Finding good places to take kids in Sydney, where you can enjoy the experience and they do too, really depends on their age – be they pre-school, school age or teenagers.
Most kids enjoy video games and playing on their computer or games – and so if they are looking for new games to play – the best place to take them is to JB Hi Fi (www.jbhifi.com.au ) which is Australia’s biggest games retailer, also selling TV’s, phones, movies, music and a whole lot more. You will find their stores in Westfield shopping centres, but check on the website for store locations.
You will also find McDonalds, KFC, Hungry Jack’s/ Burger King, Pizza Hut stores all over Sydney – and even a local one, ‘Oporto’ – so there is no shortage of fast food options. There are also lots of movies and in school holidays – special kids shows, and other things happening.
If you want to get the kids away from their Gameboys, computers and fast food, here are some suggested places and ideas that might appeal.
The very best way to entertain kids is finding kids of the same age for them to play with – so finding places where there are other kids of their same age is the challenge.
Kids also like doing new things that are involving – and you will also enjoy it more too if you are involved with them – so buy a ball – and find a park where the kids can kick it around, or a bat and ball – or buy both, so that you can vary the activities.
FOR LITTLE KIDS – up to 12 or so
- Darling Harbour – Tumbalong Park – water and play equipment. Always something to see and do. IMAX theatre is here too.
- Blaxland Riverside Park – Jamieson St, Silverwater (part of Olympic Park). Great for little kids and primary school age – water, slides, water jets, climbing places, and also great for a picnic too. Maybe the best in Sydney.
- Harbour beaches – Balmoral and Clifton Gardens (north side), Nielsen Park in Vaucluse (Eastern Suburbs). Surf beaches (north) Manly, Shelley Beach and Little Manly beaches; (South) Bondi, Bronte and Coogee beaches. Most kids like to play in sand and swim or paddle in the water.
- Aeroplane watching – head to one of the places around the airport to watch planes landing and taking off – around Botany or Botany Bay.
- Centennial Park – for a picnic. Play equipment is near the Oxford St entrance in Paddington. Bikes can also be rented.
- Ferry rides – to Manly or other destinations – most kids enjoy this.
- Walk across the Harbour Bridge. It’s free and safe for kids to run along the walkway. Climb a Pylon an option. (The one closest to City CBD)
- Bush walks for kids – head to Cremorne Point and walk along the pathways in either direction. There is also a Harbour Pool there too (Shell Cove side). There are lots of walks around the Harbour – and you can make it a short or longer walk, depending on your time and inclination.
- Picnics – any of the parks around the Harbour. Centennial Park. Also Lane Cove River Tourist Park, Buffalo Park in Gladesville, and there are lots of others all over Sydney. Check out Putney North Park off Pellister Rd in Putney; Timbrell Park on Henley Marine Drive in Five Dock; Grant Reserve off Beach Rd in Coogee, and any of the parks around the Harbour.
- Picnics can be in the daytime – but they can also be fun at night too – so head to a headland or place where you can see the Harbour – boats crossing, the bridge, the opera house – so McMahons Point, Cremorne Point, Greenwich Park, Manly, Balmoral, Hunters Hill, Balmain, Watsons Bay – there are lots of places to have a night picnic and just watch the lights of the city and the kids will also enjoy it too.
- Tricycle/ Bike riding – (own bike) Buffalo Creek Reserve in Gladesville has bar-b-cue facilities and also a great bike track for kids. (you will need to bring your own kids bikes). This is also a place for teaching kids to ride bikes too, with or without their trainer wheels.
- Swimming Pools – North Sydney Pool, next to Luna Park; Boy Charlton Pool in Wooloomooloo; Also Willoughby Leisure Centre; Ryde Pool and there are many others. Homebush also has the indoor Olympic Pools too.
- Ice Rinks – Macquarie Shopping Centre in North Ryde (Macquarie Park)
- Bowling Alleys – in City – Harbourside Shopping Centre and King Street Wharf – both in Darling Harbour. Also 122 Lang Rd, Moore Park.
- Taronga Park Zoo Visit – plan to go when the crowds are less, and the weather is not too hot or wet. There is lots of walking to do, and the ideal is to start near the road entrance end (high point) and walk down the hillside on the paths to the bottom on the Harbour side. It is possible to take a cable car ride back to the top, or if coming by Ferry, take the cable car first to the top, and then walk back down past all the different animals.
- Manly water park – to the left side of Manly Wharf next to the Aquarium is fun for little kids and big kids too.
- Wet’n Wild in Eastern Creek (Just off the M4) is the biggest water park in Sydney, and newly built, with a wide variety of big dramatic water slides and other amusements.
- GoBananas – at St Marys in Western Sydney – cnr Forrester and Boronia Rds, St Marys Tel: (02) 9677 7799. Big Climbing frame, tunnels, slides and lots more for the kids to play on.
ALSO for events for kids – check out www.kidsizeliving.com.au A great website – with what is happening around Sydney for kids and their parents.
FOR BIGGER KIDS
- Luna Park – in North Sydney.
- Beaches – as above
- Swimming pools – as above
- Parks – as above
- Taronga Park Zoo – as above
- Markets – Paddy’s Market is the big one – so head to Haymarket in the City, but you will also find markets in the suburbs too. See markets in Places to see.
- Museums – the best one to visit for kids is the Powerhouse Museum which has a lot of interactive activity based displays that kids will enjoy.
- Ferry trips – as above, also Jet Boats or tall sailing ships
- Darling Harbour – as above
- Wet’n Wild – see above
- Penrith Panthers – (club) Mulgoa Rd, Penrith – also has Aqua Golf, restaurants, weekend market, entertainment, a hotel to stay over and a new set up called ‘ifly’ – where you can fly in the air, as if you were sky diving. Very safe and amazing even to watch. Also nearby are other restaurants, fast food outlets, including McDonalds and Krispy Kreme.
- Penrith Whitewater Stadium – Has a slalom course of rapids and whitewater set up for kayakers and canoeists with various levels of difficulty, and this is where the 2000 Olympic Games were held. See www.penrithwhitewater.com.au Tel: 4730 4333
- Skateboard parks – most suburbs have them, with various levels of difficulty. See www.skateboards.com.au for park locations and other information.
- Roller Blading – best places are Centennial Park and the Concourse at Bondi Beach. Check www.rollerblading.com.au to hire or have lessons.
- Shopping – for clothes and other things – head to Westfield in Bondi Junction – one of the biggest shopping centres close the City. The city itself has lots of shops of course, and when ‘sales’ are on head to David Jones or Myers Department stores and the arcades and street shopping around them.
- Sport – summer cricket matches and winter football matches are always happening on weekends, but there are also netball, tennis, squash, golf and other sports happening too. The two biggest sports venues are at The Sydney Cricket Ground in Moore Park, and at Homebush in the west.