Sydney is the perfect pick for a family vacation. Whether it’s running wild in one of the city’s many parks or beaches, seeing the most famous attractions, or learning new things at a museum, Sydney has it all. 

Read on for our list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids, including:

  • Bondi to Bronte coastal walk
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Luna Park
  • Learn to surf at Bondi beach
  • Darling Harbour
  • SEA LIFE Sydney aquarium
  • Snorkelling at Shelley Beach
  • Cockatoo Island
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Take the ferry to Manly
  • The Powerhouse Museum
Bondi to Bronte.jpg

Bondi to Bronte coastal walk

This 3km cliff-top walk is the perfect way to spend a sunny Sydney morning. Take in the stunning panoramic ocean views, try to spot whales and dolphins, and stop off at one of the beachside parks on the way for a snack or a cool drink. Make sure you bring a camera for the impressive views and your swimmers for a dip. 

Once you get to Bronte, the park just behind the beach has a large grassy area - great for picnics and barbecues. There is also Bronte’s famous rock pool - popular with locals for good reason!

Taronga Zoo.jpg

Taronga Zoo

A must-visit for any animal lover visiting Sydney, Taronga Zoo is home to native wildlife and exotic animals alike. The Rainforest Trail has pygmy hippos, otters, monkeys and elephants, and you can get up close and personal with alpacas, goats, sheep and pigs on the Kids Trail. In addition to the animal habitats, daily bird and seal shows, and the ever-popular Sky Safari, Taronga Zoo also has a food market, restaurant and café as well as a theatre, so there’s plenty to keep you and your family entertained all day. 

Luna Park.jpg

Luna Park

Overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the huge smiling face over the entrance to Luna Park is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city. Enjoy a fun-filled day of classic rides at Sydney’s oldest funfair.

There’s plenty to do inside for kids of all ages (and older thrill-seekers too) from merry-go-rounds, ferris wheels and dodgems to more modern fairground attractions. Cotton candy and sideshow games add to the vintage charm and festive atmosphere. The cost of tickets to the rides are based on height, but entry to the park is free. 

Bondi Beach surfing .jpg

Learn to surf at Bondi beach

You can’t get much more Australian than learning to surf at Bondi beach. Perfect for older children (7+) and teens, there are several surf schools in the Sydney area that can teach your kids the basics. They’ll be pros in no time!

Darling Harbour Chinese Garden.jpg

Darling Harbour

There are so many family-friendly things to do in the waterfront area of Darling Harbour, but highlights include Sydney Aquarium, the Chinese Gardens of Friendship and the unmissable Darling Harbour Playground. 

There’s no shortage of choice and many places are free (or very cheap) to visit. The Darling Harbour Playground is a highlight due to its slides, swings, climbing frames, and a fun water play area - great for cooling off in the summer. A wide choice of cafés and restaurants, a ferris wheel, and fireworks on a Saturday makes this area one of the must-sees for families. 

Sealife aquarium.jpg

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Face your fears in Shark Alley and meet new feathered friends at the Penguin Expedition. Your kids will love exploring the underwater world and seeing the animals from the spectacular viewing tunnels. There are several different areas within the aquarium and the newest addition is the Great Barrier Reef zone, where you can experience the beauty of the world’s largest coral garden by day, and walk through a bioluminescent ocean that glows under your footsteps at night. 

Snorkeling shelly beach.jpg

Snorkel at Shelly beach

Shelly beach is one of the best for young snorkelers as the water is generally calm, there’s plenty to see, and the bay is small and sheltered. Plus there are rocks to explore, plenty of space to run around and a café. On a clear day, you can venture quite far out and see up to 20m down. You might expect to see an Eastern Blue Groper, a Port Jackson Shark, or a wobbegong (these curiously named little guys are pancake-flat ‘carpet sharks’ that blanket the sea floor, camouflaged among boulders and weeds). 

If you come without your own gear, snorkels, masks and fins are available to hire.  

Manly Ferry.jpg

Catch the ferry to Manly

Getting the ferry to Manly is one of the most popular things to do in the city, as it’s a cheap and easy way to see the sights of Sydney Harbour. It takes about 30 minutes to cross the harbour, with stunning views of the city skyline, including the Opera House, Botanic Gardens and the Harbour Bridge. 

Once you get to Manly there are plenty of kid-friendly activities: stroll down the promenade on the beach and grab an ice cream, play in one of the playgrounds, have a picnic, or just hang out on the beach.

Cockatoo island.jpg

Cockatoo Island

One of the less-well-known haunts, Cockatoo Island is just a short ferry ride away from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour. It once served as a prison and a ship dockyard and you can learn all about its history through self-guided walking trails or one of the guided tours. 

Start at the visitor centre to get a free activity book for the kids, which includes a pull-out map, treasure hunts and challenges. You can even stay overnight, toasting marshmallows around the campfire and catching a film at the cinema in the Convict Precinct before heading off to your tent or heritage house.

Royal Botanic Garden.jpg

Picnic at the Royal Botanic Garden 

For magnificent views of Sydney Harbour, an array of botanical delights and plenty of wildlife, you can’t miss this Royal National Park. There are several cafés and restaurants, self-guided walks and rolling green lawns, perfect for picnicking. If littler legs get tired, the Choo Choo Express is a 25-minute tour around the gardens. The Royal Botanic Garden also hosts special kids activities and experiences throughout the year. 

Powerhouse Museum

The Powerhouse Museum has a whole host of interactive, hands-on exhibitions spanning history, science, technology and design. The museum is suitable for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens. You can easily spend a few hours here, especially if you stop at the excellent gift shop and kid-friendly café. Even better, the Powerhouse is free for children 16 and under.  


Share Your Adventure with Us

Tag @GoCity in your vacation photos and we'll feature you on our page. Follow the Go City Instagram and Facebook pages for competitions, special offers, and events and inspiration for your chosen destination, too!