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Where to take parents around Sydney?

My parents decided that they'll come join me in the middle of my Sydney trip!  What things can I do in or around Sydney thats my parents will enjoy doing? Looking for "family fun" activities.  My parents are in their 50s-60s and very healthy, so walking around wouldn't be a problem.  Thanks! 

6 Answers

top answer by
Michelle from Melbourne

Taronga Zoo is a great spot for a family activity and it has the added advantage of amazing views over Sydney Harbour.

You should head down to the iconic Bondi Beach and I'd recommend the cliff walk from there to Bronte Beach - one way takes around 45 minutes, it's quite a dramatic walk, and there is a great strip of cafes at the other end.

Of course if you're really brave, the climb up Sydney Harbour bridge is extraordinary. Not good for those with a fear of heights though! To get a taste of the colonial past of the city, you can walk around The Rocks - this is, however, very touristy, but some of the buildings are beautiful. There are also lovely walks around the harbour and through Royal Botanic Gardens.

For a lovely lunch with a view, perhaps hop on a ferry and head across to Manly Beach - if the weather's good, it's very pleasant to just buy some fish and chips and sit on the beach.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Taronga Zoo (attraction)
  2. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  3. Bronte Beach (attraction)
  4. Sydney Harbour (attraction)
  5. The Rocks (attraction)
  6. Royal Botanic Gardens (attraction)
  7. Manly Beach (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Andrew from Tokyo

The easy walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a beautiful one (and fairly easy) without the heights or the costs of Bridgeclimb.  I would suggest you catch the train to Milsons Point station and then make your way back across the bridge and end up in The Rocks (where you can do more exploring).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney Harbour Bridge (attraction)
  2. The Rocks (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Michael from London

I love the answers you have got already and would add the sugestion of doing one of the walks around the harbour. The Manly, North Head and The Spit one is my favourite.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manly (city)
  2. North Head (attraction)
  3. The Spit (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
David from Sydney

To add to Brad's excellent response, there is a ferry that runs from Circular Quay to Shark Island. If they wanted a relaxing day, they could pack a picnic and spend some of the day on the island.

Balmoral Beach is a nice beach in the harbour that is accessible by public transport, and has a couple of great restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's also a sheltered spot for a bit of swimming and snorkelling.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Balmoral Beach (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Brad from Ubud

It really depends what your parents like but if they are reasonably active, I can't go past a kayak to Shark Island. You can rent kayaks from Point Piper Kayak Centre for about an hour or two and just paddle out there. When you get past the point, you'll see unbeatable views of Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House from your own little spot on the water. You can only get vistas like this if you own one of the muliti-million dollar mansions on Point Piper :)

I suggest you go early in the morning since the water will be less rough. A good route is to hit the island then keep going to the beach at Nielsen Park for a morning coffee at the kiosk there and then, meander back along the inner coast via Rose Bay. I used to do this kayak all the time when I lived in Sydney and miss it quite a bit!

Another neat parent friendly thing is to go to one of the outdoor cinema events: Moonlight Cinema Sydney or the St.George OpenAir Cinema. If they're more into culture, Sydney Theatre have great shows (often with top Australian talent like Cate Blanchett). The theatre is set in a former wharf house and is really beautiful by the water.

Food is another big part of Sydney culture and there's so much going on in this city when it comes to eating and drinking. A place that is getting very popular lately is The Grounds of Alexandria - a sprawling cafe, restaurant and outdoor market complex. I'm also pretty sure every visitor needs to end up at Gelato Messina at some point - get the pandan & coconut!

That's probably enough to get you thinking for the moment, but if you would like advice on anything more specific let me know. I lived in Sydney for most of my life and I have lots to share about this great city. :)

P.S. I second the Bronte-to-Bondi walk. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Shark Island (attraction)
  2. Sydney Harbour (attraction)
  3. Sydney Opera House (attraction)
  4. Nielsen Park (restaurant)
  5. Rose Bay (attraction)
  6. Moonlight Cinema Sydney (attraction)
  7. St.George OpenAir Cinema (attraction)
  8. Sydney Theatre (attraction)
  9. The Grounds of Alexandria (restaurant)
  10. Gelato Messina (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Grant from Sydney

Here is an itinerary I put together for family when they visited:

Day 1

Walk down to The Rocks. MCA (no bookings) for lunch then place opposite for desert (sit upstairs).

Check out the Visitors centre in the Rocks (near Wine Odyssey).

Wander around the Rocks then walk down Hicksons Road then waterfront back past Park Hyatt Sydney, Oversea Passenger Terminal (go up the multiple viewing platforms at the OPT), then along Circular Quay (stop at Customs House to look at underfloor model of Sydney), then up the lift at Circular Quay (near Wharf 2), turn left and walk along the Cahill Expressway until get into the Royal Botanic Gardens (walk past Govt House-is it open?), through the gardens to Mrs Macquaries Chair (past the Gardens café for ice cream etc if before 4pm) then walk waterfront around to Sydney Opera House then stop at Opera Bar, Oyster Bar etc for drink.

Free tour of the Rocks at 6pm (meet the guide near Cadmans Cottage in CQ).

Back to Hotel

Blu Bar on 36 at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydneyfor pre-dinner drink then walk to O Bar and Dining for dinner (book in advance and request a window table)

Day 2

Get an Ferry to Kirribilli (but do Neutral Bay loop and jump off at the second time it stops at Kirribilli at end of loop), walk to Milsons Point via Kirribilli House and shoreline via Waruda St. Ripples (Milsons Pt) for breakfast (book in advance). Walk through Luna Park and then back along boardwalk. Walk up through Kirribilli shops to bridge stairs, and walk over bridge stopping at Pylon Lookout (open 10am-5pm) then along Cahill Expy and then down the lift to Circular Quay for ferry.

Ferry to Watsons Bay (queue up early for seat upstairs outside). Walk up to the Gap – then walk along the cliffs to the lighthouse at South Head then back via the beaches on the other side. Fish and Chips at Doyles on the Wharf Restaurant

If got time ferry over to Manly (check the limited timetable – note this is not included in your Sydney Ferry ticket). Ice cream stop at wharf. Walk to Manly Beach and then around to Shelly Beach.

Get Manly Ferry back to Circular Quay (sit up top up front)

Ferry over to Milsons Point for takeaway Pizza/Thai (from Kirribilli shops) down by the waterfront under bridge then ferry home via Darling Harbour route past Balmain etc.

Day 3

Taxi to Bondi (North end) and walk the beach to Icebergs and have light breakfast at the The Crabbe Hole under Icebergs (open 7 days) – also see if other places with Icebergs are open and better? Do walk to Coogee and eat at Coogee Pavillion (rooftop) or walk/taxi back to Bondi and go to Icebergs Bistro (you need ID) for lunch and drink-I have check it is open Mondays). Seasalt Cafe+ Kiosk at Clovelly is another option (perhaps a more substantial breakfast). Taxi back to city (ask driver to go via Kings Cross if you want to see it) and get dropped off at St Mary's Cathedral – walk from there through Hyde Park to Centre point tower and go to observation deck (includes 4D Cinema) – Skywalk? Shopping time – Westfield Sydney. Then walk to Queen Victoria Building and Town Hall Station, then down George St to Martin Place. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Rocks (attraction)
  2. Wine Odyssey (restaurant)
  3. Park Hyatt Sydney (hotel)
  4. Circular Quay (attraction)
  5. Customs House (attraction)
  6. Royal Botanic Gardens (attraction)
  7. Mrs Macquaries Chair (attraction)
  8. Sydney Opera House (attraction)
  9. Cadmans Cottage (attraction)
  10. Blu Bar on 36 (restaurant)
  11. Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney (restaurant)
  12. O Bar and Dining (restaurant)
  13. Kirribilli (attraction)
  14. Milsons Point (neighborhood)
  15. Kirribilli House (attraction)
  16. Luna Park (attraction)
  17. Pylon Lookout (attraction)
  18. Cahill Expy (attraction)
  19. Watsons Bay (attraction)
  20. Doyles on the Wharf Restaurant (restaurant)
  21. Manly (city)
  22. Shelly Beach (attraction)
  23. Bondi (attraction)
  24. The Crabbe Hole (restaurant)
  25. Seasalt Cafe+ Kiosk (restaurant)
  26. St Mary's Cathedral (attraction)
  27. Hyde Park (attraction)
  28. Westfield Sydney (attraction)
  29. Queen Victoria Building (attraction)
  30. Town Hall Station (attraction)
2 thanks

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