School holiday activities Sydney style are easy to plan when you have our list.
It is warmer in Sydney now that it is summer, so do check the weather in Sydney and then get into our list of Sydney days out with kids!
These are the best school holiday ideas of fun things to do in Sydney with kids these summer 2021 school holidays. We have compiled a comprehensive guide of the best school holiday activities over the October school holidays to help make your life so much easier!
Check at the bottom of your activity to see if we have found a discounted ticket to that venue. They will be in red so you can easily spot them.
Sydney Dec/Jan summer school holiday dates 2021: Monday 21 December – Tuesday 26 January
Kids activities Sydney – free, cheap or GO BIG!
Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales, one of the most popular states in Australia, so there is NO shortage of school holiday activities here!
We’ve listed what to do, where to go and what’s on with our Sydney school holiday activities list.
Read our list of kids school holiday activities in Sydney to find all the things that are going on locally for kids. We even have great discounts for locals and visitors!
Fun things to do in Sydney school holidays could be:
- free school holiday activities,
- cheap school holiday activities in Sydney,
- big days out in Sydney or,
- shows and concerts on during the school holidays.
We’ve got school holiday ideas Sydney style for you in our fun school holidays guide. Add this page to your bookmark bar right now (or share it on Facebook so you can find it later). This article is an ‘at-a-glance’, go-to resource for parents listing the best things to do school holidays Sydney style!
School holiday activities Sydney
Give spelling, punctuation and grammar a miss for a while with these fun school holiday ideas. From the Sydney CBD to the suburbs of Sydney, our comprehensive guide has listed a bunch of school holiday ideas. These will ensure the kids are kept happy (which means you are happy, #amiright?!)
Things to do in Sydney school holidays
There are so many things to do, and here is our list.
20 Free things to do in Sydney with kids
We LOVE a good free event or activity! And kids holiday activities in Sydney don’t have to break the bank (or your wallet), you just need to know where to look for the free activities. We have indoor school holiday activities and outdoor school holiday activities. These ideas are the best free kids activities Sydney has on offer for the December/January school holidays.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia celebrates the work of living artists, bringing exceptional exhibitions of international and Australian art to as many people as possible – welcoming over a million visitors each year – in the belief that art is for everyone. Find creative opportunities for families to discover contemporary art and participate in fun and playful learning experiences together. They offer a range of free and ticketed programs for families with kids aged 0–12 years. Click here
The Powerhouse Museum
With free entry for kids 16 years and under, Powerhouse Museum is the perfect family destination for exploring the interactive side of arts and science. With over 250 exhibitions, plus loads of hands-on, interactive activities for toddlers through to teens, it’s easy to spend half a day there, especially with a stop at the playground. Click here
Art Gallery of NSW
Located within beautiful parklands overlooking Sydney Harbour and only 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre. Admission to the Gallery is free. Their family programs are designed to inspire families to creatively explore and experience art together. Using the Gallery’s collections and exhibitions as a play box for the imagination, families are fuelled to meaningfully look, think, create and play like an artist. Click here
The Rocks Discovery Museum
A free, family friendly museum which tells the story of The Rocks from pre-European days to the present. Housed in a restored 1850s sandstone warehouse, the museum is home to a unique collection of images and archaeological artefacts found in The Rocks – some of which you can even hold. The exhibits are filled with interactive fun, using touch screens, audio and visual elements to bring the history of the area alive. At the Museum kids can learn how to make their very own ‘Chatterbox finger game’, using artefacts from the museum as inspiration. The sessions are from 11am-1pm and no bookings are required. Click here
Australian National Maritime Museum
At the Australian National Maritime Museum, you’ll find a great day’s entertainment for the whole family. There’s so much to see and do, with exhibitions that tell stories of adventure on the water—naval battles and mutiny—migrants venturing across the seas to settle on our shores—ancient saltwater traditions—modern beach culture—and aquatic sporting achievements. Make a splash at the Australian National Maritime Museum these school holidays. With workshops, and themed crafts, there is something for everyone when you visit the museum. You can even have the chance to take a trip to Antarctica with the new ‘Antarctica VR Experience’. Click here
Darling Harbour Children’s Playground
On a hot day the children’s playground at Darling Harbour is a perfect place to cool off as it has water pumps, streams and jets that kids love to play with. Toddlers are kept fascinated by the water buckets and contraptions, and bigger, fearless kids get to challenge themselves on the thrilling giant slides, ropes and flying foxes. Its one of our favourite things to do in school holidays in Sydney. Click here
Royal Botanic Gardens
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is an oasis of 30 hectares in the heart of the city. Wrapped around Sydney Harbour, the Gardens occupy one of Sydney’s most spectacular positions. From the provocative rare and threatened plants of the world to the romantic rose garden, the themed garden areas show the diverse beauty of nature.
There are free guided walks every day from 10.30 am leaving from the Garden Shop. Each school holidays there are also ticketed events including koala trails, finding fairies, digging for grubs and you can even take your family on an adventure by torch light! Click here for more information.
Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden
The Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden was designed to cater for children of all ages and abilities in a dramatic landscape in which children are encouraged to run, jump, play, learn and discover the wild side of life, and provides children with the chance to get lost in the wonder of nature with dry creek beds, an artesian water play area, a bamboo forest, banksia tunnels, turtle mounds and Centennial Park’s first treehouse. Click here
Sydney Park offers 40-hectares of greenery a stone’s throw from the city centre. The main drawcard for kids is the adventure playground that will occupy them for hours. There’s also a large sand pit. If you have a little one learning how to ride a bike, Sydney Park’s cycling centre has a terrific course for kids aged 3-8. Kids can learn basic traffic and pedestrian rules on two wheels. Click here
For a short ferry ride, Cockatoo Island is worth a visit. Take step back in time with a guided tour through the UNESCO world-heritage-listed site, then grab some lunch and experience the beauty of Sydney’s biggest island. Click here
Storytime at your local library
From sessions for babies and toddlers, to storytimes for preschoolers, school holiday programs, homework and after school clubs, there’s plenty for children of all ages at City of Sydney Libraries. The library network spans from the Northern Beaches, to the Western suburbs to Eastern Suburbs and beyond.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The world’s tallest steel arch bridge connects the northern suburbs of Sydney with the CBD. Take a stroll over the Sydney Harbour Bridge – the two access points to the pedestrian walkway are up Cumberland Street in The Rocks in the CBD and near Milsons Point train station in the north.
Observatory Hill Park
For a park with a million-dollar view, it’s hard to go past the one on Observatory Hill. A popular spot with locals, workers and visitors, Observatory Hill Park offers sweeping, panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge for free. It is nestled in the city centre. Click here
Fairfield Adventure Park
Especially designed to provide a play space for kids of a variety of ages, the Fairfield Adventure Playground brings the “wow” factor in spades. The park opened in 2015 after a $1.4 million council investment. With the star attractions designed specifically for teens, this is a unique playground that provides a much-needed recreational space for older kids. Click here
Cathy Freeman Park
The site of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games is now a monument to sporting legends and a peaceful parkland. Visit Cathy Freeman Park to see the Olympic Cauldron that was used throughout the games. It has now been transformed into a water feature that kids love to play under. It is located next to a shady playground and vast grassy field. Click here
Green Square Library
The underground Green Square Library opened in late 2018. It features a water play area in the outside plaza, public artworks, dedicated kids’ zone with books and DVDs, vintage game stations for rent, a piano for hire, a sunken garden, kid-friendly cafe and take-home makerspace kits for kids aged 5+. The library also runs school holiday workshops and story time sessions. Click here
Snorkelling at Clovelly Beach
Clovelly Beach is a small and tranquil beach located at the end of a narrow bay. The beach is popular with families and snorkellers. Concrete platforms and promenades have been constructed on both sides of the bay which are popular sunbaking spots. There are access steps into the water, making Clovelly Beach more like a large ocean pool than a beach. Click here
The park is full of art and hidden treasures, the sunken Sandringham gardens are a great place to spend a shady afternoon with the kids splashing about in the cool water of the central fountain feature. Explore the whole park before heading back into the bustle of the city. Click here
Barangaroo Reserve is Sydney’s newest Harbour foreshore park – marking the transformation of one of the city’s oldest industrial sites into a spectacular, six-hectare headland open space for Sydneysiders and visitors to embrace and enjoy. Using innovative, industry-first technology, a concrete container terminal has been imaginatively reborn as a naturalistic rocky outcrop, sensitively landscaped with more than 75,000 native trees and shrubs. Click here
Sydney Sights Free Tour
During this 2½-3 hour, easy-walking tour you will uncover the history and explore the sites of Australia’s most popular city. Your friendly and knowledgeable Sydney tour guide will give you insights into the people, places and events of this sun kissed city. Click here
RELATED: Make sure you also read our places where kids eat free in Sydney guide!
Cheap school holiday activities in Sydney with kids
Want to take the kids out, but you are on a budget? That’s OK – we’ve got a list of low cost options for the school holidays. The list below are cheap school holiday activities in Sydney and surrounds – all under $10 per child – that the kids will LOVE!
Here are our favourite cheap school holiday ideas in Sydney that wont break the bank:
May Gibb’s Nutcote
Nutcote is the beautiful harbourside home of May Gibbs (1877-1969), Australia’s foremost children’s author and illustrator and best-known today for her iconic story, The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie. Located in Sydney’s Neutral Bay and now a house museum surrounded by delightful gardens, May Gibbs’ Nutcote is an enchanting venue to be enjoyed by everyone, all year round. Click here
Day Tour at Sydney Observatory
It’s a big old world out there! Sydney Observatory is great for kids fascinated by our universe and all things in it. Explore the historic site at Miller’s Point, peek through Australia’s oldest working telescope and discover more about the planets, the galaxy, and beyond. Explore the Sun, Moon and some planets through their telescopes. Tours available weekends, NSW school holidays and public holidays. There are so many things to do at the Sydney Observatory these school holidays, such as the ‘Space Odyssey Tinkertoreum’, the ‘Apollo 11 Exhibition’ and so much more. You can even take a peek through Australia’s oldest functioning telescope! Click here
Justice and Police Museum
Experience what it’s like on the wrong side of the law at the Justice and Police Museum. Original holding cells from the 1890s are kept intact along with a library of criminal photography, records and the many stories of Sydney’s crooks and police. Open weekends only. Click here
It doesn’t matter where you’re going, Sydney Ferries are a must-do Sydney experience, giving you a front-seat photo opportunity with Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Click here
Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre
World records have been set there, but Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre boasts more than just lap pools. There is a water playground with splash rides, water slides, a rapid pool and aqua tune piano. If you have older kids, check out the urban jungle adventure park or circus school. Click here
Museum of Sydney
Located on the site of the first Government House of NSW, the Museum of Sydney tells the story of Sydney’s history and its people. The Museum of Sydney offers family-friendly exhibitions and programs year-round. Click here
Chinese Garden of Friendship
The walled Chinese Garden respectfully recreates the philosophy and harmony of a traditional Chinese garden in its waterfalls, lakes, exotic plants, pavilions and hidden pathways…once you’ve discovered this secret garden, you’ll never want to leave! Click here
NSW Rail Museum
The Main Exhibition Building is where you will discover how the NSW railways brought life to town and country. Learn about life on the lines and in the workshops, marvel at some of the engineering and design achievements of the railways, find out how signals and points keep the lines safe, walk the timeline of rail development from the invention of the very first steam powered engine to today. Click here
Susannah Place Museum
Step into another time to see and hear how children and their families lived in Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood. What was lifelike with outside toilets and bathrooms, tiny backyards and no TV? Where did they sleep, play and go to school? Click here
Wylie’s Baths is one of Sydney’s most recognisable and beautiful ocean tidal pools. Wylie’s is located just a few hundred metres south of Coogee Beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, sitting right below the magnificent Coastal Walkway. The Baths has sweeping 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and overlooks the famous Wedding Cake Island. Click here
BIG days out for the sumner school holidays
ALERT: We have discounted tickets FIVE top Sydney attractions including to SEA LIFE, just in time for the school holidays. You will get FIVE attractions for $67 – click here for cheaper tickets! These tickets are valid until December 31, 2020 with no date restrictions.
Here are our picks:
Luna Park Sydney
Luna Park is very much a vintage attraction. Martin Sharp’s iconic clown face at the entrance, the rickety wooden rides, and the vaudeville decor gives the park a strong sense of nostalgia. If a great night out means going on every ride four times and screaming yourself hoarse then you are in for a win, if you just want to soak up the history of a classic amusement park, you can do that too. And the park gets bonus points for boasting some of the city’s best harbour views. Click here
We have discounted tickets to Luna Park Sydney – click here for cheaper tickets
Taronga Zoo Sydney
One of Sydney’s most famous attractions, the award-winning Taronga Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals, including Australian native wildlife, as well as rare and endangered exotic animals. Overlooking the magnificent Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo is just 12 minutes from the city by ferry. Open 365 days a year, admission includes daily keeper talks and shows, and access to the Sky Safari, Sydney’s only cable car. Click here
We have discounted tickets to Taronga Zoo Sydney – click here for cheaper tickets
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Located in the heart of Darling Harbour, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is an underwater journey of amazing discovery with 12 extraordinary themed zones. Meander through the Jurassic Seas, Great Barrier Reef, Bay of Rays and Dugong Island (just to name a few), then, immerse yourself in the underwater world of Shark Valley, the majestic ocean tunnel walk-through. If you have a marine enthusiast in your family, you just can’t ignore the Sydney Aquarium. These school holidays, you can partake in ‘Bird Island Academy’, a Angry Birds 2 themed challenge as you make your way through the aquarium. Click here
Junior Tour of Sydney Opera House
Uncover mysterious secrets and unusual facts with this jam-packed journey through the Sydney Opera House. The Junior Adventure Tour is filled with interactive activities and games for the whole family: explore with the expert guides, and inspire your inner performer to become a Sydney Opera House star. Click here
Wild Life Sydney Zoo
Meet iconic Australian animals at Wild Life Sydney Zoo. This small zoo is the perfect size to take young kids, and is easy to navigate with a wide, flat path, perfect for strollers. Get up close to the Cassowary, echidna, sugar gliders, koalas and kangaroos, plus a giant croc! Click here
We have discounted tickets to Wild Life Sydney Zoo – click here for cheaper tickets
Madame Tussauds Sydney
Get up-close and personal with your favourite celebrities! Step into the spotlight and accept your MTV best newcomer award presented by superstar Adele, kick goals with soccer legend Tim Cahill or get your selfie with two of Australia’s hottest stars – Chris and Liam Hemsworth. Become a Bollywood Superstar at Lights, Camera, Bollywood as you DANCE and ACT alongside Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Shah Rukh Khan these school holidays. From Superman to Her Majesty The Queen to Steve Irwin, there is nobody who can’t be pleased when they visit. Click here
We have discounted tickets to Madame Tussauds Sydney – click here for cheaper tickets
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Pet a Koala, hand feed a Kangaroo & meet all your favourite Australian animals in an outdoor bush setting, in Sydney, Australia at Featherdale Wildlife Park. Click here
We have discounted tickets to Featherdale Wildlife Park – click here for cheaper tickets
Treetop Adventure Park
Get up-close and personal with native Australian wildlife and magnificent Gum trees, as you climb, weave and fly through the treetops on self-guided rope courses. Flex your adventurous spirit and test yourself mentally and physically with over 100 elevated obstacles with rope ladders, wobbly bridges, tunnels, cargo-nets and zip lines. If you are looking for school holiday activites in Western Sydney, this one is for you. Treetop Adventure Parks has two Sydney locations – Cumberland State Forest and Western Sydney Parklands. Find out more: Click here
We have discounted tickets to Treetop Adventure Park – click here for cheaper tickets
Raging Waters Sydney
Raging Waters Sydney is the place to make your childhood memories. Offering over 30 rides, slides and attractions Sydney’s biggest waterpark has something for everyone. Challenge your family and friends on the H2Go Racers, experience the thrills on the 360 Rush, chill out by the beach or slide the brand new – Whirlwind. Click here
Symbio Wildlife Park
Nestled on 16 picturesque acres of manicured gardens, Symbio is home to all your Australian animal favourites as well as a large range of amazing exotic animals, which include cheetahs, ring-tailed lemurs, red pandas, meerkats, small monkeys and many more. Click here
We have discounted tickets to Symbio Wildlife Park – click here for cheaper tickets
Kids shows Sydney
If you are looking for school holiday entertainment Sydney style, why not a kids show or kids concert!? Here’s what’s on for Sydney kids this summer in terms of kids live shows:
To be confirmed due to Coronavirus
Previous kids shows on in Sydney
Spot | Sydney Opera House | Wednesday 4 – Sunday 22 December
Based on the books by Eric Hill. Join one of the world’s most beloved dogs Spot and his friends as they jump out of the storybook and onto the stage this summer. Find out more here.
Emil and the Detectives | Sydney Opera House | Saturday 7 – Sunday 8 December
Never underestimate the determination of a child! Based on Erich Kästner’s 1929 novella, this satisfying tale is sure to intrigue anyone with an enquiring mind! Find out more here.
Christmas at Puppeteria Theatre | Puppeteria Theatre | Wednesday 11 December – Monday 27 January
Join the Jeral Puppets for a program filled with familiar songs, stories and rhymes to engage and entertain preschool and primary aged children! With easy parking, air-conditioning and a playground next door, a trip to the puppet show is a fun, easy and comfortable activity for kids and their parents, grandparents and carers.
Let the Christmas festivities begin with ” Santa & The Unicorn and Pixie’s Australian Christmas”! Then they have something for everyone throughout the school holidays with dinosaurs, mermaids, princesses, wizards, Pinocchio, gingerbread men, unicorns and farm animals all featuring in our festive program. Find out more here.
The Beanies Christmas Spectacular | Riverside Theatre | Thursday 12 December
Get your dancing shoes ready for The Beanies very own Chistmas carol (with Spanish flare) The Christmas Rumba and don’t forget to be extra good because there will be a special visit from you know who! Join the award-winning trio, The Beanies during the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas! Click here for more information.
Storytime Ballet: The Nutcracker | Sydney Opera House | Wednesday 18 December – Saturday 4 January
The Australian Ballet bring the world’s most famous ballet to life on stage in a brand new production of The Nutcracker created especially for children aged 3 and up. Find out more here.
The Midnight Gang | Sydney Opera House | Friday 3 – Tuesday 21 January
Twelve year old Tom unexpectedly finds himself lonely and lost in the children’s ward of St Crook’s Hospital, away from his family and at the mercy of evil Matron. Tom feels like he’ll never leave, but his fellow young patients have other ideas. They might be stuck in hospital, but their imaginations can take them anywhere as The Midnight Gang.
Each night when the clock strikes midnight, The Midnight Gang go on a series of amazing journeys as they turn the hospital into the places they’ve always wanted to go and make dreams come true. The team behind The 13-, 26- 52- 78- and 91-Storey Treehouses, Mr Stink and Billionaire Boy bring David Walliams’ bestselling book to life on stage in a celebration of friendship, love and the power of the imagination for children 6+ and their families. Click here for more information.
Operation Ouch | Sydney Opera House | Tuesday 7 – Wednesday 8 January
Explore the incredible world of medicine and biology as TV’s favourite identical twin doctors return to Australia with a brand new live show! Find out more here.
Encounter | Prince Alfred Square Park | Friday 10 – Sunday 12 January
In this en masse, site-specific work of joy, directed by Emma Saunders, Encounter explores the everyday extraordinariness of being young and being in this place: from Parramatta, Western Sydney to the Bega Valley, on the NSW South Coast.
Creatively developed with a cast of 16 young dancers and 48 young musicians of the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra, and in collaboration with a group of award-winning Australian artists including Felicity Castagna (writer, The Incredible Here and Now), composers Amanda Brown (The Go-Betweens) and Jodi Phillis (The Clouds), Encounter celebrates young people growing up in urban and regional communities.
FYI this free event will be at Prince Alfred Square (opposite Riverside Theatres) – No bookings required. Please take picnic blankets and low chairs. Find out more here.
The Snail and the Whale | Sydney Opera House | Friday 10 – Tuesday 21 January
An inventive and charming musical adaptation of the award winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Click here for more information.
Previous shows on in Sydney:
Jeral Puppets | Puppeteria Theatre | Until Sunday 29 September
Join the Jeral Puppets for a program filled with familiar songs, stories and rhymes to engage and entertain preschool and primary aged children! With easy parking, air-conditioning and a playground next door, a trip to the puppet show is a fun, easy and comfortable activity for kids and their parents, grandparents and carers. With stories both old and new, this term’s program is sure to delight and enthral! Click here
The Sleeping Beauty | Riverside Theatre | Friday 27 – Saturday 28 September
This year’s Premier State Ballet production is a reinvention of the age-old fairy tale, The Sleeping Beauty. The Sleeping Beauty is a wondrous fairy tale which spans more than a century, taking audiences on an enchanted journey of hope, wonderment and love. Click here
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo | Sydney Opera House | Saturday 28 September – Saturday 12 October
Journey back in time and meet awesome prehistoric creatures, from cute baby dinos to some of the largest carnivores and herbivores that have ever walked the planet, in this uniquely entertaining and educational performance experience. The amazing array of creatures from bygone eras are unmistakably ‘alive’ and mostly friendly! Kids will have the opportunity to get up close and personal while connecting to the real science of palaeontology, and having loads of fun along the way. Click here
Dr Hubbles Bubbles | Riverside Theatre | Monday 1 September
Go on a journey into the unbelievabubble world of bubbles. Jam-packed full of bubbles, plus incredibubble jokes and puns, this awesome show will amaze, entertain and leave you in awe of the world around you. Click here
Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts | Riverside Theatre | Monday 1 – Tuesday 2 October
Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts bursts off the page in a spectacular live show, taking the world’s best-loved fairy tales and rearranging them with some surprising and hilarious twists. Dahl-ightfully funny and seriously silly, unmissable entertainment. Click here
Lullaby: Sonic Cradle | Riverside Theatre | Wednesday 3 – Thursday 4 October
Join us for this unique musical experience and be transported into a magical, relaxed setting with soothing sounds inspired by traditional Indian lullabies and meditative light projections. Click here
Meeting Mozart | Sydney Opera House | Friday 4 – Sunday 13 October
Watch with delight as renowned Australian pianist Simon Tedeschi assumes the persona of the musical wunderkind himself, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, on this journey into the music behind the man. Joined by his wife and muse, Constanze for an introduction to Mozart’s music, from variations on ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ to his major compositions. Little music lovers will meet all the instruments in the ensemble along the way and discover some of Mozart’s best known and loved classical music. Click here
The Conductor and the Clown | Riverside Theatre | Saturday 5 October
A mini symphony show especially for kids, combining laugh-out-loud physical comedy with works by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and other great composers. This magical concert featuring a 13-piece orchestra introduces children to the joys of classical music. Click here
Trash Test Dummies | Riverside Theatre | Saturday 5 October
This award-winning, slapstick comedy, circus routine takes the household wheelie bin to new heights, delivering a dump-truck full of hilarity! Click here
Sydney kids holiday ideas
If you’re looking for more things to do in New South Wales, click here.
Soooo…. what do you think? Plenty of Sydney days out ideas here to keep you and the kids entertained for the whole school holidays? These Sydney holiday ideas are updated every semester, so remember to bookmark this page.
Let us know if we missed your favourite or if you would like us to add your venue or event!