Bondi Icebergs is $6.50 on entry, but most ocean baths are free. Credit: Shutterstock

28 best family activities in NSW

We’ve all become very familiar with our neighbourhoods these past few months. Sure, there’s been something lovely about learning the secrets of the local area; the hidden shortcuts, the best takeaway coffee, the best play equipment. But if you’re a family of travel lovers like us, then the open road beckons and you’re probably getting tired of your local park.

Enter intrastate travel. We can’t necessarily head off to faraway lands just yet, but the gradual lifting of travel bans in Australia means we can explore the delights of our home states. Destination NSW has launched a jam-packed list of 213 things to do now we can get out and about again. We picked our family favourites.

With 28 weekends left in the year, check out this list and get planning to make the most of New South Wales.

Active outdoors

  • A firm favourite with overseas visitors, the Bondi region has plenty to offer Sydneysiders too. Take the Bondi to Bronte walk for great coastal views, or snap up a surf lesson with Let’s Go Surfing.
  • The south coast of New South Wales is famously home to the most stunning sandy beaches, so take off on the White Sands Walk at Jervis Bay.
  • From Wedding Cake Rock to swimming holes, the Royal National Park is full of outdoor adventures. Try sections of the Coast Track.
  • North of Sydney on the Central Coast stretches the stunning Bouddi National Park, and the Bouddi Coastal Walk.
  • Climb up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse for awesome views over Palm Beach. One of Sydney’s favourites, the beach features in the soap drama Home and Away.
The famous Bondi Icebergs swimming pool at Bondi. Credit: wolffpower/ Shutterstock

Natural wonders

  • You can still tap into holiday vibes up north at Byron Bay. The most easterly point of Australia, Cape Byron is perfect for catching a sunrise.
  • Awe-inspiring limestone caverns and chasms await an easy 3-hour drive from Sydney or Canberra. The Jenolan Caves were formed by underground rivers.
  • Head for the hills – to be more specific, the tallest mountain in Australia. The peak of Mount Kosciuszko can be reached via either Thredbo or Charlotte Pass. Try your hand at fly fishing while you’re in the Snowy Mountains.
  • Did you know that Australia is home to the second largest canyon in the world in width? After only the Grand Canyon? Visit the Capertee Valley to check it out.
  • The much-loved nature hub of the Blue Mountains offers plenty of day-trip delights. Take a family photo in front of the Three Sisters at the Echo Point lookout, or set off on the flat, family-friendly Three Sisters walk.
The stunning Three Sisters is a great backdrop for a family photo! Credit: Shutterstock

City break

  • The charm of a glistening Sydney Harbour has not worn off. Alight at Milsons Point and walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or take it up a notch and conquer the Bridge Climb. Or catch a ferry to Manly or Cockatoo Island.
  • Full of fun, multi-media and frequently rotating exhibitions (many of which are super kid-friendly), the Museum of Contemporary Art also has lovely views across to the Sydney Opera House.
  • Teens will love perusing the vintage clothes, book shops, live music venues and hipster cafes of Newtown, before catching an indie film at the Dendy Cinema.
  • Foodie families will love the atmosphere of the Sydney Fish Markets, where you can grab many a scrumptious seafood bite to eat.
  • Another icon of the family holiday photo, stop in at the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour on the north coast.
  • In Dunbarah on the tropical north coast of New South Wales, you’ll find Tropical Fruit World. This family-operated fruit farm grows more than 500 different international species, which you can learn about and taste on a farm tour.
The glittering Sydney Harbour makes it easy to see why they nickname it the ‘Emerald City.’ Credit: Shutterstock

Animals

  • Port Macquarie is home to an awesome Koala Hospital which runs self-guided and guided tours. It is currently closed, but watch this space.
  • Get going on your family bucket list and swim with dolphins at Dolphin Swim Australia, Port Stephens.
  • Keep rolling with the animal theme and head on safari in the savannah with Zoofari at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.
Dubbo Zoo
There are plenty of animals to meet at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Credit: Natasha Keller

Experience First Nations cultures

  • Mungo National Park has plenty to see, but we recommend the Walls of China which boast 36,000 year old relics of ancient First Nations culture.
  • Jump aboard the Ngaran Ngaran Cultural Awareness tour at Narooma, and learn about the Yuin people and the stories of Mount Gulaga.
  • Take a heritage tour to the rock art in Mutawintji National Park. Then see art of a different kind in Broken Hill’s Living Desert sculptures.
  • Get ready for a quad biking adventure on the Stockton Sand Dunes, where you can also hear the stories of the Worimi people.
Sunset over the rock formations known as the Wall of China in Mungo National Park Credit: Nick Fox/ Shutterstock

History

  • Reaching stardom with its leading role in the 2000 film The Dish, the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope is also a worthy tourist attraction. It stands at 64 metres in diameter.
  • Sports fans buckle up to learn about one of Australia’s all-time greats at the Bradman Museum and Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral.
  • Time your visit for spring, and you might catch a pink glimpse of cherry blossoms at the Japanese Gardens and Cultural Centre in Cowra, commemorating Japanese Prisoners of War.
  • Step back in time with a trip down the Murray River in an old-school paddle steamer.
  • Eden’s whaling history goes way back – learn more at the Killer Whale Museum.

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