The best family getaways in Sydney on a budget
Top things to do with kids in Sydney
There are so many great options and if you and your brood are keen to experience all the best parts, you don't want to rush it!
Once you're booked with YHA, the fun begins! Get out your map and you can start planning where to visit by foot, ferry or even e-bike. Our YHA properties are centrally located, meaning you can ditch the car for some local exploration, even hop on the brand new light rail to cruise past some of the city's best locales.
Sydney's museums are perfect for kids, and kids-at-heart, with interactive exhibits, snacks, workshops and wifi to keep every family member entertained:
- It's not a trip to Sydney without the famous Sydney Wildlife World and Sea Life Aquarium, conveniently located right next to each other, right in beautiful Darling Harbour. If you're keen on a deal, you can enjoy Wildlife, Sealife, and 'waxlife' from the famed Madame Tussaude's museum all together with a family pass that'll save you a pretty penny and give you a full day (or two) of excitement, and includes entry to the Sydney Tower Eye!
The famed Darling Harbour attractions are easily accessible and also close to the the interactive National Maritime Museum and the sprawling Barangaroo Reserve; perfect for a picnic.
- Explore our convict and colonial past at the Museum of Sydney, located right by the Justice and Police Museum, where children as young as 12 found themselves locked up for theft, murder and not eating their greens...okay, we're fibbing about the greens - but the kids don't need to know!
- A must-visit in Sydney with the family is the Powerhouse Museum! For now its home is in the heart of Ultimo, right down the historic Goods Line and a short walk from Sydney Central YHA. With a cafe on-site, you can get caffeinated while the kids get inspired at the original STEM museum. Entry is free of charge, but visits are timed and bookings are absolutely essential, so get to it!
- The Australian Museum is now open after a major refurb, plan your trip now, with the nearby St James station giving you the perfect excuse to wander through Hyde Park
Keen to soak up some Vitamin D? There's outdoor space a plenty, with secret wonders to be found.
- Paddington Reservoir Gardens are a haven in the heart of the city, with deck chairs to lounge on, and plenty of stellar places for the best game of hide and seek in the shifting sunlight and shadows of this subterranean wonderland.
- Taronga Zoo is the perfect combo of outdoor space and attention-grabbing attractions. With comfy shoes and plenty of snacks, you can spend a blissful day by Sydney Harbour. Hop on the ferry from Circular Quay (just 'round the corner from YHA Sydney Harbour) to save on the cost of parking, and turn the trip there into an adventure all its own. Why not spend a day on Sydney's northern beaches and head to Luna Park for all the excitement and adventure you can?
Free things to do with kids in Sydney
Step out the door of any of our Sydney properties and you'll be all set to see the sights, sans spending. While there's hundreds of incredible free activities for the family, we've listed some of our faves for you below...
- The Royal Botanic Gardens are a mainstay of any Sydney visit, and with the latest exhibit running at the Calyx, (gold coin donation) there's yet another reason to wander the sprawling lawns and gardens of the RBG. There's free wifi across the park, and plenty of spots to set up for a picnic, just don't forget the suncscreen!
- Once you've finished lounging at the gardens, why not wander up to the Art Gallery of NSW? There's free entry (and free cloaking for anything from jackets, to bags, and even strollers!) and over three floors of incredible art from across the centuries.
- Head 'round the corner to the stunning-as-always Circular Quay and between jumping the ferry to Manly Beach or running up the steps of the Opera House, you can explore Sydney's arts and culture scene without spending a cent! Entry to the Museum of Contemporary Art is free, and includes workshops for children run as part of the MCA Creative Kids program.
Stop by at Customs House while you're around to stand on top of the whole city and glimpse a birds eye view at what's been known as one of the most stunning skylines in the world.
- The Bondi to Bronte walk is an easy way to tire the kids out, while getting your own step count up! Slip slop slap for a great 3km walk, which can be extended as far out to 6km if you keep wandering the coastal path down to Coogee beach to cool off in one of the Eastern Suburbs most loved bays.
- The Hyde Park Barracks and Hyde Park ANZAC Memorial have both recently undergone a facelift, and are a truly unique way to reflect on our history without needing to travel too far from the city, with the surrounding Hyde Park being filled with art installations, pop up markets, and more throughout the year.
Where to stay with kids in Sydney
With two iconic locations, plan your stay around the perfect YHA for your needs. Wake up to harbour views and a sunrise peeking over the Opera House in YHA Sydney Harbour's family rooms or stay in the centre of the action at YHA Sydney Central.
However your family enjoys travel, we've got a room and an experience for your brood where you travel safely, book confidently, and get a great deal on your big Sydney adventure!