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Family friendly day trips out of Sydney

Uncover family friendly destinations just outside of Sydney

The Inner West is blessed with an amazing food scene, eclectic retail offering and a multitude of cultural events and festivals – which is why it’s sometimes refreshing to escape our urban jungle for an out-of-town family adventure. With Spring just around the corner, we’ve rounded up some of the best family friendly day trips outside of Sydney – most less than a 2 hour drive away.

So buckle up, pack some snacks, and let’s explore the best family friendly day trips near Sydney!


Bush and beach at the Royal National Park, 1 hour drive

Little Marley Beach (image courtesy of Royal National Park Sydney)

Located off the Princess Hwy, just an hour south of Sydney, the Royal National Park is a hidden gem that brings together everything that’s spectacular about Sydney in the Spring. Gorgeous bush forests bursting with flowers, scenic coastal walks and family friendly swimming spots where you can escape the crowds and find a quiet spot to laze.

The $12 park entry fee will give you all-day access to parklands, calm beaches and gorgeous walking tracks. Start with the easy 4.4km Forest Path loop – a walk that’ll take most kids about 90 minutes to complete and take them through cabbage tree palms and Gymea lilies on the path beside Bola Creek and the Hacking River.

Wattamolla Beach Royal National Park
Wattamolla Beach (image courtesy of Royal National Park)

The 7kms Wattamolla to Little Marley Beach walk is another pretty walking trail, the first half starts in bushland and the second along the cliffs following the coastline, ending at the calm waters of Little Marley beach.

As with many national parks, there are also BBQ facilities, picnic tables, toilets and showers, and cafes dotted throughout the park so you can bring your own picnic or grab a bite from one of the local eating spots.

Tip: Bring a pair of binoculars for bird and animal spotting and if you’re on the Curra Moors Loop Track, keep an eye out for the stunning heathland wildflowers which are in bloom in the Spring time.

For more info visit Royal National Park


Adventure on the Central Coast, 1 hour drive

Bouddi Coastal Trail (image courtesy of Destination NSW)

Just an hour north of Sydney, it’s no surprise that the easily accessible Central Coast is a fave Inner West family destination.  And with all-year-round attractions like animal parks and adventure playgrounds, not to mention family-friendly towns, this coastal region is perfect for a day-trip or weekend away.

Australian Reptile Park (image courtesy of Visit NSW)

For kids who love animals, the Australian Reptile Park in Gosford is where they can indulge their inner Bindi Irwin and get up close to over 2,000 native animals. Meet Lyle the Saltwater Crocodile and newest member of the park’s reptilian family, or Hugo and Estrella, the park’s cute Galapagos’ turtle couple. Little ones can also cuddle up to a koala or go behind the scenes for a personal animal encounter with a reptile park keeper.

Tree Tops Adventure (image courtesy of Tree Tops Adventure)

Got an adrenalin junkie? Adventurous kids and teens will love Tree Tops Adventure in the Ourimbah State Forest. At this tree rope and ziplining adventure park, you’ll be anywhere from 1 to 25 metres off the ground, suspended from a rope ziplining or tackling an aerial obstacle course. With Junior Courses designed for kids aged from 3-7, little ones who love heights can join in the fun too.

Mums (and kids) who prefer to be closer to the ground, don’t miss out on the action either. Networld at Tree Tops is a series of elevated, interconnected nets, trampolines and ball pits where you can bounce around to your heart’s content (at a safe distance from terra firma!)

Vera’s Garden, The Entrance (image courtesy of Central Coast NSW)


After all that adventuring, head to The Entrance for a spot of lunch by the water where the kids can indulge their ice cream fantasies at several local ice cream parlours. At The Great Australian Ice-Creamery you’ll find sundaes and milk-shakes, gelatos and sorbets at Ciao Bella, and at Cold Rock Ice Creamery you can create-your-own ice creams with a range of delectable add-on toppings (think lollies, nuts and cookies).

Tip: Let the kids burn off any post-lunch extra energy at The Entrance Waterfront Playground and if you’re visiting on a weekend, the waterfront transforms into amusement fair with carnival style rides, a jumping castle and Ferris wheel.

For more info visit: Love Central Coast

Want more Central Coast family day-trip ideas? Check out our article on why the Central Coast should be your next family destination here.


Aquatic fun at Jervis Bay, 2hours+ drive

Murray’s Beach, Jervis Bay (image courtesy of Jordan Robbins)

Hyams Beach put the Shoalhaven region on the list of Aussie’s must-visit destinations thanks to its ‘gram-worthy white sand, but families in the know have been flocking to kid-friendly towns like Huskisson and Jervis Bay where the aquatic adventures include kayaking and paddle boarding and dolphin and whale watching cruises. The latter has become a huge tourist attraction as Jervis Bay is one of the few places where you can spot whales almost all year round due to being the resting point for the mammals during their 5,000 km migration.

For those who prefer to explore at their own pace, there are self-skippered boats available for rent by the hour or the day, perfect for seeking out hidden caves and secret inlets, or for larger families a skippered pontoon with bbq facilities might be just the ticket.

Landlubbers don’t have to miss out either – the 2.5km White Sands Walk starts at Greenfield Beach and will take you through the sandy beaches and coastal forest by the shores of Jervis Bay, extending all the way to Hyams Beach.

Booderee National Park (image courtesy of Jervis Bay Tourism)

Want more adventure? Dive beneath the waves at Booderee National Park where the crystal clear waters make it easy to spot Jervis Bay’s colourful marine life including sea-dragons and stingrays, dolphins and seals.

For more info visit: Jervis Bay Tourism


A Jurassic experience in the Blue Mountains, 90 minutes drive

Dinosaur Valley at Scenic World (image courtesy of Scenic World)

A drive shorter than the average feature length film will see you at the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains. An area of soaring sandstone ridges, native bushland and charming mountain towns along with family friendly attractions such as the re-opened historic Zig-Zag Railway and Scenic World. But this September, there’s another attraction that’s been a million years in the making!

Sydney’s fave Jurassic experience – Dinosaur Valley – returns to Scenic World and this year, the prehistoric herd is doubling in size so there’ll be even more dinosaurs to discover! Surrounded by kilometres of ancient rainforest, Dinosaur Valley is a one-of-a-kind way for the whole family to explore the natural wonders of the Blue Mountains – and with dino friends to entertain the little ones. As part of the Scenic World experience, kids will also get the chance to enjoy the steepest incline railway, as well as stunning views of the Jamieson Valley on the Skyway cable car suspended 270ms above the canopy of the Blue Mountains National Park.

The World’s Steepest Incline Railway (image courtesy of Scenic World)

Nearby you’ll find the iconic Three Sisters walk (pop into the Visitor Centre for more local info and maps)  and the Giant Stairway – where many a parent has kept their child ‘entertained’ counting the 998 stairs!

Kids out of puff and parents need a pick me-up? Pop into the postcard pretty garden village of Leura and grab a Wagyu Beef Burger at The Bunker, artisan chocolates at Josophan’s (who also do a mean hot choc) or coffee and pie at Leura Gourmet. There’s also the Leura Candy Store for a take-home treat (you’ll find lollies from the UK, US, New Zealand and Canada to name a few) and the Megalong Bookstore has a fabulous kids’ section at the back where little ones can sit and read whilst they pick out a new book.

Leura Garden (image courtesy of Leura Gardens Festival)

Fancy some quiet time after all that food and retail activity? If you’re in Leura over the October long weekend, make a bee line for the annual Leura Gardens Festival. Run by volunteers as a fundraising event for the Leura District Anzac Memorial Hospital, each year several historic, privately owned gardens are opened to the public to enjoy. This year a ‘new’ garden has been added to the festival line-up, the Treetops garden at Wentworth Falls, as well as Fairmont Resort opening its gardens to the public to enjoy. Expect live musical performances from local singers and musicians at each garden, as well as local cafes offering festival inspired fare.

For more info head to Visit Blue Mountains.


Looking for local outdoor venues to visit this Spring? Check out out our article on the best fenced playgrounds for little ones and parks and playgrounds for older kids.

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