Top Five Things To Do In Sydney – With Kids

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I was set a blog challenge by the lovely Katrina Whelan, Melbourne-based Babyology writer and mother of four.


She tweeted:

Oooooohhhh… where to start?  How to end?!

And how on earth does she to have four children aged 5-9? That’s four kids in four years!

I don’t know Katrina’s children, are they outdoors or indoors kids, or a mixture of both?.

Anyway I’ve done the Top Five that my kids would love, then added in a few alternatives just in case.


Our Top Five Things To Do In Sydney With Kids


Take the Ferry to Manly

Walk along the Corso to the ocean beach, play around the rocks at the south end, then follow the walkway south to Shelly Beach. Let the kids have a play, enjoy a picnic in the shade or buy some snacks from the kiosk. Then enjoy a snorkel and don’t forget to wave to the fishies.  Check out a map here.

Visit Darling Harbour

It’s noisy and busy and touristy but the children will probably love it.  There are so many things to do with kids here. Choose all or some from this list: the new playground is a bobby dazzler; Sydney Aquarium, the Imax Cinema, The Maritime Museum, the Powerhouse Museum, the Chinese Gardens.  A zillion places to eat and drink await. Download a map here.

Hop on the Ferry to Taronga Zoo

Lion at Taronga Zoo, SydneyIt’s the classic Sydney family outing, and for good reason. The family will love spending all day at the Zoo, enjoying the wonderful harbour views and meeting the animals. Have a look at the map here. 


Take the Bus to Bondi

Bondi is an iconic beach in itself. But there’s also the fab walk to Bronte, if the children are the walking type and not likely to go wild and leap off the cliffs. It’s the most gorgeous walk, and not too long. Bronte Beach is the most lovely spot for children, with a terrific playground, great rock pool and the ‘Bogey Hole’ plus a little train for extra mini-thrills.  If the children aren’t walkers, just take the bus straight to Bronte. Bondi can wait. See a Google map here. 

Walk over the Harbour Bridge

It’s a breathtaking walk, whichever way you walk it, north or south. If you are staying in the city, start from there and cross to the north side where there are some great kid-friendly options. You could have a swim at North Sydney Olympic Pool, enjoy the fenced playgound at Bradfield Park, on the  corner of  Fitzroy and Alfred Streets. If the family can be well-behaved then lunch at Ripples Cafe will be a delight. Otherwise there are plenty of cafes in Kirribilli, and from there it’s a quick train trip back to the city.

And a few alternatives:

If it’s pouring with rain, then take your pick from either the Powerhouse Museum or the Australian Museum, both are terrific.

The Maritime Museum and the Museum of Sydney are also good spots for families.

If the kids love to swim then Cook and Phillip Pool is central. If you’re staying in Darling Harbour then the Ian Thorpe Pool is ideal for wearing the kids out. Or you could take the train to Sydney Olympic Pool for biggest and best family swimming facilities in the city.

If it’s hot then swim in the sea, or at the gorgeous Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Pool near the lovely Art Gallery of NSW, it has fantastic views over the Harbour.

If feeding ducks is your family’s thing then a walk through the lovely Botanic Gardens is a must, after a wander past our iconic Opera House of course.

Or try Centennial Park, it’s got wonderful ponds, playgrounds and a fantastic cafe.

Oh dear, am I going on and on?

Dear Kate,

I am sure that you and the family will have a blooming marvellous time in this beautiful city.  Hope that our suggestions appeal!

Seana xx

PS If you can give the kids the slip, I’d love to go out for a meal with you at Cafe Sydney. I’ve never been there and would love to go. Could you swing it?


Where else would you suggest for a family of six visiting Sydney?

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Posted on: April 9, 2012


  • Reply April 10, 2012


    My kids love all kinds of public transport… so for other transport addicts, the $2.50 Family Funday Sunday ticket is worth mentioning (Sunday is also a good time to take the ferry to Manly, since it is included in the price of the ticket).

    • Reply April 10, 2012


      Great point, and I haven’t ever used this… what a dope. Thanks for the reminder, my little ones would really enjoy a tour around Sydney using a few different types. Love a bargain and that ticket certainly is one.

  • Reply April 10, 2012

    Katrina Whelen

    Thanks for taking up my challenge Seana! Looks like our five days in Sydney are now packed with activities – cross my fingers for fine weather so that we can do some of the walks and playgrounds you have suggested. And yes, I can probably manage a leave pass for dinner! I’ll be in touch.

    Many thanks again and I’ll report back on our trip.


  • Hi Seana,

    This is useful because I might be coming to Sydney with a kid in tow:) But I’ll make sure I’m in Noosa to see you!

    Thinking you need to write Sydney for Tweens and Sydney for Teens now!

    • Reply May 4, 2012


      Hi there, yes, Sydney for Tweens and Teens for the kids and Sydney for Parents Who Have A Babysitter and Are Not Afraid To use Her/Him!! Then as I age we’ll move into Sydney For The Menopausal and so on until finally… Sydney For The Incontinent!!

      When might you be coming????

      • Lol, yes, I will be needing all those:) Maybe you can get some incontinence pad brand to sponsor you!

        Not sure, still an if at the moment….

  • Reply November 1, 2012


    Cafe Sydney is now on my list for our next date night – how had I missed this venue???

  • Reply November 19, 2012


    Love your list. I was trying to put together one for my in laws that are coming out with there two kids for 9 days in Sydney. Thank you for the recommendations. I’m going to post a list myself.

    • Reply November 19, 2012


      My pleasure. I’m working on a post ’25 Things I Love About Sydney’ and hope to post that next week. What to choose!?

  • Reply April 28, 2015

    Leah | KidBucketList

    Sydney has so much to offer! I would love to see what your top picks for Adelaide are as I have a visit on my wishlist.

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