New South Wales Family-friendly activities

Our most recommended New South Wales Family-friendly activities

Port Stephens: Dolphin Watching Cruise & Boom Net Experience

1. Port Stephens: Dolphin Watching Cruise & Boom Net Experience

Take a cruise around magnificent Port Stephens Harbour on the biggest boat in the bay. Keep an eye out for the resident Bottlenose Dolphins as you head out on the water. Take in the sights of Tomaree and Yacaaba Headlands, Shoal Bay, Nelson Bay, and the Northern Harbour. Sit back and relax on the deck area, or if you feel like getting a bit wet, join in the boom net action. Slide down the Twist, Twirl, and Splash Waterslide attached to the boat, which whirls you into the boom net. Enjoy entertaining and informative commentary on board. If you feel like indulging in something a little different, there is a licensed bar on board that you can choose to purchase from. 

Port Stephens: Unlimited Sandboarding & 4WD Sand Dune Tour

2. Port Stephens: Unlimited Sandboarding & 4WD Sand Dune Tour

You have to experience sandboarding in Port Stephens. The thrill of sliding down the spectacular Stockton Sand Dunes is so much fun. From the meeting point at Birubi beach, you will board the custom-built off-road vehicle to start your adventure on the short, bouncy ride into the largest moving sand mass in the southern hemisphere. The dunes stretch 32 kilometers, the entire length of Stockton Beach, and can reach over 40 meters high, the same as a 10 storey building. The views alone are spectacular. Once you are in the dunes, the team will give you a rundown on sandboarding and how to use the handmade custom-designed boards for maximum safety and speed. Then you are off. Climb to the top of the dunes, jump on your board, then slide on down and repeat. Your ticket includes unlimited sandboarding so you can stay and play as long as you like. For most people that’s about 1 – 1.5 hours. When you're done just jump back aboard one of the 4WD buses, that leave every half an hour, and be taken back to the Birubi Beach starting point. It’s an amazing experience for everyone, no matter your age. The instructors are always on hand to help, answer any questions about sandboarding, Port Stephens or the dunes and to make sure you have maximum fun. Don’t forget to bring your camera along as you’ll have the chance to capture some amazing Port Stephens holiday snaps.

Huskisson: Dolphin Cruise & Boom Netting Experience

3. Huskisson: Dolphin Cruise & Boom Netting Experience

Discover the Bottlenose dolphins that live in the pristine ecosystem of Jervis Bay. A protected marine park for 20 years, Jervis Bay is home to over 80 Bottlenose dolphins who love to frolic in its crystal-clear waters. Embark on a tour and search for the pods of these playful and friendly creatures. While on tour on the pristine waters, take part in the boom netting activity on board. As the boat cruises through the water, enjoy a fun jacuzzi-like experience as you sit in the boom net, sometimes surrounded by curious dolphins.

Sydney: Harbour Cruise, Taronga Zoo and Sky Safari

4. Sydney: Harbour Cruise, Taronga Zoo and Sky Safari

Experience the most fun way to travel to Taronga Zoo and save money with a return ticket on the rocket ferry Circular Quay. Once inside the zoo, take in as many of the exhibits as you like at your own pace. Explore 10 themed areas, including Wild Australia, Wild Asia and the Great Southern Oceans. Hear talks by the zookeepers and go to interactive shows, such as the free bird show and free seal show. See native Australian animals, including koala and platypus, along with creatures from around the world such as Asian elephants, lions and giraffe. Grab some lunch at one of the many cafés, or take your own picnic and find a nice spot in the shade. Once you've had your animal fix for the day, head back to the dock and get some amazing views of Sydney on the cruise back to Circular Quay.

Dubbo: Taronga Western Plains Zoo 2-Day Entry Ticket

5. Dubbo: Taronga Western Plains Zoo 2-Day Entry Ticket

Have plenty of time to explore Taronga Western Plains Zoo with a 2-day entry ticket. Walk, drive, or ride around the zoo's 5-kilometer circuit and see its rare and endangered animals. Enjoy access to the Welcome Plaza to shop or relax during your visit. Explore the zoo at your own pace and see its 100s of animals including giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and big cats. Be sure to check out the daily keeper activities (included with your ticket), special tours, and animal encounters. Your tickets are valid for 2 consecutive days, giving you ample time to experience all that is on offer. The zoo's Welcome Plaza includes a shop, playground, and cafe overlooking the Savannah Lake and Primate Island, home to black-handed spider monkeys and ring-tailed lemurs.

Jervis Bay: 2-Hour Cruise of Jervis Bay Passage

6. Jervis Bay: 2-Hour Cruise of Jervis Bay Passage

Take in the beautiful scenery of Jervis Bay from a unique perspective on the water. Cruise across the bay, look out for local bottlenose dolphins and enjoy the views of the long sandy beaches that are fringed by spectacular national parks. Cruise above the crystal clear water and admire the contrast with the rocky headlands and towering sea cliffs of Point Perpendicular. See the variety of local bird species and abundant marine life from the comfort of the boat.

Sydney: Taronga Zoo Tickets

7. Sydney: Taronga Zoo Tickets

Overlooking magnificent Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo is just 12 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay and offers amazing wildlife experiences with stunning harbor views. Nestled on the shores of the world's most beautiful harbor, Taronga Zoo is surrounded by lush bushland of Bradley's Head National Park, popular for early morning walks. Ferries depart from Circular Quay every 30 minutes. The Zoo has many popular trails to explore including the Australian Walkabout, Kids' Trail, Reptile World, African Safari, Big Cats' Trail, Rainforest Trail, Seal Walk, Seals for the Wild, and the iconic must-see Free Flight Birds presentations. Zoo entry includes limited keeper talks, presentations, and access to the Sky Safari cable car. The many exhibits in Taronga Zoo can be reached by footpaths, ramps, lifts and escalators. 90% of Taronga Zoo is fully accessible. Strollers can be hired from the Visitor Information Desk in the main entrance at a small fee and manual wheelchairs can be rented for free and should be booked in advance.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

8. SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Enjoy a visit to the Sydney Aquarium to see huge sharks, stingrays, turtles, jellyfish, platypuses, penguins, sea dragons, and much, much more! Marvel at the sawfish swimming amongst tropical fish and sleek sharks in the enormous Great Barrier Reef display. Be delighted by little penguins in the Southern Oceans, or look out for the secretive platypus in the Southern Rivers. See the enormous Japanese Spider Crabs in the CLAWS creature feature, watch as the dugongs feed, then find Nemo in his coral home!

Jervis Bay: 2-Hour Sunset River Cruise

9. Jervis Bay: 2-Hour Sunset River Cruise

Set sail on a late-afternoon voyage to the sheltered waters of Currambene Creek. Enjoy an evening of relaxation on calm river waters on a pontoon boat. Feel free to bring your own food and snacks onboard to enjoy as you cruise along the waters of the Currambene River and discover its beautiful ecosystem. Take in the natural beauty of the area as you meander along the riverside. Listen to onboard commentary to learn more about the plants and animals which can be found along the river. Keep an eye out for some of the native pelicans and look out for the giant stingrays. Finally, enjoy a wonderful sunset onboard for a perfect end to your day.

Port Stephens: Koala Sanctuary General Admission Ticket

10. Port Stephens: Koala Sanctuary General Admission Ticket

Spend a few hours or a whole day at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary learning about Australia’s beloved koalas and the threats they face. Walk amongst the beautiful Australian bush and see koalas in their natural environment doing what they do best – sleeping and eating.  Sanctuary Story Walk is a meandering 250-meter pathway offering an immersive educational experience of the koala and its habitat. The koalas at the sanctuary have been brought there for treatment and rehabilitation after injury, with the aim of returning them to the wild if possible. At the Koala Hospital veterinarians care for koalas requiring treatment and general check-ups. You can watch through a viewing window as veterinary staff carry out examinations and administer treatment to koala inpatients, however there is no guarantee when these procedures may occur. Newcastle Airport SKYwalk is a 225-meter-long pathway with viewing platforms raised 10 metres into the tree canopy. The unique tree top perspective is a great photo opportunity. You may even find yourself eye-to-eye with a cuddly koala – always remember, look but don’t touch, they are wild animals. Due to the natural setting of Port Stephen’s Koala Sanctuary you may spot echidnas shuffling around on the ground around the walkways. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of an adorable brush tail possum hanging out in a tree hollow as well. After you have experienced all the attractions Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary offers, finish with a visit to Fat Possum Kiosk. Grab a snack, coffee or treat and browse a variety of souvenirs and gifts. Proceeds go towards the continued conservation effort of koalas and their threatened habitat. Visiting Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary entails a round-trip walk of about 1km in length. All pathways and elevated viewing platforms are easily accessible and designed for all ages and abilities. Some limited bench seating is provided along the Sanctuary Story Walk.

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What people are saying about New South Wales

Best experience the whole family enjoyed it from the moment we got on the ferry until we got off. Zoo was fantastic with spectacular views and loved the sky safari, then harbour cruise was wonderful seeing all the sites

This is a very nice zoo. The animals looked healthy and everything was clean. I Skyrail was great and there are ample gift shops and restrooms. Unfortunately for us it was raining but otherwise a great day

Fantastic. Thoroughly recommend it. Great for families. Worthwhile spending the extra $10 to hire a wet suit so you can walk into deeper water to feed and pat the rays and sharks.

Great day out, great variety of animals and good facilities

A fab family experience to touch, learn & support!