Jackie Nevard is a food allergy educator in Australia, shares educational resources on her website MyFoodAllergyFriends and has a book series inspired by her son Thai, who has multiple allergies. Here she shares her tips for traveling to their favorite vacation spot – Bondi, Sydney:
One of our favourite getaways is Sydney. After the relaxed lifestyle of the beautiful Sunshine Coast, we thoroughly enjoy the injection of city life soaking up the museums and art galleries, and the culture and the hustle and bustle offered by a big city. We absolutely love staying at Bondi, a real melting pot of cultures, with a young, hip, fashionable crowd and just a short bus ride to the city.
Where to stay
Because of Thai’s allergies and our needing to cook safe food for him, a hotel is out of the question. Apartments are pricey in the city, but with the rise of Airbnb, we have found some awesome family friendly places to stay. We have also used Stayz . One place we call our second home is a small two bedroom apartment in North Bondi, just a few minutes’ walk to the beach. With a full kitchen complete with fridge-freezer and washing machine, our 10 day stay is made easy and affordable.
When we first started visiting Bondi, there were no large supermarkets, so we did struggle to find allergy-friendly favourites. In recent years, Woolworth’s has arrived in Bondi which has made life easier for us. Another great place to shop is Harris Farm Market. Though a smaller supermarket, it is open seven days, and you’ll find plenty of fresh fruit and produce. They even have their own brand of BIO cheese. Next door is a local butcher, but with me being a vegetarian, I couldn’t tell you about that. The Bondi Markets are also great for local fresh produce on a Saturday morning. Another good place to check out is Scoop Wholefoods who stock quality organic whole foods by the bin.
What to do
There are so many fun activities to do in Bondi. Locals are up at the crack of dawn, and so are our boys! We usually head out for a morning stroll along the beach where there is a skate bowl and plenty of places for them to burn off energy or play hand-ball. If you are lucky enough to get some mummy time, you can try out the yoga at Iceburgs. There is also a spectacular cliff walk from Bondi to Bronte. Our boys love this walk as they watch out for lizards, spiders, dolphins, and whales. They are also fascinated by the graveyard at the end of the walk.
Buses leave Bondi every five minutes and travel to the city. The boys love exploring the museum and discovering the fossils, crystals, and dinosaurs while artist dad is thoroughly at home hanging out at the NSW art gallery. Another great spot for families is Darling Harbour. Not only is this home to the Sydney Maritime Museum where you can discover submarines and World War 11 navy ships, but there is also a great park with coffee shops nearby for parents. Another must is a ferry ride under the Harbour Bridge to Luna Park. The boys love it here, and it’s always hard to get them to leave.
Eating out has always been a little tricky with Thai’s milk and egg allergies. Though there are so many thriving cafes and restaurants in Bondi, we still find it easier to bring our own safe food, so he isn’t just eating hot chips all the time. Bondi Surf Seafoods, the oldest and friendliest shop in Bondi, will grill local fresh fish for you in a lovely clean area. Most of the fish restaurants we tried include egg and milk in their batter. Last time we were there, Thai discovered they also do calamari which is safe for him to eat. We make sure we always have some tin foil and then purchase rice or chips to accompany his meal.
Despite all the city hustle and bustle, my favourite place to eat as a family is a hillside on North Bondi Beach. On a Friday and Saturday nights, we pack a picnic, some wine, make homemade burgers and head down with the locals to enjoy the beautiful sunsets and have a last evening dip before the day ends. It’s great if you’re on a budget – kid friendly, allergy friendly with the best view in town!