9 Reasons Why Families Love Travelling To Sydney and New South Wales


Qistina Bumidin •  Oct 14, 2022

Beautiful, diverse, sunny and oh-so picturesque, there’s always so much to discover in this harbour-side city, from its iconic attractions to its hidden gems! ? Plus, if you’re bringing your kids, there’s a variety of activities such as wildlife petting experiences, adventure climbs and more that are bound to keep them on their toes all day! Can this city live up to all the hype? In a word: Absolutely! There are undoubtedly many reasons to fall in love with Sydney and New South Wales, but here are 9 that will leave you wanting more! ?

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1. Endless halal options

Sydney has one of the largest Muslim populations in Australia, so you can easily find halal food! Whether you’re craving halal Thai, Indonesian, exotic Chinese Muslim food from Uighur, Turkish kebabs, or even good old mamak food, there are plenty of options to satisfy your tummy’s rumblings ?

Credit: Sydney Fish Market on Instagram

Australians are known for their world-famous seafood, so a visit to the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, Sydney Fish Market, is a must. Choose from a wide variety of options, such as prawns, oysters, scallops, lobsters, and even fancy gourmet seafood platters, and have them prepared whichever way you like ? Do note to check with the eateries at the fish market whether beer batter is used to coat any fried food items. When in doubt, get it sashimi style, grilled or boiled! 

Once you have your fish and chips ready to dig in, sit down by Glebe foreshore and marvel at the stunning view of the glittering waters, or bring a mat and picnic at Wentworth Park! ?

2. Get up close with Australia’s unique wildlife

Credit: Taronga Zoo

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 experience meerkats scurrying all over you, feeding giraffes and capybaras, and be face-to-face with Australia’s adorable icon, koalas and kangaroos. Take your wildlife experience to greater heights (literally ?) by boarding the cable car, Sky Safari. Try spotting the squirrel monkeys as they explore their home, or simply coo over the Asian Elephant herd playing - add on the breathtaking Sydney Harbour, and you got yourself an unforgettable view that perfectly sums up your priceless family vacation memories ?

Roar and Snore - Credit: Destination NSW

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

Credit: Iris Lodge Alpacas

Here’s another accommodation experience you can’t get back home - having breakfast with alpacas at Iris Lodge Alpacas on the Central Coast! You also get to feed and pet the alpacas! Just imagine these cute animals accompanying your meal; what a great sight to start your day ?

Credit: Destination NSW

Your kids will love a trip to the dolphin capital of Australia, Port Stephens (2.5 hours’ drive from Sydney), which is home to more than 90 bottlenose dolphins. If your kids are up for the challenge, go for a short hike on Tomaree Head Summit for unforgettable picturesque ocean views across Port Stephens and beyond ? You and the kids can also participate in other unique experiences in Port Stephens such as whale and dolphin watching cruises, camel riding, sand boarding, and Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters.

Credit: Shark & Ray Encounters Port Stephens on Instagram

Irukandji lets you snorkel among adorable sharks and rays in a safe and controlled environment ? Now that’s one for the books! 

Look at how adorable this wombat is!Credit: Sydney Zoo on Instagram

For a wildlife adventure in Sydney’s western suburbs, Sydney Zoois home to Australia’s largest Reptile and Nocturnal House and other furry friends like the wombat and kangaroo ? There are also elephants, tigers and zebras – for a taste of the exotic ?

3. You’ll always be in awe of the magnificent harbour

Credit: Destination NSW

Imagine a day with perfect blue skies, the architectural marvel of the Sydney Opera House on your right, the Sydney Harbour Bridge to your left, boats cruising in the water, your kids running freely around the grass at The Royal Botanic Garden, while you bask in the sun amidst gorgeous flora and fauna and take a breather away from hustle and bustle of the city ?

Credit: Destination NSW

This is precisely what the harbour is like (and a family vacation should be anyway ?). 

There are so many ways to take on the view of the harbour – whether you’re on a ferry trip, climbing up the Sydney Harbour Bridge (BridgeClimb, which is suitable for families with children aged eight and above!), or taking coastal walks around the edge of the harbour and surrounds ? Nothing quite soothes the mind, body and soul like the fresh ocean breeze - and Sydney truly promises you some of the most amazing views of the Pacific! It’s easy to spend an entire day just chilling out at the harbour ?

Credit: Destination NSW

One of the best ways to explore the area is to take a walk from the historic Rocks area, through Circular Quay, over to see the Sydney Opera House up close, round to the Royal Botanic Gardens and end at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for spectacular views of the city ?

If your kids just have a thousand and one questions about everything, sign up for the Sydney Opera House kids and family tour, where they can learn fun facts and participate in interactive games and activities. Who knows, you might learn a thing or two as well ?

4. Chill by any of Sydney’s gorgeous beaches (yes, and Bondi too!)

Credit: Destination NSW

One of the most iconic experiences you can have is soaking up the sun at one of Sydney’s world-famous beaches, Bondi Beach ? White sands, gorgeous blue waters - the iconic beach attracts tourists and the likes with its huge café scene, great surfing spot and cosmopolitan vibe. Take a picturesque coastal walk along the cliffs from Bondi to Coogee for Instagram-worthy pictures ?

You can also check out Bondi Icebergs, an ocean pool that is built right on the coast and replenished by ocean waves, if you’d like to swim in calmer waters ? Do note the pool is closed on Thursday mornings for cleaning and you do have to pay a small fee to swim in the ocean pool. Feeling peckish after a fun day out by the beach? Fret not, there are halal options such as kebabs and Portuguese-style barbecues for you to dig in as well! ?

Sabbaba Bondi Beach

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Halal status: Halal meats and ingredients used

Address: 152-162 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

Opening hours: Mon-Tues, Thurs-Fri, Sun: 11AM-10PM, Wed, Sat: 11AM-9PM

Facebook | Instagram

Ogalo City Bondi

Cuisine: Portuguese-style barbecue

Halal status: Halal-certified (by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils)

Address: 2/235 Bondi Rd, Bondi NSW 2026

Opening hours: Sun-Wed: 11AM-7.30PM, Thu-Sat: 11AM-8PM

Website | Facebook | Instagram

5. Shop till you drop!

Credit: Birkenhead Point on Instagram

What’s a vacation without a little retail therapy? ?️ Sydney boasts some of the best shopping spots, such as Queen Victoria Building, Mid City and Westfield Sydney (which by the way, has a halal Turkish street food stall!) so get ready for the long ride! Whether you’re planning to score some luxury brands such as Armani and Coach at discounted prices at Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet or bring home adorable toys, figurines and LEGOs for your kids at Hobbyco in Queen Victoria Building, we hope you’ll have extra space in your luggage to fit them all ?

For a more affordable, family-friendly shopping spot, you can also check out Harbourside Shopping Centre at Darling Harbour for a variety of local stores like Cotton On and Lovisa ?

Credit: Rashays on Instagram

Feeling peckish? Dig into a scrumptious Western meal at Rashays! Rashays is a well-known restaurant in Sydney that offers halal burgers, pastas, pizzas, and other Western delights ? The steak here is one of the must-try dishes! Take your pick from Wagyu Scotch Fillet or Sirloin and T-Bone, and savour it as it melts in your mouth! ? If steaks are not your cup of tea, then take delight in their beef burgers consisting of Angus beef, fried egg and cheddar cheese that will satisfy your meat cravings.

Rashays' Harbourside

Halal status: Halal ingredients are used but alcohol is served in the eatery. We advise you to dine at your own discretion.

Address: Level 2, Harbourside Shopping Centre

Opening hours: Mon-Thu & Sun; 8AM-11PM | Fri-Sat; 8AM-12PM

Website | Instagram

If you’re worried that your kids might start getting restless, the Darling Quarter Playground nearby is truly a saviour.

#HHWTip: Many of these malls are nearby praying spots such as Sydney CBD Mosque and ICC Sydney! 

Sydney CBD Mosque

Address: 1/56-60 Erskine St, Sydney NSW 2000

Opening hours: 12PM-6PM (weekdays); closed on weekends

ICC Sydney

Address: 14 Darling Dr, Sydney NSW 2000

Opening hours: 7AM-7PM daily


6. Score some best deals at local markets

Credit: Carriageworks Farmers Market on Instagram

The best place to soak up the culture? Just pop by any of Sydney’s local markets! ? Famous markets such as Carriageworks Farmers Market and Cambridge Markets EQofferfresh produce which are sustainably grown; if you’re cooking, you could purchase your groceries here as well ? Still can’t get rid of the shopping bug? Paddy’s Markets at Market City has souvenirs, clothes, arts and crafts stalls, and food! Market City also houses plenty of dining options and shopping outlets right in the heart of the city!

Otherwise, just bask in the ambience; nothing hits better on vacation than lazy strolls while watching everything pass by ? Do practise discretion when you’re purchasing the food items! 

Carriageworks Farmers Markets

Address: 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015, Australia

Opening hours: Every Sat (8AM-1PM)

Cambridge Markets EQ

Address: 122 Lang Rd, Moore Park NSW 2021, Australia

Opening hours: Wed & Sat (8AM-2PM)

Paddy’s Markets

Address: 9-13 Hay St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Opening hours: Wed-Sun (10AM-6PM); closed on Mondays and Tuesdays

7. There’s always a festival to visit 

With one of the biggest music, art, culture and sporting calendars, Sydney is the ultimate events and festival destination. Watch the city light up at Vivid Sydney and see the fireworks over the harbour on New Year's Eve ✨

Credit: Destination NSW

Watch and marvel as Sydney comes alive with amazing festivals and shows throughout the year! Australia’s biggest and brightest festival is Vivid Sydney, held in Sydney during winter nights from May 26th to 17th June 2023. You’ll see Sydney’s iconic buildings illuminated by beautiful coloured light projections, contemporary light installations, 3D art, impressive talks and live music acts ?

Credit: Destination NSW

Of course, one of the biggest highlights of Sydney is the breathtaking firework display for every New Year! Take the kids to watch the colourful New Year’s Eve countdown by the water. Free for all, you can see the fireworks display at Darling Harbour at 9 pm, or the main fireworks around Circular Quay and other vantage points across Sydney Harbour at midnight. Remember to come early to claim a good spot ?

#HHWT Tip: Since parking is limited, it’s recommended for you to take public transport on New Year’s Eve. You can take a bus to Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), catch a ferry to and from Circular Quay or arrive via light rail.

8. Explore beyond the city 

Credit: Destination NSW

For a change of scenery, immerse yourself in the natural sights outside Sydney! Just a 90-minute drive from Sydney, explore the Blue Mountains, one of the world’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, from one of the most famed viewpoints, Echo Point Lookout, to see the Three Sisters rock formation, as well as Lincoln’s Rock (Wentworth Falls), Boars Head (Katoomba), and Pulpit Rock (Blackheath) ?

If you have some time to spare, head to Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, which requires no admission fee. It’s the only botanic garden in a World Heritage area! Take a walk amongst gorgeous flora and fauna (there’s over 21,000 plants from 900 species for you to awe over ?), and breathe in the crisp mountain air - you can’t get this in the city anyway ?

Credit: Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens on Instagram

There’s plenty to do here as well - such as finding relaxing spots to picnic and diverse plant species to discover from all over the world. One unique thing about this gorgeous place is that you can visit here anytime of the year - there’s always something blooming ?

#HHWTip:  It’s only a two-hour train ride from Sydney Central Station to Katoomba Station in the Blue Mountains! 

Credit: Balloons Aloft on Instagram

Next, take a family road trip to the Hunter Valley, a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney or a 1.5-hour drive from your fun whale and dolphin watching cruise at Port Stephens ? Spend the night stargazing at the Hunter Valley Resortand wake up at dawn to catch the majestic sunrise over picturesque vineyards on a hot air balloon ride with Balloon Aloft. Your kids are going to have a field day! ?

9. Accommodations are perfect for our needs!

Credit: Crowne Plaza Sydney Darling Harbour

Many family-friendly hotels in Sydney and New South Wales suit all budgets and needs. We’ve narrowed down some of the best accommodations for you with a convenient location, Muslim-friendly amenities, and more! ? If you’re looking for hotels near halal food and mosques in Sydney, Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour is a convenient option. It also has spacious and interconnecting rooms that are ideal for families ?

Halal food nearby

Bekya Gateway

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Halal status: Halal meats and ingredients used

Address: Gateway, Alfred St, Sydney NSW

Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 10AM-3PM, closed on Sundays

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Lal Qila Darling Harbour

Cuisine: Pakistani

Halal status: Muslim-owned

Address: 30 Lime St, Darling Harbour NSW 2000, Australia

Opening hours: Tues-Sun: 12PM-2.45PM, 5PM-10.30PM, Mon: 5PM-10.30PM

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Prayer spaces nearby: Sydney CBD Mosque

Credit: Meriton Suites Kent Street

Coming in with a larger crowd? Check out Meriton Suites Kent Street, located near Sydney’s CBD. Rooms here can accommodate up to 6 guests. All of their Premium Suites come with a washing machine and dryer, a great way to save on laundry! Oven, stove, microwave, fridge and dishwasher are available in the rooms if you’re whipping up some dishes too ?

Besides being close to public transport, it’s near halal eateries such as Al-Rayyan, Ali Baba Kebab Place and Ogalo City Sydney. It’s also a short drive from King Faisal Mosque, with a comfortable prayer space and ablution area ?

Halal food nearby

Ogalo City Sydney

Cuisine: Portuguese-style barbecue

Halal status: Halal-certified (by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils)

Address: b/127 Liverpool St, Sydney NSW

Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 10AM-11PM, Thu: 10AM-2AM, Fri: 10AM-4AM, Sat: 10.15AM-5AM, Sun: 10.45AM-11PM

Website | Facebook | Instagram


Cuisine: Vegan and gluten-free

Halal status: Vegan eatery, but do note that alcohol is served on the menu. They can cater to your dietary requirements, please contact them in advance.

Address: 417 Crown St Surry Hills

Opening hours: Mon: 5-11pm, Tues-Sat: 12PM-11PM, Sun: 5PM-11PM

Website | Facebook

Prayer spaces nearby: King Faisal Mosque, 175-177 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills

It’s easy to understand what lies within Sydney and New South Wales’s allure; it’s what makes people keep returning because it’s simply gorgeous every season ? So will you be making Sydney your travel destination soon??

This article is brought to you by Destination NSW.