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There are so many fun things to do in Sydney with kids, making Sydney a wonderful option for a family vacation. As one of the biggest cities in Australia, you’re going to have no trouble finding Sydney activities for families!
From the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House to iconic beaches and cultural experiences, there’s definitely plenty of family fun to be had.
This guide will help you plan the best Sydney attractions for families and create your own perfect Sydney itinerary, no matter if you’re visiting Sydney for 1 day or for many!
After all, some of our favourite scenic spots are in the Greater Sydney region.
According to our 8-year-old, the best things to do in Sydney with kids are seeing the Sydney Opera House and taking a boat ride under the Sydney Harbour Bridge – she was pretty easy to please!
Fun Things To Do In Sydney With Kids
When visiting Sydney, you’ve got to make time for at least a few of the things on this list and thankfully, many of them are close together so that even with one full day to explore Sydney city, you will still be able to fit a few of them into your stay.
1. Ride The Ferry From Circular Quay
Cruising on a ferry from Circular Quay is a must-do family activity that is both fun and scenic!
Your kids will love taking in the harbour views, spotting iconic Sydney attractions like The Rocks and the Opera House on the way and stopping to explore new places.
It is an amazing place with a ferry leaving every few minutes to different parts of the Harbour, including Taronga Zoo, Manly Beach and Watsons Bay.
In addition to being a mode of transportation, it is also a fun experience that won’t break the bank.
Location: Circular Quay, Sydney
Opening Hours: Always open
Travel Tip: The Sydney ferry terminals are all equipped with tap-and-go scanners that allow you to use your credit card at each end. This way you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket at a booth before riding the ferries.
2. Explore Darling Harbour
If you are looking for things to do in Sydney, exploring Darling Harbour is hard to beat. It is a bustling waterfront area surrounded by family-friendly activities and dining.
There is always something happening around Darling Harbour.
At Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, you can explore the ocean without getting wet. It is perfect for children of all ages since it is both exciting and educational.
This is a great option if you’re looking for rainy-day activities in Sydney.
They also have a range of ticket upgrades, with behind-the-scenes tours, VIP experiences and an aquarium dining experience if you want to do something a little extra special.
There are combo tickets available to visit some of the other popular attractions in Sydney too, including Wildlife Sydney, Madame Tussauds and the Sydney Tower Eye.
Location: Aquarium Wharf, Darling Harbour
Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 4 pm | school holidays 9:30 am to 5 pm
Price: $49 per adult | $28.80 per child (3-15) | Under 3s are free
10. Australian Museum
Explore Australia’s rich natural history and cultural heritage at the Australian Museum.
This heritage-listed museum is the oldest museum in Australia!
It’s also the 5th oldest natural history museum in the world so that alone makes it a pretty cool place to visit.
Here you will find educational fun displays related to natural history and anthropology. The museum also hosts exhibits featuring indigenous artwork and cultural events that showcase various cultures worldwide.
It’s recommended to allow at least 2 hours to fully explore the museum, especially if you are planning to visit any of the special touring ticketed exhibits. General entry is free though.
Take a cruise on a tall ship in Sydney Harbour for a unique cruising experience. The kids will feel like they’re part of Captain Jack Sparrow’s crew in Pirates of the Caribbean!
Sail with a crew of passionate navigators, explore the natural beauty of the harbour and learn about its history.
Many of the cruises include lunch or you can do a twilight dinner cruise. There. are also cruises that stop at some of the unique harbour city attractions, such as historic Goat Island in Sydney Harbour National Park.
Depending on the time of year, they also offer tall ship whale-watching cruises in Sydney.
It’s an unforgettable experience for the whole family!
Location: Tours depart from Campbell’s Covey Wharf at The Rocks
Opening Hours: Tours depart at different times each day
Price: From $69 per adult | $39 per child | $177 Family of 4 (under 4 cruise free)
22. Hyde Park Barracks
Step back in time and visit the Hyde Park Barracks, a World Heritage site listed by UNESCO. It provides insight into Sydney’s colonial history.
This former convict accommodation, hospital, courthouse and barracks is now a museum and cafe.
Kids will enjoy trying on leg irons, swinging in the convict’s hammock, and learning about their ancestry.
They have a kids’ trail available that involves listening to stories, clues and completing fun activities as you explore the museum. This makes the experience much more suited to younger visitors.
Location: Queens Square, Macquarie Street.
Opening Hours: Thursday – Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm
Price: Entry is free however online bookings are required to manage capacity
23. Luna Park
One of the greatest Sydney family activities is a day at heritage-listed amusement park Luna Park Sydney.
It has been a favourite among locals and visitors alike since it opened in 1935.
Although not as old as its Melbourne counterpart in St Kilda which opened in 1912, the two parks are quite similar, right down to the iconic smiling face entrance.
A fun-filled day out for the whole family awaits with roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, carousels, bumper cars, sideshow attractions and more!
The Sydney theme park sits along the edge of the harbour making it easy to access by ferry.
Location: 1 Olympic Drive, Milson’s Point
Opening Hours: Opening days and times are different depending on the season & school holidays. Check the website for details.
Price: Prices start from $44 per adult and $34 for children for a day pass
24. Sydney Zoo
This zoo provides an amazing opportunity to see wildlife of land and sea with the only combined zoo and aquarium in New South Wales.
It also has the largest reptile and nocturnal house in the world.
It has a variety of species that can be seen up close, with precincts for Africa, Asia, and Australia too.
Location: 700 Great Western Highway, Eastern Creek
At the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, foster a passion for modern art.
Discover the newest trends in the art world while perusing cutting-edge pieces of art and participating in creative workshops.
Kids have the chance to let their imaginations and creativity run wild.
Although, the best time to visit the art gallery with kids is during the NSW school break since they have a holiday program to keep the kids occupied.
Location: 140 George St, The Rocks
Opening Hours: 10 am – 5 pm every day except Tuesday
26. Centennial Parklands
Centennial Parklands encompasses 3 of Sydney’s urban parks – Centennial Park, Moore Park and Queens Park.
Centennial Park is one of the biggest parks in Sydney with more than 189 hectares of open spaces, located just 4km from the Sydney CBD.
Here you will find gardens, wetlands, sports fields and cycling tracks to enjoy the great outdoors.
Moore Park is 115 hectares and here you will find a lake, sports grounds, and an equestrian centre for horseriding.
Queens Park is 26 hectares, with sports fields, playgrounds, free BBQ facilities and great views of Sydney.
There are also playgrounds for the kids in each of them, including Centennial Homestead Playground, Paddington Gates Playground and nearby Moore Park Rotunda Playground to name just a few of the play spaces.
Location: Centennial Parklands Sydney
Opening Hours: Always open
27. Rocks Discovery Museum
The Rocks Discovery Museum is a small but great museum in Sydney, housed in a restored 1850s sandstone warehouse.
This is a good option for older kids who have an interest in the local history as it tells the story of The Rocks from their pre-European days to the present time.
You may see a variety of artifacts from many centuries ago and also learn about the local and traditional custodians of the area.
There are 4 permanent exhibition areas, some best suited to older kids and others that will interest younger kids from 5 and up.
They also have free hands-on school holiday programs during the NSW school break.
Location: 2 Kendall Lane, The Rocks
Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm.
28. Whale Watching Cruise
Sydney is blessed with an amazing migration of humpback whales each year, as they make their way from Antarctica to the warmer Pacific Ocean waters.
The Sydney whale watching season is typically between May and November each year, although the winter months of June and July are usually the best time for whale sightings.
Whale watching is a perfect Sydney family activity to witness these magnificent creatures up close on a comfortable vessel.
If you’re not keen on a cruise, there are a few great whale vantage points around Sydney too, where you may just be lucky enough to spot one of the giant creatures from the shore.
Check out Cape Solander in Kamay Botany Bay National Park or try the cliff-top walking trails from Bondi to Cogree and Federation Cliff Walk from Dover Heights to Watsons Bay.
Location: Departing from Circular Quay
Opening Hours: Check operator websites for details
Price: Differs per cruise operator
29. Cockatoo Island
Wareamah Cockatoo Island is a World Heritage site and the largest island in Sydney Harbour.
Jump on the ferry at Circular Quay, since it can only be reached by boat! It’s a great place for families to explore, with lots of interactive activities and interesting attractions.
You can do a self-guided audio tour that can be purchased for a few dollars at the visitor centre.
This will take you to the different precincts, including the popular convict precinct that will be most interesting for the kids.
Kids will love exploring the tunnels, and ruins, taking in the views from the coastal walk and playing in the open spaces.
They also have regular family activities such as guided tours, outdoor cinema
For a really unique experience, you can also spend a night glamping on Cockatoo Island.
They have tents set up and ready for your stay, so you don’t need to worry about anything except showing up. Or bring your own sleeping gear to make it even cheaper!
Or if camping and glamping aren’t your scene, there are also holiday apartments too.
Location: Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour, Sydney
Opening Hours: Visitor centre is open 10 am- 4 pm daily
Price: Free (+ cost of water transport)
30. Watson Bay
Watson Bay is less than a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay.
This is one of our favourite half-day trips from Sydney when you don’t have a lot of spare time but still want to get out on the water and visit somewhere nearby.
You can actually stay an entire day since it has quite a lot of things to do here.
One of the best things to do in Watson Bay is visit Robertson Park. The park has a playground that is perfect to burn your little ones’ energy.
There’s also loads of space to kick a football or throw a frisbee, and of course, have a picnic under a shady tree. Or take a dip in the small beach area.
There is a waterfront bar and restaurant here but it is on the pricy side! The Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel has a takeaway menu with fish and chips and pizza, as well as a bistro and fine dining options.
The location is fab for an arvo beverage though.
This is a great spot to enjoy part of the South Head Heritage Trail with the Watsons Bay Walk that takes you along the cliff edge. Epic views!
You also get some great views of the Sydney skyline from Watsons Bay on a clear day.
Location: Watsons Bay, Eastern Sydney
Opening Hours: Check the hotel website for restaurant opening times
31. Treetops Advenuture Park
For families looking for an outdoor adventure, Treetops Adventure Park is one that will challenge each of you in Sydney’s west.
This park usually features treetop obstacle courses and ziplines, with courses suitable for 3 years and up.
There are 4 junior courses here, 4 tree tropes courses, a zip coaster, 23 ziplines plus over 100 aerial challenges so you can easily fill a couple of hours of fun!
Location: Plough & Harrow East, Western Sydney Parklands
Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday and from 9 am on weekends
Price: Adults $59 l Kids ages 8-15yrs old $49 l kids ages 3-7yrs old $32.
Best Beaches In Sydney For Families
A day at the beach is always a great way to enjoy the sunshine and spend time with family. Here are some of the best beaches for families in Sydney.
32. Bronte Beach
Wondering and thinking about where to take your kids for a fun beach day? Sydney is famous for its beautiful beaches and Bronte Beach is made for families.
This is a popular spot all year round, with walking trails, a great adventure playground for the kids and heaps of covered picnic tables.
Our kids spent an hour playing here and it was hard to get them to leave!
There is also an ocean pool for swimming, which is great for kids who are a little cautious about swimming in the waves.
33. Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is easily the most iconic beach in all of Australia!
Tourists flock here from around the world to swim at the famous Bondi Beach!
In fact, there’s even a reality TV show based around this popular Sydney beach – Bondi Rescue, following some of the rescues and unusual situations the lifeguards of Bondi encounter.
It is known for its golden sands and iconic surf industry.
The beachfront is also lined with cafes and restaurants, which makes it easy for you and your kids to find something to eat.
There is also a playground, a skate park and street art to admire. We were lucky enough to see one of the local artists working on her piece during our last visit.
34. Manly Beach
Manly Beach is a family-friendly place that is just a short ferry ride away from the city.
Manly Beach is Simon’s favourite of the Sydney beaches, having visited a few times over the years. It’s a lot more relaxed than the popular and busy Bondi Beach.
There is plenty of space for kids to build sandcastles and play in the waves.
It’s a great place to spend a day at the beach since it has plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Get there by ferry and arrive at heritage-listed Manly Wharf along the West Esplanade.
You can easily do a self-drive visit to the Blue Mountains if you have your own car. It takes around an hour to get there.
We highly recommend a visit to Scenic World Blue Mountains. This is one of the most popular attractions in the region and it’s well worth the admission entry.
Here you can ride the world’s steepest passenger rail, the steepest cableway in the Southern Hemisphere and ride the cable car between the mountains. And you can ride each of them as many times as you like during your visit.
There are also heaps of walking trails to explore. Our favourite was the Gruffalo Trail which is an interactive trail for kids.
They give you activity books at check-in and there is an App to download that you can scan for a virtual reality experience. It has you doing some hilarious things so if you hear people shouting and jumping, that’s what’s going on!
The Three Sisters is another must-see in the Blue Mountains, which you can view from Echo Point Lookout or go a little further down the track to see the first sister up close.
There are day trips by coach from Sydney as well or consider staying for a night or two so you can explore a little deeper.
Sydney is an easy city to get around, with heaps of different transport options for families.
The easiest way to get around is by public transport, including trains, buses, light rail (trams) and ferries.
You can also hire a car if you want more freedom and flexibility during your trip.
There are plenty of car rental options at Sydney Airport. Traffic can be chaotic but this makes it easier to get beyond the city if you are doing a New South Wales road trip or day trips.
Conclusion: Sydney Attractions For Families
There are so many great things to do in Sydney with kids when you are spending time in the New South Wales capital. Sydney is a family-friendly city with a wide variety of attractions and activities for kids and adults of all ages.
FAQs: Family Activities In Sydney
Is Sydney Australia kid friendly?
Sydney is the largest city in Australia and it has plenty of family activities, including both indoor and outdoor activities to suit kids and families.
Are there theme parks in Sydney?
Yes, there are several theme parks in the greater Sydney region. The two most popular ones are Luna Park and Wet’n’Wild Sydney – both of which offer a fun day out for kids and adults alike.
How much time should I plan for visiting Sydney with kids?
This really depends on how much you want to see and do. Generally, a few days in Sydney is enough to explore the attractions, but you could easily spend longer if you wanted to do a few day trips.
Are there beaches near Sydney suitable for children?
Yes, there are several family-friendly beaches located within easy reach of the city centre. These include Manly Beach, Bondi Beach and Bronte Beach. These beaches have lifeguards on duty during peak seasons.