How to do Sydney with the family

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
  • Updated June 2021

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 spots 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 in Coogee). Finish with a meal at cool but casual Italian eatery Totti’s, in nearby Bondi.

Interior of a busy Sydney restaurant with diners chatting
Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine at Totti's.

Don’t miss the zoo

Taronga Zoo 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. It’s a good idea to bring your own food.

A tiger walks over a vehicle while the child inside watches. A part of the Tiger Trek at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
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. 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, overlooking the netted swimming area, is another great alfresco option – you can’t beat their coffee.

Join a kid-friendly museum workshop

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Art Gallery of NSW run regular workshops for kids, and the Australian Museum is fantastic for kids, too. There are interactive activities where kids can feel artefacts, play with microscopes and touch specimens.

An adult and child play with a collection of material at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney.
The MCA runs school holiday programs to encourage creativity.

Check in at the right digs

The Parkroyal Darling Harbour 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, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo. 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.

Find out more about Sydney

See cheap flights to Sydney