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19 things to do in Sydney with family

From harbour cruises on tall ships to adventures in the Blue Mountains, there’s plenty to see and discover when you’re in Sydney.

Before you book that family trip to Sydney make sure you spare enough days to cover all the events and experiences the city and its surrounds have to offer. Think walking tours through old cobblestone districts and harbour cruises up and down the coast to get you started. Then, venture out and discover the Australian landscape.

We’ve rounded up the best things to do when visiting Sydney, including child-friendly options, so you won’t leave feeling you’ve missed out on anything. Here you go:

Top things to do in Sydney with family

1. See Sydney with a sightseeing tour

Take it from an experienced traveller: the first thing you need to book when arriving in a new city is a sightseeing tour. Any kind will generally do as they’re great for you to get your bearings and have a “sneak peek” into the city, so you can spend the next couple of days delving further into the things on the tour that have piqued your interest. These tours piqued ours:

Sydney Harbour Discovery Lunch Cruise from finder.com.au

Sydney Harbour Lunch Discovery Cruise

Highlights:
  • Stops at Shark Island where you'll have free time to explore
  • Available Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Price is per person and includes a BBQ buffet lunch, with discounts available for children
From AUD

$89

View details

Afternoon Tall Ship Sailing Adventure from finder.com.au

Sydney Tall Ships

Highlights:
  • Sail around Sydney harbour aboard a historic tall ship
  • See sights like the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Luna Park
  • Price is per person and includes a light lunch, with discounts available for children
From AUD

$120

View details

Sydney Secret Walking Tour from finder.com.au

Sydney Secret Walking Tours

Highlights:
  • Explore Rozelle and Blackwattle Bays
  • Historical walk of the Glebe area
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$35

View details

2. Comb the beaches

Some say Sydney has the best beaches in the world. Ask an Aussie and they’ll probably agree. Put your money where our mouths are and take your bikinis and board shorts to the beach to soak up the sun, wriggle your toes in our soft sands and cool down in our inviting waters. For those seeking to get more out of their beach experience, these tours are worth booking.

Bondi Beach Walking Tour from finder.com.au

Peek Tours Sydney

Highlights:
  • 90-minute walking tour
  • Visit Aboriginal Bondi rock art sites and various other highlights of Bondi Beach
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$40

View details

Manly Self-Guided Bike Tour from Viator

Highlights:

  • Explore the area's 20km of dedicated bike paths -- ideal for children as they're separate from the road
  • Visit Sydney Harbour National Park, Manly Lagoon, Cabbage Tree Bay and more with a full day on the bike
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$44

View details

3. Take to the waters

With enviable harbours (Darling Harbour and Sydney Harbour for starters), Sydney is not short of water views. The best can be had on the deck of a boat. There’s a wealth of options in this department from day cruises with luncheons to night cruises with entertaining shows.

Thunder Twist Jetboat Ride from finder.com.au

Thunder Jet

Highlights:
  • 30-minute jet boating ride on Sydney Harbour
  • Speed and twist past sites like the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and more
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children and families
From AUD

$75

View details

Cruise Like a Local Luncheon Cruise from finder.com.au

Sensational Sydney Cruises

Highlights:
  • 3-couse BBQ lunch with beverages
  • Includes onboard activities like swimming, fishing and kayaking
  • 4-hour cruise
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$275

View details

4. See the icons

From the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House to Sydney Tower, these icons should be on the top of your list.

Under the Sydney Harbour Bridge Kayak Adventure from finder.com.au

Life's An Adventure

Highlights:
  • Kayak underneath the Harbour Bridge
  • 3-hour adventure
  • Refreshments included
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$199

View details

Sydney Bridgeclimb from Viator

Highlights:

  • Climb atop the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge on a 3.5-hour tour
  • Get panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Opera House and the Blue Mountains
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$288

View details

5. Have a close encounter with an Aussie animal

Australia has some of the most unique animals in the world. We’re home to the only two monotremes in existence (the echidna and the platypus) and the best place to have a close encounter with either, or both, is in our of our wildlife zoos. Taronga Zoo and Wildlife Sydney are the two most accessible from Sydney's city centre.

Taronga Zoo + Thunder Twist Combo from finder.com.au

Harbour Jet

Highlights:
  • 35-minute thunder twist adventure on Sydney Harbour
  • Entry to Taronga Zoo
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$135

View details

Oz Whale Watching Mid Week BBQ Lunch Cruise from finder.com.au

Sydney Princess Cruises

Highlights:
  • 4-hour whale-watching cruise through Sydney Harbour
  • Buffet BBQ lunch included with vegetarian options available upon request
  • On-board commentary about the area and whales, including their migration period and fun facts
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$70.00

View details

6. Get scared at a ghost tour

There’s one in every city, but Sydney’s best has got to be around The Rocks area. Many a murder has been committed in this historical area of Sydney. The ghost tours include historical commentary about the area and the people who lived there.

Haunted Sydney Ghost Tour from finder.com.au

Lantern Sydney Ghost Tours

Highlights:
  • 90-minute walking tour through The Rocks
  • Optional dinner
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$34

View details

7. Bushwalk through the Blue Mountains

Located in Regional Sydney, the Blue Mountains is an icon of Australian bushland. It’s a rugged territory where you can enjoy bushwalks, Aboriginal tours and unique vistas like the The Sisters sandstone rock formation. En route you can also visit the Jenolan Caves, a limestone cave formation nearby.

AG/Blue Mountains Day Tour with Jenolan Caves from finder.com.au

Loksha Tours

Highlights:
  • See Katoomba, Echo Point, the Three Sisters and Lucas Cave
  • Available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
  • Full day coach tour
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$165

View details

8. Explore The Royal National Park

40 minutes south of Sydney is The Royal National Park, which is a wilderness unlike the Blue Mountains. Its landscape is much flatter and it hugs the coast nicely, revealing beach views along its multitude of hikes. Expect cool swimming pools, Australian native wildlife and verdant rainforest to colour your journey through the park.

Kayak Eco-Tour of Royal National Park from finder.com.au

Bundeena Kayaks

Highlights:
  • Visit the beaches, bays and bushlands of Royal National Park
  • Ideal for beginner kayakers and children
  • Price is for one person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$99

View details

9. Visit Parliament

You’re so close, you might as well take a day trip to the capital of Australia. Canberra offers a wealth of educational experiences, including tours of Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and the National Art Gallery. If you’re short on time, a day trip can cover it all with no fuss.

AG/Canberra Day Tours from finder.com.au

Loksha Tours

Highlights:
  • See Berrima, Mt Ainslie, Australian War Memorial, Parliament House and Carillion Bell Tower
  • Available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Full day coach tour
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$175

View details

10. Drive up the coast

Head further north from Sydney and you’ll discover the Central Coast. It’s a string of beautiful beaches that are a world away from the tourist beaches you’ll find closer to Sydney. One essential port of call is Port Stephens, an open valley estuary that offers an escape of sun, surf, sand and whale and dolphin watching.

AG/Port Stephens Tour from finder.com.au

Loksha Tours

Highlights:
  • See Harbour Bridge, Hawkesbury Ranges and Australian Reptile Park
  • Enjoy dolphin watching, sand boarding and a 4WD ride
  • Lunch option available
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$185

View details

11. Drive down the coast

Head south past Wollongong and you’ll discover the coastal beauties of the south, including Jervis Bay. Its biggest claim to fame are its white sands, which some claim are the whitest in the world. While there, feel free to explore the National Park, dive the turquoise waters and polish the night off with a tipple from the Cambewarra Estate.

Jervis Bay Day Tour w/ Grand Pacific Drive + Kiama from finder.com.au

Loksha Tours

Highlights:
  • See Sea Cliff Bridge, Kiama Blowhole, Jervis Bay, Southern Highlands
  • Enjoy dolphin watching and optional lunch
  • Full day coach tour
From AUD

$189

View details

12. Visit a museum

Learn a bit about Australia's past through culture and art with a visit to one of Sydney's museums, like the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Powerhouse Museum, or the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It's also a perfect excuse to cool down on a hot summer day or to keep dry if it rains during your stay.

Australian National Maritime Museum Entry from Viator

Highlights:

  • See one of the largest in-water fleets in the world with the option to tour ships like submarines and tall-ship replicas
  • Learn about the maritime customs of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders
  • Visit hands-on, interactive galleries and exhibits that are perfect for kids
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children
From AUD

$30.00

View details

Australian Museum General Entry from Viator

Highlights:

  • See life-size models of dinosaurs and other giant animals that once lived in Australia
  • Learn about Australia's history and culture at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders exhibition
  • Visit kid-friendly interactive exhibits
  • Price is per person with free entry for children younger than 15
From AUD

$15.00

View details

7 things to do in Sydney for free

  • Have a picnic and see unique plants in the Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Walk across the sidewalk on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and get a view of the harbour from above
  • Visit the waterside Luna Park -- it's free to enter, but you will need to pay to play games or go on rides
  • Splash around at one of the city beaches like Bondi, Manly or Coogee, or head to a harbour beach like Balmoral for more kid-friendly surf
  • Bring the kids to The Playground at Darling Quarter where there's ropes, slides, a flying fox, swings and more
  • Go for a walk along the city's many trails in Sydney Harbour National Park or the iconic Bondi to Coogee walk
  • See the exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in the Rocks or at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
What else can I do in Sydney?

READ MORE: Sydney Travel Guide

READ MORE: Sydney's Best Restaurants

READ MORE: Sydney's Best Hotels

Alex Bruce-Smith

Alex Bruce-Smith is a publisher at finder.com.au, taking care of shopping & travel. She funds her addiction to online shopping by hunting coupon codes like a pro, and can usually be found waiting anxiously for a package to arrive. #notevensorry

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