Gorgeous, eclectic Sydney — a destination replete with stunning beaches, award-winning restaurants and bars and a world-class arts and culture scene. From generation to generation, the capital of New South Wales has been a family favourite for good reason, with its relative close proximity to Singapore, no language barrier, and a plethora of activities that get reinvented every year.
Whether it’s staying in a hip boutique hotel like the Ovolo Woolloomooloo or Paramount House Hotel with your too-cool teenagers; a sophisticated heritage property like The Fullerton Hotel Sydney or QT Sydney for multi-generational travellers; or a range of serviced apartment options, the city provides a wide range of accommodation no matter the size and style of your family. A well-connected public transport system and readily available car rentals also make transport a breeze.
Now that the basics are covered, here are six reasons why Sydney should be your next family holiday.
- Stunning walking tracks with breath-taking views: A short yet fulfilling walking trail for the whole family to take on is the Bondi to Coogee walk, which spans an easy 6km and features scenic views like quaint rock pools, beaches, parks and cliffs. This track is also perfect for whale watching during the months between May and November. Travellers can also take on segments of the Bondi to Manly track that passes through some of the city’s most spectacular coastal and Harbourside suburbs. The 80km walking track is both breath-taking and rich in Indigenous heritage, taking between 4 to 7 days to complete. Highlights of the itinerary include the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, one of Sydney’s most beautiful coastal walks, and Reef Beach, which is home to an Ancestral reburial site and Aboriginal rock art.
- The best nooks and crannies to shop for unique artisanal treasures
Darlinghurst’s Foley Street is a must-see for travellers looking for sustainable, locally-made keepsakes evocative of their time in Sydney for years to come. A prime example is Studio Enti, a ceramic shop selling elegant yet sturdy porcelain tableware and accessories made with local materials like Australian porcelain – a joy for adults to explore. Teens can also take a quick trip to Spunky Bruiser for unique and eclectic fashion that’s sure to turn their friends green with envy.
- Unforgettable road trips out of the city
Road trips are a quintessential family holiday experience, especially when travelling with young children. Sydney is surrounded by several amazing regional destinations that are conveniently located less than a couple hours drive away. For a good dose of nature, the Blue Mountains is a short 90 minutes by car – perfect for those planning a quick day trip out of the city. The Greater Blue Mountains is a World Heritage-listed area recognised for its unique plants, wildlife and dramatic landscapes. Soak up Indigenous history as you head to Echo Point to revel in its sights, or bask in vibrant flora and fauna in the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.
Alternatively, a road trip along the famed Grand Pacific Drive would be a great option for more adventurous travellers to take on. The first stop on the coastal drive from Sydney to Kiama is at the Royal National Park – here you can take a hike to Little Marley Beach for some scenic sea views. When you reach Kiama, don’t forget to stop and check out the Kiama Blowhole, the largest blowhole in the world! From Kiama, follow the route to spectacular Jervis Bay and go dolphin spotting on a cruise, before continuing to Narooma for an unforgettable swim with seals off Montague Island.
- Amazing nature and wildlife encounters
Witnessing the beauty of Australia’s native wildlife has to be one of the most memorable highlights of any trip to Sydney. Stay at the elegant Taronga Zoo Wildlife Retreat overlooking the sensational Sydney Harbour with your young ones, and be surrounded by Australian flora and fauna. You can even book one of the Animal View rooms, and wake up to koalas and wildlife roaming right outside your window. The retreat experience also offers animal tours and complimentary access to the zoo.
Take a trip down under and appreciate Sydney’s marine ecosystem at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. The aquarium has plenty of immersive zones to keep children entertained like the Penguin Expedition, Shark Walk & Shark Valley and Dugong Island – where kids will be able to get up close and personal with adorable animals such as Pig the dugong and Dave, Chong and Myrtle, the aquarium’s sweet sea turtles.
If you’re keen to go further, you’ll find that Regional NSW has so much to offer. Let the kids experience horse and pony rides down in Glenworth Valley, where you can also stop for a one-night camping trip under the stars. If you have more adventurous children in tow, take them on an ATV ride across towering sand dunes in Port Stephens –– you can even surf some sand waves and do a little sandboarding, who says you need snow?
- Family-friendly cafés and Instagrammable hot spots
Sydney is an Instagrammer’s haven with its slew of aesthetic cafés and hot spots, perfect to liven up any teen’s Instagram feed. After all as the saying goes – pics or it didn’t happen. Our top pick is The Grounds of Alexandria, a leafy green haven built into a heritage-listed factory with aesthetics as on point as their food. For families with young children, the café even has a farm animal experience where they can pat and feed adorable goats and pigs. Black Star Pastry is another to add to the list – try its famously vibrant Strawberry Watermelon cake, which is also one of the world’s most Instagrammed sweet treats. If you’re feeling a little whimsical, drop by Speedos Café along Bondi Beach. This treasure of a café was voted ‘The Most Instagrammable Café’ in the world by travel magazine Big Seven Travel, and it’s easy to see why with its collection of rainbow dessert offerings that’s sure to be the highlight of your feed for a long time. Adventurous Instagrammers can also venture out of the CBD to check out The Boathouse located on Sydney’s beautiful Balmoral Beach or Baby Coffee Co in Waterloo complete with pastel pink interiors and rainbow desserts – yum! Aside from food, you should definitely take a trip down to the Hornby Lighthouse, an iconic lighthouse with vertical red stripes that will make a gram-worthy backdrop for your #OOTDs, and don’t forget to check out Bronte Bath Viewpoint for that majestic view of the coastline.
Image credit: Dee Kramer Photography
- Scenic family farm stays and fruit picking activities
For a tech-free getaway that immerses you in the best of Sydney’s countryside, we recommend taking a couple nights of refuge from the city in some of the most scenic family farm stays the region has to offer. Take a quick 90 minutes drive down to Picton NSW and make yourself at home at Mowbray Park Farmstay. They host a myriad of activities like horseback riding, bush dances, boomerang throwing, feeding cattle, milking cows and collecting eggs. Insider tip –– this farm stay even hosts a Kids Club so tired parents can finally take that much needed respite.
Get your kids interested in incorporating vibrant fruits in their diet when you go fruit picking at some of Sydney’s best orchards. Depending on the time of year, you can have the opportunity to pick a vast selection of fruits ranging from apples, oranges and pears to peaches, nectarines, persimmons, limes and lemons. We recommend heading down to Glenbernie Orchard, just an hour away from Sydney, where kids can pick buckets of apples at The Apple Shack while adults sip on the orchard’s very own cider selection and honey mead.