Top 10 Free And Low Cost Things To Do In Sydney These School Holidays – Updated

Free Holiday activities sydney

School holidays are upon us! I’m cheering as I love the change of pace. Mind you, after a couple of weeks I’ll be booing, desperate for a bit of silence and solitude.

We all need to know about Sydney free school holiday activities because no family can afford to do paid stuff every day of the holidays. 

So, here’s my updated list of our family’s Top Ten Cheap and Free Activities for kids.

Hope you enjoy it and get some penny-pinching inspiration.

NB If you are looking more for shows and events, a complete guide to What’s On School Holidays Sydney can be found over on the membership section HSK Plus, click here to read more and join up.

HSK Plus has a huge list of free kids activities, both for school holidays and throughout the year. You’ll save more than you’d ever spend on the membership!



Free and Cheap Things To Do In Sydney

 1. Play At A Great Playground

The roads are quieter in the school holidays, and we have more time. How about visiting one of Sydney’s bigger playground with a picnic, make a day of it. Playgrounds get you outdoors and so have to be one of the best free kids activities Sydney has on offer!

Getting together with a group of friends makes a visit to the playground especially great for Sydney school holiday fun.

Here are some playgrounds that come highly recommended by us:

Putney Park Water Playground

Sydney Park Playground and Bike Track

Blaxland Riverside Park

Clifton Gardens Playground and Beach

Passmore Reserve, Manly

Darling Harbour Playground

Flying Fox Playground and Cafe at Mona Vale

Or check out our Sydney playgrounds map and huge lists on this post.

If you can’t be bothered making a picnic, check out the best playgrounds with cafes in Sydney.




2. Spend A Day At The Beach

There are too many great Sydney beaches, find a map here showing all the beaches described in great detail on this website. 

Our family believe that beaches make the best free things to do in Sydney with kids at any time of year. Even in winter you can run wild, collect drift wood, have a paddle… or even swim if you are as mad as us.

My favourite beaches for a day out are those that also have a fantastic playground… and even a cafe nearby too. Check them out on the Sydney beaches map post.


northbridge baths things to do school holidays in Sydney

Northbridge Baths makes a great free school holiday activity

3. Visit One Of Sydney’s Best Harbour Pools

Some of Sydney’s stunning harbour pools are completely free to visit. Summer for swimming, winter for beach play and paddling, they are great spots all year round. 

These harbour pools are very beautiful too, which the adults will enjoy whilst the kids run around outdoors, that’s school holiday fun Sydney style.

Have you been to:

Redleaf Pool

MacCallum Pool

Watsons Bay Baths

Northbridge Baths

Some Harbour pools do charge a small fee. This year we must get to the lovely Greenwich Baths, and in Balmain the Dawn Fraser Pool, very historic and scenic.

Also on the Harbour are some pretty beaches with  netted swimming enclosures. We love Clifton Gardens with its excellent playground, Little Manly Cove which (which has a great cafe) and we need to get back to Shark Beach in Neilsen Park and Parsley Bay which also has a playground, plus a kiosk. It’s been too long!



4. Check Out Sydney’s Best Swimming Pools for Kids

Holidays are a great time to go further from home than usual. My kids have loved visiting some further away pools like:

North Sydney Olympic Pool

Cook and Phillip Aquatic Centre

Blacktown Leisure Centre, Stanhope

Lane Cove Aquatic Centre

Ryde Aquatic Centre

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre

If you want to check out all the best water slides in Sydney, click here.

The complete list of swimming pools described on Hello Sydney Kids can be found here.



5. Spend The Day At A Bike Track

My big boys used to love a day at a bike track with friends.  Many bike tracks have playgrounds right beside them, you really can stay for the whole day.  Take a picnic and a Thermos of tea or coffee and let the kids ride and run wild all day.

Like tracks are another of fantastic free things to do with kids in Sydney and there are dozens to explore.

My list of Sydney’s best bike tracks is here.



6. Check Out Kids In The Park at Sydney Olympic Park

There are several free and low cost activities on offer amongst the more than 50 activities in the Kids In The Park program.  Check the program here.  

A simple visit to Sydney Olympic Park also makes for fun school holidays activities, Sydney’s premier sporting centre has so much to see and do, much of it cheap and free.

Enjoy walks, playgrounds, the huge pool and more: check the Sydney Olympic Park website here.



7. Try Some NPWS WilderQuest Activities

NSW National parks and Wildlife Service runs many child-friendly free and low price events throughout the year. Check them out on the NPWS  Wilderquest website.

You can also play the award-winning WilderQuest game on computer or on an iPad, check here to read my post on WilderQuest. And it’s absolutely free.



8. Get Out And Walk By The Water

Sydney has many great family-friendly walks, and our faves are by the ocean. Let the briny breeze blow the mental cobwebs away!

There are great walks for stroller pushers, safe walks for toddlers and more challenging walks for school children too.  I have a few walks on the blog, find my child-friendly walks listed here.  


cheap things to do with kids BYO popcorn to movies

BYO popcorn to the movies to save $$$

9. Go To The Movies – Budget Version

Use the cheaper books of tickets to keep costs down and BYO caramel popcorn and drinks. If you are taking babies and toddlers, have a look at the great child-friendly cinemas and screenings which happen all over Sydney.

Some cinemas have ‘baby crying rooms’ where you can sit with the family and cause no-one any bother. Others have specific screenings where no-one will complain if your toddler starts rummaging around under the seats or your baby starts squawking.

Find my list of them all here.



10. Stay At Home And Bake And Make

As my kids got older, we also enjoyed staying at home more. The kids could run and play in the cul de sac and we also enjoyed baking and doing crafty things.

We might bake a healthy chocolate cake… or a beetroot and chocolate cake.… or some spiced zucchini bread.… actually we might just give the healthy option a body swerve and get straight into some caramel popcorn. Movie time!

On a sunny day my kids still love drawing all over our windows using liquid chalk which we get from Smiggle shops.


Save Money With Scoopon

Check out the Sydney deals page on Scoopon to find some discounted bargains like:


For more free school holiday activities Sydney check out this post about places to visit which cost nothing:

The Best Free Things To Do in Sydney



So there you go, no need to wonder what’s on in school holidays in Sydney, the free stuff is here and you can find a complete what’s on listing plus more free events and activities over at HSK Plus.

Hope you enjoy some rest and relaxation over the holidays

Catch you when term starts back.

What are you up to these holidays?

Take it easy




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Posted on: March 18, 2019


  • Reply September 21, 2013


    Great list Seana! Will share with my Sydney mates.


  • Reply September 21, 2013


    Thanks for the ideas. With my boys only recently back from school camp where they did Archery, I have promised to make the trip out to Homebush. The holidays are also a great time to get some quality time with the grandparents. I am also planning to get the kids out in the garden for some spring planting.

  • Reply September 23, 2013


    What a great list of ideas!
    Looks like your kids are going to be very entertained these school holidays 🙂
    I always look forward to the end of the school term 🙂

  • Reply September 23, 2013


    Interesting article. I wish to visit Sidney someday…

  • Reply September 23, 2013

    Sonia Life Love Hiccups

    Some great ideas for the holidays there hun – thank you. Speaking of holidays – you have yourself a fabulous one ok xx

    • Reply September 24, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Thank you Sonia, we fly up to Queensland tomorrow – can’t bloomin’ wait. Enjoy the hols.

  • Reply September 25, 2013

    Hotly Spiced

    Lovely to hear you’re going away on a real family holiday. I’m sure that’s long overdue. I hope you have the best time. This is a great list. I’ve already been to the Flying Fox Playground and on Friday we’re going to visit Treetops and use the vouchers we won on your blog and we’re planning a day at an aquatic park and a few other things besides. I’m sure the two weeks will fly by xx

    • Reply October 1, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Hope you have been having fun. We are away, home tomorrow which will be a shock to the system. XX

  • Reply September 28, 2013

    Desire Empire

    How funny that you should have a head shot of Ryde Aquatic centre. We were there on Thursday. I even went in. The kids had a ball and it was such a cheap day out. Didn’t even have to pay for parking. And great to see Olympic venues being turned over to the people for the greater good. brilliant.

    • Reply October 1, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Yes, pools are the best, winter and summer, sunshine or rain for us… they wear the kids out at bargai prices, big win for us.

  • Reply September 28, 2013


    Great round up Seana! Will share it with my readers. Nic

    • Reply October 1, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Thank you… we have come away on holidays but I will be using this post when we get back as we’ll be broke!

  • Reply October 1, 2013


    Nice blog here! Also your website loads up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

    • Reply October 1, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Hello, no affiliate link, it’s all thank to Rich Candy at who made sure it loads fast.

  • Reply January 15, 2014


    What a great list of things to do!!! I used to live in the eastern suburbs so always liked going to clovelly beach, it is like a pool and a beach in one 🙂

  • Reply March 5, 2014


    Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site
    with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information.
    I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Fantastic blog and brilliant style and design.

    • Reply March 5, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Thank you so much, you’re very welcome here!

  • Reply July 5, 2014


    Wow what a great school holiday resource this is. There is so much to do in this town and lots of it free.

  • Reply April 6, 2015


    Awesome list Seana!!! I have shared it on FB with my readers. We are always looking for low cost activities to keep our little one entertained!!!

    • Reply April 7, 2015

      Seana Smith

      Thanks Shelley, it’s far too easy to spend loads of money in school holidays. Fresh air fun is cheap!

  • Off to Watsons Bay tomorrow with the kids and a group of friends…lovely big space to roam, coffee stops for Mummy and a sweet beach (Camp Cove) to paddle…Bon Voyage.xx

  • Reply July 27, 2016


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