Summer school holidays in Sydney

The summer school holidays are the perfect time for some fun in the sun in Sydney. The whole family will enjoy the golden beaches, animal encounters and plenty of indoor, outdoor and adventure activities. Camp at Taronga Zoo, learn to surf, visit some of the fascinating museums, soar through the trees, or walk along the many beautiful coastal walks and enjoy everything Sydney has to offer.



Animal encounters

Visit more than 2,600 animals in their home overlooking Sydney Harbour at Taronga Zoo in Mosman. Catch a ferry from Circular Quay and watch a seal presentation, take an immersive Tiger Trek through the Indonesian jungle, or explore the many animal enclosures. There is plenty to see while enjoying panoramic views over Sydney Harbour. The zoo also hosts Roar and Snore where you can camp overnight in safari tents and have up-close encounters with animals.

In Darling Harbour, you can cruise through the penguin exhibit at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and walk among kangaroos at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Then enjoy the kids’ playground at Darling Quarter entertainment and leisure precinct or splash around with the water zones of Tumbalong Park Playground, which has equipment for children of all ages.

Family at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbour

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour

Sydney Zoo in Western Sydney has a unique boardwalk that takes you right through the African savannah. The zoo offers close encounters with animals for children aged 8-12 years and offers a zookeeper for a day program. On the edges of the city, Featherdale Wildlife Park and Symbio Wildlife Park offer up-close encounters with native animals.

Read more: Eight animals you can see up-close in Sydney

Children enjoying a wombat encounter at Sydney Zoo, Bungarribee in Western Sydney

Sydney Zoo, Bungarribee

Indoor activities

Sydney has a variety of fun and thought-provoking indoor offerings for children. The Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo has lots of exhibitions with a focus on arts, science, innovation, and design. The museum offers plenty of fun and creative activities for children that run throughout the summer school holiday period.

Situated on the waterfront of Darling Harbour, the Australian National Maritime Museum is a national centre for maritime collections, exhibitions, research and archaeology. It has houses one of the largest and most diverse in-water fleets, features submarines and has a stunning replica of Captain Cooks ship HMB Endeavour. The museum has a spectacular array of exhibitions targeted for children with fun activities, and even has a 3D cinema.

The Australian Museum on William Street has fascinating temporary and permanent exhibitions, from dinosaurs to Indigenous collections, there is something to engage all ages and inspire a curiosity and interest in the natural world.

Madame Tussauds on Aquarium Pier next to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium lets you get up-close and personal with your favourite celebrities and become the star of the story with their immersive experiences and wax sculptures. Take a family portrait and sit alongside the British royal family, your favourite superhero, celebrity, or sporting hero.

Batman with the Bat signal at Madame Tussauds Sydney, Darling Harbour

Madame Tussauds Sydney, Darling Harbour

Sydney Tower Eye takes you to the highest point above Sydney for breathtaking 360-degree views. They offer a fully guided Skywalk tour with access to an internal observation deck and a 4D cinema pre-show experience.

The Museum of Fire in Penrith celebrates the important and heroic history of firefighters and fire services across Australia. The museum facilitates a fun and interactive environment for children of all ages where they can participate in firefighting adventures and education. 

Read more: 22 fun things to do in Sydney when it rains

Family enjoying a visit to the Museum of Fire, Penrith

Museum of Fire, Penrith

Outdoor activities

With long days, blue skies and plenty of sunshine, the summer holidays are the time to get outside in Sydney and explore one of the many beaches or enjoy some water sports. You can learn to surf at the ocean beaches of Bondi, Maroubra and Freshwater; body surf in the waves; or take a dip in the calm waters of one of the city’s 35 ocean pools. 

Inside the harbour, the calm bays at Watsons Bay and Balmoral are perfect for stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking. There are some great snorkelling spots too, including the marine reserves at Cabbage Tree Bay and Gordons Bay where you can spot an array of marine life. Or tackle one of the several stunning coastal walks, just remember to pack sunscreen and sun protection.

Another way to explore the harbour while getting iconic views of Sydney is to take the Hermitage Foreshore track or look for ancient Aboriginal art in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Luna Park in Milson’s point is the much-loved amusement park which has spectacular views over Sydney Harbour.  Enter the iconic theme park through the 'big old grin' and get ready for an array of thrill-seeking rides or family-friendly joyrides. There's a plethora of children’s activities for all the family to enjoy.

Family taking a selfie outside Luna Park Sydney, Milsons Point, Sydney North

Luna Park Sydney, Milsons Point

From Barangaroo you can ferry across to Cockatoo Island. The island is a former convict penal establishment and naval shipyard situated in the heart of Sydney Harbour. The island offers overnight camping and ghost tours for children over 18 years.

If you’re looking to get out in nature, there are lovely parklands across Sydney to explore, ride bikes or feed the ducks in Centennial Parklands, or walk around the Sydney Opera House into the magical Royal Botanic Garden or be entertained by one of the many events held at Sydney Olympic Park in Western Sydney.

Read more: The best family-friendly beaches in Sydney


Family relaxing and roasting marshmallows at their Cockatoo Island waterfront campsite

Cockatoo Island waterfront campsite, Sydney Harbour

Adventure activities

In Western Sydney, families can tackle challenging rope courses at TreeTops Adventure Park or for more thrills, ride the water slides at Raging Waters. But wait... more fun awaits. Learn to swing on the flying trapeze at Circus Arts Sydney, fly through the air with a water jet-powered backpack with Jetpack Adventures, hug the corners on a high-speed go-kart track at Luddenham Raceway, try indoor skydiving at iFly Downunder and much more.

In the eastern suburbs, at Centennial Park, kids can run, jump and climb through a dramatic landscape of creek beds, banksia tunnels, bamboo forests and a water play area at the Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, saddle up for horse riding with Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre or hire a bike from Centennial Park Cycles to explore on two wheels.

Read more: The ultimate thrill seeker's guide to Western Sydney

Family enjoying the rides at Raging Waters Sydney, Prospect near Blacktown

Raging Waters Sydney, Prospect near Blacktown


Experience great family fun in Sydney


School holiday dates - 2023/2024

Summer Wed 21 December 2022 Thur 26 January 2023
Autumn Mon 10 April 2023 Fri 21 April 2023
Winter Mon 3 July 2023 Fri 14 July 2023
Spring Mon 25 September 2023 Fri 6 October 2023
Summer Wed 20 December 2023 Thur 29 January 2024