Wondering what things to do in Sydney with kids? Well, that’s like asking how long is a piece of string. This city of mine has a plethora of places and spaces waiting for you and the kids to explore. BUT where to start?
Things to do in Sydney with Kids
Table of Contents
- 1 Things to do in Sydney with Kids
- 1.1 Explore Circular Quay
- 1.2 Sydney’s Animal Encounters
- 1.3 Luna Park
- 1.4 A Ferry Trip
- 1.5 Darling Harbour
- 1.6 UNESCO Convict Sites
- 1.7 Tour the Opera House
- 1.8 Inspire Creativity
- 1.9 Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- 1.10 Tiptoe through the Daisies
- 1.11 Sydney’s Awesome Beaches
- 1.12 A Little Culture (Chinese and Japanese)
- 1.13 Museums
- 1.14 Enjoy an Afternoon High Tea
- 1.15 Reach the Sky
- 1.16 Go For a Walk
- 1.17 Playground Fun
- 1.18 Get Your Skates On
- 1.19 Haunted Sydney
- 1.20 Secret Sydney
- 2 Plan Your Trip to Sydney
Explore Circular Quay
Situated right on old Sydney Cove, Circular Quay is the original foundation site for the city of Sydney and one of the most active hubs with both ferries and trains boarding and dropping off passengers around the clock. Many would regard it as the gateway to Sydney with its promenade leading you around to the Sydney Opera House in one direction, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the other.
Delight in watching and listening to the street entertainers who attract quite a crowd throughout the day; find the original shoreline mapped into the promenade with markers or investigate a little history with the small plaques scattered around, and make a day of exploring the area.
Circular Quay offers you a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art which is FREE and boasts some incredible programs for kids; the Police & Justice Museum which not only explores crime but will answer why there are so many one-way streets in Sydney; the iconic Sydney Opera House; the gates into the Royal Botanic Gardens and Lady Macquarie’s Chair; and even the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon look out.
Sydney’s Animal Encounters
Scattered across Sydney are a wide range of wildlife parks, farms, zoos, parks and rescue organisations which offer animal encounters for the while family. Many of the locations offer you the opportunity to feed native Australian animals. Of course, Taronga zoo is the most iconic within the city, with the added bonus of an incredible view across the city. For Australian wildlife, make sure you add Featherdale Wildlife Park or the Bargo Dingo Sanctuary to your list.
If you have an adrenaline junkie in the family, Luna Park is one destination you need to visit at least once while exploring Sydney. With a bevy of rides ready to increase your heart rate, side shows where you can test your skill and win a prize and the incredible Coney Island which offers a bundle of activities for all ages, the day will be full of laughter if you spend a day here. It also offers an incredible view over the harbour.
A Ferry Trip
In my opinion, Sydney Harbour is the most stunning in the world. It makes sense then, to include a trip on the harbour as one of the must do items on any Sydney itinerary. Armed with an Opal card you have free reign on adventuring to almost any site by the water by catching a ferry. Better yet, on Sunday’s you can travel anywhere on the ferry route for a mere $2.50 per person (this extends to the train route to excluding Sydney Airport station).
Catching the ferry to Manly is one adventure that is highly recommended as you are taken through the heads. For that reason, I recommend choosing a calm day for that experience!
If you’re looking for an area in Sydney where you can check off a plethora of activities and even squeeze in an amazing lunch or dinner, Darling Harbour is the place to head. This precinct offers an abundance of restaurants and cafes for all tastes (including, much to my delight, both a Lindt and Guylian Cafe), as well as a number of attractions that the kids will love including the National Maritime Museum and the Sydney Aquarium. There are just so many things to do in Sydney with kids.
Head to Darling Quarter for one of the cities best playgrounds and to access the amazing Monkey Baa Theatre which is Australia’s leading theatre for young audiences. Don’t forget to look for the iconic Darling Harbour Woodward Water Feature (or spiral fountain) but work out which way to run down it or you will get wet!
UNESCO Convict Sites
There are 11 UNESCO Convict Sites in Australia, four which stand in Sydney. All four are accessible most days of the week and offer a glimpse back in time to when the Australia we know today was being formed through the hard labour of convicts.
Tour the Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is one of the greatest architectural works of the 20th century and has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Every year, the site hosts more shows for kids than they do operas.
When it comes to inspiring creativity, visiting a gallery or exploring an artists residence is the closest you will come to art without actually doing it yourself. Over the years, Sydney has amassed both and visitors and locals are richer as a result. There are so many things in Sydney with kids. Where will you explore?
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, often referred to as the Coat Hanger, is one of the iconic sites of Sydney alongside the Sydney Opera House. This steel through arch bridge is accessible by train or car, but of course a walk across it, or over it, is the most exciting. Families will love the climb up the Sydney Harbour Pylon or you could try the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb if your kids are 8 years or older.
Tiptoe through the Daisies
Sydney is home to a large number of gardens which can be accessed daily by families. From the incredible Sydney Botanical Gardens to the super gorgeous Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden, the flowers are blooming and ready for you to smell them!
Sydney’s Awesome Beaches
Sydney is blessed with some of the countries best beaches. From those perfect for surfing to those where the ocean gently laps the shore, you’ll be able to find the best one to suit you in our ultimate Sydney Beaches for Kids interactive map. Prefer to stay indoors and swim? We can point you in the direction of some of Sydney’s best pools with a view!
A Little Culture (Chinese and Japanese)
Don’t leave Sydney to explore Asian culture! Right here in the city you will find an assortment of Asian influences that the whole family will enjoy discovering. Japanese and Chinese gardens are the first place to start and Sydney’s are incredible.
Museums are the place to head when the clouds cover the blue sky and threaten a little rain or when the temperature increases to an unbearable heat. In Sydney, knowing where to start is going to be your biggest concern when it comes to choosing between what’s on offer.
Enjoy an Afternoon High Tea
There’s something decadent about a high tea experience making it the perfect choice for a special occasion with the kids. Thus far we have only experienced the one, but we will add more as we visit and try them ourselves.
Reach the Sky
The Sky is an enigma to kids, creating a fascination that can lead your family on many wonderful adventures. From looking through telescopes to discovering the physics of flight, there’s an abundance of opportunities in Sydney to build new concepts and memories.
Go For a Walk
Walking not only develops good cardiovascular rhythms, but is great for family adventures which includes your four legged friends. With an abundance of gorgeous water around Sydney, sometimes putting your sneakers on and taking a stroll is the best way to see it all.
Which walks have we forgotten and should add? Leave a comment
Playgrounds are always going to be a favourite for families. A well planned playground keeps the kids busy and provides a much needed breather for the parents. Fairfield Adventure Park has recently topped our list as the best for tweens and teens, where places like Sydney Park and Blaxland Riverside Park are perfect for all ages.
Get Your Skates On
Sydney is never going to be known for its snow, but it is fast growing a reputation for its ice skaters. With rinks all around town, Sydneysiders and visitors alike can done a pair of skates and hit the ice well into the night. Watch out for the Parramatta Winterlight festival each year when you can even do it outside!
If you’re a little curious about paranormal activity in this city, you’ll want to check out one or two of the places in Sydney that are rumoured to be haunted. Whilst not are all appropriate for children, you may find something that will suit your family.
Locals will be slow to tell you about some of the truly delightful sites in Sydney, concerned that such knowledge will turn these uncrowded oasis’ into tourist hot spots. These little hidden wonders include Wendy’s Secret Garden to Barrenjoey Lighthouse, the country’s largest collection of antiquities at the Nicholson Museum and Parramatta Lake.
Plan Your Trip to Sydney
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When booking accomodation you are spoilt for choice when it comes to sourcing a place to stay in Sydney. We use Expedia to book most of our accomodation.
I’m paranoid about extremely expensive excess bills, so we usually use Apex Car Rental or Bayswater Car Rental who combine their excess into the rental fee and seem to be much cheaper than everyone else.
We fly Virgin Australia, Qantas or Jetstar when travelling domestically. You can use Skyscanner to find your cheapest flights.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Sydney? Let us know by leaving a comment