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8 Must-Visit Family-Friendly Attractions In Sydney And Beyond (Including Halal Restaurants Nearby!)

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Farah Fazanna •  May 30, 2023

Sydney and New South Wales are filled with a plethora of family-friendly attractions that cater to all ages. From stunning beaches and national parks to world-class museums and theme parks, there's something for everyone. Explore the iconic Sydney Opera House, witness the beauty of the Blue Mountains, visit the Taronga Zoo for koala encounters, enjoy the thrills at Luna Park, pet alpacas at the Iris Alpacas Lodge Farm, try sandboarding on the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes or soak up the sun at Bondi Beach. In this article, we'll delve deeper into the top family-friendly experiences that you simply can't miss in Sydney and New South Wales. So pack your bags, bring your loved ones, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Family-friendly attractions in Sydney and New South Wales

1. Taronga Zoo in Sydney

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Credit: Destination NSW

There are not many countries where you can get up close with animals! In Sydney, your kids (even you, trust us 😉) will be in sheer joy. Taronga Zoo allows you to watch meerkats feed, feed giraffes, and get up close with Australia’s adorable icons, koalas and kangaroos. Try spotting the squirrel monkeys as they explore their home, or simply coo over the Asian Elephant herd playing. Be sure to check out the bird and seal shows! They’ll steal your heart. 😍 Add on the breathtaking Sydney Harbour in your backdrop, and you got yourself an unforgettable view that perfectly sums up your priceless family vacation memories 🥰

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If you and your family love animals, enjoy an overnight glamping experience within the zoo at Roar and Snore, or a luxury stay at the Wildlife Retreat experience 😊 You’ll even get the added benefit of having unrestricted views of Sydney Harbour at sunset; seriously, let us know if you can get this anywhere else 🤩

Opening hours: 9.30am - 5pm (Daily)

Address: Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088, Australia

Website

Halal food nearby:

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Credit: Taronga Zoo website

If you’re hungry while visiting Taronga Zoo, don’t worry! There are three eatery options at the zoo — Forage & Graze, the Taronga Food Market and the Saltwater Bistro. Forage & Graze offers light bites and snacks while the Taronga Food Market is perfect for lunch and a hot meal. The Saltwater Bistro has sweeping views of the harbour and its surroundings. The menu offers good old-fashioned favourites like fish and chips as well as delicious fish tacos. While the restaurants are not halal-certified, there are plenty of vegetarian and seafood options that you can choose from! You can select from poke bowl with miso eggplant, egg and mayo sandwich, sushi rolls, and salad. If you are worried about the halal status, fret not, as there are plenty of picnic areas around the zoo. Pack your lunch and enjoy a picnic overlooking the beautiful Sydney view! 😋

Halal status: Not halal-certified but there are plenty of vegetarian and seafood options.

Opening hours: Forage and Graze (9am - 5pm), Taronga Food Market (11am - 3pm)

2. Luna Park in Sydney

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Credit: Destination NSW

If you are looking for a fun and nostalgic day out with your family, then you need to visit Luna Park Sydney. This heritage-listed amusement park has been entertaining visitors since the 1930s. Located on the northern shore of Sydney Harbour with access via ferry or train, Luna Park offers a range of rides, games, and attractions for all ages and tastes with a magnificent view of the Sydney Harbour. You can enjoy the classic Ferris wheel, carousel, dodgem cars, and roller coaster, or try some of the newer thrill rides like the Hair Raiser and the Volare. You can also explore the historic Coney Island, which features a funhouse, slides, mazes, and more!

#HHWTtip: You can get to Luna Park via ferry from Circular Quay (yes, you can use your Opal card!). Then take a short walk to Lavender Bay Wharf for a fun family photo session and visit Wendy’s Secret Garden to take in the beautiful Sydney Harbour view.

Admission to the park is free but you can enjoy unlimited rides with the Luna Park Sydney Day Pass.

Address: 1 Olympic Dr, Milsons Point NSW 2061, Australia

Opening hours: Check the website for the updated opening hours

Website

Halal food nearby:

Neptune Palace Restaurant is a halal-certified restaurant that serves authentic Malaysian and Chinese cuisine in a fine dining setting. Located at the Gateway Building in Circular Quay, the restaurant offers stunning views of the harbour and the city skyline. 🤩 You can enjoy dishes such as chilli mud crab, salt and pepper king prawns, stir-fried wagyu fillet, and butter snow crab. The restaurant is spacious with attentive staff too, so it’s perfect for a family meal!

Halal status: Halal-certified but serves alcohol. We recommend you dine at your own discretion.

Address: Gateway Building Level 1 Corner of Pitt and Alfred St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Opening hours: 12–3 pm, 5–10:30 pm (Daily)

3. Iris Lodge Alpacas Farm in Central Coast (1.5hrs from Sydney)

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Located in the Central Coast region of New South Wales, Iris Lodge Alpacas Farm is a unique and charming destination for animal lovers and families. This family-run farm is home to a herd of friendly alpacas that you can meet and interact with. Take a guided tour of the farm to learn about the alpacas and their care, as well as watch a shearing demonstration. For a memorable experience, you can join the Breakfast With Alpacas, where after touring the farm, you’ll have breakfast surrounded by friendly animals. 😍 While there is bacon on the menu, the farm can cater to vegetarian dietary requirements.

In addition to the alpacas, the farm also has other animals such as chickens, goats, sheep and cows. 😍 There is a farm shop on site where visitors can purchase alpaca wool products, such as hats and scarves, as well as other locally-made items. With its picturesque setting and relaxed atmosphere, Iris Lodge Alpacas Farm is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a unique and memorable experience on the Central Coast!

#HHWTtip: Stay overnight in Central Coast and enjoy a breathtaking sunset at Long Jetty 😍

Address: 33 Dunks Lane, Jilliby NSW 2259, Australia

Opening hours: 12:30pm -1:15pm (every Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Website

Muslim-friendly restaurant nearby:

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The Saanjh offers a modern take on traditional Indian cuisine. The menu features a variety of dishes that showcase the diverse and flavourful cuisine of India, from classic curries and biryanis to modern fusion creations. The restaurant also offers a range of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, making it a great choice for those with dietary restrictions! With its commitment to quality and innovation, The Saanjh is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the vibrant flavours of modern Indian cuisine.

Halal status: While we cannot confirm if the ingredients are halal-certified, there is no pork or alcohol used in the dishes. The restaurant does serve alcoholic drinks, so we recommend you dine at your own discretion.

Address: 50-52 Pacific Highway, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia

Opening hours: 4.30pm - 9pm (closed on Monday and Wednesday)

Website

Nearby mosque:

Central Coast Islamic Cultural Centre

Address: 13A Howarth St, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia

4. Scenic World in the Blue Mountains (2hrs from Sydney)

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Credit: Destination NSW

Located about two hours from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a stunning natural attraction that is perfect for families who love the outdoors. It is famous for its stunning views of the mountainous landscape and the unique experiences it offers. There are plenty of hiking trails, scenic drives, and lookout points to explore. The kiddos would enjoy the rides at Scenic World, a nature-based attraction in the beautiful Blue Mountains.

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The main attractions at Scenic World are the Scenic Skyway, Scenic Railway, Scenic Cableway, and Scenic Walkway. The Scenic Skyway is a cable car that glides across the Jamison Valley, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the rainforest canopy below. Be sure to ride the Scenic Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world, as it descends into the valley, offering breathtaking views of the Katoomba Falls 😍

The Scenic Cableway is another cable car that descends into the valley, offering a bird's-eye view of the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley. Then, take a stroll along the Scenic Walkway, a series of elevated boardwalks and trails that meander through the rainforest, offering a close-up view of the natural beauty of the Blue Mountains. Scenic World is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience in the Blue Mountains!

Address: Violet St &, Cliff Dr, Katoomba NSW 2780, Australia

Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (Monday - Friday), 9am - 5pm (Saturday and Sunday)

Website

Muslim-friendly restaurant:

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Tempus Katoomba is perfect if you’re looking for a restaurant that serves locally sourced dishes that taste and look amazing 😍 Each of the dishes is carefully curated and cooked to perfection. Some of the must-tries include chargrilled baby gem, handmade tagliatelle pasta with anchovy and miso eggplant salad. They’re all super delicious! The restaurant does not serve pork.

Halal status: No pork and alcohol are used in the dishes. We recommend having vegetarian or seafood dishes and dining at your own discretion.

Address: 66 Katoomba St, Katoomba NSW 2780, Australia

Opening hours: 5pm - late (Friday and Monday), 12pm - late (Saturday and Sunday)

#HHWTip: Scenic World is only a two-hour train ride from Sydney Central Station to Katoomba Station in the Blue Mountains!

Train ride fare: Approximate return train ticket to Blue Mountains (Katoomba Station) is $12 to $20 (adult) and $8 to $10 (child). Check the Transport NSW fare calculator to check ticket prices before your trip.

Nearby mosque:

Penrith Masjid

Address: 143-145 Great Western Hwy, Kingswood NSW 2747, Australia

Opening hours: Opens 24 hours

5. Camel Riding in Port Stephens (2.5hrs from Sydney)

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Credit: Oakfield Ranch Camel Ride on Facebook

Port Stephens has plenty of outdoor activities perfect for both adults and children! Enjoy a relaxing camel ride at the Oakfield Ranch Camel Ride on the beautiful Birubi Beach. The day ride goes out along the small dunes and back along the beachfront 😍 You don’t have to book in advance, just walk in for a ride any time between 10am and 3:30pm. The 20-minute day rides depart approximately every half hour. If you have more time, there is also a 60-minute Sunset Camel Ride on Friday and Saturday evenings where you’ll get to go into the higher sand dunes and return along the water's edge while the sun sets for a memorable experience 🤩

Admission fee:

Day ride: AUD$40 for adults, AUD$30 for children (under 15 years old).

Sunset ride: AUD$90 adults, AUD$70 children (10 - 15 yrs). Do note that you’ll have to pre-book for the sunset camel ride.

They take both cash and cashless payments.

Address: Birubi Beach Lower Car Park (end of James Paterson Street), Anna Bay, Port Stephens, NSW 2316

Opening hours: 10am - 3.30pm

Nearby Muslim-friendly restaurant:

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Credit: Bay Brother’s Kebabs on Facebook

Feeling hungry? Head over to Bay Brother’s Kebabs. The authentic Turkish kebab takeaway offers a variety of kebabs, burgers, salads, and drinks. You can choose from chicken, lamb, beef, or mixed meat kebabs, with different sauces and bread.

Halal status: Ingredients are halal-certified

Address: 8 Stockton St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315, Australia

Opening hours: 11am - 7pm (closed on Mondays)

6. Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter in Port Stephens

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Credit: Destination NSW

Continue your adventure in Port Stephens at the Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter where you can get up close and personal with rays and sharks. Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters is an interactive aquarium where you get the chance to feed and pet a variety of shark and ray species. Get ready to get your feet and hands wet as you can enter the shallow water of the lagoon and feed the rays while listening to educational talks by knowledgeable fish keepers! For a memorable experience, upgrade your ticket to Gold Pass where you can enjoy getting close to Zebra Shark, feed the Tawny Nurse Shark and snorkel with the friendly sharks. This is perfect for a family day out!

Address: 2 Jessie Rd, Anna Bay NSW 2316, Australia

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (Daily)

Website

7. Whale and Dolphin Watch Cruise in Jervis Bay (3hrs from Sydney)

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Credit: Destination NSW

What’s a trip to Australia without a whale-watching cruise, right? Join the Dolphin Watch Cruises which offers both dolphin and whale-watching tours out of Jervis Bay. From May to November every year, the mighty Humpback Whales migrate to the east coast of Australia.

With Jervis Bay pointing so far out of the coast, it means you can get up close and personal as they come and investigate your vessels. You might even get lucky and see one of the super pods of whales (50+ whales in one pod) that have been regularly stopping by Jervis Bay!

Nearby Muslim-friendly restaurant:

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Nana On The Bay Thai Restaurant in Jervis Bay is known for its delicious Thai cuisine, which features traditional flavours and spices. The menu includes a wide variety of dishes, from classic curries and stir-fries to more unique offerings like the soft-shell crab salad. All dishes are prepared with fresh and authentic ingredients, ensuring that each bite is bursting with flavour. The restaurant's location right on the bay adds to the charm, and you can enjoy beautiful views while you dine 😍

Halal status: Halal-certified

Address: The Wool Rd &, Burton St, Vincentia 2540, Australia

Opening hours: 4pm - 9pm (Monday - Friday), 11am - 9pm (Saturday and Sunday)

8. Fruit Picking Around New South Wales

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Credit: Destination NSW

New South Wales is a top destination for fruit picking, with a variety of orchards and farms offering visitors the chance to pick their own fresh produce. One popular spot is Bilpin Springs Orchard, near the Blue Mountains, which is known for its delicious apples and pears. You can also pick berries and stone fruit during the harvest season. 🥰 Another great fruit-picking spot in Bilpin is Pine Crest Orchard. It has over 15 varieties of apples, as well as cherries, peaches, and nectarines. Bilpin is located near the Blue Mountains, so it’s a great idea to stop by if you’re in the area!

If you’re heading towards Jervis Bay, be sure to stop by Darkes at Glenbernie Orchard as it is a popular spot for cherry-picking in the summer months. If cherries are not in season, there are also peaches and nectarines. 🤩 You can also purchase locally produced honey and other treats from the orchard's shop to bring home as souvenirs!

Addresses:

Bilpin Springs Orchard

2550 Bells Line of Rd, Bilpin NSW 2758, Australia

Pine Crest Orchard

2549 Bells Line of Rd, Bilpin NSW 2758, Australia

Darkes at Glenbernie Orchard

259 Darkes Forest Rd, Darkes Forest NSW 2508, Australia

Opening hours: Opening hours vary and are subject to change due to weather conditions and seasons. Do check the orchard’s websites for information.

Getting around Sydney by public transport

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Sydney and New South Wales have an extensive public transportation system that includes trains, buses, ferries, light rail and metro. So, don’t worry about getting around! We highly recommend getting an Opal card. The Opal cards are smartcard tickets that you keep and reuse to pay for travel on public transport in New South Wales. You can also use the Trip Planner tool at Transport NSW to plan your routes and timetables. Travelling by public transportation is an easy, convenient and affordable way to explore the city and its surroundings, as well as enjoy the scenic views of the harbour, the coast and the countryside 🥳 You can buy your Opal card at most convenience stores, light rail stations, train stations and Sydney Airport.

Well, there you have it! New South Wales offers a wide range of family-friendly attractions that are sure to keep everyone entertained. Whether you're looking for animals, amusement parks, or natural beauty, there's something for everyone in this beautiful part of Australia. What are you waiting for? Start planning and pack your bags! 🥳

This article is brought to you by Destination NSW.