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The Perfect Sydney Itinerary With Kids (By A Local)

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Sydney is the largest city in Australia with a little over 4.5 million residents. It’s the capital of New South Wales and home to one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the famous Sydney Opera House.

Sydney is a great city for all kinds of travelers, from solo explorers to city-tripping couples and visiting families.

This Sydney itinerary with kids by a Sydney resident will help you plan the perfect Sydney family trip.

Sydney itinerary with kids

Sydney skyline from the ferry

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Family-friendly Sydney by a local

This post is written by Felicity, a Sydney resident, and mum to daughters Cassandra and Vivienne.

Her passion is the parenting industry and creating a community where everyone feels welcome no matter how they choose to parent. It is this passion that led to the creation of The Baby Vine

Felicity: while we have a lovely home with lots of different toys for the kids to play with, nothing beats getting out and about on our days off.

I am that mum that is constantly on the internet searching for any great, upcoming events that the kids (and I) will just love. There is honestly nothing better.

We also love escaping the city on weekends and finding hidden gems that aren’t too far from home – after all, car trips with a 3 and 1-year-old are never fun! Thank goodness for the DVD players.

Here are some of our great tips for traveling with kids in Sydney.

How to get around in Sydney with kids

When visiting Sydney, the most important thing to note is that our train system is pretty great. Sure, you can organize a cab to pick you up from the airport, and it will save you time, but honestly, the train is just as easy.

The station is right there at the airport and will take you into the heart of the city in no time. You can grab yourselves an Opal Card that you just top up as you go.

Kids under 4 are free, and ages 4-15 you can get a concession card with cheaper rates. Find out more here.

Sydney ferry from Manly to the city center

Where to stay in Sydney with kids

Of course, when traveling to a city, it’s important to be able to stay as close as possible to the city so you can get around and see the sites.

Here are some of our top picks for Sydney hostels and hotel rooms.

Adina Apartment Hotel Harbourside

When we travel, I love having all the comforts from home. There is no way my kids will wake in the morning and wait until we are all dressed, showered and ready for breakfast. That’s why we love having kitchenettes!

Adina has a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge, stove, oven, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and microwave. So handy!

They are located in Darling Harbour, which is nice and central, with an indoor swimming pool and barbecue area to keep the kids entertained.

Click here to see the latest prices

Intercontinental Sydney

This one has everything you would expect from a good hotel, with interconnecting rooms available for families. There are mini-fridges in the rooms and plenty of on-site restaurants that cater to the kids with special menus.

Located in Circular Quay (near the Harbour Bridge and Opera House), there’s also an indoor swimming pool to make a splash.

Click here to see the latest prices

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

If you’re after something a bit different, you can enjoy a rooftop swimming pool and Jacuzzi, in the middle of The Rocks.

If your kids are ok with sharing, these rooms are perfect with two double beds, along with a mini-fridge and plenty of restaurants. 

Click here to see the latest prices

Meriton Serviced Apartments

Because we love our serviced apartments, I had to add this one in as well. You can get one, two or three-bedroom apartments fully equipped with a fridge, microwave, dishwasher, washer, and dryer.

There’s also an indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi!

Click here to see the latest prices

Sydney with kids - where to stay

Places to visit in Sydney with kids

You’ve worked out where you are sleeping each night, but what is there to see each day? Honestly, there is so much to check out in Sydney!

1. Darling Habour

One of my favorite places to take the girls is down to Darling Harbour. Just a short walk from Town Hall or Wynard Stations there is so much to see and do.

There’s the big IMAX theatre where you can see some great films in 3D (quite an experience). There’s also a great children’s playground that could entertain them for hours complete with a flying fox, water play area (bring swimmers!), climbing ropes, swings, slides and more.

You can also grab the family an Iventure Card, which will gain you access to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Taronga Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Oz Jet Boating, Sydney Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Tower, Sydney Opera House, a hop-on, hop-off boat cruise, Madame Tussauds and so much more.

Here are some of the great places to check out in Darling Harbour:

There are also plenty of restaurants and places to eat in the area, so you can have a great, stress-free day out with the kids.

2. Taronga Zoo

I just love the zoo, and so do the girls, so I had to include this one on there. The best way to get to the zoo for tourists is taking a ferry from the city!

You get to see all the sites along with the way and when you arrive, you take the cable car back up to the top of the zoo.

Being locals, we always drive, but the first thing we do when we get there is a round trip on the cable car.

Taronga Zoo is a perfect place to visit with kids on your Sydney family trip

Grab a map and plan your day, as there is so much to see and do. We always love going to the shows, especially the seal show and the bird show.

Make sure you work out what time these are on and turn up a little early to get a seat. It’s worth it.

We also have a new tiger exhibit at the zoo, which my girls just can’t get enough of. You get to go on a simulated plane experience before ‘landing’ to see the tigers.

When you make your way to the bottom (where the penguins are!), there is also a GREAT play area for the kids and a farm where they can pat the animals at certain times.

The play area does have a water zone, so once again, swimmers are a must.

3. Manly Beach

Manly beach is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon with your kids during your Sydney (weekend) trip

Let’s face it, you can’t come to Sydney without visiting a beach (or five!). Manly is one of my favorites because there is always plenty happening to keep the kids entertained.

Once again, you can catch the ferry over – which we actually do as it is much cheaper and easier than trying to find a place to park.

You can go for a walk right along the beach to check it all out and stop by one of the restaurants right on the water for a bite to eat.

If you head down the promenade, you will find plenty of tourist shops, where you can get your ‘I Love Australia’ shirts and other merchandise to take back home.

I am also a big fan of buying buckets and spades for the kids when we travel to beachy locations.

There’s no way they would ever fit into the luggage, so I usually purchase them on day one, we keep them for the entire trip before donating to the hotel or another family we meet along the way.

The girls get so much use out of them it makes it so worthwhile.

4. Luna Park

I am the first to admit, I am not a huge fan of rides, but the kids do love it and Luna Park does make for a fun day out. You can snap a photo of you outside the iconic laughing face before you head in.

Right at Milson’s Point station, the train is the easiest option for getting there. There are so many different games and rides to keep them entertained.

With the Magic Castle that is aimed at the smaller kids, and giant rollercoasters the daredevil spider ride for those with an appetite for thrill.

Buy your tickets online before you go to skip the lines!

5. Circular Quay

The Sydney Opera House is located in Circular Quay and is best seen from the Harbour Bridge

You can’t leave Sydney without some great views of the Harbour Bridge and heading to the Opera House.

You can take kids in to see the Opera House, but it’s often better to have a look at what shows are on while you are there and book one in. It’s a great way to see inside and have a bit of fun too.

Right next door you can hop on over to the Royal Botanical Gardens where you can explore the plant life and the wildlife.

There are often activities on throughout the year as well for kids, so make sure you visit their site before you go to see what’s on.

Just a short walk away you can head to Observatory Hill, which is a great place for a picnic, and in my opinion, has the best views of the city.

Grab some food and settle in for the afternoon. There’s plenty of space for the kids to run around and burn some of their energy.

Where to eat in Sydney with kids

My kids just love to eat, so we are always on the hunt for kid-friendly restaurants we can take them to. Here are some of our favorites.

A freshly baked pizza in a woodfired oven is the perfect meal when you are visiting Sydney with kids

The Grounds of Alexandria

This one has to be my all-time favorite! Kids can honestly run wild while you settle in for some tasty food.

You can visit their resident pig: Kevin Bacon, enjoy the markets that are there most weekends, and just take in the beautiful scenery. It really is a nice and relaxing place with great coffee. 

Queens Park Shed

Located at the end of Centennial Park, the kids can go crazy at the playground (which is within site!), while you enjoy a break from your busy day.

It has a huge kids menu, which is sure to entice even the fussiest of eaters, and an even bigger bonus, every Friday during NSW school holidays, kids eat free!

Sprout Wholefoods Café

This one is a little further out of the city, located in Naremburn, but it’s worth a visit. Their entire menu is focused on healthy, clean eating, which can often be a welcomed treat while traveling.

They essentially have a backyard for kids to run in, complete with a cubby house. So the kids are enclosed while you enjoy your meal.

Sydney Fish Market

This place is worth checking out – the kids will love it! All the fresh seafood comes in and you can pick and choose from a variety of delicious food, taking it outside to enjoy next to the water.

Just beware, the seagulls will want a taste as well!

The best day trips from Sydney with kids

Finally, if you are looking to get out of Sydney itself to see what’s around, day or night trips are great fun. We love to do them from time to time.

Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains, Australia

Only about 1.5 hours from Sydney City, you can simply hop on a bus tour from the city. The bus will drive you there, show you the sites and bring you back in one day.

Or you can hire a car and make the day trip yourself. With kids, the latter option is often better, just so you can go at your own pace.

When we went, we stayed at Fairmont Resort and I can’t recommend it enough. There is so much to do, you almost don’t need to leave the hotel!

There’s horse rides, three separate games rooms’ for the kids, a kids’ club for those ages four and above, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, horse riding, and electric ride-on cars. Talk about a kids’ heaven!

We did venture out and visited Scenic World, which was great fun. You buy a day pass, which gets you on all the ‘rides’, this includes the scenic railway, cable car, and scenic skyway.

You get great views of the mountains and the iconic ‘Three Sisters’ and kids will love it.

It’s best to leave the stroller behind and consider swapping it for a carrier, as it’s much easier to get around and there are stairs! The railway won’t let you bring strollers on either.

Hunter Valley

Whether you are into wine tasting, horse riding, or go-karting, you will find plenty to do in the Hunter Valley.

Our favorite place to stay is at Starline Alpacas Resort, with big cabins for the family (and separate rooms!), a kitchen, and alpacas onsite that you can feed! There’s also a playground and swimming pool for the kids.

We always make a trip to Hunter Valley Gardens and depending on when you go, there are often plenty of exhibitions on, such as Mega Creatures and the Christmas Lights.

You can buy a day pass and go and check out all the beautiful gardens in the day time.

The kids will love a visit to Storybook Gardens and will be able to pick out a number of familiar faces, and then during the Christmas season, you can come back at night and see the lights.

Christmas lights at the Hunter Valley Garden

If your kids are old enough for horse riding and go-karting then they will love the places up at Hunter Valley, and they are nice a close and will only take a couple of hours out of your day.

If you’re like us then you might also bring the kids along for a spot of wine tasting, because… ‘When in the Hunter…”. I highly recommend checking out Tempus Two as there is plenty of space outside for the kids to run around while you enjoy a sip or two.

Sydney things to do with kids: in conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this comprehensive local guide to Sydney and it’s surroundings!

Looking for more posts about traveling in Australia? Check out my Australia road trip budget guide, East Coast road trip itinerary, and the best things to do in Daylesford!

A local's guide to Sydney with kids! Read about the best places to visit with kids recommended by a local mum of two. Also included advice how to get around, where to stay and where to eat with your children. #Sydney #Australia #familytravel
A local's guide to Sydney with kids! Read about the best places to visit with kids recommended by a local mum of two. Also included advice how to get around, where to stay and where to eat with your children. #Sydney #Australia #familytravel

This post was updated in May 2022.

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