Kid Friendly Beaches in Sydney
- Balmoral Beach With views across to North Head and Manly, Balmoral Beach is located in the harbour side suburb of Mosman. There is a playground for the kids and lots of cafes and restaurants along the Esplanade, the main thoroughfare alongside the beach. Sheltered from ocean swells by Middle Head and accessible by ferry this is a great beach for families. If you are feeling a little flush treat yourself to a leisurely breakfast at the beach front institution-The Bathers Pavilion www.batherspavilion.com.au
- Neilsen Park Beach This pretty harbour beach, located in the east Sydney suburb of Vaucluse, ticks lots of family friendly boxes. It has a picnic-friendly park with majestic Moreton Bay fig trees ensuring plenty of shady spots. The beach has a shark net enclosed swimming area and the adjacent café and kiosk www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au keep everyone happy with coffee, sandwiches and ice creams. Get there early on the weekends to avoid any parking dramas.
- Redleaf Pool This beach and netted off swimming area is part of Seven Shillings Beach and adjacent to the very pretty Blackburn Gardens in Double Bay. It has a sloped grassy area, 2 floating pontoons and a kiosk with shaded seating and great views. Woollahra Library is next door and hosts playgroups and kids clubs as well as having a newly renovated children’s library. A small hidden gem in Sydney’s East.
- Bondi Beach If you are looking for a little bit more action, then look no further than Bondi Beach This famous 1km south facing stretch of sand has a kid friendly, shallow pool down one end and rock pools to explore down the other. The beach is patrolled by Lifeguards, due to the strong surf it is recommended you swim between the flags. If your kids are keen they can learn to surf (www.letsgosurfing.com.au) or take their skate board to the skate ramp. You can hire sun beds and surfboards for the day and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you will find everything from fast food to sushi. Packed with tourists, fitness fans, young and old alike –all life is here. Parking sucks on the weekends.
- Shelly Beach A short walk from Manly beach, this is a great, sheltered spot to take the kids. It has a small reserve with shady trees, a kiosk for snacks and drinks, rocky patches for exploring and calm, clear waters perfect for snorkelling.
- Palm Beach About an hours drive from Sydney, Palm Beach has a laid back vibe and is where the rich people rent houses for Christmas. Famous for its deep yellow sand and for being where ‘Home and Away’ is filmed, it makes for a great day trip. If you are feeling energetic you can walk to Barrenjoey Lighthouse and then treat yourself to lunch at The Boat House (www.theboathousepb.com.au).
Parks & Playgrounds in Sydney
- Centennial Park 189 hectares of beautiful parklands, with formal gardens, ponds and grand avenues. A great place to take the family with lots of different ways to keep the kids entertained. There are 3 playgrounds – one with a great bike track for them to bring their scooters, bikes and rollerblades- outdoor BBQ facilities as well as a café and fully licensed restaurant. Plenty to keep the family happy- feed the ducks, learn to horse ride, rent a bike and take advantage of their excellent school holiday program. www.centennialparklands.com.au
- Parsley Bay Reserve, Vaucluse Tucked away in a secluded pocket of in Sydney’s east, Parsley Bay is good for younger kids. There is a small children’s playground, enclosed swimming area and picnic tables. Very popular for children’s parties.
- Darling Harbour Playground It may be a bit of a tourist destination but Darling Harbour’s newly upgraded playground is good for all ages –from toddlers to teens. With balancing ropes, a flying fox and huge climbing nets this is not your average swings and roundabout play area. Plenty of fast food type eateries close by as well as the huge IMAX cinema (www.imax.com.au ) and the always popular Sydney Aquarium (www.sydneyaquarium.com.au ).
- Bicentennial Park, Glebe Running the length of Rozelle Bay, Bicentennial Park has a large, shaded adventure playground with equipment that will satisfy the older kids. With views of the Anzac bridge, there is also an off leash area west of the canal, which makes this a good choice for families with four legged friends keen to come for a play too.
- Rushcutters Bay Park Overlooking Rushcutters Bay and its marina, this park has two playgrounds, a popular cafe, a harbor side bike track and tennis courts. Call (02) 9357 7332 to book a tennis court.
Kid Friendly Restaurants in Sydney
- Pompei’s –Pizza and Gelato. Bondi Beach. These guys are serious about their pizza and passionate about their gelato (with flavours varying from Mango to Ferrero Roche). Relaxed vibe, with outdoor seating and paper tablecloths for the kids to draw on. There are high chair facilities and a kids menu. Service is a little slow so good for a lazy afternoon after a trip to the beach. 126-130 Roscoe St, Bondi Beach 2026. www.pompeis.com.au
- Max Brenna –For Lovers of Chocolate. Various Locations. If you are looking for Brownie (or chocolate fudge sundae) points with your kids look no further. With 11 restaurants in Sydney you don’t have to travel far to quell your sweet tooth. Feast on hot chocolate (available in Milk, dark or white), Chocolate Pizza, Milkshakes and all things naughty but nice. Various locations www.maxbrenner.com.au
- Centennial Parklands Restaurant - If you want to relax over a weekend brunch with the kids where better than this parside cafe/kiosk. Set in the well maintained parklands the kids can play in the playground whilst you linger over lunch. Kid friendly meals and take away ice creams included. https://www.centennialparklands.com.au/eat_drink_shop/in_centennial_park
Keeping the Kid’s Entertained in Sydney
- Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park This is a top spot for families. Open every day, you can keep the kids entertained with 2 outdoor play areas, Strike Bowling Bar (Bowling, Laser Skirmish, Pool Tables and Games Room), Hoyts Cinema (8 screens including IMAX), Plaster Painting Studios, Lollipops Indoor Play Centre plus a good selection of Family Friendly restaurants. Best days to go are Wednesdays and Saturdays when they run their Farmers Market with delicious food and flowers. Wednesdays and Weekends also see the additional kids rides such as Jumping Castles and Bungee Jumping. The Entertainment Quarter, Cr Lang Rd, Moore Park. www.eqmoorepark.com.au
- Botany Aquatic Centre, Botany 2019 Open during the summer months this is an outdoor aquatic centre with 3 pools (lap pool, learning pool and toddler pool), 2 giant waterslides for the slightly older kids, children’s playground and large grassed areas with BBQs. Hot showers, ample parking and café also on site. Cheap family alternative to a beach trip. A family Pass (2 adults and up to 2 kids) costs $20. Botany Aquatic Centre & Waterslides, Myrtle Street, Botany NSW 2019 (02) 9562 1666 www.bayside.nsw.gov.au
- Little Dynamos, Waterloo 2017 This is a good (if noisy) option for a rainy day. Australia’s largest 4-level soft play structure for kids 4-12yrs. Trampolines, slides and ball cannons keep the older kids busy whilst babies and toddlers get a smaller soft, fenced area to themselves. There is also a large seated café for snacks. www.littledynamos.com
- Luna Park, Milson’s Point A historic part of the Sydney Landscape, Luna Park is a poor man’s theme park but keeps the kid’s happy (and exhausted). A mix of old style retro rides (dodgems and the rota) to hair raising rides (flying saucer and the ranger) to rides suited to the little ones. Best to bring your own snacks if you want them to stay clear of the fast food options. Entry is free but rides are extra – an one day unlimited rides pass ($54 for adults) or three separate days pass ($79 for adults) is your best bet if they are game. www.lunaparksydney.com for more information and opening times.
- Taronga Zoo, Mosman 2088 Celebrating its 95 year and recently renovated Taronga Zoo is one of Sydney’s most popular attractions. You can wander through and see the animals alongside some stunning Sydney views. There are various talks and shows daily like the Seal Show and Koala Encounters. If you live locally an annual pass gives you best value – many Mother’s groups meet there as a good alternative to the park. For something a bit special try their Roar and Snore sleepover (Camp overnight at the Zoo with dinner and behind the scenes tours included). Easiest way to get there is by bus or ferry avoiding the parking fees. www.taronga.org.au/taronga-zoo
- Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour 2000 Along with the zoo this is a big drawcard for tourist and families alike. Get up close and personal with sharks, jellyfish, stingrays and thousands of tropical fish in this very well equipped Aquarium. Bang in the middle of Darling Harbour, there are lots of attractions in close proximity – but keep hold of your wallet if you are on a budget. www.sydneyaquarium.com.au
- IMAX Cinema, Darling Harbour 2000 With its huge cinema screens IMAX is an impressive way to watch some beautifully filmed documentaries (Under the Sea 3D and Antarctica) or some of the latest blockbusters in 2 or 3 D. Tickets start around $15 for kids –some of the 3D movies might be a little scary for younger kids. www.imax.com.au
- Jamberoo Water Park, Jambaroo A 2 hr drive from Sydney, Jambaroo is NSW biggest theme park. The main draw card is the Water Park with lots of water slides and water games – it gets crazy busy during summer so get there early to avoid the queues. www.jamberoo.net
- Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush Bay If you live locally to Homebush or are heading out to the local Ikea megastore, Sydney Olympic park has lots to keep the kids busy. There are heaps of sporting facilities, extensive bike tracks, playgrounds and a jam packed school holiday program. www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au
- Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney With free entry and free kids activities every Sunday afternoon and during the school holidays, you can give the kids a culture boost with none of the cost. www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au
- Maritime Museum, Sydney Located in Darling Harbour, this museum has some good interactive activities and areas for kids aged 5-12yrs (probably best suited to the under 8s). Free entry. www.anmm.gov.au
- Australian Museum, Sydney With everything from butterflies to dinasours, this museum will appeal to kids of all ages. australianmuseum.net.au
- Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Probably the most interactive of all the museums to keep little hands busy and prevent boredom. Lots of travelling exhibitions from The Wiggles to Star Wars plus school holiday fun activities. www.powerhousemuseum.com
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney Recently renovated, this museum is great for all ages, even the most surly of teenagers (they offer teen tours). Wild, whacky and wonderful display of modern art. They also offer school holiday programs. www.mca.com.au
- Holdsworth Centre, Woollahra 2025 This is a great little find right in the middle of Woollahra. This community centre has a big outdoor area with play equipment and they run daily playgroups during school term times for little kids 9.30-12.30 each day. There is a small charge for entry ($6 for members $9 non-members). They also run other activities such as baby yoga, music classes, baby days and parenting classes. Holdsworth Centre, 64 Holdsworth Street, Woollahra 2025 (02) 9302 3600 holdsworth.org.au
- Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach Smack bang in the middle of Bondi Beach, the pavilion runs a variety of weekday classes for kids such as drama, dance and martial arts. There are a variety of festivals, shows and film events held throughout the year plus a cheap, fun school holiday program (but get in early –sells out fast).