Who doesn’t love a free day out! A cultural museum visit, a family walk and beachy day out, these are some of the best free school holiday activities in Sydney that families can do without spending a dime. Find out what is on next school holidays in Sydney for FREE!
From strolling through all the natural wonders this beautiful city has to offer, to taking the kids on adventure playgrounds, these free kids school holiday activities won’t cost you a cent! We have listed all the free things to do in the school holidays in Sydney right here!
This is a guide to the best free things to do in Sydney over the school holidays. but if you are looking for school holiday ideas for teenagers in Sydney, we can help with that too!
If you are happy to learn about ALL the best school holiday activities in Sydney (paid and cheap as well) then read our detailed guide.
State schools finish on Tuesday 19 December and return to class on Friday 28 January 2024.
Summer school holidays in NSW are Wednesday 20 December to Thursday 27 January.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is centrally located in The Rocks and showcases a wonderful range of contemporary art to stimulate and excite young minds. With exhibitions for kids be sure to check out what is on offer.
Art Gallery of NSW
A trip to the Art Gallery of NSW will give you the experience of fine art in a beautiful location. Overlooking Sydney Harbour, the gallery is only 15 minutes’ walk from the city and has programs that bring families together over art.
These school holidays you can expect:
- Present – 26 September: Archie 100
The Rocks Discovery Museum
This family friendly museum offers a fun interactive way to explore history. The museum is home to a unique collection of images and archaeological artefacts found in The Rocks – some of which you can even hold. Kids will enjoy this hands on experience. Click here.
Darling Harbour Children’s Playground
Located in scenic Darling Harbour, this playground is truly a wonderland. The playground offers a range of equipment for all ages including a sandpit, climbing frame, balance ropes and even a flying fox. On a hot day, enjoy the waterpark which includes water fountain and water feature to cool off with.
Insiders tip: Grab a coffee from a nearby shop and relax while the kids play!
Royal Botanic Gardens 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!
Parsley Bay Reserve
Parsley Bay Reserve is a popular family park that includes an enclosed swimming area, picnic facilities and a children’s playground. There is also a short bushland walking circuit (15-20 minutes return) that takes you to a waterfall at the head of the gully. There is a wooden suspension bridge that crosses the bay and there are caves and overhangs for imaginative children to explore. Click here.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk
One of Sydney’s great coastal walks, the easy Hermitage Foreshore track offers up stunning views of Sydney’s harbour, islands and icons. This family friendly coastal walk is perfect for all fitness levels and goes past 5 beaches, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to stop and swim or have a picnic. Families tip: Bring a camera for some fantastic photo opportunities.
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 for more information about what;s on at the powerhouse Museum.
These school holidays you can expect:
- 19 March – 8 August: Iranzanium
- Present – 3 October: Bayram Ali
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’.
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. They run extensive school holiday programs for families.
Click here for more information about their school holiday programs!
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 more information about Sydney park
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.
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.
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.
Free school holiday activities at home
If you are looking for ideas for the school holiday that you can do at home – this will help!
You can’t go wrong with a good old card game. Whether it’s a big family game of uno, or just a two player game of snap, keep the fun rolling!
Design a shirt
Get out those colourful pens and paint brushes, and create some pictures and drawings to redecorate an old shirt with! Get creative and make up your own clothing designs to wear on your next day out!
Jump into the garden, slip those gardening gloves on, and plant some seeds in the soil to watch them grow! (Make sure to keep them watered and in the sun so they stay healthy and grow tall!)
Invent a board game
Create and design a game for you and your family to play at the next family games night! You write the rule book and construct the board… it’s all in your control!
Take out the jump rope and get in the garden with your family or friends for some skipping games or competitions. How long can you skip for?!
If you need childcare over the school holidays check out our school holiday program guide with a huge list of ideas happening next break.
NSW kids holiday ideas
If you’re looking for more things to do in NSW with kids, 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 term, so remember to bookmark this page. If you have a teenager, then check out our article about things to do in Sydney for teenagers that aren’t lame! And we even have ideas for things to do in Sydney at night with kids, if you need after hours fun!
Let us know if we missed your favourite or if you would like us to advertise your venue or event!
Even more NSW school holiday ideas:
If you are heading north these school holidays check out:
- Newcastle & Central Coast School holiday activities
- Port Macquarie school holiday activities
- Coffs Harbour School holiday activities
- Byron Bay school holiday activities
If you are heading south these school holidays, these holiday ideas might help: