Our family enjoyed the delights of Luna Park from opening to closing time today. This Sydney landmark is a restored 1930s amusement park with antique signage, revamped rides in the old style and lots and lots of exciting lights and music.

When we were visiting Newcastle, the girls spied a few fairground attractions just outside the playground. Brioni was especially enamoured with the idea of going on the rides, but we drove away without giving her the chance.

So in coming to Sydney, we agreed that we would find an amusement park for the girls to experience the kiddie rides that Brioni was wanting. It’s not hard to find Luna Park — it sits alongside the Harbour Bridge, and we had all seen it while on our first ferry ride on Sunday.

To get to Luna Park, we first had to catch the train into the city. We enjoyed a relatively early start and were on our way at about 9am.

Circular Quay, January 2012
Arriving by train at Circular Quay — where the ferries depart — we instantly receive a terrific view of the world-famous harbour.

Lauren, Delaney, Elijah and Calista on the ferry, January 2012
It's only a short ferry ride across the harbour to the other side of the bridge. We could have walked across on the bridge, but the boat ride is much more exciting!

Luna Park, January 2012
Sydney's Luna Park originally opened in 1935 but closed in 1979 following a fatal accident. After three years it opened again and has been closed and reopened several more times as rides have been deemed faulty and then restored. Luna Park is a Sydney icon and is the sister of Melbourne's Luna Park.

Calista chewing gum, January 2012
Very soon after our arrival, Calista is chewing purple gum — its origins remain a secret from everyone except herself! (I tried not to think too long about it.)

We had arrived just at opening time. A park worker told us that the dodgem cars were the most popular attraction, and so we decided to go up to them first so we wouldn’t have to wait in long lines.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
Because she is deemed too young to drive on her own, one of the staff accompanies Brioni in her dodgem car. This is actually great for Bri because the lady's hands-off approach allows Brioni to practice her driving skills (or lack thereof).

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
Aisha rides with David, and both spend their whole time laughing with glee as they get bumped from all sides.

We had walked past a beautiful carousel to reach the bumper cars, and this captured Calista’s heart, so we returned to the entrance and rode the merry-go-round next. Other rides started capturing the girls’ eyes as we walked past them.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
Delaney's first ride is the carousel. She's content to sit in the gigantic swan and watch the colours swirl past her as the 89-key, 1904 Gavioli organ plays a collection of tunes. The first melody we hear is "Pomp and Circumstance" which never fails to evoke memories of my highschool graduation.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
Until he's on the Wild Mouse ride with Brioni, David doesn't realise how scary the roller coaster is going to be! From 50 metres away, I hear David's yell as their car takes a plunge. Originally built in 1962, this is the only permanent roller coaster left in the state.

Dancers at Luna Park, January 2012
When we stop for a cold drink, we are treated to a dance performance in the style of fifties' swing.

Inside Coney Island, Luna Park, January 2012
In the middle of the hot summer's day we retreat to a large building called "Coney Island - Funnyland". It contains a set of silly mirrors, slides, rolling barrels a series of funny walks (including a mirror maze) and arcade games. Although some changes have been made, the layout is almost identical to when Luna Park opened in 1935.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
This wobbly walk is called the Turkey Trot, and our girls love the challenge of traversing the bumpy path.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
Another favourite is the spinning wheel where children fight the centrifugal forces which send them sliding off the rotating dome and into the soft bumpers on the side.

Taking a break from Luna Park, January 2012
For our picnic lunch, we retreat to a tiny bit of shade in the corner of a green square alongside the amusement park. Signs inside Luna Park advertise picnic tables on the green, but I don't see any. Just as well we're happy to sit on the ground!

Luna Park, January 2012
Around the back of Luna Park, another section of rides operates, including a string of little rides perfect for our young daughters. We park ourselves in the shade of the umbrellas and watch the girls move independently from one attraction to the other.

Clown at Luna Park, January 2012
After we're fed and watered, the fun continues on the other side of the Coney Island building. We park ourselves alongside four kiddie rides and let our girls run freely.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
For several hours, Brioni takes Delaney to all the rides — again and again. She helps Dell swipe her wrist band on the scanner and together they share a vehicle.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
On the Space Shuttle ride, Brioni uses a lever to move her vehicle up and down as it revolves around the centre point.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
Calista is happy to go on the kiddie rides again and again by herself.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
Brioni has been watching older kids on the scarier rides, and she mimics their hand-raising antics and screams as her car cruises down a small rise on the track.

Delaney and Brioni touching tongues, January 2012
Dell and Bri share a tender moment, spontaneously touching tongues.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
After travelling solo for a long time, Calista finally catches up to Brioni and Delaney and starts sharing rides with them.

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
After riding this more grown-up ride — the Rockin' Tug — once with David, Aisha decides she loves the thrills it gives her and she returns to it again and again. David is thankful that he doesn't have to go on it more than once!

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
As she gains confidence, Aisha asks David to take her on more scarier rides. (I'm delighted that she is asking David and not me!)

On the rides at Luna Park, January 2012
This smaller roller coaster is a temporary attraction at Luna Park.

Delaney at Luna Park, January 2012
Delaney, too, got her confidence up and started queuing for rides and climbing into them by herself. At two years old, surely she is precocious to feel comfortable at such a level of independence!

Aisha catching fish at Luna Park, January 2012
Aisha demonstrates a determination to succeed with this fishing game. She pulled David away from our circle of rides out the back and brought him right back to the entrance of the park because she was so keen to have a go.

Sunset over Sydney Harbour, January 2012
Even the jaded seagulls appreciate the brilliant colours of today's sunset.

Luna Park, January 2012
The park lights up in a spectacular fashion, and in 2011 the NSW government set aside almost $80,000 to convert the lighting to energy-efficient LEDs.

Brioni, David and Delaney on the ferris wheel, January 2012
We have a turn on the ferris wheel soon after dusk. The lights of the city and the park are mesmerising.

Luna Park, January 2012
The midway section between the ferris wheel and the Coney Island building becomes less crowded as families return home.

Brioni jumping, January 2012
Brioni and Aisha both had a turn jumping on the trampoline with the suspension straps. We pay additional fees for these sort of attractions, and the girls limit their requests to the activities they really have their hearts set on.

Waiting for the ferry at Milsons Point, January 2012
The lights of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city beckon at us from across the water. After Luna Park closes at 11pm, we still need to wait fifteen minutes before our ferry arrives.

It was midnight when we finally got back to Redfern Station. The girls were so tired from their huge day out that they were calling on energy reserves to walk back to our truck. After such an exciting outing, they’ll remember the amusement park rides for a long time!