Free things to do in Sydney
Family travel in Sydney
Venturing around Sydney with the whole family is easy and cheap. Pick up a Family Fare Deal that includes ferries, trains and buses. With the Family Funday Sunday fares, you can explore Sydney and nearby regions with unlimited travel on buses, trains, ferries and light rail for just $2.50 per person.
Budget family activities in Sydney
Sydney city has plenty of things to do with the kids that cost absolutely nothing. Take advantage of the free 555 shuttle bus in the city centre and admire Sydney’s buildings and streetscapes from a different angle. The service operates in both directions on a loop from Central Station to Circular Quay via George and Elizabeth streets. The service operates 9.30am to 3.30pm weekdays, Thursday until 9pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 9.30am to 6pm.
Wander on foot across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, and then explore the Sydney Opera House, before heading next door to the Royal Botanic Gardens , a 30-hectare oasis of tropical plants, green lawns, ponds and shady trees overlooking the harbour. Join the free guided walk that departs daily from the Visitor Centre, or follow a self-guided themed tour. From the gardens, walk up the hill to the Art Gallery of NSW where kids can have fun at free performances on Sundays exploring art through drama, storytelling, music and mime.
The National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour has fascinating displays of dugout canoes, jet-powered hydrofoils and an historic collection of naval vessels. You can take the kids free on select days. For modern exhibitions, head to The Rocks and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) where entry is free.
Weekend markets around the city feature entertainment, fresh produce and interesting fashion, arts and crafts and souvenir ideas for the whole family.
Mild weather makes winter the perfect time to enjoy Sydney’s many natural wonders. For the cost of a ferry ticket, tour Sydney Harbour at your own pace from Circular Quay. Take the kids island-hopping and discover Sydney’s convict heritage, maritime past and great spots for waterfront picnics.
Explore bushwalking trails for all ages and fitness levels, from the coastline to the inner harbour, forests and waterways. Work up a sweat on the spectacular Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, where you might spot a migrating whale from May to November.
Sydney Olympic Park also has many great attractions for the whole family and most of them are free. Walk through rejuvenated wetlands or take your bike for a spin along the cycle tracks. The park’s BirdLife Discovery Centre is open every weekend and admission is free. Kids can learn about beautiful native birds as well as those feathered friends who visit Australia throughout the year.
The Royal Botanic Gardens are a 30-hectare oasis of tropical plants, green lawns, ponds and shady trees overlooking the harbour. Established in 1816, it is the oldest scientific institution in the country and is home to an outstanding collection of plants from Australia and overseas. Join the free guided walk that departs daily from the Visitor Centre, or take the family on a self-guided tour.
Chinatown offers an exciting mix of restaurants, food halls, noodle bars and unique gift shops. Every Friday, Chinatown plays host to a night markets event that lets Sydney siders get a taste of the vibrant atmosphere of markets in Asia. Featuring unique wares and culinary delights, Chinatown on Fridays is definitely worth a visit.
Centennial Park is a great place for the kids to run around or for a nice family picnic. Beautifully maintained lawns, ponds, flower beds and statues provide a stunning backdrop for a memorable day in the great outdoors.
1km (return) - 0.25 hour (each way) - Easy difficulty
Rouse Hill Estate walk is a short stroll that takes you near the grounds of the old Rouse Hill House and Farm. The house was built betwee...
Halfway Point picnic area is an idyllic small, riverside picnic area, surrounded by bushland.
Why not gather a group of friends or head to the area with family for a riverside refresher? Ther...
13km (return) - 5 hour (each way) - Medium difficulty
Discover the Hawkesbury Sandstone ridge tops and explore the tidal creek lines of Marramarra on this beautiful day walk. Enjoy easy walki...
Fibrosa Pavilion is one of two picnic pavilions in Rouse Hill Regional Park. It's suitable for small or large gatherings alike, and because it's at the highest point of the park, there are scenic view...www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/rouse-hill-regional-park/fibrosa-pavilion/picnic-bbq
70km (one way) - 1.5 hour
Part of the Greater Blue Mountains drive, Wollondilly trail is a great way to see idyllic parts of greater Sydney from the comfort of your car. Pack a picnic lunch b...
Mona Vale is effectively two separate beaches separated by a broad ocean rock platform. Waves that roll in along the southern edge of the platform surge into a gully that allows them to break smoothly...www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/recreation/beaches/beach_locations/mona_vale_beach