Sir Stamford Hotel Sydney lobby
Sebel Pier One harbour view
Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific balcony
Sydney is the perfect destination for luxury family holidays and even children can’t fail to be entranced by the picturesque harbour, dominated by the city’s crown jewels – the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The city boasts wonderful child-friendly areas such as the attraction-filled Darling Harbour and the scenic Royal Botanic Gardens. It is teeming with families, whose children spill out onto the beaches at weekends to play in the waves or take part in ‘nippers’ surf life-saving competitions. One taste of this outdoors way-of-life and you – not to mention your little ones – may never want to leave.
Sir Stamford Hotel Sydney
An elegant Sydney hotel just steps from the iconic Opera House
The refined luxury of the Sir Stamford Hotel Sydney, in Circular Quay, evokes memories of classical European hotels and contrasts wonderfully with the modern architecture of the nearby Opera House. Despite the impressive collection of fine art, the crystal chandeliers and the Georgian antique furniture, the hotel is...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Toddler-friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The Sebel Pier One
Luxurious waterfront accommodation in the shadow of Sydney's Harbour Bridge
Nestled at the foot of Sydney's famous Harbour Bridge, the luxurious Sebel Pier One hotel features a variety of chic rooms and suites, many with views of the surrounding harbour. Just a five-minute walk from The Rocks – a historic area of the city filled with cobblestone laneways, markets, bars and restaurants –...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Toddler-friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Four Seasons Sydney
A stylish, luxurious option overlooking Sydney harbour
From its harbourside location, the Four Seasons Sydney hotel towers above Circular Quay, boasting panoramic views of the Opera House and Port Jackson, while also providing the perfect launchpad for exploring the city. There’s a luxurious range of well-appointed rooms and suites, with connecting rooms also available...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific
A comfortable beachside haven with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean
Located directly opposite the sands of Sydney’s famous Manly Beach, the Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific hotel provides a comfortable base for exploring the city’s Northern Beaches, with the hustle and bustle of Circular Quay just a picturesque 30-minute ferry ride...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Toddler-friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
93-95 North Steyne, Manly
This laidback eatery in Manly, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, benefits from being slightly away from the tourist hotspots at the southern end of the beach, but still enjoys ocean views thanks to its open frontage. It’s popular with locals, so can get very busy at weekends, especially during breakfast and lunch, when people form an orderly queue outside, waiting to get their fix of chargrilled chorizo and pesto scrambled egg or the excellent range of salads and sandwiches. The evening menu offers a variety of tapas, as well as a great selection of seafood dishes, while the friendly staff are very attentive to those with children and will quickly supply colouring sheets and crayons on arrival. There’s also a selection of toys and plenty of highchairs available.
Bitton Café and Bistro
36-37a Copeland Street, Alexandria
The gourmet Bitton Café and Bistro has become a hit with Sydney families thanks to its superb French-Australian inspired menu and well-stocked children’s playroom. The café serves breakfast all day, including delicious French crêpes with seasonal fruit and incredible “one pan” bacon and eggs, while lunch includes favourites such as the spicy chicken and leek pie and a range of sandwiches. The Bistro, meanwhile, is open for dinner from 5.30pm (Wednesday to Saturday,) serving a range of elegant, grown-up dishes including beef carpaccio and quail saltimbocca, but served on the earlier side which is perfect if dining out with little ones. In the great Aussie ‘BYO’ tradition, you can even bring your own bottle of wine on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. At the rear of the restaurant sits a sun-filled courtyard and a fantastic playroom for the kids, featuring a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard and countless toys. With a well-crafted children’s menu and ample high chairs and baby changing facilities, this is a surefire family favourite. There’s even a park right across the street.
Bitton Cafe and Bistro table
34 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Boasting incredible views from the southern end of Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, Bondi Trattoria has been delighting locals for over 25 years with its inviting mix of Italian and modern Australian cuisines. It can get a little cramped inside, so best to bring a fold-up stroller, but there are ample highchairs available and the children’s menu also doubles as a colouring sheet, (a basket of crayons is also provided by the friendly staff). There are even free nappies and wipes in the baby changing area, should you need any extras in an emergency.
Where to start? Children of all ages will love spending time on any of Sydney’s stunning beaches, where they can learn to surf or enjoy snorkelling with an array of marine life. Children and adults alike love hopping on the ferries that crisscross Port Jackson, while family-favourite beaches include the sheltered Shelly Beach, in Manly, and the protected Clovelly Beach, in the city’s Eastern Suburbs.
Darling Harbour boasts several family-friendly attractions such as Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and Wild Life Sydney, as well as an IMAX cinema, bowling alley and laser-tag centre.
The iconic Taronga Zoo boasts incredible views of the harbour, as well as an impressive collection of native and exotic species (the daily bird show, with the city as its backdrop, is not to be missed).
Nearby Tumbalong Park playground, featuring free water games, climbing ropes, swings, slides and flying foxes, is also sure to keep toddlers and older children entertained for hours.
Dial 000 for emergencies. Both Sydney Children’s Hospital (+61 2 9382 1111) and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (+61 2 9845 0000) offer excellent pediatric care, with 24-hour emergency wards. Due to reciprocal healthcare agreements, visitors from Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom are eligible for some subsidised health services for essential medical treatment while staying in Australia. The Poisons Information Hotline (13 11 26) can offer free advice 24 hours a day on what treatment is necessary for things like spider bites.
When to go
Sydney’s temperate climate allows for year-round travel, although summer (December to February) may be uncomfortable for children – and their flustered parents – with temperatures averaging 25ºC and sometimes climbing to over 40ºC. Popular beaches, such as Bondi, can also become alarmingly crowded during the summer months. Early autumn and spring (September to November) are perfect times to enjoy the city’s attractions without overheating, with beaches usually patrolled by lifeguards from October onwards. Winter sees the city come to life with the annual Vivid Festival, which sees famous sights such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge lit up with spectacular light shows.