The Best Kid-Friendly Getaways Near Sydney On A Budget
The hustle and bustle of Sydney can get a bit overwhelming at times, so ellaslist has you covered with some fantastic family-friendly getaways near Sydney, no matter what your budget. We’ve included camping ideas, farm-stays, hotels and motels, so there’s something to meet every kind of family’s needs. Who knows, your mini getaway might even turn into a dream holiday!
Good old-fashioned camping can be the ultimate family bonding experience, sharing campfire stories beneath a starry sky in the beautiful fresh air. Check out our best camping spots around Sydney, including Cockatoo Island (pictured) and Royal National Park, or why not go all out with glamping in Bathurst, Jervis Bay, or even at Taronga Zoo! If the idea of camping is a little too rugged for you, have a look at our ultimate camping guide to make you feel less daunted. ellaslist has all your camping woes sorted with how to manage the rain during your camp out, and how to survive camping with under 5s.
Farmstays offer a little more comfort than all-out camping, but with the sounds, sights and smells of the outdoors that campers love. Just a 45-minute drive from Sydney is a rural oasis and one of ellaslist’s favourite farmstays - Calmsley Hill (above). Offering overnight or 2 night stays with meal packages to make life easier, your family will get the full farm life experience with up-close animal encounters, paddock exploring and morning hen’s egg collecting. Falling asleep beside a paddock of grazing kangaroos is bound to be an unforgettable getaway.
There's also Mowbray Park Farm (above) where the farmstay fun offers everything from egg collecting, a horse trail ride and mountain biking, to a kids club, and toasting marshmallows by the bonfire in the evening. Read about an ellaslist explorer's family farmstay at Mowbray Park Farm here.
Another Favourite farmstay is Bilpin Springs Lodge – Farmstay and Bed & Breakfast which is only a 90 minutes drive from Sydney and in the heart of the apple-picking district. At the farm, we fed the chooks, Charlie the pony and the alpaca. We enjoyed an action-packed canoe ride and fished for yabbies. We rounded off our amazing weekend with apple picking at a nearby orchard. What fun!
Coastal Holiday Parks
NRMA Holiday Parks are constantly being voted the best family-friendly holiday parks in the country and it's not hard to see why - for an affordable price you can have a vacation with the most! Here are two of our favourite NRMA Holiday Parks plus a Newcastle gem that is just a short drive from home:
NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park: This is one of the only beachfront caravan parks in Sydney and despite being in the thick of the big smoke, its secluded location truly makes it feel like you are in another place. A perfect holiday location for those looking for something a little closer to home. The park is directly across the road from the beach and sits on the edge of Narrabeen Lakes. There is so much for the family to do, including a waterpark, playground, games rooms and more.
NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort: Located on beautiful Umina Beach on the New South Wales Central Coast, it's only 1.5 hours north of Sydney and is a perfect getaway for those looking to escape the city. The park is surrounded by bushland and backs on to the Brisbane Water National Park. Set on the beachfront, the park offers so much to do from fishing, tennis and swimming to the splash park and adventure playground.
Stockton Beach Holiday Park: Located just metres from the beach, Stockton Beach Holiday Park offers a range of cabin, caravan and camping accommodation. Just a short ferry ride from the heart of Newcastle, this park is a great place to set up a base and explore. Stockton Beach is the perfect place for a surf, fish or to discover the famous sand dunes. Whether you are looking to check out the café and restaurant culture of Newcastle, get your adrenaline pumping with a quad bike on the dunes, or simply relax and enjoy the serenity, Stockton Beach Holiday Park is the perfect place for your next family holiday.
Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains
This has been dubbed the ultimate family-friendly holiday by ellaslist, and not only that, it is fantastic value and only 90 minutes from Sydney. From the get-go in the foyer, this hotel does family luxury in style. Kids will be in awe of the high ceilings, crisp air and sprawling grounds on offer. The best part? KidZone! Here kids can enjoy the merry-go-round, the Fairmont Express (pictured) - a mini-train that shows kids the scenery around the hotel), electric convertible mini-cars, 2 huge play centres with mini tenpin bowling and a mirror maze arcade, and of course, a heated pool! Parents will love the luxury and affordability of this getaway just as much (if not more!) than the kids enjoy the thrills and fun. Check out their website for more information.
The stay-cay that the kids go cray-cray for! We love the Atura Hotel in Blacktown, it's like a desert oasis with a stunning outdoor pool, free mini-bar and close proximity to Wet'n'Wild and the Skyline Drive-In. The art-inspired hotel (by the guys from the QT Hotels) has so many unique touches with its industrial-
A Weekender In Wollongong
We recently discovered Wollongong as one of the best kept secretly awesome places to go with families- the Early Start Discovery Space, Jamberoo, Symbio Wildlife Gardens and Glenbernie Orchard make for days full of cheap and exciting family fun. In terms of accommodation, you NEED to check out the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach (above). The views are spectacular, there is a kids’ area, kids’ activities during school holidays, and just a few minutes walk from a mega-slide playground.
Going to the Central Coast is a favourite holiday past time of so many Sydney families. With affordable prices, gorgeous natural features and lots of attractions for the kids, how couldn’t it be? Avoca Beach is one of our favourites. With yummy cafes lined up in the village, weekend markets, Aquafun on Avoca Lake and the beautiful nearby Bouddi National Park, Avoca is well worth finding a cheap rental property or hotel. Terrigal Beach is another favourite, specifically at the Crowne Plaza, with waterfront views and the Water Dragons Kids Club running during school holidays. While you're there make sure you visit the Wyong Milk Factory where you can show the kids how their favourite milk, cheeses and chocolates are produced! Or simply relax in the cafe, enjoy the pirate-themed playground or even take a kayak out along Wyong River.
We know the first thing in most parents’ minds when they think of the Hunter Valley is wine! However, there is really so much to see and do with kids here, and all for fantastic value. the BIG4 Hunter Valley caravan park is the perfect getaway for families with active kids. During your stay, check out the Hunter Valley Zoo (pictured), the Hunter Valley Gardens, AquaGolf, and the Chocolate and Fudge Factory! With delicious food and wine, cheap prices and endless green space for kids to run around, the Hunter Valley is a no-brainer getaway! And if you do want wine (who doesn't!) check out these kid-friendly wineries.
If you feel like splashing out on a getaway with a little more luxury, our ultimate indulgence options are the perfect fit for you.
Kingscliff is home to the famous Salt Beach, a huge stretch of blue ocean and white sand that has been used for weddings and as a popular holiday destination for years. Peppers Salt Resort and Spa and the Mantra on Salt Beach (above) resorts are buzzing with kids in peak holiday seasons, but with the air of luxury that parents crave. When you're not lounging by the pool, the onsite restaurants at the Mantra, in particular, are simply delicious- some of the best Tweed Heads has to offer.
Just 2 and a half hours from Sydney, Port Stephens has often been called a nature playground for all the natural beauty it boasts. In particular, the Ramada Resort Shoal Bay (pictured above) has frequently been rated among the best resorts for families wanting luxury as well. The whole family will feel immersed in nature with activities such as fishing, whale spotting, sand dune quad biking, swimming and of course, plenty of relaxing in the sun. This is where luxury meets family needs.
A LITTLE FURTHER AWAY
These ones are more than a couple of hours drive, but boast some of the best kids clubs in Australia!
Nowhere does sun, sand and kids clubs better than Queensland. A sure favourite with kids is Sea World Resort and WaterPark (above), a marine-themed resort that will occupy the kids with a theatre, Dora and Spongebob themed activities, and the latest X-Box range whilst you relax by the pool.
Daydream Island is a luxurious resort located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef which is re-opening very soon. The incredible Skipper’s Club cares for kids from 6 weeks to 12 years old and will occupy them fish feeding at the Living Reef Lagoon, mini golf, coconut bowls, treasure hunts. They’re happy, and you’ll sure to be too enjoying the quiet, peace and luxury this gem has to offer.
Take the kids to see the Big Golden Guitar! We bet you didn’t know that Tamworth has SO much to see and do with kids - ellaslist took our 3 boys recently and 2 days was just not enough to fit it all in! Tamworth is roughly a five-hour drive north west of Sydney so it’s a comfortable first road trip for the kids and a chance to see the true countryside that makes Australia great. Take a self-guided audio tour through Maitland Gaol, Australia’s longest continually-run prison in Australia that lets children take agency over their experience, and be SURE to check out the Tamworth Regional Playground- it boasts the Southern Hemisphere’s largest skywalk, a water play massive slides, mega swings, and is kid-friendly cafe adjacent. You will feel true blue checking out junior rodeos, Chaffey Dam, the Mount Misery Gold Mine Museum, miniature railway, Tamworth Marsupial Park, and so much more. The best time to visit? During the Toyota Tamworth Country Music Festival, of course!
A Longer Drive
A 6-hour drive from Sydney is the Merimbula Beach NRMA Holiday Park (pictured), that is both economical and has an action-packed kids club. Activities include tug of wars, face painting, magic shows, tennis, sand sculpting, go-karts and so much more. There are villas, cabin, camping and caravanning options available here, so there’s sure to be something that fits your budget.
Holiday parks have it all. From kids clubs, epic water playgrounds, games and arcade rooms, budget accommodation options to beachfront locale, they truly do tick all the boxes for families. Check out our full list of the best holiday parks within driving distance from Sydney. Some of our favourites include BIG4 Tweed Billabong with water slides to make your jaw drop, and the Seal Rocks Holiday Park where the sense of community spirit in the undeveloped fishing town will have you going back again and again.
More Local Getaways
Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!