Sydney Staycation on a Budget: Fun-filled Adventures for Families with Young Children
Taking your family on a holiday can be tricky at the best of times, navigating costs, travel logistics and annual leave, among myriad other things you need to plan and execute. However, one of our favourite ways to make a getaway much less stressful and much more affordable is to take a staycation in our own backyard.
Why Choose A Sydney Staycation for Your Family?
People travel the world to explore our grand city, and a staycation in Sydney is the perfect way to introduce your family to the treasure trove of coveted experiences we have right here.
There are lots of savvy options for families with young children to keep costs down, and it’s super easy to plan and book a whole range of unique and exciting activities with Experience Oz to make it feel like a real holiday. From harbour cruises to sightseeing buses to day trips further afield, Experience Oz has all your bucket list adventures in one place!
Sydney is abuzz with a vibrant wonderland of attractions for kids and families so you can pack your itinerary with incredible things to do to really make the most of your escape. From adrenaline-pumping action to captivating wildlife parks, from enchanting aquariums to fascinating museums, there's a whole world of excitement and adventure to discover.
Whether it's a weekend or a week, there’s a Sydney staycation waiting for you - and there are some clever ways to ensure you don't blow the budget too!
Staycation Accommodation in Sydney
Sydney Hotels and Hostels
Sydney has some fantastic, mid-range hotels where you can snap some great value deals for luxe accommodation. The Amora Hotel Jamison is ideally situated smack-bang in the Sydney CBD, with close proximity to loads of top attractions. Kids love the indoor pool, buffet breakfast and high tea!
If you prefer your more intimate accommodation, the harbour city has stunning boutique hotels where you can explore some new neighbourhoods including Watsons Bay, Potts Point, Chippendale and Darlinghurst.
For a more economical option, YHA Sydney Harbour is situated in the city's historic precinct of The Rocks and offers family rooms, free wifi, a games room and a rooftop terrace with incredible views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. On the other side of town, YHA Sydney Central is right on the light rail line with easy access to Sydney's sites and attractions and also offers family rooms, free wifi and a rooftop terrace with a BBQ and swimming pool.
Sydney Holiday Rentals
For an authentic home-away-from-home experience, a holiday rental could be just the ticket. They offer affordability and convenience, especially when you’ve got a big family. Holiday houses boast convenient amenities like a full kitchen and laundry, plus more space and privacy.
The best place we’ve found for Sydney holiday rentals is Stayz. You can search for a range of family-friendly accommodations that meet your getaway goals, like being located near a beach or having a swimming pool.
Sydney Camping Spots
For more adventurous families with a taste for the great outdoors, camping is a thrifty, grassroots accommodation option that offers some truly unique highlights like campfires under the stars, beautiful nature landscapes and perhaps even a digital detox!
Surprisingly, you don’t have to travel too far from the city to snap up a tent - some of our favourite campgrounds are just a stone’s throw from Sydney.
If you want to take the luxe level up a notch, you can go glamping on Cockatoo Island - the only harbour island where you can stay overnight. They have stress-free family Camping Packages with ready-to-go tents!
Must-Visit Sydney Attractions from Experience Oz
Your accommodation is sorted and you are ready to see the sites! These unmissable Sydney attractions will delight the whole family, plus you can get awesome deals and skip the queues when you pre-book your tickets with Experience Oz.
Sydney Tower Eye
First up, we recommend you go straight to the top - 250 metres above street level in fact! Sydney Tower Eye is the highest building in our fair city and has an indoor Observation Deck with sensational 360-degree views stretching as far as the Blue Mountains. Use the binoculars to spot all the famous landmarks, be dazzled by the glorious sunsets or dare to take the exhilarating SKYWALK.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
The entertainment hub of Darling Harbour is home to an aquatic wonderland like no other! SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is Australia's largest oceanarium with over 90 tanks and 13,000 aquatic animals. With a glass walk-through tunnel that immerses you beneath the water, and visit mesmerising seascapes including a South Coast Shipwreck area, Dugong Island, Shark Valley walk, a Great Barrier Reef area, a Penguin Expedition and a myriad more highlights, you will be awestruck by this underwater labyrinth.
Taronga Zoo Sydney
The iconic Taronga Zoo is Sydney's most popular zoo with one of the best collections of animals in the country and an unrivalled location on the edge of Sydney Harbour. With thousands of furry residents calling Taronga Zoo home, you’ll see native Australian fauna like cute koalas and kangaroos, and a diverse array of exotic wildlife from monkeys to meerkats. Explore spacious exhibits and see extraordinary zoo keeper presentations including the Free Flight Birds show and Seals for the Wild.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
A bit further afield, Featherdale Wildlife Park is a beautiful, family-orientated haven that little kids will love. With over 2000 native residents, Featherdale is home to Australia’s largest private collections of Australian animals and bird life. Nestled in a lush bush setting, Featherdale gives you the opportunity for more intimate experiences with immersive walk-through areas including a NEW Koala Sanctuary, and kangaroo and wallaby feeding in a spacious, natural environment. There are also zookeeper presentations throughout the day. And a farmyard where little ones can pat and feed farm animals.
BONUS: SAVE 20%. Valid until 24 September 2023.
Treetops Adventure Park
The great outdoors doesn't get much better than this! Get a birds-eye view of the ultimate natural playground at the award-winning eco-friendly Treetops Adventure Park. The Western Sydney Parklands landmark boasts 100 individual challenges (divided up by ability level) and 20 flying foxes and zip lines for kids (and parents!) of all ages, plus special courses for the littlest thrill seekers. Ascend the heights of the forest for a thrilling day of zipping, climbing and flying, where kids can conquer their fears and embrace an out-of-the-ordinary, unforgettable, action-packed experience surrounded by nature.
Save With A Sydney Attractions Pass
One of the most cost-effective ways to see some of the best family destinations is with a Sydney Attractions Pass which includes entry to multiple entertainment venues for one super low price. Choose from a Two, Three or Four Attractions pass for entry to WILD LIFE Sydney, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Tower Eye or Madame Tussauds Sydney, and save up to $86 on standard entry fees.
All of the attractions are in close proximity to each other making planning easy, however, you have up to 60 days to visit all attractions.
Affordable Dining in Sydney
Kid-Friendly Cafes and Restaurants
We’ve done the legwork to make sure you can find family-friendly dining options across Sydney for your staycation that won’t break the bank.
Sydney has a plethora of Cheap Eats that are guaranteed to satisfy the most budget-conscious traveller, and there is an impressive array of kid-friendly cafes and kid-friendly pubs where you can relax and chow down, even with tiny tots in tow. Sydney also has a range of money-saving eateries where kids eat for FREE.
Newmarket Randwick is a lively precinct for families with restaurants and cafes and an incredible interactive children's playground and The Grounds of Alexandria is a fantastic place to visit for its collection of casual eateries and incredible installations.
The Sydney Fish Market is the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a delightful pitstop with kids in Sydney and you can chow down on delicious fresh seafood or fish and chips.
Best Picnic Spots in Sydney
If you need a breath of fresh air, a family picnic is a beautiful, budget dining alternative. Pack your favourite snacks and head to one of the Best Picnic Spots in Sydney including the Royal Botanic Gardens where you can settle under the famous fig trees surrounded by vibrant blooms and water views, and Centennial Park with its array of barbeque facilities, flower gardens, duck ponds and resident swans plus playgrounds and bike tracks. A picnic lunch is a fun and affordable way to dine!
Best Food Markets in Sydney
Another savvy way to dine out is at a local market, especially on the weekend. Sydney is abuzz with fabulous markets where you can experience culture and cuisine with a lively atmosphere. Soak up the sunshine with a good cup of coffee, homemade treats and gourmet delights for artisan stalls.
Some of the Best Markets in Sydney for a food adventure are Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers Market, Carriageworks Farmers Market and Bondi Markets.
Tips for a Budget-Friendly Sydney Staycation
The best place to save a pretty penny on sensational staycation activities is at Experience Oz where you can find hot deals and limited-time offers on all the best things to do in Sydney.
To save on eating out, plan meals and cook at your accommodation if you can. Have picnic lunches, visit markets and choose local restaurants away from tourist hubs.
Hot tip: Check out EatClub for daily dining deals.
Save on getting around by using public transport with an Opal Card. There are daily, weekly and weekend travel caps plus off-peak travel discounts. The light rail makes getting through the city a breeze and the ferry across gorgeous Sydney Harbour is a treat in itself, and the best way to travel to Cockatoo Island, Taronga Zoo, Watsons Bay and beyond.
Lastly, there are tons of free things to do around Sydney to keep little tykes entertained without spending a cent.
More Ways To Enjoy Sydney
Have you signed up for our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!