Sydney Family Vacation Ideas – Attractions, Activities & Things to Do for Vacation

Heading to the land down under for family vacation? We know a trip to Sydney, Australia means there’s a lot to plan out. But not to worry, we’ve put together the perfect list of attractions and sights that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

We’ve put together our best suggestions to make your trip unforgettable, curated by locals and industry experts who know what it’s like to have families in Sydney.

Our favorite Sydney vacation ideas include:

  • SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
  • Sydney Jet – Thrill Ride
  • WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo
  • Madame Tussauds Sydney
  • Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Sydney Opera House Tour
  • The Sydney Tower Eye and 4D Experience
  • Illawara Fly Treetop Adventures
  • Bondi Surfboard Rental
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Luna Park

Save on Family Vacation Attraction Ideas

Regular admission to a number of these family friendly attractions are available on The Sydney Pass.

Choose as you go from top visited attractions and save up to 45% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

Learn more about The Sydney Pass attractions and prices.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is one of the best places to bring the kids on a trip to Sydney. Not only is it located in a Darling Harbour, a very popular tourist area with plenty of surrounding attractions and shops, but its also full of some of the coolest marine animals around.

You’ll come face-to-face with the colorful aquatic life of Sydney’s oceans. See jellyfish, native fish, seahorses, the Giant Pacific octopus and more. Learn about Australian’s underwater ecosystem at one of the many talks given throughout the day.

An absolute can’t-miss exhibit is Dugong Island. Dugongs, like the one pictured above, are related to the manatee family. The kids will love visiting Pig and Wuru, the aquariums resident dugongs, and learning about the pirate folklore surrounding these unique creatures.

Getting in: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium tickets are included on The Sydney Pass.

Sydney Jet Thrill Ride

If you’re a thrill-seeker of any sort, this is the ride for you.

The Sydney Jet is a jet boat that will take you past some of the most famous harbor-side landmarks at top speed. Zip under the Harbour Bridge and past the Sydney Opera House as your experienced operator does 270-degree turns, tailspins and more. You’ll reach speeds of nearly 50mph!

This ride is perfect on a hot day because you’ll definitely catch a wave or two. Don’t worry about getting your personal belongings wet, you’ll be provided waterproof gear before disembarking.

Getting in: Sydney Jet – Thrill Ride tickets are included on The Sydney Pass.

WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

Meet the natives! At WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, you’ll be able to see and play with some of Australia’s most-loved creatures.

Watch as kangaroos hop around, koalas hug the trees and Tasmanian Devils, wallabies and quokkas interact. With 10 different habitat zones, like the Kangaroo Walkabout, Butterfly Tropics and the Koala Rooftop, there is no shortage of things to see and do.

Make sure you have your camera ready for kangaroo photo opps!

Getting in: WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo tickets are included on The Sydney Pass.

Madame Tussauds Sydney

Madame Tussauds Sydney is another great family attraction located in Darling Harbour.

It’s like taking a trip to Hollywood right in Sydney! Get up close and personal with your favorite celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Katy Perry, and Angelina Jolie. See iconic political figures like Her Majesty The Queen and President Obama. You can even perform onstage alongside Taylor Swift!

The whole family will love seeing their favorite faces and getting a chance to play unique games surrounded by celeb lookalikes.

Getting in: Madame Tussauds Sydney tickets are included on The Sydney Pass.

Australian National Maritime Museum

Family at the Australian National Maritime Museum

Right next door to Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) is another great option in Darling Harbour.

Here you’ll be able to explore life at sea with hands-on, educational exhibits. Learn more about Australia’s naval discoveries, unique geology and the history of Australian aboriginals.

The museum features one of the largest collection of floating historical vessels. See a replica of Captain Cook’s HMB Endeavour, the former Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire and the former Navy patrol boat HMAS Advance among many other famous ships.

Getting in: Australian National Maritime Museum – Big Ticket is available on The Sydney Pass.

Sydney Opera House Tour

Tour the Sydney Opera House

It’s not the aquarium or the zoo, but the kids will still be amazed and entertained by this one-of-a-kind tour of the Sydney Opera House.

On this incredible tour, you’ll uncover the stories, history and importance of the Opera House. You’ll be taken behind the scenes into real theaters and performance stages. Explore areas that are typically off-limits to the public. See the famous shell tiles up close and take a seat in the theater chairs for yourself.

The Opera House is one of the most recognizable and iconic architectural marvels in the entire world, so there’s no way you can visit Sydney without stopping in!

Getting in: The Sydney Opera House Tour tickets are included on The Sydney Pass.

The Sydney Tower Eye with 4D Cinema Experience

View from Sydney Tower Eye\

The view from the Sydney Tower Eye is unmatched.

Standing at 882.5 ft tall with a golden facade, the Sydney Tower Eye is visible from almost anywhere in the city. Since it’s the tallest observation deck in the city, you’ll have a clear view of the gorgeous buildings in the Central Business District (CBD), the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and beyond.

Aside from taking in the unbeatable views, explore the tower exhibits that detail the history of the building.

Then catch a showing of the 4D Cinema Experience. This 4 minute, 4D show with enhanced special effects like flashing lights and water sprays will take you on a journey through the tower and other famous Sydney spots.

Getting in: The Sydney Tower Eye with 4D Cinema Experience tickets are included on The Sydney Pass.

Illawara Fly Treetop Adventures

The whole family can immerse themselves in the wildlife of Sydney, Australia. Strap yourself into a harness and journey through the treetops.

Walk along the 65ft high steel walkway through the forest and get a bird’s-eye-view of the surrounding landscape. Along the way you’ll come across several lookout points, a spiral staircase leading to Knights Tower, and two swaying springboards bridges that make for a fun and challenging climb.

Make sure to bring your camera! There will be plenty of photo opportunities along the way. On a clear day, you may even be able to see the Tasman Sea from above!

Getting in: Illawara Fly Treetop Adventure tickets are included on The Sydney Pass.

Bondi Surfboard Rentals

Surfer at Bondi Beach renting a surf board

When in Aussie, do as the locals do and catch a wave at Bondi Beach.

Bondi is one of the most famous beaches in the world and is well-known in Sydney as a fantastic surf spot. If you really want the authentic Aussie experience, rent a surf board and hit the waves.

There’s no experience required – whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned surfing vet, you’ll definitely enjoy the chance to catch some waves like a local.

We recommend this activity for kids ages 12 and up. While any skill level is acceptable, it is recommended that potential surfers be able to swim the length of an Olympic swimming pool (50m).

Getting in: Bondi Surf – 2 Hour Surfboard & Wetsuit Rental tickets are included on The Sydney Pass.

Royal Botanic Garden

Photo by Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens are a great place for a picnic or a day of relaxation. And the best part? It’s free to visit.

The Royal Botanic Garden is the oldest scientific institution in all of Australia. It’s also one of the most important botanical institutions in the entire world. Located in the heart of Sydney, the gardens provide fantastic views of the Harbour and the Sydney Opera House.

Aside from housing some of the most beautiful plant life, the garden also boasts free guided tours, an exhibition center called The Calyx, Aboriginal Heritage experiences, and plenty of shops and restaurants.

Getting in: admission to the Royal Botanic Garden is free and open to the public.

Luna Park

Photo via Luna Park Sydney Wikipedia

Luna Park has been a Sydney Harbour staple since its opening in 1935. The unique park is known for its giant smiley face entrance and classic carnival rides. Having been recently restored, Luna Park is a great place to bring the kids.

Take a ride on the Tumble Bug or the Wild Mouse roller coaster, then test your bravery in Mystery Mansion. Enjoy a classic old-school fun house with a walk through Coney Island that includes a spinning Joy wheel, a mirror maze, giant slides and Australia’s largest collection of pinball machines.

Adults and kids alike will enjoy the retro games and rides.

Getting in: entrance to Luna Park is free with the option to pay-per-ride or buy an unlimited ride ticket at the gates.

Remember to Save on Family Friendly Admission

There you have it: some of our best recommendations for a family-friendly trip to Sydney.

Many of these attractions are close to each other, so it’s easy to use this as an itinerary or pick and choose to create your own! Don’t forget, several attractions listed are included on The Sydney Pass. When using The Sydney Pass, you can save up to 45% vs paying at the gate.

We hope you enjoy your family trip to Sydney and share your Sydney Pass moments with us using #TheSydneyPass!

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.