Sydney city skyline lit up during Vivid Sydney 2013. Credit: Destination NSW; James Horan
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
Wander on foot across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, then climb the steps of the Sydney Opera House for great photo opportunities, 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.
Weekend markets around the city feature entertainment, fresh produce and interesting fashion, arts and crafts and souvenir ideas for the whole family.
For the cost of a ferry ticket, tour Sydney Harbour at your own pace from Circular Quay. Take the kids island-hopping and discover Sydneys 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 parks 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 is 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 courts, noodle bars and fantastic shopping experiences. What's more, every Friday, Chinatown plays host to night markets, giving visitors the chance to get a taste of the vibrant atmosphere of markets in Asia. Featuring unique wares and culinary delights, the Sydney Chinatown Markets 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. Bring your own bike and explore the cycle paths throughout the park, or you can hire a bike within the park for a reasonable rate.