How to do Sydney with the family

We get the insider tips from a Sydney mum on where to take the kids on a holiday in the harbour city.

Kids will be amazed by Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
  • Tracey Withers
  • April 2019

Not sure what to do in Sydney with the kids? Sydney mum and founder of parenting website Out and About Baby, Laura Ruston, gives us a local expert's view on kid-friendly hotspots around the city.

Beaches entertain kids of all ages

The city’s eastern beaches have different personalities to suit all age groups. Bronte’s sparkling Bogey Hole rock pool is perfect for learner swimmers, while snorkelling at Clovelly Bay will thrill older kids – the coast between Bronte and Coogee to the south is an aquatic reserve, teeming with fish and sea stars (you can rent gear at Pro Dive opens in new window in Coogee). Finish with a meal at cool but casual Italian eatery Totti’s opens in new window, in nearby Bondi.

Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine at Totti's
Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine at Totti's.

Don’t miss the zoo

Taronga Zoo opens in new window has unbelievable city views. Take the ferry over from Circular Quay and after entering at the ticket gate, track left to the sky safari cable car to begin your route at the top. Go early to catch the animals in action and plan around free shows (tip: the gorillas are often fed after the 11am seal show ends). It’s a good idea to bring your own food.

Encounter the world's coolest animals at Taronga Zoo
Encounter the world's coolest animals at Taronga Zoo.

Kids are welcome at these breezy eateries

For family-speed dining without being shoved into the kiddie corner, try Manly Wharf Hotel opens in new window. The nautical-inspired pub on the Manly ferry wharf dishes out fresh seafood and kid-sized pizzas (plus, they don’t mind sandy straight-from-the-beach feet). The Boat House Balmoral Beach opens in new window, overlooking the netted swimming area, is another great alfresco option – you can’t beat their coffee and the sausage sandwiches – while city-side bistro Stacks opens in new window in the Darling Quarter fronts onto an epic outdoor play area.

Join a kid-friendly museum workshop

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia opens in new window and Art Gallery of NSW opens in new window run regular workshops for kids but the Australian Museum opens in new window is fantastic for kids, too. There’s an interactive Search and Discovery Centre, where kids can feel artefacts, play with microscopes and touch insect and spider specimens.

The MCA runs school holiday programs to encourage creativity
The MCA runs school holiday programs to encourage creativity.

Check in at the right digs

The Parkroyal Darling Harbour opens in new window is an elevated situation (think robes and room service) with great family features, such as interconnecting rooms and deals for children under 12. The breakfast buffet is wholesome fuel and you’re smack-bang in the Darling Harbour precinct. Tick off the Australian National Maritime Museum opens in new window, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium opens in new window and Wild Life Sydney Zoo opens in new window. Being able to walk back to the hotel for naps without blowing the whole day? Priceless. The hotel concierge can also arrange trusted babysitting services.