Hello Sydney Kids was a labour of love for this Sydney mother for all of the 10 years that I researched, photographed and wrote up articles for it. Myself and my four children always had an excuse to get in the car and explore our beautiful city.
We are now so thrilled to hand over the baton to the next generation, Tom and Lauren of Boobobutt, who aim to help families all over Australia enjoy adventures and explorations of our Great Southern Land.
My own children are all grown up, the older boys are 26 and 23 and the twins are 17, and most of us have moved out of Sydney. Whilst I still pop up and down to the city from our main family base in Orange, I just cannot maintain the website properly. And exploring family-friendly places in Sydney without children seems daft. It is time to let younger mums and dads rejuvenate the website and add great new content to it.
The Hello Sydney Kids’ aim remains the same; to get the kids outside and moving, to explore and have fun as a family and to find the absolute best indoor places, cafes and restaurants too.
As part of saying a fond farewell, whilst celebrating the arrival of new owners and new energy, I’ve collected in this article our family’s favourite Sydney places and the best-ever holiday spots that my family visited.
Our Top 5 Sydney Places For Families
Be still my beating heart. My four children and I have had such wonderful times at Northbridge Baths on Sydney Harbour’s best sea pools. I am smiling as I remember the years when all my children were younger and we lived in Willoughby, so used Northbrige Baths as our backyard pool.
This is a wonderful spot to meet up with family and friends, enjoy picnics, swim seriously, play beach cricket, watch the yachts, watch fish swimming and crabs creeping, jump off the jetty and learn to dive.
Check out all the details to help you plan your trip on this Northbridge Baths article.
Flint and Steel Bay Walk
It’s hard to get teenagers to go on family walks… there’s a lot of whinging often, but it’s worth it! This is one of my very favourite Sydney walks, and the day that my twins and friends and I did this walk the first time is remembered so very fondly. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is gorgeous, and there are many parts of it which look exactly as they did before colonisation. I feel that this walk is a walk back in time as well as a walk down some steep steps to a very beautiful bay and beach.
Read all about this special Sydney walk for families here: FLINT AND STEEL BEACH IN KU-RING-GAI CHASE NATIONAL PARK WALK
Parramatta (travel by Rivercat)
It feels adventurous to catch the Rivercat from Circular Quay and then travel all the way up the Parramtta River into the city of Parramatta. Check out our article on the Parramatta Rivercat here.
This gives your day out a whole other dimension. You can then explore all the fun things to do in Parramatta with kids, and then either travel back down the river, or hop on the train to get back to your point of departure.
(You’ll pass Cockatoo Island on this journey, also a wonderful place to visit with kids.)
We always lived on the North Shore so a family expedition to the Eastern Suburbs was a bit of a treat. We always tried to visit new places each school holidays. Before the kids went to school we visited more frequently, before weekend sports became our Saturday thing.
Anyway, our top spot is Clovelly Pool, the long sea inlet as well as this actual swimming pool you can see here. Myself and the kids love snorkelling at Clovelly, there are always schools of fish and large green and blue gropers to marvel at. Then there’s the sheer fun of leaping into the waves, experiencing large seas whack up against the rocks, playing on the beach and enjoying the kiosks and cafes too.
Clovelly can get very busy, so pick your times, get over there and spend a day in the sea and in the sunshine. Masks, snorkels, hats and sunscreen are compulsory.
Our family’s very favourite Sydney Harbour beach is Clifton Gardens, perhaps because we went on the annual school picnic there for all of the 17 years that we had children at primary school. We went at other times too, it was a school holiday favourite.
We looked for seahorses as we snorkelled, the kids must have jumped off that jetty hundreds and hundreds of times, they played cricket and football on the reserve and played with their friends on the excellent playground equipment.
Yes, the parking is expensive, but there’s nothing else to complain about at Clifton Gardens.
5 Favourite Family Holidays
Many families have a holiday destination that they return to year after year, getting to know it very well, maybe they went as children first and then go back with their own kids. For us, this is Jervis Bay, just 3 – 4 hours south of Sydney. The bay is huge and famous for its water clarity. The sea tends to be calm most of the time, there’s never real surf there and most days the water is flat calm so pretty safe for kids of all ages.
We have done boat trips to snorkel right under the cliffs at Point Perpendicular, and we’ve kayaked and bush walked too. But mainly we just wander around on the beaches, then spend hours sitting in cafes, browse the shops, cook up a BBQ and read our books. Jervis Bay is a coastal family paradise.
We were there in the school holidays that have just passed, with five 16-year-olds… everyone had a great time. The teenagers broke the local by-laws by jumping off Moona Moona Creek (as we always do.) If you ever do the same and find a GoPro Black 5 down there, it’s mine, dropped by my son as he attempted a somersault.
My long article on the 25 Things To Do at Jervis Bay With Kids has always been popular, and has been updated many times.
Fiji – especially Castaway Island
Ah, Fiji is holiday heaven. If you and the family need to really relax and be looked after – all of you – head to Fiji.
Now, our family is rare in that the first time we went to Fiji, it did not really work. Our twins were too young and too lively and the week we spent there was not a proper holiday. But we returned and had truly amazing holidays at the Outrigger on the Coral Coast and then – the ultimate – on Castaway Island.
Ah, how can I begin to explain the joy of waking up and knowing that I could just wander for two minutes down to the beach and snorkel on a coral reef that is right there. Bliss. And seeing our kids enjoy going to the kids club was heaven too. They would scamper off joyfully to take part in the day’s fun activities, then tell us all about it later. As a family we did boat trips to snorkel on other reefs and we kayaked all around the island. We ate our meals slowly, watched sunsets slowly and slept deeply each night, soothed by the sound of the small waves don the shore.
I would return to Castaway Island any day of the week, it really is a heavenly holiday haven. I have also done a wonderful island cruise with Captain Cook and my dream is to take all the family on the longer 11-night cruise one day.
Our family haven’t been overseas since Covid-19 called a halt to travel, but the last trip we did was a really terrific one , to Vietnam. We had booked everything through a local Vietnamese tour agency and everything worked very smoothly. We travelled from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh Cty via Halong Bay and gorgeous Hoi An. This holiday was an adventure and a history lesson and full of life lessons. We met some fantastic Vietnamese guides and loved visiting markets, doing cooking classes and exploring caves, museums and backstreets.
Check out what we did in Vietnam here.
The Gold Coast
Who doesn’t love the Goldie? This is Australia’s most popular family holiday destination and that’s because the Gold Coast has lots to do for families of children of all ages: toddlers, preschoolers, primary school kids and teenagers. There’s lots to do for everyone.
My teenagers enjoyed shopping, but they loved the theme parks even more and they went on rides that made me feel pale and giddy just to look at. And the beaches, oh the beaches…..
After our family visits, I wrote up a Beginners Guide to the Gold Coast and a Fun Things To Do On the Gold Coast with Teenagers article. I hope you find them useful, we had so many laughs doing the research.
Cairns + Port Douglas
Look, you cannot beat Far North Queensland as a holiday playground. There’s the Great Barrier Reef, of course, but also many other nature and environment-based activities, plus foodie delights, indigenous adventures and great places to stay.
Our family loved trips up here, especially the teenagers. Check out my article on the Best Things To Do in Cairns and Port Douglas with Teenagers.
The older boys did a guided reef dive and we have also done several GBR tours, have a look at our recommendations for Great Barrier Reef tours here.
Find a wonderful family resort in Cairns here and If you love a great hotel pool, check out the best hotel pools in Cairns here.
Although I hope to stay in touch with Hello Sydney Kids, this is Seana signing off as owner and very happily passing on the website into the care of younger mums and dads.
Enjoy exploring Sydney with the kids!
May Hello Sydney Kids and all the families who read it flourish!