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 September/October school holidays.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.