australian wildlife restaurant/ park where you can eat your breakfast with koalas next to you. On the barrier reef I would highly recommend a day trip to whitehaven beach, one of the most beautiful in the world, with the whitest sand you have ever seen. The kids will love the boat ride there through the islands. Cairns has some interesting things to visit nearby (on the mainland) but I wouldn’t stay there again as there are much nicer places on the islands nearby and you can’t swim in the sea there either.
    In Sydney I second others options of taronga zoo, the aquarium and the blue mountains. There are some quaint villages in the blue mountains and the cable train is lots of fun, 3 sisters walk is spectacular and not too long for the little ones, the lane ways of Melbourne are where it’s at, the street art and amazing food and clothes, you won’t want to leave.
    Feel free to ask more questions I was a travel consultant in a past life (now a midwife) so can offer more suggestions than I can fit in a post.
    Have a great adventure !
    Aneka.

  46. Madison

    From Australia:

    In Sydney, definitely try the Bondi to Bronte cliff walk. It is a walk along the coast that is absolutely breath taking.
    If you can find a babysitter it is also worth having a drink or meal at Bondi Icebergs.

    Also try the Powerhouse Museum for the kids. There is always interactive exhibits which are a lot of fun.

  47. Jessica

    You would all love Puffing Billy in Melbourne (you have to catch the train from Flinders Street Station to get there, so will see a little bit of suburban Melbourne as well), the Old Melbourne Gaol is a great part of Melbourne’s history and St Kilda has the best breakfasts!

  48. Randi

    Dive the great barrier! And camp in the outback!!!

  49. Tammy

    that happened to my sister in peru, too! merry belated christmas! enjoy australia- looking forward to the pictures

    hammyta.wordpress.com

  50. hanna

    These photos are so cute –Hanna Lei

  51. Sarah Jane

    Oh Naomi! I’ve been reading your blog since before E was born and I’m so excited for you to visit our lovely country.
    I’ve lived in Sydney my whole life so hopefully my experience can help :)
    -Taronga zoo-perfect for the little 3. You can take a ferry across the harbour to get there (bonus activity!) So many animals, very interactive and a beautiful view of the harbour
    -Sydney aquarium-so many sharks I think Mr S will love! Interactive as well!
    -Maratime Musuem-lots to see, submarines, boats and lots of Australuan History.
    -The Grounds in Alexandria- lovely place with animals and Australian produce and restaurant. Can be busy though!
    -Cronulla beach- I live right near here and it’s perfect if you want to get out of the city and walk miles and miles of beach. Nice little quiet spots too with cafes and restaurants.

    Lastly I’ll leave you my challenge, the Australian bucket list:
    -cuddle a koala
    -feed a kangaroo
    -don’t get lost on our train system (think the most unorganised NYC metro ever.. Invest in Opal cards!)
    -swim in 4 different beaches
    -eat fish and chips by the beach
    -eat at pancakes on the rocks
    -go surfing
    -spot Nemo and Dory

    Lastly, have the best time!

  52. Kathie

    Did I miss where your black heels on xmas day were from?
    Happiness and Good health to you and your family in 2016

  53. India

    I’m from Australia so I’m so excited you’re heading our way! I’m from Adelaide so don’t have as many tips for you as some of the others.

    I know you just mentioned you’re going to cut out a lot of sugar next year but you MUST try ice cream from Gelato Messina!!! I’m obsessed with ice cream and whenever I am in Sydney or Melbourne I go way out of my way to get some!

    Also in Melbourne I would recommend the restaurants Mamasita (the best mexican ever!), Chin Chin and MoVida for dinner and Cumulus Inc for breakfast/brunch! All are in the city. When I was little I loved visiting the Melbourne Aquarium although I haven’t been for years so I’m not sure what it’s like now, maybe have a look into it.

    Also if you’re in Melbourne at the right time you should go to the tennis! The Australian open is on in January which I’m sure you and the family would love!

    As for Sydney, I don’t know it quite as well but I agree with the comments saying to do the Bondi to Bronte walk. I think Bronte is nicer than Bondi but that’s just me. Also you HAVE to have breakfast at Bills. There are a few restaurants around in Surry Hills, Bondi and Darlinghurst. Try the famous ricotta hotcakes, you won’t be disappointed. Oh and I agree with the comments about visiting Taronga Zoo, its beautiful! Make sure to catch the ferry too.

    If you’re schedule isn’t 100% confirmed I would try and visit Byron Bay! I’ve been dying to visit but haven’t got there just yet, fingers crossed for this year. A lot of my friends have visited and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t liked it, In fact most of them now visit regularly.

    And lastly, I’m not sure where exactly you’re going on the reef but do your research! It is monsoon season between December and March in the northern parts of Australia. I know of at least one other family who visited Australia thinking it would be the perfect time to go to the reef but it heavily rained the whole time they were there.

    Good luck with your trip planning. I can’t wait to see where you go. Im sure you’ll all have a blast!

  54. A trip to Australia! How awesome–it would be so cool if you all got to connect with Jamie & Nikki a lovely couple in Australia (they have a YouTube channel). I am certain they have lots of information on the best places to go during your visit.

    Happy Monday
    http://www.lovecompassionatelee.com/thinkoutloud

  55. Jessica

    Hi, I love reading about your adventures! Can’t wait to see the Australia trip :)
    Could you please share where you buy your jeans? I really like the dark denim ones you are wearing in your recent post with your brother! Really nice on you! Also like the ones on your Instagram that you are wearing with a coral sweater talking about the land of nod giveaway. Could you please share !!! Thank you!

  56. Stephanie

    Hi Taza,

    There’s already lots of great suggestions in the comments but I thought I would add a few!

    Parsley Bay. This is a fun spot with a playground, shade, sand, kiosk and protected shallow water for a swim – perfect for littlies – and there’s a suspension footbridge that spans the bay which seems to always provide fun for little ones scooting from side to side!

    Markets on the weekend: Glebe Markets and Bondi Markets (Sat is farmers market at Bondi Beach public school, Sundays are regular markets -both are fun) Or on Wednesdays the EQ Village markets are fun (Moore Park). Near to here is Centennial Park – perfect for a picnic, bike rides (you can hire in the park) and scootering around. There’s also quite a few playgrounds , and a big duck pond full of ducks, swans and other birds!

    Museum of Sydney – they are holding a Sydney harbour icons LEGO exhibition! which will be on while you are here. May want to book ahead

    Besser Italian, on Crown st, Surry Hills – delicious share-plate style Italian food/drinks. Would recommend their turkey ragu, and the apple tart for dessert.

    For kids ideas in/around Sydney a useful resource is http://www.ellaslist.com.au/

    Bill’s for breakkie – order the Ricotta hotcakes (may have to bend the no-sugar for a morning!) or the corn fritters,.. and a FLAT WHITE! Aussie coffee is unique and the best (not biased at all ha)

    Taronga Zoo, the Bondi to Bronte/Coogee coastal walk, and taking a ferry ride on the harbour are all must-dos (from Circular Quay to Manly or Watson’s bay, or to the zoo actually – one of the best ways to appreciate Sydney is from the water!)

    and as others have said – the Grounds of Alexandria – because they have pet farm animals and a garden!

    Enjoy our beautiful city!

  57. Kelsey

    I LOVE this post so much! First off, my cousin is serving his mission in Melbourne, Australia… sooooo excited to hear about your adventures there. And if you see Elder Denning, tell him hello from his Utah family! Second, I didn’t watch Star Wars for the first time until last month (so that I could see the newest one this month!) After watching them, it was instant love and now our kiddos are obsessed too.

    You’re family is cute! Can’t wait to hear more about your trip and new goals for 2016.

    -Kelsey

  58. Kaylee

    Oooooooh! I hope you’ll film a little vlog on your trip to Australia!
    So happy to see Eleanor, Samson, and Conrad being happy with those gifts :D Xx

    http://jkdawn.blogspot.kr/

  59. tilly

    hi naomi!

    merry christmas to you and your lovely family!

    how exciting to be visiting australia! i live in bells beach (one hour and a half drive from melbourne) which is the surfing capital of australia! big surf comps are held there at easter time but the surf is amazing to watch all year round as the local surfers head out every day to catch some waves! you should definitely check it out… will be something to remember!! bells beach is also right near (well actually, on) the great ocean road which is a road that goes for hours and hours and the whole way is gorgeous, clear sea views! amazing even if you just drive along their for 20 minutes and stop at a yummy cafe for lunch! torquay is also right next to bells beach which has some safe beachs like cozy corner for e, s and c to splash around at (no big waves like at bells)! and of course great eating spots, playgrounds and shops too!

    as for the great barrier reef, my mum and dad owned the green island about 18 years ago which is right on the great barrier reef!!! (check it out here: http://www.green-island.com.au). it is a gorgeous tropical and sunny island which you can walk a lap of in less than a day. it is amazing and i have loved going there every year and having my mum and dad retell me and my sister stories from when they lived on and owned this island. it truly is something worth considering, the quick boat ride there is simple and easy too, which im guessing helps with little ones in tow :)

    will you be here for australia day (Jan 26th)? be sure to eat a meat pie with tomato sauce and cook some sausages on the barbecue! and a pavlova for dessert to top it all off! and maybe some tim tams to snack on throughout the day?! gosh i am so excited for you all. ha!

    ok, enough of me giving you suggestions… have a wonderful time in australia, davis family! i hope you love every second and get to experience some aussie culture and see some native animals! enjoy and safe travels!!! xoxo, tilly.

  60. Lise

    Good day Noami,

    I have been following your blog for a few years and I love it.You have a beautiful family.

    My husband is Australian and I’m French. We used to live in Melbourne and now we are living in France. However i really miss Australia a lot…. What a beautiful country! You are going to have a great time.

    I scrolled down all the recommendations and you received a lot of great ideas. Because we used to work in hospitality in Melbourne, I can’t resist to add couple of places…

    Melbourne is known for its coffee culture, breakfast & brunch and European food culture.
    For Breakfast: the European (near the Parlement), it’s owned by beautiful people who really cares about food and wine or Kirk’s in a small lane way in the city.

    You should also check out Da Noi in Prahran – tiny Sardinian restaurant, the menu changes everyday and it’s made of fresh food from the owner farm. You should also try Movida for their beautiful tapas and also Cumulus just for their smoked tomato sorbet and black pudding toast, So good!!!

    I used to work for a fine dining restaurant called Vue de monde. It’s located on the 55th floor of the Rialto tower. It might be difficult to go with kids but you might be able to go for a drink at the Lui bar and enjoy the view of the city. And if you feel like French food, go to Bistro Vue, a beautiful French Provençal style restaurant.

    There are so many places, don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help with more advise.

    I just going to add 2 more things – you definitely have to go to a Gorman shop and Melbourne have playgrounds for kids everywhere,

    Enjoy your trip. I can’t wait to see pictures of where you went.

    Meilleurs voeux pour 2016!!!!

    Lise

  61. Jessi

    I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life and love it! Here are my top places to visit:

    -the botanical gardens (the kids can run wild and they’re so pretty).

    -St Kilda – very touristy but it’s lovely to walk along the esplanade by the beach, and there are markets on a Sunday. Luna Park is a theme park by the beach in St Kilda that your kids might enjoy.

    -Melbournites are known to brunch as often as possible. There are great places everywhere but you might enjoy Brunswick St, in Fitzroy (great shopping too!), or Carlisle street, Balaclava (fave cafe is Las Chicas).

    -there are gorgeous lane ways through the centre of the city with little arcades that are quaint and full of good shops and cafes. Check out the Block Arcade and Degraves Street.

    – the Melbourne aquarium! It’s on the river too- super pretty.

    -at night every hour on the hour along southbank (near the aquarium) there is a fire show- even at 28 years old, it’s intoxicating!

    -Lygon street is just north of the cbd, and is the old Italian area. There is such an amazing Italian style food institution called Brunettis. No trip to Melbourne is compete without a cake or slice of something delicious from Brunettis!

    -if you are going to take a day trip from Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is just beautiful. Or you could do a day trip to Queenscliff which is an old seaside town.

    -basically just eat everywhere- the food here is amazing -especially the Asian food (see Chinatown) and the fruit vegetables are waaaaay fresher than those in america (the main reason I wanted to return home after travelling to the USA- fruit and veg!!).

  62. Lauren Bee

    Australia! I was born there and raised in New Zealand, which is just across the pond, so I go back to Australia fairly regularly.
    Everyone has such good recommendations. I second whoever it was who said don’t give up sugar before you go there!

    Also casting my vote for Taronga Zoo, the ferry to Manly and brunch in Surry Hills (my most favourite part of Sydney).

    Melbourne is lovely with the river running through it, and has a cool arty vibe. I grew up in Wellington, NZ and Melbourne reminds me of Wellington with the added bonus of a river! The little laneways are so cute and there’s great shopping.
    If you’re into old historic experiences there’s Sovereign Hill in Ballarat – its about an hour and a half out of Melbourne, but quite cool if you can be bothered. It’s a historic village from the Gold Rush and is quite interactive – you can pan for your own gold etc (or at least you could when I went about 12 years ago!)
    I’ve never been to Great Barrier Reef, but it’s been on my list for ages. Can’t wait to see your photos!

    Two things to note: Sydney thinks it does coffee well, but actually Wellington (NZ) does it better ;p
    And make sure you have lots of sunblock and apply and reapply regularly – people aren’t kidding when they say the sun in this part of the world will fry you.

    Glad to hear you had a wonderful Christmas.
    All the best for 2016 :)

  63. Gemma

    I am a Melbourne girl, and mother to twin 5 year olds! How exciting you’re all coming to Australia!
    – The weather is a little fickle in Melbs – 20 celsius to 40 celsius between days is no exaggeration, and even on the cooler days the sun is hot – so hats and sunscreen!
    – National Gallery of Victoria – studio cats (kids section as part of the warhol/wei wei exhibition), plus the sculpture garden. (CITY)
    – Ian Potter children’s garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens is a lot of fun for little ones (bring swim wear) (Just south of city)
    – the Melbourne Museum in Carlton, is really awesome and very kid friendly
    (Inner north)
    – the Royal Park Nature Playground, in Parkville is new and utterly amazing for kids
    (inner north)
    – The Melbourne Zoo (inner north) /Healesville Sanctuary (1hr out of Melbourne)
    – With kids I might skip st kilda beach and head to Plum Garland Memorial Playground on the beach in Albert Park if you wanted beach time!

    Little Melbourne / Bambino Weekend are two melbourne kids blogs with great ideas. Whats on – Melbourne site is a good guide (run by city) and for food etc. Broadsheet Melbourne site is the best guide to whats yum :)
    Happy Travels!

  64. BR

    Some good Aussie tips already here but in short

    Sydney: Eastern Beaches and Harbour *
    Melbourne: Coffee in the city
    GBR: Islands

    *the ferry to the zoo is enough. Don’t go all the way to Manly on a ferry, it’s too touristy and the Eastern Suburbs beaches are more stunning.

  65. V

    I highly recommend the following destinations in Australia to check out.

    Far North Queensland (for tropical destinations)
    Port Douglas and Daintree – Incredibly beautiful, located north of Cairns.
    Snorkling and Scuba Diving at the Barrier Reef is at its bests from Port Douglas.
    Palm Cove Beach – 27ks north from Cairns.
    Things to do: Kuranda; train, skyrail, butterfly sanctuary and there’s also the Cairns Tropical Zoo.
    http://www.kurandainfo.com/index.html

    Note: The weather can be very hot & humid this time of year, and you may not be able to swim straight off the beaches due to jellyfish and crocodiles (I kid you not, but that depends on the area. You would be advised via tour groups and/or signage).

    I don’t recommend staying in Cairns, as I’ve personally found the nicest places are just north of Cairns. Whilst Cairns can be nice, it’s very touristy and when the tide is low the Esplanade loses some appeal due to mudflats…

    Queensland
    Noosa
    Whitsunday Islands – Whitehaven Beach, Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island & Hayman Island.

    New South Wales
    Byron Bay and Hinterland

    P.S I agree with Lauren, Paronella Park is fun to check out!

  66. H

    Most of the suggestions you’ve been given for Melbourne are very touristy – avoid them if you can, especially places like Sofia’s (very well known for food poisoning outbreaks, rather than their food). Melbourne is huge so a lot of suggestions are misguided, it’d be like asking someone from Yonkers what the best restaurants on the UWS are!

    Tripadvisor is also pretty useless since locals don’t use it – use Zomato instead for local reviews.

    You’ll definitely want to stay somewhere in the triangle between Brunswick, Northcote, and the CBD. If you’re after something a little different, Seddon/Yarraville are also nice – very close-knit communities, and heaps of cute places on Airbnb!

    Anything south of the Yarra River is quite bland – St. Kilda is gaudy and backpacker-oriented, and the restaurants there are terrible and overpriced. The beach there is pretty so-so, I would recommend that you all catch the Sandringham train to Brighton Beach station instead – or, better still, stay somewhere like Fitzroy and head to one of the many local pools there! Williamstown is also a great family-friendly beach with a cute Italian kiosk http://considerthesauce.net/2015/12/22/meal-of-the-week-no-25-kiosk-by-dasporto/

    In the CBD, steer clear of Flinders Lane – yet another tourist trap (especially the cafes on Degraves), and in Carlton, always double-check the Zomato rating of restaurants as again, many of them are overpriced tourist restaurants. You will LOVE relying on Broadsheet for everything related to food – so if they’ve written about it, you know it’s good! https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/guides/italian-Restaurants-melbourne

    Stick to Fitzroy for shopping – avoid Chapel St, it used to be great but is now mostly chain stores and a Target! Again, Broadsheet is great for this https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/fashion+shopping/

    For things to do, the Melbourne Museum is great, the Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary nice, and I do NOT recommend the Aquarium (very depressing and small). Head to the Heide, the building is stunning and the grounds are beautiful. Catch a train up to the Dandenongs, or visit Dights Falls and go for a walk (or hire a bike and ride!) along the Merri Creek. You’d love CERES as well, they also have a market and a lovely cafe. These are two great websites for families as well:

    http://tothotornot.com/

    http://www.mammaknowswest.com.au/

    Make sure you buy a Myki pass as soon as you arrive, you’ll need this to use the tram. You have to top up in advance or at a 7/11 store as you can’t do it on the tram, or at most tram stops. You can use this for trains and buses as well!

    Hope this helps :) have a good trip!

  67. Grace

    One: Ya’ll are too cute! Two: My boyfriend went to Australia while deployed recently so I’ll ask about tips (though I know it’s pricey compared to here!) Three: I am so excited for you to share about your sugar-free challenge! I have been wanting to do the same thing starting this year, after New Year’s :-) So many cookies, chocolate, and all around sugary things that need to be eaten first!

  68. Wow! What a great gift to give each other as a family. We’re acutally in Australia right now. When we were in Cambodia (or was it Vietnam?) earlier this year during our “round the world thing” you visited Peru, and I commented on your Instagram. Somehow you found our IG-profile and that really made my day (and also gave us a lot of followers ;) Haha. And thanks for that btw).
    Anyways. We’re loving Australia, and have been traveling all the way from Port Douglas in the northern part of Queensland and now to Adelaide in South Australia where we’re spending New Year’s. We have A LOT of photos from here on our Instagram (www.instagram.com/afterglobedk), and one of the best experiences from the past few weeks have to be when we visited a koala hospital (which I’m sure both you, Josh and the kids would like!) and seeing wild kangaroos at sunrise on a beach. And all the beautiful coastal views a long the road!!
    We just spend Christmas in Melbourne, and we stayed in Northcote which seemed like such a cool neighborhood with so much to do – and eat!
    I hope you’ll enjoy Australia as much as we do! It’s such a stunning and unique country – especially the scenery and landscape. The driving can drive us a bit insane some times, but we’re not used to driving in the “wrong” side of the road so ;)
    Anyways – ENJOY!!
    Laura // http://www.afterglobe.dk

  69. rebekah

    A trip to Oz, how exciting. husband and I moved here about a year ago from the Uk (well kind of we’ve lived a bit all over).
    Wee live on the Central Coast which is about an hours drive north of Sydney. There are some lovely spots.
    In the northen beaches of Sydney I’d recoommend eating at the Boat house at Palm Beach and then going for a walk up to the barrenjoy lighthouse there. You can also cath a ferry from there over to ettalong and go for a beautiful coastal walk at Bouddi national park.

    If you decide to head up to the central coast then The Entrance has a daily pelican feeding at 3.30 which is great for the kids and there are lovely beaches and walks up there too.

    As i’ve said, we’ve only been here a year, but we find beautiful walks and beaches just on our doorstep every week! If your interested in the Central Coast area I can let you know a bit more.

    Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

  70. Katie

    Merry Christmas!! Having recently returned to Melbourne from the UK after 18 years away (and now with 3 children!) i have found this website to be an amazing source for our days out -www.littlemelbourne.com.au
    Hope this helps ;)
    xx

  71. Anna

    Sydney: Definitely Taronga Zoo! Take the ferry over and the cable car. The giraffes have an insane view of the harbour. The beaches are incredible too. The Grounds of Alexandria is our fave, my 2yo is a big fan! The Blue Mountains aren’t too far away and there is lots to do with kids.

    Melbourne: Best coffee in the world. Get a flat white, and make sure you have a cafe brunch. And THE FOOD omg. Melbourne is a big foodie town so go nuts. I could give you tips depending on which suburb you’re staying at. I hope you’re coming to the Australian Open, seeing as your kids love tennis? Best tournament for fans, I think — so much fun even for kids. The Children’s Garden at the Botanic is amazing! St Kilda is great to explore; just take the 96 tram all the way to the end and start there. There’s a Luna Park in St Kilda if you don’t get to it in Sydney.

  72. Anna

    Also, make sure you have brunch at Bill’s in Sydney! My favourite breakfast ever ever. The pancakes are the best. Order them with a side of bacon!

  73. Maria

    I love your idea of a family vacation! Looking for 2016

  74. Jessie

    How exciting that you are visiting our beautiful country!

    Here are some Sydney tips for places you will just love:
    – Gelato Messina. The best gelato in the world!
    – Bread and Circus in Alexandria for breakfast or lunch
    – The Grounds of Alexandria on a weekend. This is a must do for the kids as it’s the most beautiful place and they have a pet pig.
    – Walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge (free) to Luna Park, which is also free to get into and soak up the carnival atmosphere without paying for any rides.
    – Explore Surry Hills and Newtown.
    – The Botanic Gardens are stunning- especially the cactus garden.

    Have the best time :)

  75. I love watching kids open their Christmas presents! it’s the best!!!

    Australia is going to be amazing for your family! Have a great trip :)

    -christine
    http://www.christinelovestotravel.com

  76. Reny S

    Melbourne / Victoria:
    – Phillip island is a huge hit. darling little penguins never disappoint.
    – Mt Dandenong. If you go up there plan to spend a meal time (dinner / lunch) at the Cuckoo Restaurant. Great food and the restaurant is picture perfect.
    – Royal Botanical garden
    – QVR (queen victoria market) on weekends is a must visit. the place is vibrantly alive.
    – Dockland and Federation Square is pretty great and picture perfect, but don’t miss old Flinders Station and the Cathedral. and the parliament steps. There are also lots of quirky alleys in downtown Melbourne that has great finds for kids.
    – St Kilda beach will undoubtedly be pretty glorious during the summer (ah, those colorful beach huts), but also try not to miss it’s saturday / sunday farmers market along the road. I’ve found many original handcrafted items there that I still cherish up to this day (bought them almost 2 decades ago).

    If you are going to the great barrier reef via Cairns, GC, then I suggest you go take the Kuranda train. There will be lots of travel agents in downtown Cairns that can tell you how to get there. It’s magical, the kids will like both the train ride and the little walk way up there (a small town + small forest). And you get to get down via sky lift. Plan to spend a day doing this.

    In NSW:
    – plan to take a tour to the blue mountains. Also:
    – take the ferry from the Opera house to anywhere (I took one to Bondi beach. You’ll get awesome view of Opera house and the bridge!).
    -Explore the old part of Sydney (can’t remember the name of the area at the moment.. anybody know? It’s near the Opera House/Parliament house area, I think)
    – The old Central Station has a magical charm to it.
    – Chinatown: must go to an authentic Chinese restaurant for some yumcha (dimsum).

    Hope you enjoy your time there.

  77. Kortnee

    OZ! My husband and I just went down under during Thanksgiving for a little babymoon. In Sydney, I HIGHLY recommend a little bakery called Kürtosh. It’s so unique and we’ve never seen anything like their original famous pastry: nutella filled dough, wrapper around what looks like a rolling pin, lightly fried, and then covered in brown sugar. You would LOVE it.
    Also, as crazy as Bondi Beach is, it’s such a fun way to experience Aussie life. Also, Stir Crazy had the most amazing Thai food (order the pumpkin chicken!). If your clan is near the bridge and exploring around Kiribilli, check it out.
    And for the kids, you probably know this: Luna Park. It’s iconic!
    Enjoy :)
    xx
    Kortnee

  78. Lauren

    I’m Australian and have travelled all over our beautiful country; the most beautiful and untouched place I’ve been to is Jervis Bay, a few hours drive south of Sydney. Hyams Beach is out-of this-world! The sand is as white and fine as flour. The water as clear as any in the Caribbean, and so calm. You can snorkel, see dolphins daily… Take a drive around the bay up to Murray’s Beach and prepare to drop your jaw! Simply stunning. We often stay at Paperbark Camp (beautiful 5* tents in the bush) with fantastic local food, a river you can canoe in down to the beach, bikes for hire… Your kids would love it! Yes, it’s a drive from Sydney but I promise you wouldn’t regret it. Jervis Bay is Australia in all it’s unspoilt natural beauty.

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy my beautiful country as much as I do, wherever you go! Best wishes. X

  79. Amy

    You must see a platypus!

  80. Steph

    You MUST go to The Grounds of Alexandria when in sydney – the littles will love the farm animals and the place is just beautiful. The wait is LONG but so so worth it (and time passes fast when you can wander around the gardens and hang out with the resident pig KevinBacon)

    Mcgivers Ladies Baths in Coogee is breath taking and would be a really lovely girly day with Eleanor – only girls allowed at this natural rock pool set into the cliffs by the ocean. (It’s a gold coin donation to enter)

    x

  81. Chloe

    Wow so excited to hear you’re coming to Australia! I’m currently in NYC and returning home to Sydney in a few weeks. Might see you on the plane!

    As mentioned before TARONGA ZOO is a must as it also has great views of the city. WATSONS BAY has great sunsets over the city and the best fish and chips. NEWTOWN is also perfect for you with a sea of vintage stores and cute cafes.

    Hope you enjoy it and hope to see you around!
    P.S don’t forget to have a MEAT PIE

  82. Kirra

    The person recommending Jervis Bay is right – you can’t go wrong getting on the F6 and driving to the South Coast – Austinmere, Thirroul, Wollongong then to Kiama and Jervis bay. Is about a 3 hour drive, genuinely the most beautiful place you’ll see – the decent down the escarpment and into Wollongong will take your breath away.
    When you’re in Melbourne, go to Welcome to Thornbury -it’s a food truck stop, the trucks change every day. Luna Park is a bit crazy but there’s a 104 year old rollercoaster with a standing breakman – only one in Southern Hemisphere. Short Stop doughnuts and Fancy Hank’s BBQ in Melb CBD, also By Korea had all you can eat Korean BBQ in Chinatown. N2 liquid nitrogen gelato in the CBD or Brunswick St will blow the kids minds – science and ice cream at once. Melbourne Museum has a massive room with every kind of animal stuffed for display – my cousins cried over the dead lion. Make sure you have Myki’s and they’ve got money on them BEFORE you get on a tram!!!!!!!
    Can you tell I grew up on the south coast and now live in Melbs?! You’ll love all of it,

  83. cassie

    Check out RebeccaJuddLoves.com for some Aussie inspiration with littles. You’ll love it here :) Pack your bathers!

  84. Julia

    Merry Christmas to you all! Love the pjs and the smiles on those little faces.

    I’m a Melbourne girl and am thrilled you’re venturing to our part of the world. I concur with all the tips offered for my fair city. A few things to add to the Melbourne list:

    Enjoy a movie in the park at the Moonlight Cinema. It’s located in the stunning Botanical Gardens, nestled amongst the trees with views of our tallest buildings. Hire a few bean bags and curl up under the stars with a picnic. There are often kids’ movies playing so check the website for details.

    Another fab outdoor activity is the Melbourne Zoo Twilight Sessions. You can stroll through the zoo in the late afternoon then enjoy a picnic whilst listening to live bands. There are some excellent acts performing next year and I can’t recommend it enough. There’s something pretty special about grooving to tunes whilst the lions roar in the background.

    The Brighton Beach Boxes are really sweet and offer some great photo opportunities. Following your visit, enjoy lunch or dinner at the Brighton Middle Baths Cafe. It’s located right on the bay with stunning views of the city skyline.

    The Australian Open is a fabulous event. If you’re on the Southbank side of the city, you can catch a little tugboat down the Yarra River and be dropped off outside the tennis centre. Really fun.

    Street art in Melbourne is off the charts, as is the food. The Meatball and Wine Bar is an absolute must. There’s one centrally located on Flinders Lane. It’s a pick your balls, sauce, and carbs kinda fair and hits the spot every time.

    I’m sure you’ve already booked accommodation for the Great Barrier Reef but if not, check out Pepper’s Beach Clubs in Palm Cove and Port Douglas. They both have THE most fabulous swimming pools for kids with sand surrounding the edge and a bar in the middle. Kids just adore swimming up and ordering their own milkshake. Very cute!

    Kuranda Village is also worth visiting – make sure you catch the skyrail on the way up and the scenic railway on the way down (or vice versa). Really fun! Mossman Gorge is nearby and also pretty spesh. The reef is absolutely stunning and the kids will love spotting wildlife in glass bottomed boats.

    Have the most fabulous time on your holiday! You’ll adore it.

    xx

  85. I can’t wait to see where you end up going in Australia. It is my husband’s goal to travel to Australia this year and I’m looking forward to all the amazing places you go so we can go too ;)

    Ohsheslovely.blogspot.com

  86. Stephanie

    Eat as much seafood as possible while in Queensland.

    In Sydney:

    The zoo is hard to beat with kids and taking the ferry from Circular Quay (pronounced ‘key’) is by far the easiest and most scenic way to get there.

    The Grounds of Alexandria is awesome. If you are going on the weekend try to arrive by 9. It gets super busy and tables wait times can be 1-2 hours but there is plenty to do and see (as well as snack on while you wait) complete with a petting zoo with a pig named “Kevin Bacon.”

    The Rocks have markets on Sunday mornings with lots of great stuff handmade items that make great gifts. There is a little cafe in the rocks called Le Renaissance Cafe and Patisserie that has great pastries with the cutest courtyard outback to enjoy them.

    Gelato Messina is a must, find the location closest to you.

    Brouke Street Bakery also has numerous locations and the ginger brûlée tart is amazing.

    A tavola is an awesome italian restaurant but the Darlinghurst location isn’t exactly stroller friendly. Maybe call the Bondi location and try lunch instead but if you are in Bondi Icebergs for lunch is hard to beat.

    Speaking of Bondi I wouldn’t really recommend it with kids. Very crowded. Also be mindful that nude beaches are a thing here. Here is a link I came across the other day about swimming spots in Sydney: http://concreteplayground.com/sydney/travel-leisure/leisure/the-ten-most-unusual-swimming-holes-to-try-around-sydney/
    That website also has a lot of great dinning recommendations.

    Bondi to Bronte walk is gorgeous but lengthy.

    Also I think I saw an email last week about a child friendly Snow White ballet being offered at the opera house next month. Maybe check out the opera house website for more info. Since school is out there is a lot going on here is the family link for everything offered in Sydney next month:http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2016/all

    Lastly, Australia Day in January 26 complete with fireworks and they offer a lot of family friendly options on Australia day, ask your hotel about which options are being offered near you.

    Oh, and before I forget:

    Australian weather is all over the place. One day it is hot and humid, the next it is freezing and pouring rain. Melbourne is known as a “four seasons in a day” city.

    If you are asked about salt always answer “chicken salt” Chicken. flavoured. salt!

    Also, Australians call all lemon lime sodas (sprite, 7-up) lemonade. If you order a lemonade, you will get a sprite.

    Good luck and have fun!!

  87. Elise

    And don’t forget to search for little crabs in the rock pools on one of your beach days! I used to go when I was little with my dad- so much fun for the kids :)

  88. Jo

    Enjoy Australia, it is lovely! I would recommmend Vegie Bar in Melbourne (380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy). Delicious food!

  89. crystal

    nooooooo I can’t believe you are going all the way to Australia and not squeezing in New Zealand too!! I’m a bit biased of course but New Zealand is where it’s at : ) In saying that, Melbourne is a very cool city and I have loved my visits there. Sydney has some beautiful spots but Melbourne just has such a cool vibe. (Ok but seriously, NZ needs to be on your list! : )

  90. Courtney

    yay I’m so excited that you’re coming to Aus. I live in Melbourne and it’s just amazing. If you head down to the mornington peninsula there is just so much to do and see. Beautiful beaches, strawberry picking, etc. and in Belgrave there is Puffing Billy which is a train you can go on and the kids can sit on the window sil and hang out the windows. We used to do it as kids and it is one of my favourite memories. There’s so much to do and see and I could talk to you forever so let me know if you need a local to give you some more insight. Have fun down under xx

  91. Jemma

    Hello beautiful Davis family!

    I am a long time reader and I have lived in Sydney my whole life (going on 30 years now!) Here are my suggestions to get the most out of Sydney. These are the places that I just can’t get enough of … and I live here!

    For a beautiful walk/view – you can’t beat the Bondi to Bronte walk.
    Have a leisurely breakfast at Bondi and walk your way along some pretty impressive coastline to Bronte. There are many beaches that you could stop at on the way to Bronte. At Bronte their is an awesome organic cafe called ‘Three Blue Ducks’ which never disappoints.

    Catch a ferry on the harbour – this never gets old!
    You can catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Watson’s Bay for the best fish and chips at O’Doyles or a ferry to Manly or Taronga Zoo where you will get your fix of harbour views and Aussie animals like Kangaroo’s, Koala’s etc..

    The Rocks (walking distance from circular quay) is Sydney’s historic centre and is dotted with cute cafes, shops and cobblestone laneways… it is one of my favourite parts of the city. You will also find the museum of contemporary art there.

    For high tea – you can’t go past The Victoria Room in Darlinghurst. They serve sumptuous tea and cakes in a casablanca-esque environment.
    Messina Gelato is a few stores down too. Trust the hype about Messina Gelato! (Fig and Marsala, Apple Pie, Gingerbread gelato just to name a few flavours!)

    The Grounds of Alexandria is a very eclectic and satisfying lunch experience with onsite bakery, cafe, animals, florist … this place truly inspires but get there for an early lunch otherwise you will wait for a table.

    If you want to head out of Sydney – I would recommend the southern highlands about 2 hrs south of Sydney and a little boutique town called Berry, where there are lots of quaint shops and the most darling little tea shop (The Berry Tea Shop) The scenery on this drive is pretty special too! The South coast drive.

    If you want to head to the Blue Mountains just an hour and a half drive west of Sydney, there is also some pretty impressive vistas too!

    And finally my favourite thing about this city … is taking a nighttime stroll around Sydney Harbour from circular quay to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. The harbour bridge, Opera house, the twinkling lights of the city and homes along the foreshore, coupled with a cool southerly breeze on a balmy summer’s evening … heaven! It gets me everytime!

    I hope this helps! Have an awesome time!
    Warm regards,
    Jemma

  92. Grace

    Hey! ok so when you go to Melbourne there are two things that are a MUST

    1) the zoo. seriously. not only is it an incredible zoo and they have animals that you will never see in the sates but some of them roam freely to say hi! like the kangaroos and the emus!

    2)and visit st. kilda. there is a fun old-fashion little fair-type amusement park right on the beach and during the evening you can say hello to little penguins on the beach! they come out of the rocks!

  93. Grace

    OH one more thing….if you can go on the “great ocean road” tour i promise you that your entire life will change. it is so beautiful

  94. Julia

    Just to add to my above comment, there’s a large colony of penguins that appear on the St Kilda Breakwater every night around sunset. It’s a perfect time to visit St Kilda as it can be overly touristy and a little dive-y during the day (think Venice Beach in LA). But come sunset, it’s really relaxed and special and the penguins are divine. It also saves you a trip to Phillip Island and the lacklustre Aquarium. Try dinner at Ichi Ni or Radio Mexico beforehand.

    I concur with all the comments about Fitzroy, Brunswick and Northcote. Dinner at Welcome to Thornbury is super fun. There’s a fabulous Aussie drama called Offspring that’s filmed in these suburbs. It’s quintessentially Melbourne and I think you guys would love it. Watching the show will give you a great feel for the place before touching down.

    If you can swing it, a visit to Uluru in the Northern Territory is a very soulful experience. It’s easy to fly in and out in 24 hours and is just amazing. The Sounds of Silence dinner experience is beautiful so squeeze it in if you can.

    Happy planning! xx

  95. Cath

    You’ll love Melbourne…especially the kids. We live in Fitzroy with our 2yo son and recommend:

    Collingwood Children’s Farm…they have farmers markets on the 2nd and 4th Saturday’s of each month

    Fairy Park in Anakie…you’ll need to drive about an hour towards Geelong but E & S will love the fairy tale puppet displays that move. Kitsch but so fun.

    Bakeries….Babka in Fitzroy, Dench in North Fitzroy and the old school Jewish ones in St Kilda as a start

    Melbourne Zoo (try go to the evening music with a picnic it’s great fun) and Melbourne Museum and Scienceworks (there has been a great sport and building section) are all great but so is Werribee Zoo where you can go up close to the animals on the bus and sleep in tents on overnight safari.

    Wind in the Willows at the Botanic Gardens is lovely so is the Potter Garden.

    Go to the beach…I like Geelong and the surf coast but then I’m a Geelong girl.

    And try to get to the Big Bash Cricket it’s not for purists but the music, fireworks etc make it a great introduction. It should be on in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

    Feel free to email if you need more ideas

    Cath xo

  96. rawdah j

    My only tip is – drop by Singapore for a stopover so that I can bring you guys around! :)