It's a Sweet Life Family Road Trip – Day Three

Hooray! No rain for day three of our It’s a Sweet Life family road trip; just a small smattering upon entry to Taronga Zoo, which soon disappeared for a cloudy but delightful day with more sunbursts than cloud.

We zipped across the Harbour Bridge in the Koleos this morning, ready and set to go early to beat the ‘crowds’ but the roads were virtually bare, being the Monday public holiday. Ahh. Lovely. There was even free parking at the zoo. Nice.

It was also lovely to be back in the Koleos, and dare I say it, I have a bit of a crush on this car. It’s so incredibly easy to manoeuvre, especially around little streets and between traffic. Just zip zippy heaven. It’s like turning the wheel through softened butter and there’s just, like, NO drag on the car as you turn. I love the small steering wheel, too, and did I tell you I tested the très French horn? Mee-meep! Cute.

Another thing I like is how easy the heating is to operate, especially for us Canberrans who truly experience four seasons in one day. A quick flick of the heating dial (one on each side for sectional comfort) and we’re set for atmospheric comfort.

I also wanted to mention my experience with the seat-flipping this morning. You know –when you want to put new coffee tables an such in the back of the car and need to lay down the back seats? I hate it when it take 15 levers (that need a manual to operate) and the girth of Andre the Giant to achieve this feat. With the Koleos, it’s flick, lift and lock down. That’s it. A breeze. Love it. Oh, and when we wish to get on the piste, we can even stick our skiis through the central hole between rear seats. Or stick them on the built-in roof racks.

Like a lot.

Another thing I like, a lot, is Sydney. Oh my. I had completely forgotten how beautiful this city is. Having spent seven years here through the late 80s and early 90s, it was easy (back then) to become complacent over the stunning beauty.

I witnessed this complacency all over again by a young, handsome barista who made us coffee at a Taronga Zoo café. With a work view of the Harbour many people would scratch his eyes out for, I acted all touristy and predictable by saying something he’s probably never heard before (not): “My, what a work view. I guess someone’s gotta do it.”

Although he patiently conceded the view was breathtaking, he also admitted that after several years of eye-feasting on a twinkling Harbour and paper-folded Opera House, it seemed a little ‘everyday’ to him now. Oh youth, thy name is complacency!

For me (old hack that I now am and therefore fully capable of blatant appreciation at any given moment), it was love at first sight all over again. My goodness, Sydney is a stunning city. Even bathed in uncertain skies, it is a truly breathtaking town, rife with waterways and natural beauty, but also character and charm and whimsy and just so much to see do, feel, experience, taste. Even the kids have become totally smitten, begging to go walking or take another ferry jaunt. Seeing as though my kids just don’t ‘do walking’, this is a fine thing indeed.

They both absolutely adored Taronga Zoo – arguably the best in the world, and coupled with those harbour views at almost every animal enclosure, well – you can strike out the ‘arguably’. We spent three hours touring the park in all its glory before jumping in the Koleos and nipping back along Military Road to Luna Park.

Speaking of arguables, standing at the clown face opening to Luna Park is arguably one of the most extraordinary experiences you can have anywhere in the world. In front of you is that towering, iconic face that strikes kids dumb. Through its gaping mouth, which gobbles punters alive, is a blaze of whirling, twirling, zipping rides, carnival music and delicious festival treats.

If you slowly turn around, behind you is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, quite literally soaring over your head, showcasing a far distant Opera House beneath its belly like an ornate steel frame.

Then there’s ferries bobbing in the water, speedboats nipping around on choppy wake, luxury cruise boats stalking envious glares, squeals and splashing from nearby North Sydney Swimming Pool and the bubbling excitement of patrons spilling in and out of the Luna Park orifice, clutching fairy floss and sticky smiles.

Inside Luna Park, we found the perfect sweet treats – sideshow goodie bags packed with whiz fiz and saddle club mags and Luna Park dolls that could light up the night with their megawatt smiles. The park has free entry, making it a place to hang and be seen and just soak up the atmosphere, but you need to pay if you want to ride or play games. The Coney Island pass is a great bet for little ones – only $10 a pop, they can play inside on a plethora of British seaside-style rides (and an enormous slide) for hours.

After a sticky gander, we took our rumbling tummies and headed to Bondi Beach in the Koleos, which was still chewing through the same tank of petrol from whence we left Canberra. Talk about fuel efficient. I’ve had the car two weeks and we’d only made it through less than half a tank before filling up to drive to Sydney.

When navigating the bizarre freeway loops around the north end of the Harbour Bridge, we invariably got a little waylaid a couple of times but the Koleos is so neat and has such a tight turning circle, it could U-turn it on a two dollar coin.

I’ve also noticed that the car, despite its somewhat ‘buzzy’ sound at takeoff, really packs a punch. Like – it’s actually surprised me how zippy it can be, without that dragging feeling that you’re flooring it like a hoon-head on a trip down Ego lane. I can press quite lightly on the accelerator from a standstill and will easily leave my fellow road users in my wake, with nary a screeching engine nor squeal of a wheel. I must admit, I like that.

We pulled up rear window shades for the first time today, too. Ella commented on how lucky we were to have these, especially being one so utterly English rose by complexion. Ella also loves the dual-zone automatic climate control because, you see, she operates at a different body temperature to her little brother Riley. At all times.

But enough of this spunky little chariot I’m enjoying so much, let’s get back to Bondi. We parked the Koleos right on the beach in a teensy parking spot (because it’s such a tidy little car) and hotfooted it to the shops for some wraps, which we nibbled on the beach. There’s always something happening in Bondi and the kids were thrilled to have a bounce and flip on a tethered bouncing contraption on the shorefront.

We then kicked a ball along the beach from the Bather’s Pavilion to the Bondi Icebergs swimming pool at the southern end, where little old ladies in purple floral swimming caps take early morning laps from winter through spring summer and autumn.

On the drive back to the city, we stopped once again at T2 to top up our tea supplies, and on the way out of the Queen Victoria Building, we discovered our last Sydney sweet stop – Sugar Fix – a store on the lower ground level concourse just beyond the main QVB, waiting for us like a chocolate-coated booby trap.

Glittering with a mind-boggling assortment of candy for sugar addicts everywhere, it took every ounce of dignity in my body to stop from leaping around like Jack Sprat. I bought authentic Turkish delight because it’s my fave thing in the world (next to nougat and chocolate bullets and rocky road and choc-coated marshmallow and mint slice and Jupiter bars).

I also came away with another fave – fondant filled licorice sticks (called ‘licorice cream rock’), plus chocolate coated pineapple lumps (scrum!), white choc coated raspberry bullets and some divinely retro inspired Solar Seeds and Galactic Peanuts. Hidden in the very base of my bag was a jewellery making candy kit for Ella’s Christmas stocking. Purchased on behalf of Santa, of course.

After a swim, we headed out for dinner – and got horribly sucked in to yet another Japanese restaurant for yet another delectable meal of miso soup and ramen noodles. On the way back to the Medina, we happened across a teensy Korean supermarket on Sussex Street, stacked to the ceiling with Korean and Japanese treats (yes, we like Japanese food) including jelly cups, mochi balls (sticky rice cakes) and wasabi-covered peas (well, not so ‘sweet’ but still a treat).

This teensy Korean supermarket was our last Sydney sugar fix. Tomorrow we are heading home.

I don’t want to talk about it.

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