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Exploring Sydney with the kids and family for free - Part 1: Explore Sydney Harbour

Exploring Sydney with the kids and family for free - Part 1: Explore Sydney Harbour

You may be visiting or simply exploring the wonderful playground, Sydney which you call home. You have come to the right spot! We have curated some of the best FREE things to do and explore Sydney with your kids and family. 

Our suggestions prioritise public transport options.  On Sundays, NSW Transport’s Family Funday lets you explore Sydney with unlimited travel on trains, buses and light rail for only $2.50 per person. Kids under 4 travel free!

  This is PART ONE of a 3 part blog series: Our Guide to fun free activities for kids and families in Sydney.  

First up: Explore Sydney harbour and foreshore (for sure)!

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 1) Explore Sydney harbour and foreshore! 

Sydney is nicknamed the "Harbour city". It is unsurprising that on top of our list, is exploring the magnificent harbour with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Want to explore Sydney’s big and beautiful harbour from every possible angle? Check out our list of our favourite vantage points:

a) Across the bridge to Milsons Point/Kirribilli (North Side)

Stroll along Milsons Point Circuit and tick off some key spots:

  • Bradfield Park, right under the Bridge is perfect for a picnic and there is a small playground close by for the kids to play.
  • Luna Park, with its mischievous grinning sign, is free to enter and has paid child-friendly rides and activities. A true retro Sydney icon!
  • North Sydney Olympic Pool, is an amazing spot to take your kids swimming in a heated pool on a pay per-visit or membership basis. How surreal is it that you get to float and gaze up to see the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge just above you!
  • Lavender Bay Foreshore is right behind Luna Park and is a peaceful spot to stop and watch the boats docked at the wharf. While you’re close by, you may want to explore Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden or have a picnic at Clark Park.  

Milsons Point - Destination NSW

Photo Credit: Destination NSW

How to get there: Hop on a train to Milsons Point station (North Shore Line). You can also take the scenic walk across the bridge from Sydney CBD. Alternatively, you can catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Milsons Point ferry wharf.

b) Circular Quay (CBD side)

Wander along the foreshore (stop and bop along to the buskers!) and tick off some key spots:

  • Eastern Side: Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)
  • Western Side: Walk through the iconic, Rocks and head to Hickson Road Reserve and Dawes Point Park.

How to get there:  Catch a train to Circular Quay. It’s a 10 minute walk to the Opera House, or a 20 minute walk to Hickson Road Reserve/Dawes Point.

c) Barangaroo Reserve (CBD side)

This man-made harbour foreshore park covers 6 hectares and is made from 10,000 sandstone blocks. This makes it the largest Sydney sandstone project to date! Over 75,000 native trees, plants and shrubs have been planted.  Wonderfully named, Stargazer Lawn is a peaceful spot to picnic with idyllic harbour scenery. However, note that there is not too much available shade. There are also extensive walking and cycling trails running from Towns Place at the north, to Hickson Road at the south.

Barangaroo - Destination NSW

Photo Credit: Destination NSW

How to get there:  a)By ferry: To Barangaroo Wharf and then a 10minute walk to the reserve.

b)By train: i)Express route:alight at Wynyard station and then a 17minute walk through the Wynyard Walk tunnel, following the signs to Barangaroo Reserve; ii) Scenic route: Alight at Circular Quay train station. Follow the foreshore for about 25mins where you will pass the Museum of Contemporary Art, Overseas Passenger Terminal and Dawes Point. You will reach Walsh Bay where you enter the reserve at Towns Place.

c)Get dropped off: At Merriman Street, Millers Point, 2000.  Phew! We think we have directions covered there!

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