The park has been visited, errands have been run, both girls are strapped into their car seats. It’s nearing lunch and we are on our way home for naps after a busy morning.
5 minutes down the road, yet 10 minutes away from home, I glance into the rear vision mirror to notice eyes closed and mouths agape. Looks like we’re driving for naps today, again.
Thinking of the pile of unfolded washing on the dining table, I consider heading home and unloading my charges into bed. Then I laugh, knowing that never works and I decide to embark on one of my local loops instead.
Once viewed as a nuisance, I now find solace in these midday driving adventures. I can enjoy a podcast or my own thoughts for an hour, as my two young girls benefit from the deep sleep that the hum and gentle vibration of a car brings.
With newborn car trips still imprinted in my mind, despite my girls being 1 and 3.5yrs old, I always seek out steady, winding drives with minimal traffic lights. My bay-side routes afford me the ability to peruse and view countless houses, as I compile an ever-growing list of features my when-i-win-the-lotto house will boast.
For the days I pour water from the kettle into my daughters’ cereal rather than milk (like today!) I choose a calm drive through the Royal National Park, where my eyes and mind benefit from the serene and repetitive hues of green, grey and brown of the bush.
Where to drive while the kids are napping in the back
These are my five favourite loops, always changing ever-so-slightly when I find a new backstreet to explore.
Como to Kurnell: 1hr one-way
After a visit to the local park in Como West, I wind through the streets of Oyster Bay and Kareela, often heading along Kangaroo Point Road to see sticky-beak what new houses are under construction. Weaving through Sylvania’s flat suburban streets, I travel through Taren Point and out along Captain Cook Drive to Kurnell. We can double-back for a long nap or have another park play at Bonna Point Reserve if the girls happen to wake.
Miranda to Oatley Park: 45mins one-way
With the shops in the distance, I leave Miranda and travel across Tom Ugly’s bridge on the busy, main road. Turning left at Blakehurst, I immediately slow and begin the calm meander around Kyle Bay, Connells Point and Hurstville. Seeing eyes still closed in the backseat, I head towards Oatley Park, where I can extend our nap with a beautiful, one-way drive through the reserve and glimpse the water through the trees. There are toilets if we need a pit-stop before heading home, right near the amazing Oatley Bush Playground.
Burraneer Bay to Gymea Bay: 35mins one-way
Needing the girls to go to bed early tonight, I’m after one of my shorter loops that will provide just enough rest for them (and me) to make it through the afternoon. I choose Bay to Bay. The majority of this drive can be done without stopping at traffic lights, so it offers a smooth, steady trip where I can sip my coffee and weave through the beautiful bay-side streets.
Kirrawee to Bundeena: 40mins one-way
I choose this loop when the girls need a decent sleep and I am in no rush to get home. Whilst deceptively short in time given the distance, I can easily extend this drive by doubling back through the park or taking a detour through Helensburgh. The combination of the highway hum into the winding quiet park often lulls the girls into a long, deep sleep.
Cronulla to Bonnet Bay: 40mins one-way
After spending the morning at the beach, I know we’ll be having naps in the car today – the girls will be asleep before we’ve left Cronulla. I head west towards Woronora Heights and soon enough the girls are snoring softly as I wind through the suburbs of Engadine, Yarrawarrah and Loftus. Driving past the parents with prams walking through the cemetery at Sutherland, I head towards Bonnet Bay, enjoying the quiet streets that will soon enough see the crowds and twinkling lights at Christmas.
Hopefully, these loops let you maximise the peace that only coincides with sleeping kids!
And when they wake up and it’s time to play, you can always check out a recommended playground nearby.