It's tough to look after kids but its tougher when they're around you all day, especially during the school holidays. You're probably spending sleepless nights trying to find ways to entertain them or better yet, have them entertain themselves. With regular offers of affordable airfares and accommodations abroad, many families are having vacations in popular Asian destinations like Bali, Phuket, Langkawi, Boracay and Singapore. But family time doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. There are still plenty to see and do in Sydney and New South Wales that won't break the family piggy bank. To help you get started, here are 7 cheap and affordable family holiday activities a drive away.
Parsley Bay Swimming Enclosure
Parsley Bay Swimming Enclosure / Photo courtesy of Woollahra Municipal Council
Just on the shores of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman is the Taronga Zoo. It is the leading zoological garden in Australia, featuring the country's finest collection of native animals and a diverse collection of exotic species. A 12 minutes ferry ride from the city and your family will be spending a fun day out with native animals like kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils and wombats, as well as exotic and rare species like western lowland gorillas, Sumatran tigers and snow leopards. There are also free keeper talks and animal shows throughout the day. Don't miss the seal and bird shows. Families save 10% off the full price of adult and child zoo tickets with a minimum of 3 people from the family visiting together, including at least 1 child aged between 4-15 years.
The cornucopia of weekend markets around Sydney are FREE ways to spend a family day. Depending on your location and interests, there are city markets like Northside Produce Market that sells fresh produce to Sydneysiders. Or take a family drive around the suburbs and countryside to find some of the best farmers and community markets that feature artisan produce, livestock, cooking classes, petting zoo, kids entertainment and good country grub. Here's a list of markets to help you get started - www.weekendnotes.com/community-markets-sydney/
Where can your family find a local playground with a 21-metre flying fox or a water play area with pumps and water buckets in Sydney? Darling Quarter's kids playground has those and more, with climbing ropes, swings, sand pits and slides. Touted as Australia's best playground, Darling Quarter kids playground offers loads of FREE fun for the family.
A great way to get around New South Wales is by train. Thanks to the $1 kids offer, your family can explore the regional attractions for much less. You can take a trip to Dubbo and see wild animals up close, enjoy the caves and goldmines in Bathurst or see the flora and fauna of the living desert of Broken Hill. Children can travel anywhere on the NSW TrainLink Regional network for just $1 each way when they travel with one or more full-fare-paying adults from the same household. Children must be aged 4-15 (inclusive) and secondary school students with a NSW or Victorian school pupil identification card. The Kids for $1 fare is available to up to four children in any group. Seats for additional children are charged at the applicable child fare.
Situated on 15 acres surrounded by national parks and a short walk to the sea is an affordable holiday resort. The Ballina Beach Village and Wilderness Camping Park offers plenty of activities for adult and kids including cycling, kayaking, surfing, beach fishing, swimming, boating, BBQ facilities and indoor pool. There is also a local pod of dolphins with some 150 members. During school holidays and on special weekends, Ballina Beach Village offers entertainment including great African drumming, fire dancers, Irish folks bands and circus spectaculars. With cabins and cottages starting from $28, this vacation won't break the family piggy bank.
Located in the suburb of St Peters is a large inner-city recreational area that is popular with families. The lake and wetlands, wooden bridge, ducks to feed, bicycle track, playground and outdoor cafe makes this place a great day out.
One of the best things to do is to stand on top of the hill and slide down it on a cardboard box. The outdoor Kiosk also runs different kids events throughout the week. The park is FREE to everyone so just bring the picnic basket, kites, bikes, dogs and don't forget the kids.