From climbing Harbour Bridge to riding the waves at Bondi Beach, don’t miss these top family attractions if exploring Sydney with kids.
The cosmopolitan city of Sydney, Australia, is well known for its dining, nightlife, shopping and outdoor adventure. It’s also great to explore Sydney with kids. Below are five activities suitable for children that adults can enjoy as well while on a Sydney family vacation—everything from the cute and cuddly to the windswept and terrifying.
Don’t just admire the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge from below, break out your sneakers and climb 1,437 steps to the top, towering 440 feet above Sydney Harbour. Safely connected by a cable to the bridge for the entire walk, take in sweeping views over the city skyline, the opera house and for the brave, look directly below your feet onto eight lanes of high-speed traffic rushing across the bridge.
Kids as young as 10 can join the climb (as long as they are at least 4 feet tall) and may even find it easier to fit through some of the walkways. Every climber wears a jumpsuit to prevent spare change or cell phones from dropping into traffic. Chatty guides communicate through wireless headphones so each climber can be sure to catch all their corny jokes. The whole preparation and tour process takes three and a half hours, including safety training, prep time and the climb.
BridgeClimb. 5 Cumberland St. Tel. +61 (0)2 8274-7777. www.bridgeclimb.com
There’s nothing that says “Australia” better than koalas and kangaroos. Kids have the chance to get up close to these and other animals at Sydney Wildlife World. A compact, but surprisingly comprehensive zoo, Sydney Wildlife World houses 100 native Australian species, many roaming free with the guests in open enclosures. Just inside the entrance, staff members offer visitors the chance to handle some creepy crawling critters. Kids can take photos standing next to a mellow Koala in a tree, hand feed kangaroos, squeal as a free-flying parrot perches on their shoulder or marvel as a butterfly lands on their outstretched fingers.
The zoo also displays many of the world’s most poisonous snakes and spiders (safely behind glass enclosures). Nervous parents will spend the rest of their trip checking shoes for the potentially deadly funnel-web spider, while kids scan roadside trees for koalas.
Sydney Wildlife World. Aquarium Pier, Darling Harbour. Tel. +61 133-FUN (386). www.sydneywildlifeworld.com.au
As you’d expect in the country that borders the Great Barrier Reef, Australia has some of the world’s best aquariums. The Sydney Aquarium has a dizzying array of tanks filled with most every variety of native fish, as well as enclosures for playful penguins, the secretive platypus and sinister crocodiles. But the biggest attraction at the aquarium is the “Open Oceanarium” where you walk through a glass tunnel surrounded by a massive tank containing dozens of sharks, rays, giant turtles and other residents of the deep. Be sure to make the 2 p.m. daily shark-tank feed to see how the “gentle” nurse and lemon sharks devour their meals. The penguins get to gobble down some fish in front of guests daily at 3 p.m., while barrier reef fish lunch at 11 a.m. daily. Two touch pools allow kids to handle sea stars, sea cucumbers and similarly slimy sea creatures.
Sydney Aquarium. Aquarium Pier, Darling Harbour. Tel. +61 133-FUN (386). www.sydneyaquarium.com.au
Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach is only a 25-minute bus ride from downtown. Kids can enroll in a two-hour long surf class and take the first step in reaching stardom should there ever be a Blue Crush 2. Junior surfers are grouped by age (7 to 11 and 12 to 16) and skill levels, with one instructor for every six kids.
Class begins with the basics on the beach, including safety instruction, paddling technique, balance and board positioning, even before the kids step into the water. Instructors then help students into the smaller waves by the shore and get them going. Even raw beginners quickly get the hang of catching a wave and standing up on the board.
Lets Go Surfing. 128 Ramsgate Ave., North Bondi. Tel. +61 (0)2-9365-1800. www.letsgosurfing.com.au
Sydney is a city built around a host of harbors and waterways, so the best way to experience it is to get right down into the sea. Kids as young as 6 can hop aboard a sea kayak (a two-seater with a parent) and explore by the hour in a rental, or on guide-led half-day eco tours to nearby beaches.
Sydney Harbour Kayaks has been running tours for nearly 20 years from the Spit Bridge into Middle Harbour. The four-hour eco tours pass by luxury beachside mansions to the pristine nature of Garigal National Park for lunch on a beach. You’ll see water-loving Aussies doing every manner of activity in the harbor, from sailing to fishing, swimming, rowing or just lazing in the sun. Middle Harbour is sheltered from the tougher sea currents and lacks the large motorized ship traffic of other harbors, so you’ll feel safe—though beginners may wobble a bit before getting the hang of things.
Sydney Harbour Kayaks. The Spit Bridge, Mosman. Tel. +61 (0)2 9960-4389. www.sydneyharbourkayaks.com.au
If you have a plan for your summer vacation to Australia you have unique sight to enjoy in Sydney, take a hike up the Harbour Bridge for a spectacular view of Sydney, its really amazing to see. Kangaroo Sydney wild life and Bondi beach also the part of attraction.