Family-Friendly Things to Do in Sydney

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Travelling with a young family is all about activities and rewards – both for the grown-ups and little ones.

Luckily, there are loads of fun things to do in Sydney for visitors of all ages, whether exploring landmark attractions such as the Opera House, or making a beeline for the coast to swim, walk and play (and stop for ice creams and iced drinks along the way). Ahead, we pinpoint what to do on a Sydney family holiday, including options to keep everyone happy.

Sail to Taronga Zoo

A major drawcard of Sydney is its sparkling harbour, and you can couple a ferry across its water with a ticket to Taronga Zoo. Better still, at this wildlife sanctuary there are lots of grassy knolls to set up on and enjoy the bay views in between animal sightings, so be sure to pack lunch.

Taronga Zoo. Credit: Tom Reynolds | CC BY 2.0

Swim at Shelly Beach

It’s all about the ferries when carting the kids around Sydney, and the various routes they travel offer a tonne of fun day-trip destinations. Jumping on a boat to Manly is one, and when you arrive, head to Shelly Beach, where the gentle waters are ideal for family swimming. You can make a morning or afternoon of it by bringing a picnic.

Take the babes to Bondi

If you’re up for an afternoon of people-watching or fancy the idea of a wander along the Bondi to Bronte coastal trail, you’ll be able to coax the kids along with the promise of hot chips at the North Bondi RSL. Not only is this casual pub perfect for families, but it also has a big balcony with ocean views, so the adults can spend some time gazing out to the horizon and sipping ice-cold beers, while the kids play on the deck. Win-win.

Bondi Beach, Sydney. Credit: Paula-Jorunn Naes on Unsplash

Breakfast in Balmain

Balmain is a pretty, hilly suburb of Sydney that’s chock-full of enticing places to drink and dine. Another of its attractions is that catching the 15-minute ferry back to the city is one of the best ways to see the Harbour Bridge. Spend a morning hiking up the townhouse-lined streets before stopping at one of the excellent cafes, or if it’s a sunny day, hang out in one of the leafy public parks with takeaway coffees and treats.

Train to Milsons Point

The ferries are a scenic way to travel, but Sydney’s trains are a solid option too. And the Milsons Point railway station makes a great starting point for a walk over the Harbour Bridge to The Rocks – one of Sydney’s most historic and popular neighbourhoods. The area has regular open-air markets, lots of heritage pubs and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and it’s also nearby the Botanic Gardens and the Art Gallery of NSW. Again, you might need an incentive to get the kids to complete the walk from Milsons Point, and pizza at the Australian Hotel or an ice-cream cone should do the trick. When you’re done, catch the train from Circular Quay back the way you came.

View From Milsons Point. Credit: Gordon Wrigley | CC BY 2.0

Fish and chips by Watsons Bay

Watsons Bay is one of Sydney’s favourite destinations for fun in the sun. The breezy village and its waterfront dotted with boats beckon leisurely walks along the coast and picnics with fish and chips, and there are more than a few patches of grass and sand to throw down a rug. Alternatively, explore the area’s laid-back cafes, restaurants and bars – the beer garden at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is a highlight.

Darling Harbour delights

The route from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour shows off all the star attractions, floating under the Harbour Bridge and around the Opera House, and where you land has some of Sydney’s best activities for families. The SEA LIFE Aquarium, Powerhouse Museum, IMAX Theatre, National Maritime Museum and Chinese Garden of Friendship are among the options for a day out in Darling Harbour, or else you might be happy enough perusing the waterside shops and eateries.

Darling Harbour. Credit: Andrew Parsons | CC BY-NC 2.0

Hang out at the Opera House

The distinctive sails of the Sydney Opera House attract millions of visitors each year, and for good reason. This UNESCO World Heritage Listed site is an architectural feat worthy of admiration, and its sprawling expanse provides plenty of space to play. Spend some time wandering the perimeter, climbing to the top of the steps to take a few photos. Depending on the attention spans of your clan, you could also head inside for a guided tour or to check out the program of events. Whichever way you go, finish up harbourside at the Opera Bar, where glasses of sparkling await the adults and there are dishes such as spaghetti bolognese for the kids.

Snap up cheap flights to Sydney for the whole family with Webjet (plus your accommodation and car hire if needed) and set your sights on filling your trip with some of these family holiday activities. 

Feature image: Opera House, Sydney. Credit: Johnny Bhalla on Unsplash

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