Top 10 Outdoor Activities for School Kids
We know winter is just around the corner and as tempting as it is to hibernate for three months.... you also have kids who probably have no concept of seasonal change! So take off those woolen slippers and put on hold your copy of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Everything because we have a plethora of activities that will keep you busy even in the cooler months. This is our definitive list of the Top 10 Outdoor Activities that will satisfy your kids active all year round.
1. NATURE ADVENTURES
Drop those gadgets and get your kids to the great outdoors to experience nature on a bushwalk or go camping. Our picks gives you a choice on whether these are day trips or overnight camp outs, extreme activities or just leisure time away with the family.
ALL OVER SYDNEY: PuzzleTrails Do your kids like solving mysteries? Get their detective skills to work by downloading and printing your very own "PuzzleTrail" with everything your family needs to follow a self guided, mystery themed Sydney walk. It's like a scavenger hunt through nature where you must work as a team to problem solve and learn local fun facts along the way. It's fun, it's educational and it encourages kids to get active in the outdoors! What's not to love?
WESTERN SYDNEY: Treetops Adventure Park in Western Sydney consists of 90 challenges in the tree tops, where participants can slide down Flying Foxes, move from tree to tree on suspension bridges and enjoy many other exciting activities up to 15 metres above the forest floor! Treetops Adventure Park is also at Wyong Creek, Central Coast. There's also Trees Adventure at the foothills of the Blue Mountains - they boast a challenging mix of flying foxes, tight ropes and tunnels all throughout the Sydney Blue Gums.
NORTH WEST: Lane Cove National Park is a great spot for connecting with nature so close to the CBD and yet you will feel completely immersed with the bush! Camp out in a caravan, hire a tent or go bushwalking and biking, kayaking, boating or picnicking just for the day.
UPPER NORTH SYDNEY: Bush walk around Berowra Creek, Crosslands Reserve or Bobbin Head Boardwalk at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
NORTHERN BEACHES: If it’s a scenic bush walk you’re after, the Spit to Manly trail is a 3-4 hour walk which you & your school kids could enjoy with a picnic lunch.
INNER WEST: Sydney Olympic Park’s Urban Jungle Adventure Park is an outdoor high ropes adventure course up in the trees, with 5 courses and over 50 challenging and creative aerial activities that will test your physical and mental reserves. Each course finishes with its own fantastic flying fox.
SOUTH: Wolli Creek Two Valley Trail. Camp out at Royal National Park Bonnie Vale Campgrounds, Bundeena
VARIOUS NSW: The NSW Sports & Recreation also offers a great family camp package in some amazing locations in the state.
2. SKATE PARKS
If your school kid is extremely agile and coordinated, he/she might just love trying out a grind at your local skate park.
CITY: Waterloo Plaza at Waterloo Park, Redfern Plaza at Redfern Park, Surry Hills Bowl at Ward Park
EAST: Maroubra Skate Park, Bondi Beach Skatepark
INNER WEST: Sydney Olympic Park’s Monster Skatepark, Dulwich Hill Skatepark at Jack Shanahan Park, Five Dock Skatepark and a brand new one at Sydenham Green (see below).
NORTH SYDNEY: Cammeray Plaza Ernest St, St Ives Skatepark at William Cowan Oval, Chatswood Skatepark
NORTHERN BEACHES: Manly Vale Skatepark
WEST: Bass Hill Skatepark at Carysfield Park, Parramatta Skatepark at Robin Thomas Reserve
SOUTH: Riverwood Skatepark Belmore Road, Rockdale Skatepark at Bicentennial Park, Moorebank Skatepark at Kelso Park, Macquarie Fields Skatepark
3. WILDLIFE ADVENTURES & FARMS
Another activity to ensure your school kid gets a bit of a digital detox. Give them a chance to connect with wildlife or a taste of the country at our picks of wildlife parks and farms around Sydney. Some of these places even have a wildlife program for school kids, so check out their website to find out more.
CITY Wild Life Sydney Zoo‘s Wild Discovery Class is a great opportunity to get up close, hands on and interactive with Australian wildlife; Taronga Zoo Community Education Programs involves school children to engage their local community to take action in helping save a locally threatened species. Or even better, participate in their ZoosnooZ for a unique sleepover experience! These same programs are also available at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
HILLS DISTRICT Rouse Hill House and Farm On weekends, kids can tour the farm to feed chickens, collect eggs, pump water for watering cans and throw horseshoes, just like the farm hands in the 1800’s. Koala Park Sanctuary 10 acres of lush Rainforest, Eucalyptus Groves and Native Gardens with Koalas, Red & Grey Kangaroos, Dingoes, Wombats, Echidnas, Emus, many Wallaby species and a large collection of Australian Native Birds.
Golden Ridge Animal Farm We love this family fun animal farm where you’ll have the chance to be involved in all activities on the farm including holding the baby chicks, ducks and rabbits, feeding little lambs and kids and milking cows. And Calmsley Hill City Farm is one of the closest to the city that will make your kids feel miles from home with tractor rides, animal feeding and the chance to milk your own cow!
OUTSIDE SYDNEY Australian Reptile Park Somersby NSW, Symbio Wildlife Park Helensburgh NSW, Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park Calga NSW
4. GO KARTS
If the thrill of speed and racing fascinates your kid, then let him/her zoom their way around the track on a go kart!
CITY/EAST Kartatak Arncliffe
INNER WEST Spitfire Spitfire Paintball & Go Karts Concord West
WESTERN SYDNEY Eastern Creek Karts, Butterfly Farm Indy 800 Kart Wilberforce, Kartatak Villawood, Indy Karts Revesby
SOUTH WEST Ultimate Karting Sydney Smeaton Grange, Fast Lane Karting Minto
5. AMUSEMENT PARKS
There’s little doubt that any school kid will be kicking and screaming in protest if you were to ever suggest one of these amusement or water parks as their next weekend activity!
6. HORSE RIDING
Almost every child grows up wanting a pony, so why stop with pony rides once your pre schooler has grown up into a school kid? This could even be an opportunity for him/her to take up horse riding lessons.
EAST Centennial Park Equestrian Centre
WEST Sydney Trail Riding Centre Denham Court; Sugarloaf Horse Centre Menangle Park
SOUTH WEST Sydney Horse Riding Centre Catherine Field
NORTHERN BEACHES Shellby Equestrian Centre Terrey Hills; Palomino Riding School
SOUTH SYDNEY Kurnell Boarding Stables
NORTH WEST Sydney Equestrian Centre Dural
7. FAMILY FUN RACES
Getting healthy and setting an example is something the family could do together. So why not join in one of the many family fun runs that takes place throughout the year? Some of these runs are just for fun and it doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur runner.
8. WATERSPORTS & UNDERWATER ADVENTURES
If you have an adventurous water baby in your household and you think you’re ready to let them at it, then you might just want to consider these more extreme watersport activities.
GREATER WEST Cables Wake Park Penrith or Torrens Water Ski Gardens are great spots to wakeboard, waterski, tube riding, bare footing or hot dog riding!
NORTHERN BEACHES Stand up paddle at Pittwater Paradise; or try a Surf Easy course at Manly Surf School; Manly Stand Up Paddle School
EAST Surf Easy course for kids with the Sydney Surf School, WATSSUP Stand Up Paddle
SOUTH Cronulla Stand Up Paddle, Bundeena Stand Up Paddle, Snorkel Safari Australia Cronulla
9. BIKING & SEGWAY TOURS
Get out for some fun on two wheels! Sydney has plenty of family-friendly bike tracks or tours for two-wheeled adventures of the motorised or kinetic kind.
CITY Centennial Parklands Bike Track
NORTHERN BEACHES Manly Bike Tours; Narrabean Lakes track
NORTH WEST The brand new bike and scooter track at Ryde is awesome (pic above)
INNER WEST Blackwattle Bay track; Sydney Olympic Park’s Bicentennial Park and Wentworth Common has plenty of bike tracks and pathways through its wetlands and woodlands; Sydney Park also has great bike paths for kids
SOUTH SYDNEY Carrs Park at Blakehurst; Chipping Norton Lake
GREATER WEST Segway Tours Blue Mountains
10. ISLAND HOPPING
With Sydney’s beautiful harbour, why would you want to stay grounded on the mainland? The many islands around the Harbour are full of historic adventures or Aboriginal culture to learn and discover. You can even camp out at a couple of them if a day trip isn’t enough.