Family Vacations to Sydney, Australia

Picture of Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House at night (Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Sydney, Australia, Family Travel Tips

  • Sydney basks in warm sunshine between August and April, with November through February the best times to visit.
  • During the summer, December to February, Sydney enjoys temperatures in the high 70s.
  • If you are going to be in Sydney for an extended period, consider buying a pay-as-you-go cell phone for local calls. A prepaid calling card is probably a cheaper option for phoning home.

Sydney is one of those cities that, like Paris and New York, really need little introduction. Its icons—the much-photographed Opera House and Harbour Bridge—are world famous, as are the surfers on Bondi Beach and the laid-back attitude of locals cooking up a "barbie." Australia's largest city is also one of the world's great family destinations, with many things to see and do in a mild climate that is perfect for sightseeing.

Few cities in the world are as known for their harbors as Sydney. Although Captain Cook was famously unimpressed when he sailed by and choose a mooring farther south during his "discovery" of the continent, today Sydney Harbour is the number-one attraction, with ferries and tourist boats opening it up to travelers of all ages.

The Opera House proudly enjoys her position at the heart of the harbor. This institution is not as exclusive as the opera houses of stuffier parts of the world, so visiting families should check the schedule. The venue itself is as much an attraction as the performance space. Sydney Harbour Bridge hovers just above it. The best way for families to cross the bridge is in a car or train, though taking a ferry underneath gives the most impressive views of the span itself. Families with children age ten or over might like to join a guided bridge climb, a feat definitely not for the fainthearted.

Sydney's center is set up on an easy-to-follow grid pattern. But its busy streets are not as family-friendly as Darling Harbour's, a short walk or monorail ride away, where you'll find tourist attractions, a choice of cafès and restaurants, and great views back toward the city. In Darling Harbour, Sydney Aquarium boasts all manner of marine life. Next door, Sydney Wildlife World offers the chance to see everything from snakes and spiders to that cuddly national icon, the koala.

Sydney has plenty of family-friendly restaurants, cafès, and beaches. Bondi is the most famous beach suburb and is top-notch for serious surfers, though Manly, on the North Shore, is every bit as good, and the boat ride out there is all part of the fun. Taronga Zoo lies on the harbor its elephants parade past the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Right under the bridge is Luna Park, a modest but enjoyable theme park with great views, a selection of rides, and child-friendly eateries. After the Australian sunshine, the beautiful views, the parks, and everything else Sydney has to offer travelers of all ages, you'll want to introduce Sydney to your friends back home as a world-class family destination.

Published: 29 Apr 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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