With its laid back pace and seemingly endless supply of outdoor activities and kid-friendly attractions, Sydney is the perfect destination for your next family holiday!
Sydney Harbour Bridge
When it comes to exploring Sydney, there’s no better place to start than the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. Constructed in the 1920s, this iconic arched structure carries cars, trains, bikes and pedestrians across Sydney Harbour, connecting the CBD to the North Shore suburbs. The best way to experience the bridge and the stunning harbour views it offers is to walk the distance from one end to the other. Starting at either shore, stairs take you to a footpath which runs the eastern length of the bridge. From end to end you’ll cover a little over a kilometre. Walk back the way you came, or change up the return trip (and give everyone’s legs a rest) with a ferry ride back to your starting point.
Access to the footpath is free but for an extra special view check out the Pylon Lookout which, for a small fee, offers unparalleled views from 87 meters above sea level. You’ll have to climb 200 steps to make it to the top, but worry not, there are a series of exhibits along the way which outline the history of the harbour and provide an opportunity to catch your breath!
For an even more daring adventure strap on a harness and scale the external arch with Bridgeclimb Sydney. Reaching a height of 134 meters above sea level at “the summit” this tour is sure to get your heart pumping! Bridgeclimb Sydney offers a variety of packages which range in distance and in price. The family-friendly tours are appropriate for kids (8 and up) or thrill your teens with a twilight or night climb.
Boat lovers and animal lovers unite on a Sydney whale watching excursion! Humpback and southern right whales can be found along Sydney’s coastline from May to December. Kids will have fun spotting whales and it’s a great opportunity for the whole family to learn more about all kinds of creatures that live in the ocean.
There are a number of tour companies that operate in the area, each offering a slightly different experience. Larger boats may be more comfortable if you’re travelling with a stroller, while a smaller jet boat might be more engaging for adventure loving kiddos. Or, book a sailboat tour and spend the day pretending to be pirates!
If you’re looking for a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city then Cockatoo Island is the place for you. Originally used as a meeting place by First Nations People, Cockatoo Island has since been a prison, a naval shipyard and even a boarding school. Whether you have a couple of hours to kill or you’re looking to fill the whole day, there is plenty to see and do here.
If you’re interested in Cockatoo Island’s unique history there are a number of family friendly guided tours to choose from, or check out the “Crooked Characters” tour which is tailored specifically to kids. When tummies begin to rumble, head to one of the island’s two cafes (mum and dad will be pleased to know that both are licensed to serve alcohol) or pack your own lunch to enjoy in one of the picnic areas.
The fun doesn’t have to end there. A number of accommodation options offer an unforgettable overnight experience. Book the deluxe package at the waterfront campground and arrive to find your tent erected and ready, complete with comfy beds and camping chairs. Seasoned campers may prefer to book a BYO site and pitch their own tent. The campground has BBQs, a communal fire pit, and nightly movie screenings for kids. Meanwhile, for those who prefer the comforts of home and a solid roof overhead, there are a limited number of historical buildings which have been converted into accommodation, including two heritage houses and a former fire station.
A trip to Taronga Zoo is sure to be a family favorite. The excitement begins with the short and scenic ferry ride from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo Wharf. From there take the Sky Safari cable car to the zoo’s main entrance. Once inside the gates you’ll find all sorts of interesting creatures, some native to Australia, others imported from overseas. In addition to enjoying stunning harbour views, all the animals also receive world class care and an extremely high standard of living. There are various feedings and shows scheduled throughout the day, be sure to check the times so you don’t miss out.
For a bit of extra fun make a stop at the Wild Ropes high ropes course where you can join koalas in their natural habitat, and wave to kangaroos and emus from way up high. Older kids will love the flying fox, suspension bridges and climbing wall, while younger kids will feel like they’re part of the action on the size appropriate low ropes course (ages 3-8).
Bondi Beach and Clifftop Walk
No family vacation would be complete without a day at the beach, and no trip to Sydney would be complete without a visit to Bondi! Pack a picnic and plenty of sunscreen and spend the day enjoying one of Australia’s best known beaches. Parents will take some piece of mind knowing Bondi Beach is patrolled by lifesavers, but when the water is particularly rough little kids may be better off splashing around in one of the protected saltwater baths nearby. Older kids might be interested in taking a surf lesson, and kids of all ages will be happy to scope out the nearest ice cream vendor.
Stretch your legs on the scenic Bondi to Coogee Clifftop Walk, a 6 kilometer footpath which connects a number of beaches, sea baths and children’s parks. There are plenty of spots along the way to stop and take in the views. You’ll also find a series of plaques which tell local Aboriginal stories and history of the neighborhood.
With so much to see and do in Sydney there is sure to be something to please every member of your crew! Together, your family will make memories that will last a lifetime!
Jaz is of the Great Ocean Road Collective. A website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia will travelers far and wide. If you are planning your trip, need some inspiration or looking for authentic advice on Aussie travel visit our website The Great Ocean Road Australia or check us out on Instagram.
Last modified: September 15, 2020