Family Fun Things to Do in Sydney
Whether you’re a Sydneysider, visiting friends or family or simply playing tourist in Australia’s oldest city, there is a treasure trove of fun, adventure and long-lasting memories waiting to be made.
Families with little ones, public transport is a great way to get around it’s not only affordable, but also frequent, and for the most part easy to navigate. However, for visitors we do recommend a transfer from the airport so you’re not having to walk the streets with your luggage.
Don’t stress if you can’t get a car with child safety seat, you only need this if you’re planning on doing trips further out into the suburbs and could be avoided if you book an inclusive tour or can hitch a ride with family.
Following a recent trip, here’s our top 18 family fun ways to keep the family entertained, connected and energised exploring Sydney’s manmade and natural icons over six days.
SPLASH DOWN AT RAGING WATERS
Open in the warmer months, Raging Waters goes off with the summer heat in full swing perfect for primary age and teenagers. Located in Prospect just a half hour from the airport and 40 minutes from the CBD, you’ll find a variety of fun water activities for all ages. Younger children will enjoy the Beach Wave Pool, Dinosaur Lagoon, Junior Slides, and splash pads. Plenty of slide and tube action for the big kids and with great friendly staff on duty and a variety of tasty food options for lunch this really is a great day out! Remember to get in early to get the jump on the lines.
MEET PIG THE DUGONG
For an all-weather indoor activity, you can’t go past a visit to SEA LIFE Sydney. Allow at least 90 minutes for your visit, but with the many play areas designed to engage the children in the underwater world and its conservation you could spend a few hours here if you get your timings right! 😉Highlights include Pig the Dugong, the Penguin Expedition boat ride and exhibit to see and learn about Antarctica as well as the King and Gentoo Penguin. You’ll also encounter some of the world’s largest aquarium sharks as you walk through the aquarium tunnels. We found this easily accessible via Darling Harbour and the CBD, there’s plenty to see and do in the surrounds.
LUNCH IN CHINATOWN
A visit to Chinatown and Haymarket is bound to offer an exciting and unique cultural experience for children. Think noodles, dumplings, rice and honey chicken, colourful food and décor combined with the sights and sounds of the marketplace or even interactive dining such as dim sum. Try lunch or afternoons for walk-ins and quick service with the kids.
SHAKE YOUR SILLIES OUT
At Darling Quarter, a short 10 minute walk or a light rail stop away from Chinatown. Here you’ll discover a wonderland of play spaces such as splash pads, slides, the Chinese Garden of Friendship and much more. Stop by to shake the sillies out but be sure to pack spare clothes!
WORLD FAMOUS FISH MARKETS
Sydney Fish Markets is one of the largest seafood markets in the world. Just a 30 minute walk from Darling Quarter but with the kids we’d recommend jumping on the Sydney Light Rail to get there. An eye opener for children of all ages, the markets trade over 14,000 tonnes of seafood annually and hosts over 2.7 million visitors. You can buy fresh seafood, dine in at one of the many restaurants or even take a guided tour of the market.
EVENTS + FESTIVALS
We timed our trip with the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, however Sydney hosts plenty of events and festivals throughout the year with Sydney Festival in January and Vivid Sydney May through to June offering music, theatre, dance and visual arts. During April you can catch the Sydney Royal Easter Show covering two-weeks of livestock competitions, carnival rides and food stalls. During winter try Bondi Winter Magic with ice-skating, outdoor cinema and other winter activities. Spring time brings Sydney Children’s Festival in October followed by Sculpture by the Sea, an annual outdoor sculpture exhibition held in October and November along the coastal walk from Bondi extending through to Tamarama Beaches.
SAND, SURF & SUN
Visit Australia’s most famous beach – Bondi Beach, a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and it’s no surprise why. With its soft sand, gentle waves and buzzing atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot for some time outdoors with the family. Children can play in the sand, swim in the ocean, or even take a surf lesson. There’s some great walks too if you’re looking to burn off a little more energy!
RETAIL THERAPY+ BRUNCH at QVB
The Queen Victoria Building, or QVB, is a historic shopping center in the heart of Sydney. It’s a stunningly unique building, with an array of shops and cafes to explore. Families can take a leisurely stroll through the shops, browse for souvenirs, and then stop for brunch at one of the many cafes. It’s a great way to spend a slower paced morning or afternoon with the kids.
CREATE + BE INSPIRED
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) located in Circular Quay is a fantastic place for children to learn about and be inspired by contemporary art. The museum offers a range of programs and activities for families, including free art-making workshops on weekends. Children can explore their creativity, learn about different artists, and engage with art in a hands-on way.
THRILLS AT HYPER KARTING
With a main track and a mini track for 3 to 8 year olds, Hyper Karting in Moore Park in Sydney’s CBD, is the perfect activity for high energy children or those who love a thrill. With electric go-karts that can reach speeds of up to 80km/h, it’s an adrenaline-fueled experience that’s sure to get hearts racing. The track is designed with safety in mind, so parents can relax while their kids enjoy the ride.
The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden in Centennial Park is a must-visit for families with younger children. The garden is designed to encourage children to explore, climb, and play in a natural environment. There are tunnels to crawl through, rocks to climb, and even a water play area. It’s a great way for kids to connect with nature and burn off some energy.
GET ACTIVE IN CENTENNIAL PARK
Hire a PEDAL CAR for a ride around beautiful Centennial Park. Another great activity in Centennial Park is hiring a pedal car. We actually missed out on this but it’s on the list for our next visit. Choose from Centennial Park Cycle‘s range of pedal cars, from two-seaters to four-seaters, so the whole family can join in. It’s a fun and active way to explore the park and take in the beautiful scenery.
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
The Australian National Maritime Museum is a fascinating place for families to learn about Australia’s maritime history. The museum has a range of permanent exhibits, from historic ships to interactive displays which are free to discover. Children can explore submarines and climb aboard a tall ship. There’s something for everyone at this museum. We spent hours here and were also lucky enough to time it with the Lego Brick Wrecks interactive exhibit.
TAKE THE FERRY TO MANLY
Taking a ferry to Manly is not only a great way to see the sights of Sydney Harbour, but it’s also a fun day out for the whole family. Once in Manly, there are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants to explore, as well as the beautiful Manly Beach. Children can play in the sand, swim in the netted beach, or even try their hand at surfing. The Manly Surf n Slide is also a great option for kids, with water slides and pools for all ages.
Kirribilli is a picturesque suburb located on the north side of Sydney Harbour and home to Kirribilli House, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Australia overlooking the harbour. Families can take a ferry from Circular Quay to Kirribilli Wharf and then explore the area on foot and discover the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron plus beautiful parks, playgrounds and eateries beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We didn’t get there but we hear Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a stunning place for spending time with family and capturing some family photos.
FAMILY FUN WITH A SYDNEY ICON
The architecture and location of Sydney’s Luna Park alone offer sights to see, but add to this its timeless amusements it really is a must for a fun filled family day out! Discover Coney Island and Sideshow Games plus the modern-day thrill rides we’re all familiar with. All ages are covered with a selection to suit both fun-lovers and thrill-seekers. The fun doesn’t stop with the amusements, you can refuel with nostalgic style favourites.
DINE + PLAY AT AN ENCHANTED EATERY
Visit The Grounds of Alexandria for a whimsical treat! A place abundant with delicious food options with ample outdoor seating for families to eat and allow some freedom for children to play. We love the kid-friendly fun here with animals, giant sandpit and interactive installations that are often changing.
UP CLOSE WITH FURRY FRIENDS
For those in or planning to visit North Sydney you’ll find Golden Ridge Animal Farm a 20 minute drive from Hornsby. A family run business focused on educating and entertaining children this was a very warm and friendly day out. They cover off all your favourite farm activities like milking a dairy cow, cuddling baby chicks, feeding the farm animals, pony rides and even egg collecting coop (both additional cost). Our boys loved the Digger Zone which you get access to with your daily pass, and just $5 per digger ride. Bookings are essential. You’ll find a host of other farms, zoos and wildlife sanctuaries throughout Greater Sydney depending on where you’re staying.
To discover, book and gift family fun and adventure in and around Sydney view our experience page.