Just because school’s out doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Check out these fun and entirely free activities perfect for weekends and school holidays.
Get them excited about colours, shapes and patterns by perusing works at both the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Both galleries run strong year-round kids’ programs. Back at home, pull out the easel and paints so your mini-Monets can create their own masterpieces.
See the sights
You might think that all tours cost dollars but it’s not the case. I’m Free Walking Tours run twice-daily walking expeditions taking in the best of the Emerald City’s sights. Tours take between two and three hours so make sure your gaggle is up to being on their feet for that amount of time. The tours are complimentary but donations are gratefully received.
Take a dip
Sydney boasts a superb array of sea pools and harbour baths. Our picks are Northbridge Baths, the diminutive Fairy Bower Pool at Manly and McIvers Baths at Coogee, which is open to women and children only.
Tempt the tastebuds
Mini-foodies will adore a day at the farmers markets; there’s so much to sample, a hefty hustle and bustle and plenty of stalls worthy of spending the pocket money. Try the weekly Carriageworks Farmers Markets, the Pyrmont Growers Market on the fourth Saturday of each month and the Northside Produce Market on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
Walk the coastline
With Sydney’s excellent network of coastal and harbour foreshore walking routes, it’s easy to find one that suits all ages. The three-kilometre Bondi to Bronte track is perhaps the city’s most famous but littler legs might appreciate the flatter terrain on the Manly to Shelly Beach stretch. For those wanting to exert significantly more energy, try the nine-kilometre Spit Bridge to Taronga Zoo trek.
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Have a beach day
This summer fallback actually works at any time of year – providing the sun is shining! If your littlies aren’t confident in variable surf conditions, opt for safer environs: Balmoral, Parsley Bay, Clontarf and Bronte Beach are all good choices.
Get on your bikes
Sydney Olympic Park has 35 kilometres of cycling pathways that cater to all ages and levels of cycling experience . If you and your brood are interested in learning to off-road, the Manly Dam Mountain Bike track is the place to go.
Nascent green-thumbs will relish an excursion to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Explore the verdant patches, spot birdlife and enjoy a picnic on the foreshore.
Get close to wildlife
Learn more about our feathered friends at The BirdLife Discovery Centre at Sydney Olympic Park. Open only on weekends.
Go museum hopping
Budding historians and scientists should hit the museums. Entry is free at The Rocks Discovery Museum. The Australian National Maritime Museum has a Free Galleries Ticket, which allows access to the permanent galleries and, for under 5s, complimentary access to the “Mini Mariners” play zone. There’s no fee for children under 16 at the Australian Museum – though accompanying adults will need to pay the $15 admission price.
Have a few play dates
Take a tour of the city’s finest playgrounds: on your must-visit list are Wulaba Park in Waterloo, the Winnererremy Bay Park in Mona Vale, The Children’s Playground at Darling Quarter, Clifton Gardens Reserve in Mosman and Sydney Park Playground (which also has an excellent cycling track).
Bridge the gap
What did we all do before BridgeClimb? We simply walked across bridge (and thought it was great!). The views are similar to those enjoyed from the top of the arch, you don’t need to book in advance and you can do it any time of day or night. Talk about convenient.