In our experience, there has been one frustrating thing about this trip: Australian tourist spots are not really set up for young children. As anyone with a kid knows, there are some basic things that are critical for making travel work well when you’ve got a toddler in tow. First, you need a hotel room big enough for you to read or watch TV after the kid goes to sleep at 7–otherwise you are just sitting around in the dark. Second, you want transportation options for strollers and things. Third–and here’s the problem we’ve found here–you need restaurants that are equipped to handle toddlers.
We normally don’t go out to eat at home, so EP does not have much experience with restaurants. It’s probably our fault…if Ithaca had lots of good places to eat maybe we’d go out more. But since he’s not used to eating out, he doesn’t do well sitting still for an hour, or waiting patiently for a stranger to bring food to him. What this means is that if a meal out is going to work for us and for other diners, a high-chair or booster seat is essential. With few exceptions (by these we mean very high end restaurants in major cities) any US restaurant will have something like that.
Here, many regular restaurants just don’t have them. We’re talking pizza restaurants in tourist areas, coffee shops in main pedestrian zones. You’d never find that in the US. Moreover, there’s a clear sense to us that if your restaurant doesn’t have child seats, that’s a polite but effective way of saying to families “do not come here unless your kid is old enough to sit quietly.” What that has meant is that we’ve not had as much fun eating out here as we’d have liked…we’ve done a lot of room service and take-out when not able to cook for ourselves. It’s OK, but not ideal, and we’ve been disappointed to have missed out on eating at what looked like some good places, Australia being a great destination for seafood and steak, European bistro fare, and modern fusion cuisine. Those good places that do have high chairs have gotten our business repeatedly. That said, if that’s our major complaint about traveling so far for so long with an active toddler, I’d say that’s not so bad.