Best Train Rides in Sydney for Kids and Families
All aboard the train for a stress-free family outing! Let's face it, with little ones, a relaxing day out can be hard to come by. But there's something about the gentle rumble of the tracks and the stunning views from the window that can help melt away any worries. If your kids are fans of all things locomotive, it's time to get on board with our guide to the best short, scenic train trips and novelty train rides that will leave you and your family feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Don't settle for a stale trip to the museum to indulge their train obsession - we've got just the ticket to take you on a journey to beautiful destinations that will have your kids in awe. From the Blue Mountains to Kangaroo Valley, hop on a train and be transported to stunning scenery and country charm. Or, for a unique experience, climb aboard a ride-on train or miniature railway for a day full of excitement and fun.
Train Trips for Kids in Sydney
Sydney - Blue Mountains
Escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney with a fun and easy day trip to the stunning Blue Mountains. The Sydney to Blue Mountains train departs almost hourly from Central Station, the two-hour train ride to Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath, Mount Victoria, or Lithgow is perfect for a family day out. Once you arrive, you'll be surrounded by towering trees and thrilling activities like the Scenic World rides.
Duration: 2 hours
Sydney - Kangaroo Valley
A valley of bursting beauty that will awe anyone! Take a relaxing train ride from Central to Bomaderry (Nowra) and take a 30-minute bus ride to Kangaroo Valley. It’ll be a memorable train ride, with the chance to see the magnificent South Coast. Kangaroo Valley has traditional country fun written all over its sprawling hills and knuckled hills.
Duration: 2 hours 50 minutes
Sydney - Hawkesbury
To get to the Hawkesbury region, trains operate on both the Northern Line to Pennant Hills Station and Western Line to Parramatta Station where connecting bus services will bring you to the Sydney Hills district. It’s a very relaxing and short train ride, perfect for restless kids. Once you’ve arrived several exciting kid activities are within easy reach! Dural Putt Putt in the Gardens is a lovely mini golf arena with fun challenges, but this is just the tip of the iceberg - there are loads of kids activities in the Hawkesbury to explore.
Duration: 30 minutes
Sydney - Wollongong
Wollongong is located on Sydney Train’s South Coast Line. It is an easy ride with regular daily train service and you can catch it from most stations. Find the Best Things To Do In Wollongong With Kids for a fun day out or a weekend away. We love the Early Start Discovery Space at The University of Wollongong, which is packed with fun activities for kids of all ages and their grown-ups. Check out the ellaslist Early Start Discovery Space Review.
Duration: 2 hours
Sydney - Moss Vale
A trip to Moss Vale requires two fun train rides - the first from Central to Campbelltown and then from there to Moss Vale. The second train takes you through a scenic path through several towns. You could also take a day trip on The Cockatoo Run - a restored heritage train that operates from Sydney on select Thursdays and Sundays. The journey offers spectacular coastal scenery prior to the ascent of the Illawarra Escarpment. The line climbs 600 metres through rainforests, past waterfalls and the spectacular viaduct. The train makes a stop at Summit Tank to admire the view over Lake Illawarra out to the Tasman Sea. The train is hauled by one a Heritage Diesel Locomotive and consists of fully restored 1930s and 1940s built carriages complete with its original open air windows, and a buffet car offers light refreshments and souvenirs.
Duration: 2 hours
Sydney - Gosford
The Sydney to Gosford train ride is a lovely way to travel to the Central Coast, with glimpses of the stunning landscape. Glimmering beaches, tidal pools and parks ensure there’s no shortage of outdoor excitement in Gosford. You can get off the train at Woy Woy station just before Gosford so the kids can try Pelican Feeding at the Waterfront - it’s a tradition up there! There’s also the fantastic Australian Reptile Park that offers a hands-on experience that’ll please all kids. Central Coast Taxis can take you there from the station.
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
Train Rides For Kids In Sydney
If you have a train fanatic whose obsession extends far beyond Thomas the Tank engine, they will love these exciting train-themed experiences! We’ve rail-tested just about all Sydney and its surrounds have to offer, and here are six of the best train ride experiences in Sydney.
The Zig Zag Railway
The Zig Zag Railway is a heritage railway in the Blue Mountains that offers train rides on a restored section of the original Great Western Line. The railway takes visitors on a scenic journey through the mountains, including through the historic Lithgow Valley. The railway also offers special events and experiences, such as steam train rides and family fun days. There are also opportunities for visitors to explore the railway's museum and learn about the history of the area.
The reopening date of the Zig Zag Railway is still in the pipeline, but we're promised it'll be sometime before winter 2023. Keep up to date with the reopening date and other news through the Zig Zag Railway Facebook page.
NSW Rail Museum
The NSW Rail Museum is indisputably Sydney’s premier destination for train lovers and ride-on trains for kids in Sydney. It is the sort of place where an entire day can easily be spent. The site itself is enormous and children and adults alike love simply wandering up and down the many rows of historic engines and carriages. There is a lovely playground and picnic area, but if you forget to bring food with you or the weather isn’t great, there is also a little cafe within the museum. Trainworks is a terrific place to visit no matter what the weather is doing as the bulk of it is undercover. Keep your eye on the Trainworks calendar for wonderful unique events, like the much-loved Day Out With Thomas event. An ellaslist favourite!
There are different theatre productions at various times throughout the year and the museum also runs terrific craft activities. Enjoy a scenic 40-minute steam train ride the whole family will love.
Sydney Live Steam Locomotive Society Train Rides
The Sydney Live Steam Locomotive Society was founded in 1948 in West Ryde and has been in the same spot ever since on the corner of Anthony Road and Betts Street. On the third Saturday of each month from 1:30 to 4:30 pm, the Society offers miniature railway rides which are a huge hit with big and little children. Dare we say, one of the best ride-on trains for kids in Sydney.
The park setting is fantastic for picnics and it's not unusual to find a birthday party taking place. Your little engineer will have a wonderful time and with rides only $2 each, you can let them go crazy!
Location: West Ryde
The Picnic Train Tours
Sydney Rail Services run The Picnic Train tours to some of the most beautiful destinations within a few hours of Sydney. Get on board for a unique ride-on train for kids in Sydney experience. This one is an extra special experience as it's a steam train! Bring the family and enjoy traditional open-windowed period carriages - hauled by steam power only. On limited dates throughout the year, you can join one of the classic rail tours from Sydney’s magnificent Central Station along the picturesque South Coast Line to Kiama, or catch the Steam Locomotive 5917 to The Hunter Valley region.
The Picnic Train makes a fun day trip on a real vintage steam train where you can relive an authentic rail ride from the past. All fares are for same-day return travel.
Location: First pickup location for the Kiama Picnic Train is Tempe Station. For other locations and trips see the website.
Central Coast Steam Model Co-op
We are eager to give the mini-train rides that have recently reopened at the Central Coast Steam Model Co-op in Narara a try, and we cannot wait to get on board the ride-on-train experience for kids (and adults)!
Ride the tracks on these one-of-a-kind miniature trains. A number of engines are powered by steam, others by battery-powered electric motors, and others by small internal combustion engines. All of them are driven and owned by volunteers, so make sure to thank your driver!
To avoid disappointment, make sure you wear covered shoes to be able to take a ride.
Location: Showground Rd, Narara (opposite Bellbowrie Ave).
Once you’ve exhausted all of these other fabulous rides-on train experiences, why not grab a rail map from Sydney Trains, let your child choose a destination, and ‘ride the rails’?
You can beat an original.
Location: Sydney wide
More Things to do in and Around Sydney
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Feb 19 2016
great article, many thanks
Feb 19 2016
My baby loves so much trains. Especially Thomas the tank. Because we live near the train station.