Thursday 15th April 2021

Holidays At Home. #LifeThisWeek 3/52. 2017.9.

Holidays At Home. #LifeThisWeek 3/52. 2017.9.

For the prompt today I am going down memory lane.

We did go away for holidays with our children and it was always to a beach somewhere in NSW and in January.

However, as teachers, we did have more time off from the classroom along with the kids so there would be days and weeks that stretched out and needed more than ‘staying home’. We did have a pool, and we did have TV and videos (it was the 1980s, no DVDs yet) and we had outdoor space. But sometimes we needed to ‘go somewhere’.

So, in no particular order or even in January these are some of the activities which helped us have our


There are NSW and Sydney-centric…but that’s where we live(d). Enjoy! Images are not mine. Credits are included.

Old Sydney Town.

We live on The Central Coast now and there is still a call for Old Sydney Town to be re-opened. It was located off the freeway (F3 now M1) and was also the place for many  a school excursion! My memory of it was that it was always HOT. Maybe that’s because it was Summer. It was a live experience replicating early days of Sydney.

Warragamba Dam.

I have been visiting this place since I was a kid and it was/is a great source of interest and information as it is huge, full of walks and place to have a picnic and learn more about the place of Sydney’s water  supply. We first went there as parents with a child waaaaaay back with our then toddler daughter who is now in her mid 40s. We also visited the next place afterwards.×2-940×627.jpg

African Lion Safari.

What a dramatic place this was. You entered in your car, stayed in the car (derrr) and drove slowly around watching the lions …who mostly slept …and occasionally if you stopped, they would come alongside the car. At certain times the rangers would feed them and that was a spectacle. Interesting place. It was a highlight a long time ago for most kids if they got to see it. More details here.

Australia’s Wonderland.

Another HUGE place which attracted many families (and school groups) over the decades who visited it just off the M4 in Western Sydney. It had, at the time, rides that took everyone’s breath away! It was an all-inclusive entry place (from memory) and many different types of rides. I must admit, when our kids got older, we actually left them there and returned to pick them up. I am not a fan of being hot nor of queuing for rides!

The Drive-In.

Living in Western Sydney you can still go to the only drive-in left in ….NSW? It’s at Prospect and it was one of many when our kids were young. We visited the one at North Ryde to see E.T. and it was ‘scary’. Going to the drive-in meant value for money…until you visited the food and drink bar. But the playgrounds were always fun as was wearing your PJs to the movies!

That’s my trip done!

Do you know any of these places?

I hope you had fun reading and considering what a ‘holiday at home’ is like for you and all of us!

Thanks for joining in.


On Mondays I also link up with Alicia who is in South Australia and Kell who lives in the State of NSW.




  1. Oh my, each of these brings a smile to my face. I remember my childhood holidays so clearly – although they were never in summer – usually in May when Dad got time off. Then we’d go to the Gold Coast for 2 weeks. I found slides yesterday from us at what is now Sea World when I was 3 or 4. Memories.

    • I am so glad that combined with the big pack up and the finding of so many memories, this post has put a smile on your face too! Good luck with the house sale…gosh it’s not fun but with the eyes on a better prize, I hope it happens very fast and at the right price. Denyse x

  2. I remember the lion safari! I remember a lioness jumped on our car and she licked my side window. There was a lot of screaming. LOL.

    I also remember Old Sydney Town and of course Australia’s Wonderland. As a girl growing up in Goulburn, Australia’s Wonderland was like Disney for me.

    • Yes, the lions did get a bit close didn’t they? As for Australia’s Wonderland it WAS the best thing forever in NSW for kids back then. Schools used to do end of year excursions there too. Now you have visited around the world it does make some of our kiddy memories fade into the background.

  3. Some great ideas for future holidays at home, Denyse!

    SSG xxx

    • I hope you can find some of the ideas helpful. There are some good day trips up to the Central Coast and where Sydney Town was located is now the reptile park which has much more than reptiles too.

  4. We drove past the Drive in yesterday and I’m hatching a plan to drag the kids out to it…but I am worried about the long drive home late at night….as I guess the movie can’t start til it’s dark?

    • That is true. In Summer it is a long wait! They’ve geared it up as an experience now too and my daughter and kids have been back to it. Next door of course, is the Wet and Wild Theme park. Driving home later at night would be quieter on the M4 back to the east.

  5. I haven’t heard of any of these specific destinations but we used to have a drive in near us as a kid but never went. Always a bit bummed about that. Would have been cool to experience it.

    • The places I mentioned are NSW-centric Vanessa…the drive-in is a cool kiddy-experience that is for sure. When we were still living in Wollongong Dad and Mum drove us up to the ‘new drive in’ on the south side of Sydney (about an hour’s drive) and we were amazed by it.

  6. What a great trip down memory lane for me Denyse. I remember a school excursion to Warragamba Dam and although we never went away for holidays, Mum always took us to either Balmoral Beach or Manly Beach or Taronga Zoo. We used to catch the bus into the City we lived at Naremburn (Crows Nest) then the ferry to Manly. I also took my kids to Old Sydney Town when they were little. Such great memories so thank you. have a lovely week and thanks for the link up.

    • Ah, some recollections for you here too Sue! Yes, visits to the Zoo, and via the Ferry were something we did too. I lived near Manly and even as a kid/teen I was allowed to catch the Ferry into the city. I loved that too. Balmoral Beach has become overrun by zealous parking inspectors and there are very few places to park without taking out a mortgage. Nonetheless it is indeed a very special spot! Thank YOU for sharing your memories too. Lovely!

  7. Marvellous memories! I’m still making memories with my nieces when they visit. More stories on the way.

  8. I have been saying to my partner for ages that we should go to the drive in. We must do it this summer!

  9. Happy New Year, Denyse and looking forward to linking up with you throughout this year! Holidays at home as a kid were not very eventful, given we lived in the country but a trip to Adelaide was always very exciting.

    • Thank you Beth! Same to you. Glad you are linking up as well. I like that every childhood has some points of difference and yours was the trip to Adelaide. When our daughter was young and we taught & lived in ‘the bush’ we always came to Sydney to stay at my parents so her early memories are of beaches and shops and doing somethings that were different to the every day!

  10. The Lion Safari looks interesting! I remember when we used to have Drive Ins closer to our house but now the closest one is nearly an hour away. Would love for my son to experience it though!

    • There were many around until developers realised they could make money out of those sites! We had one near our place in Sydney for years but it became a huge outdoor/indoor market instead and I suspect over the years will be sold off for something else. I hope you do make a special occasion of it and take your son to the drive in!

  11. I remember drive-ins – we loved them as teenagers. And we had a lion park in WA too. It’s strange to think that the current generation never saw any of these local attractions.

  12. inthegoodbooksblog says:

    Happy New Year Denyse!
    We have just returned from a few days away to my in-laws beach house, which was lovely.
    I try and keep the holidays interesting for my children as they do get a bit bored when we are home for a few days in a row. Tomorrow, I have my two young nieces coming over for the day so they can all play together. It’s forecast to be quite warm, so perhaps a water fight would make a nice surprise for them all.

    • Yes it can be ‘boring’ and not every day needs to be going out to something. In fact, my initial take on the prompt was about how to make the day different in the house. But, the memory lane trip won! I used to have picnics inside times, playing all day in PJs and letting the kids hire videos (that was all there was other than TV back then!) Happy New Year to you too! Glad you got a lovely break for a holiday.

  13. I’ve joined in late-ish, with a local post about my experience at a new float centre in town.

    I never do as much local exploring as I should – with the exception of when I lived in Canberra as I had a lot of visitors and we seemed to do a lot of sightseeing!

    • Oh that sounds really interesting. Can’t wait to read. I LOVE Canberra and miss only being 3 hours away from it down the M7. Adding another almost 2 hours to the journey now we are further north doesnt quite cut it. I visited Canberra around every 2 years for a while there. One fave for me was the ensure I was there on a day the High Court was in session and to sit in on the proceedings. Loved it.

  14. We used to go to the drive-in all the initial I was so sad when it closed down. Other than that we used to spend most holidays at the Gold Coast with our grandparents. Most of our days were spent at the beach {obviously}

    • Yes drive-ins are memories of many people’s childhoods..and sad to say they’re just about gone. As for holidays at the beach…of course that’s what you do at the Gold Coast (apart from the theme parks which seemed to spring up in the last 20-30 years!) Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek 3/52 Denyse

  15. Aaah, the drive in! Now that really brings back some memories from my early childhood and teenage years. I still remember the time we went to see The Aristocats at the drive in and how hard my Dad laughed at the funniest point in the movie. Of course, as a teenager, I have some memories to cherish…. and probably a few I’d rather forget!! Those were the days! This was in Horsham, my old stomping ground. We haven’t had one where I live in Ballarat for many, many years.

    • The drive-in..the place of many a date back in the day of my youth! Then even as young married my hub and I still enjoyed movies at the drive-in because there was one close to my parents’ place and our daughter was tucked up in bed there! We saw Blazing Saddles at the drive-in and talk about LAUGH! How great are your memories too. It IS a shame about drive-ins they are/were a cheap(ish) form of family entertainment! Thanks for sharing your stories too. Denyse

  16. Old Sydney Town and Australia’s Wonderland! The former was always wet and freezing. And now that I think about it so was the latter since we could never go out during Summer.
    I remember looking into the school room at OST and my older brother saying “that dummy looks so real” and the dummy (a real guy) threatening to cane him. Hilarious.

    • Yep, that busy time on the farm was in summer wasnt it? Gosh I wonder how they’re all faring now as it’s been more than a few days of extreme weather. Today & tomorrow early 40s in the western areas of Sydney. Yikes. (again!) That is a terrific story about Old Sydney town!! Loved it.

      • I know, I will never forget that moment for as long as I live. It scared the bejesus out of us both. I must have been about 5 years old.
        Yeah it’s not been fun for them on the farm the past few weeks. I think it’s worse because there hasn’t been much let up so it’s a lot of hard work over a lot of long days.

        • Yes, I imagine it would at that age in particular. The weather continues to be disgraceful. Temps of mid 30s overnight. Gosh, we so need the cool change and rain!!

  17. We usually spent our Christmas holidays down in NSW and a trip on the red rattler was always a good way to keep us occupied, or any train for that matter. We used to spend lots of time at the local pool at our Grandparent’s place.
    These sound like fun things to do and it is a shame not all are still around.

    • You’ve reminded me that going on public transport was another way we would have day outings in the school holidays! Whilst my kids’ time was past red rattlers my childhood/teen years were not. Going into the city via a train was a novelty and catching a ferry somewhere was as well. Thanks for sharing your story and yes, some of those places would still be fun. There was some talk of reviving Australia’s Wonderland but with land values being so high, other industries get there instead. There is a Wet and Wild theme park (opens for around 6 months of year) located in Prospect almost next to the one remaining drive-in and some family accommodation is not very far away and I have seen holiday packages for both. Thanks for visiting to comment!! Denyse x

  18. Oh Old Sydney Town! That place featured in probably my favourite trip as a kid. I loved it there! I didn’t know it was still around. Now I can’t wait to take my son 🙂

    • Oh I hate to be the bearer of sad news Tory but it did close down and has stayed closed! There’s been lots of people asking for it to be re-opened but I don’t think Old Sydney Town will be ever back again.

  19. WOW! What fabulous memories of a bygone era (those photos will attest). The lion park sounded amazing.
    I also love the ‘old town’ tourist attractions. I remember going to one in Loxton SA and Old Tailem Town near Tailem Bend, on the way to Adelaide. Not sure if they are there anymore either.

    • Thanks Alicia. They do relate to a bygone era which is in part of shame but also a part of so-called progress.There is a still a place called Pioneer Village in the Hawkesbury which we took our kids to and on excursions and the council has been able to keep it going on some days. It’s good to check out how people lived ‘back then’ for a sense of perspective. I wonder how we would be remembered these days!