A 5-day itinerary in Sydney for family adventure

Climb Sydney’s famous bridge, run wild at Luna Park, get lost and then found in escape rooms and surf Sydney’s finest waves. Sydney is an ever-changing playground of family fun and adventure.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jun 2023 -
5
min read
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DAY ONE: SYDNEY’S EASTERN SUBURBS

DAY ONE KEY FACTS:

Let’s Go Surfing is located at: 

  • 128 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi, NSW 2026 
  • A 20-minute (7km) drive from Sydney's CBD

     

Morning 

Begin an adventurous, Sydney family holiday on the iconic Bondi Beach. Kick off the day with the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. The 6km return walk takes two to three hours, depending how often you stop, during which you’ll see epic sandstone cliffs, some of Sydney’s most famous beaches and, if you’re lucky, whales. Upon returning to Bondi join a surf lesson with Let’s Go Surfing – a bucket list experience no matter the season. Dedicated, fully qualified instructors will help you get onto waves, whether it's your first time or you’re already able to stand. 

Family enjoying the Bondi to Coogee walk in Sydney East

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, Sydney East

Afternoon 

After an activity-filled morning, take the family for an afternoon of barbecuing, relaxation and picnicking at Vaucluse’s Nielsen Park. This harbour beach is a great spot to while away an afternoon with grassy picnic areas, a foreshore walking track and incredible views across the bay to Mosman and into Sydney Harbour. Try the Hermitage Foreshore Track, a locally popular and beautiful 3.6km return walk beginning at the park offering views of Shark Island and the grounds of Strickland House.  

Scenic views of Sydney Harbour from Nielsen Park, Vaucluse

Nielsen Park, Vaucluse

Evening 

Come afternoon, head towards the city to Centennial Park Cycles for a ride through the expansive Centennial Parklands. There are a range of bikes to hire including two- and four-seater pedal cars, tagalong bikes, tandem bikes and more.

After your cycle it’s just a 10 to 15-minute walk to Moore Park's Entertainment Quarter, a fun-filled precinct home to Fox Studios and many other activities. Check out the bowling lanes and laser tag at Strike Bowling; tackle the 401-metre indoor go-karting track perched on top of the EQ's car park at Hyper Karting; play classic arcade games at B. Lucky & Sons; or get snow-ready at Off-Piste Ski & Snowboard, an indoor ski and snowboard simulator. Afterwards, grab one of Sydney's most famous burgers at Mary's EQ.

Family enjoying a day out at Centennial Park in a hired 4-seat pedal car from Centennial Park Cycles

Centennial Park Cycles, Centennial Park

DAY TWO: THE CBD

DAY TWO KEY FACTS:  

Burrawa Bridge Climb is located at: 

  • 3 Cumberland St, The Rocks, NSW 2000 
  • A 5-minute (1.3km) drive from Sydney's CBD

Morning 

The CBD is teeming with adventurous activities, from climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge to an afternoon aboard a historic ship. Start your day with a sunrise kayak on the harbour with OzPaddle. Set off from under Andrew Boy Charlton Pool then paddle down by the Royal Botanic Garden, up to the Sydney Opera House and soak up the glory of the harbour and its incredible icons.

After you tie up your kayak, try exploring Sydney’s waters with an entirely different mission by joining a Whale Watching Sydney tour to see humpback and southern right whales during their annual migration past Sydney. Journeys set off from Wharf 6 at Circular Quay then travel 20 minutes out to sea. If you don’t spot any on your trip, you receive a free tour to try again another time.  

Two humpback whales passing through Sydney during their migration up the NSW coastline.

Whale Watching Sydney, Sydney Harbour

Afternoon 

Get a bird’s-eye view of Sydney Harbour on the Burrawa Bridge Climb. This bucket list experience sees your family climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, led by an Aboriginal storyteller. On the climb you’ll receive incredible insight into Aboriginal stories and landmarks across the harbour. Once you’ve descended the bridge, give your kids a historic and immersive sailing experience via Sydney Tall Ships. Jump aboard a historic tall ship to cruise in style while you and the kids are invited to hoist sails, take turns steering the ship and peering out onto the sparkling harbour water.  

Family enjoying the Burrawa Indigenous Experience at BridgeClimb, Sydney

BridgeClimb, Sydney

Evening 

Come nighttime settle into a peaceful walk around Darling Harbour’s Chinese Garden of Friendship. This tranquil retreat in the middle of the city offers insight into the ancient, private Chinese gardens of the 5th century, with serene pathways flanked by exotic plants, colourful blooms and a little lake filled with koi – there's even a dress-up opportunity. 

After recuperating in the garden, walk just one minute down the road to enjoy the atmosphere of the Darling Quarter, an entertainment precinct with a kid's playground, theatre, village green and plenty of dining options, from pizza and pasta to Japanese izakaya-style eateries, Brazilian barbecue, Cantonese fare, bubble tea and gelato.

The peaceful and scenic grounds of the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Chinatown, Darling Harbour

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour

DAY THREE: THE NORTHERN BEACHES

DAY THREE KEY FACTS:  

Wild Ropes at Taronga Zoo Sydney is located at: 

  • Bradleys Head Road, Mosman, NSW 2088 
  • A 20-minute (10km) drive from Sydney's CBD

Morning 

Begin an action-packed day in North Sydney at Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. Wendy, wife of famed artist Brett Whiteley, began tending to the overgrown weeds and bushes after Brett died. The garden is now a hidden oasis in the Lavendar Bay Parklands, filled with birds of paradise, grevilleas, Japanese maples, a jacaranda and lots more. From the garden take a 10-minute walk over to Fiore, a sourdough bakery and deli in McMahon’s Point. Here you’ll find sourdough bread, focaccia, biscotti, panino, coffee and more. 

Afternoon 

After brunch, head east to Mosman for one of Sydney’s most famous and lauded tourist attractions, Taronga Zoo. New to the zoo is the Wild Ropes experience, an all-ages rope course set high above the zoo with incredible views of the zoo animals and the city – a challenging and fun adventure for young ones. After some time in the sky, head further north to Manly for a Manly Sailing experience. The Try Sailing course is open to people of all ages and will see participants learn sailing basics with an experienced instructor with the Manly foreshore and its surrounding national parkland as a scenic backdrop.  

Child enjoying the Wild Ropes at Taronga Zoo Sydney, Mosman - Credit: Marcus Coblyn

Wild Ropes at Taronga Zoo Sydney, Mosman - Credit: Marcus Coblyn

Evening 

Round out your day in the north by letting loose at Luna Park, Sydney's much-loved, harbour-side theme park. Head inside for thrilling rides and roller coasters, games, shows, magic and lots of lights. If you’re looking for somewhere out-of-the-ordinary to stay the night, book in to the Cockatoo Island Waterfront Camping. This urban campground boasts unbeatable views of Sydney Harbour plus you can even opt for pre-erected tents. 

Family relaxing and roasting marshmallows at their Cockatoo Island waterfront campsite

Cockatoo Island waterfront campsite, Sydney Harbour

DAY FOUR: THE INNER WEST

DAY FOUR KEY FACTS: 

Bouldering at BlocHaus Bouldering is located at: 

  • 49 Fitzroy St, Marrickville, NSW 2204 
  • A 20-minute (7km) drive from Sydney's CBD

Morning 

The inner west is an arty, multicultural hive of restaurants, bars and cafes. Start your day with an American-style breakfast at Marrickville diner Valentinas. This locals’ favourite serves up fluffy pancakes, fried chicken sandwiches, meringue-topped pies and more, just be prepared to wait for a table if you go on a weekend. You can also pick up some delicious Grumpy Donuts treats here, or head to the brand's store in Sydenham, a 20-minute walk away, for more options. Devour some of Sydney’s best doughnuts across a huge range of rotating flavours such as a brownie sundae, red frog glazed, berry jam and passionfruit slice.

If you’d prefer someone take you through the Marrickville motions step-by-step, join a Gourmet Safari walking tour. These immersive food tours introduce you to the incredible producers and characters of the suburb. In Marrickville you’ll make stops at a cheese maker, gin distillery, patisserie and more.  

Grumpy Donuts at Valentinas, Marrickville

Valentinas, Marrickville - Credit: Valentinas

Afternoon 

With all your pastry and cheese energy, time for some sport at BlocHaus Bouldering. Here there are 850 square metres of bouldering (short wall climbing with mats and no ropes). No gear or experience is needed, the staff will give you everything you need. Just around the corner is one of the most acclaimed gelato shops in the county, Gelato Messina. The ice creamery's new Marrickville headquarters oversees all production including its chocolate, baked goods, pastes and, of course, the ice-cream. Choose from 35 core flavours or one of the five rotating weekly specials.  

An array of flavours at Gelato Messina, Sydney

Gelato Messina, Sydney - Credit: Gelato Messina

Evening  

Come nighttime turn your attention to problem-solving and puzzles with an escape room adventure at The Cipher Room. There are two locations, one in St Peters and the other in Newtown (both close by car or public transport from Marrickville), each with different game options, degrees of difficulty and age appropriateness. Newtown’s Espionage room sees participants be recruited as spies to solve the mystery of an unfinished mission. It’s suitable for all ages and has no scary content.  

After you’ve made your way out of the escape room, head a few more stops up the train line for a night out in Burwood Chinatown. There are over 30 street food stalls and eateries to choose from, ranging from nostalgic, home-style cooking and dishes born out of the latest Asian food trends.  

DAY FIVE: THE WESTERN SUBURBS

DAY FIVE KEY FACTS:  

Sydney Motorsports Park is located at: 

  • Ferrers Rd, Eastern Creek, NSW 2766 
  • A 40-minute (38km) drive from Sydney's CBD

Morning 

An adventure-filled day in the western suburbs should begin with walking or cycling in Bicentennial Park. Bike Hire at Sydney Olympic Park rents bikes from $15 an hour and has a range of styles on offer. The Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre is also well worth a visit (and swim). The pool was built for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and to this day hosts competitions ranging from community to international levels – there’s also a family-friendly heated pool and water slide. 

Family walking exploring Bicentennial Park at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

Bicentennial Park at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

Afternoon 

Following a dip in the Olympic Pool, fly on the trapeze at Circus Arts Sydney. Located at the Aquatic Centre, Circus Arts offers a weekly timetable of flying trapeze sessions for all ages and abilities where experienced instructors take you through all the steps from safety to flying through the air. If you prefer a different kind of adrenaline rush then head 25 minutes west (by car) to Sydney Motorsports Park. This motorsport megacomplex is licensed for car and motorbike racing and offers various training, driving experiences (full car and go-kart) and races most days of the week.  

Flying Trapeze catch with Circus Arts Sydney

Flying trapeze catch with Circus Arts Sydney - Credit: Circus Arts Sydney

Evening 

Come evening, if you’re still ready to compete, opt for an introduction to archery at Sydney Olympic Park Archery Centre. There are lessons for beginners through to more skilled bow-and-arrow holders, led by skilled professionals in a fun and social environment. After working up an appetite after an adventure-filled day (and week), there are plenty of food options at this entertainment precinct to choose from, such as casual bites at Abattoir Blues, pizza and pasta at Piccolo Roma, and racks of ribs (and other barbecued fare) at Ribs and Rump.

Boy taking aim at Sydney Olympic Park Archery Centre, Homebush

Sydney Olympic Park Archery Centre, Homebush - Credit: Sydney Olympic Park Archery Centre

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