Do you think you know all the BEST things to do with kids in Sydney? How about seeing the Great Barrier Reef, eating breakfast with a koala or dressing up as a firefighter for starters? Sydney family holidays have never been so much fun!
1. WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo
Get up close to iconic Australian animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, quokkas, platypus, numbats, wombats and Tasmanian devils, at this popular attraction in the heart of Darling Harbour. Kids will also love the snakes and spiders, and saltwater crocodile Rocky (originally from Rockhampton). You can also have your photo taken with a koala, and grab a bite to eat at the Koala Rooftop Café.
2. SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Next door to WILD LIFE Sydney, see penguins, sharks, dugongs and other marine creatures at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. The Day and Night on the Reef exhibit recreates life on the Great Barrier Reef with a 1.7 million litre display of over 500 sea creatures, including tropical fish, jellyfish and turtles. Littlies can also touch sea stars, shark eggs, shells and sea urchins at the Discovery Rockpool.
3. Sydney Tower Eye
Take in 360-degree views of Sydney from the top of its tallest building, 250m above street level. On a clear day you can see as far as the Blue Mountains, 80km away! Feel like you are walking on air on the highest outdoor viewpoint as guides point out iconic landmarks and share the city’s stories during the one-hour SKYWALK tour, with access to the indoor Observation Deck before and after.
4. Taronga Zoo Sydney
With spectacular views over Sydney Harbour, this iconic zoo at Mosman, on Sydney’s lower north shore, is home to more than 5000 animals from over 350 species, many of which are threatened. See Sumatran tigers, gorillas, Asian elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes, sun bears, meerkats, kangaroos, koalas and lots more. Kids aged from eight, who are at least 140cm tall, can also tackle the high ropes course, navigating suspension bridges, climbing walls and flying foxes.
5. BridgeClimb Sydney
Families with children aged eight and over, who are more than 1.2m tall, can climb along the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the summit for magnificent views over the city. There are several options to choose from, depending on confidence levels. New options include the Burrawa climb with an Indigenous storyteller, in which you learn the origins of place names along the water’s edge, such as Bennelong Point and Barangaroo, and the Ultimate Climb which covers the entire bridge from north to south and back again.
6. Sydney Zoo
With clever habitat design, this western Sydney zoo aims to provide an experience that is more immersive and engaging than traditional zoos. Located on the Great Western Highway near Eastern Creek, it is home to more than 1,000 species, and has Australia’s largest Reptile and Nocturnal House and an aquarium. It offers encounters in which you can feed camels, meerkats, capybaras and lions, while the Mini Zookeeper for a Day program allows kids aged 8 to 12-years-old to go behind-the-scenes to experience life as an employee.
7. Museum of Fire
Marvel at hand drawn, horse drawn and motorised fire engines dating from the late 18th century up to the 21st century at this not-for-profit and charitable organisation, which is largely run by current and retired firefighters. Younger kids can play computer games, puzzles and dress ups in the Junior Firefighters Zone and take command of a fire engine in the simulator. On certain days you can also ride on a vintage fire engine. Call before your visit to make sure the volunteer drivers are working that day.
8. The Australian Museum
Walk amongst real dinosaur skeletons and life-size models at The Australian Museum, which reopened in late 2020 after a major refurbishment. Its collections include scientific specimens of animals, fossils and minerals, as well as cultural objects such as Egyptian sculptures, ghost net art by Indigenous artists, and the Hawaiian Feather Cape presented to Captain Cook in 1778.
9. Multicultural food tour
Embrace Sydney’s multiculturalism and head to suburbs such as Bankstown, Cabramatta, Merrylands, Liverpool and Chatswood to discover cuisines from around the world, including Vietnam, Greece, Lebanon, India and Afghanistan.
10. Australian Maritime Museum
Jump aboard tall ships, navy vessels, a cold war submarine and restored historic boats at this Darling Harbour attraction. Its galleries also showcase historical artefacts that bring Australia’s deep connection to the sea alive.
11. Luna Park Sydney
Ride the ferris wheel, brave the rollercoasters and challenge yourself in the mirror maze on the shore of Sydney Harbour at Milsons Point. The recently reopened park has nine new rides including the Boomerang family rollercoaster, the Sledgehammer 360° swing, with the Big Dipper Rollercoaster set to open in late 2021. Its new loyalty program, Luna Perks, gives guests the chance to gain points to redeem special park offers, food, toys, show bags and other memorabilia, while new annual passes are also available.
12. Cockatoo Island
Explore the largest island in Sydney Harbour, formerly a convict penal establishment and naval shipyard, on a guided historical tour – or a ghost tour if you dare. You can also stay overnight in a tent at the waterfront campground, in a heritage cottage, or even at the converted fire station. It’s easily accessible by ferry from Circular Quay, Barangaroo, and wharves along the Parramatta River.
13. Featherdale Wildlife Park
Help feed kangaroos, koalas and Little Penguins during an animal encounter at this Doonside wildlife park in Sydney’s west. You can also walk through the lorikeet aviary, and even take a selfie with a quokka.
14. Powerhouse Museum
Located in the Ultimo Power Station, this museum’s collections span science, technology, design and decorative arts, engineering, architecture, health and medicine, fashion and contemporary culture. It has both permanent exhibitions and changing temporary exhibitions and displays.