Sydney is a big city with much to see and do, but littles are well, little. They don't have the stamina or the interest to see and do a bunch of big city stuff, and dragging them around only makes everyone miserable. We learned long ago to target one thing per day, and then not to get too fussed if that one thing doesn't happen. Keep it real so everyone can enjoy.
Monday was our first full day, but we were all tired and adjusting. We used the day to explore a bit. We walked to Central Station (not fun thanks to steep hill between it and our apartment building) and took the train down to Circular Quay. I got my first look at the Sydney Opera House, which I had been longing to see since maybe forever. I cannot remember how long I have wanted to see it, but there it was and I was happy! From Circular Quay, we caught a ferry to Darling Harbour, location of all things touristy (aquarium, wildlife center, maritime museum...), and then we walked back to our apartment. It gave us a good overall layout and wore us all out completely.
On Tuesday, we thought we'd take the tram to Darling Harbour to visit the aquarium, but we couldn't find the stop and ended up walking. The aquarium itself is really quite old and most of it is poorly designed. Several tanks with interesting fish are small and eye-level for adults. Plenty of unthinking adults clustered around them closely and wouldn't move for littles, so actually we ended up bypassing much of what was there. The aquarium has tried to branch into its surrounding space by accessing barges on the harbour, but the passages down to those were so tight and winding that claustrophobic me had more than one panic attack before I abandoned the whole enterprise. The aquarium gets a big raspberry from me, though the girls enjoyed it well enough. Baby Stephanie was fascinated. Ellie got rotten on aquariums during our frequent visits to the zoo/aquarium in Rotterdam, so she was only moderately impressed.
From there, we wandered over toward the opera house and the botanic garden. Did you know the opera house is comprised of 3 separate buildings?
As you can see, Ellie didn't see much of the botanic gardens. Neither did we. Almost as soon as we entered the grounds, baby Stephanie meandered off into the grass and plopped herself down near a lady reading. We quickly got the hint that Stephanie wanted a book too, so we handed her one and she sat happily reading to herself for quite a while.