Family Holidays

A Guide to Family-Friendly Holidays in Sydney

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For a long weekend, a break during school holidays, or a trip to take in some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks; Sydney is an ever-popular destination for families. The Harbour City is brimming with things to do, places to stay and sights to see, with options to appeal to all travelling troops. But if you are looking for a head-start in planning your next Sydney family holiday, we’ve compiled a short guide that covers fun things to do, great kid-friendly eats, and tips on where to stay while in Australia’s Emerald City.

What To Do

Taronga Zoo

Open from 9:30am to 5pm daily, including on Christmas Day, Taronga Zoo is accessible by public transport or driving. Tickets can be bought online (for a discount of up to 20% off gate price). For both kids and adults, the wild rope course is a fun adventure.

With helmet and harness attached, you can climb walls, manoeuvre your way across suspension bridges and sail through the air on flying foxes, all overlooking the beautiful Sydney Harbour from the air. There are separate courses for kids 3 to 8, and also for those aged 8 to 17 years.

To really indulge in the wildlife experience, stay overnight and experience the night safari, where keepers present talks on the animals and enclosures, you overnight in safari-style tents overlooking Sydney Harbour and families can meet the animals up close.

Green Square Library and Plaza

Even before you get to the award-winning library, the outdoor plaza offers a water play feature that will have the kids either entranced from a distance, or leaping into the streams with glee.

Once you’re inside, there’s access to an outdoor, secure garden where kids can follow the stone steps through and around the plants and seating while parents are safe in knowing there’s no traffic or stray dogs and bikes.

In the designated kids’ area there’s plenty of little spaces for kids to curl up with a book or watch digital movies, share toys or just explore their surroundings. Parents can access the WiFi network to check in with relatives back home or seek out nearby venues for coffee or meals.

Aquatic Centres

The historic Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool is one of five aquatic centres in Sydney. They’re a great way to entertain the kids – with splash pools and giant inflatables for a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Adults can attempt as many laps as they’re inclined to in the main pools.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Kids and adults will all love Sky Zone where the entire floor and walls are built to bounce off. Located in Alexandria, this is the ideal spot to race around, bounce, leap and play later in the day to ensure a solid night of sleep later on. There’s more than 30 indoor rock climbing walls for the more intrepid adventurers.

Where To Eat

Acre Eatery

Acre at Camperdown Commons sources much of their fresh produce from the adjoining Pocket City Farms. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating. For little ones full of energy, outdoors seating enables the kids to run around and play while you wait for your dinner, or dessert. Plus, a dedicated kids’ menu will cater for picky palates.

The Grounds of Alexandria

The Grounds of Alexandria opened in 2012. A garden/restaurant that offers workshops for mums and kids with a passion for plants, or yoga for mum and dad and the older kids. The scenic grapevine-twined courtyard makes for scenic family photos and the menu is equally photogenic. Smashed avo is almost mandatory on Australian breakfast/brunch menus, but save room for their mouth-watering cake and coffee options too. The kids will also love meeting Harry Trotter, The Grounds’ resident pig, and Russel Crow the Rooster in The Garden.

Butcher and the Farmer

Tramsheds makes a popular day out for families looking for things to do in Sydney, not least because there are more than a dozen options for feasting at this European-style dining hall. The eatery that takes out the novelty factor though, is Butcher and the Farmer. Housed in a revamped tram carriage, Butcher and the Farmer makes sure its youngest passengers are looked after with a kids’ menu that still champions the restaurant’s focus of top-end produce and outstanding meat products.

Three Blue Ducks

Three Blue Ducks have outposts in Bronte, Byron Bay and Brisbane, but the Rosebery location, cosseted in a converted industrial warehouse, has a particular cosy atmosphere to it. A small kids’ menu, for ‘Ducklings’, covers options from breakfast through dessert – think eggs and soldiers, pasta with tomato sauce, barbecue chicken, and a chocolate brownie crumble.

Where To Stay

Staying centrally to sights such as the aquarium, zoo, National Maritime Museum and also close to public transport means less logistics to deal with for busy families.

The Sydney CBD is a great option for families wanting to make use of the Circular Quay ferries or who like to be in the heart of the action. The CBD is within walking distance of the Harbour Bridge, plus the Botanic Gardens and the Rocks area. It can be busy during the day but quietens in the evening.

Darling Harbour is one of the most popular places for families to stay in Sydney, not least because there are dozens of things to do and attractions just a hop, skip and a jump away. There are an abundance of hotels in the area, and days can be spent moseying between Madame Tussauds, the IMAX cinema, Chinese Garden of Friendship, and the cluster of cafes and restaurants peppered throughout Darling Quarter.

If you’re a family of beach-goers then a stay in one of Sydney’s sandier suburbs will likely pique your interest. Bondi is arguably the most famous of Sydney’s beach-side neighbourhoods and it has excellent family-friendly credentials to boot, thanks to a kids’ pool and playground by the iconic beach, relaxed cafes, and plenty of open space for picnics and running around. Other beachy bases for families wanting a place to stay in Sydney include Coogee, Watsons Bay and Manly.

Hero image: Eggzy Pallet on Unsplash

Cat Woods is a Melbourne-based journalist and also a yoga, barre and Pilates instructor. She writes on destinations and travel, both local and international.

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