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GUIDE TO SUM MER 2016/7 Discover Sydney with kids

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Unlimited entry everyday this summer with new park improvement! • Tap‘n’Play FREE smart queuing system • New Dinosaur Lagoon attraction • Extra shade & dining options Full calendar of summer events • Cinema in the Sand • Live Summer Music Series • Showtime FMX Summer Slam • LED Big Screen

GET YOURS NOW FOR JUST $99 Summer Days Pass valid until 28 February 2017. WETNWILDSYDNEY.COM.AU *Wet’n’Wild Sydney is closed Christmas Day


Welcome to ellaslist’s indispensable guide to an epic summer in Sydney.

Letter From The Founder Dear Readers, Summer is here and Sydney is bursting with extraordinary experiences to have with your kids! With so much to see and do it can be hard to know where to begin. So we’ve made it extra easy with the launch of our first Digital Guide to Summer – around 30 pages of handpicked inspirational ideas. Discover stunning beaches, thrilling playgrounds, wicked waterparks, family festivals, sensational shows and so much more. A summer of fun – guaranteed! Yvette ellaslist Founder

The ellaslist Guide To Summer 2016/7

What’s Inside? 5 Best Sydney Beaches for Littlies 7 Splashtastic Family Fun 8 Kid-Friendly Culture

9 Holiday Fun at Sydney Olympic Park 10 Best Summer Shows

11 Thrilling Water Slides In Sydney 12 Kid-friendly Outdoor Cinemas 13 Best of Sydney Festival 14 Free Water Play Parks

15 Get Creative at the MCA

16 Top Sydney Parks for a Day Out

17 Summer Highlights in Parramatta 18 Cool City Pools to Dip Into 19 Sydney Living Museums 20 Fruit Picking With Kids

21 Highlights of the Hills Summer Series 22 Kid-friendly Cafés With A View

23 Top Penrith Picks this Summer 24 Perfect Summer Picnic Spots

26 Top Summer Picks in The Shire 27 Free Camping Spots in NSW

28 Sydney’s Best Ice Cream Parlours 29 Sky Zone Festival of Fun 30 Best Bike Parks & Trails

31 Macquarie Centre for Family Fun 32 Botanic Gardens to Delight

Our pick of the top beaches where little ones can play and cool off.

Best Sydney Beaches For Littlies Parsley Bay Reserve Shhh! This Vaucluse gem is one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets.

Balmoral Beach An easily accessible, sheltered harbour beach with great amenities.

Bundeena Beach In the heart of the Royal National Park and well worth a day trip.

Clontarf Beach Safe swimming, a cafĂŠ, a playground & more; this beach has it all!

Collaroy Beach Little ones will love the toddler pool, fenced playground & rock pools.

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Read on for more of our familyfriendly beach suggestions.


Deep in the heart of Centennial Park sits one of Sydney’s best kept secrets. A place where locals, fitness fanatics, lovers of nature and their four-legged friends can stop by, grab a bite and enjoy the great outdoors.



A well-rounded 45-minute workout, held on the lawn outside Centennial Homestead.The workout is designed to help individuals achieve their fitness goals by utilising a new age blend of functional training techniques.

Grab your picnic basket from The Pantry and head deep into the park for a cosy lunch with friends.


Included in the basket is a selection of charcuterie, dip, fresh fruits, pickled vegetables, olives, cheeses and bread.


For $15 you will be able to enjoy the workout and a complimentary smoothie from our Pantry. If you have kids, our child minding service is available at no cost.


Wherever you’ve come from, consider our home yours. FOR RESERVATIONS AND ENQUIRIES CALL (02) 9380 9350 EMAIL #HomeSweetHomestead



It’s going to be the best summer ever at Wet’n’Wild Sydney – the world’s biggest’n’best water theme park with over 40 slides & attractions.

Splashtastic Family Fun What’s New At Wet’n’Wild Sydney Roar…kids will love the brand new Dinosaur Lagoon plus lots more.

What’s Hot At Wet’n’Wild Sydney Movies, music and thrills – so much on this summer.

Cinema In The Sand, Sat Nights In Dec & Jan Family movie nights at The Beach at Wet’n’Wild.

Summer Music Series, Fri Nights In Jan Dance the night away to the Hottest Live Music.

Showtime FMX Summer Slam 27 Dec – 15 Jan Action packed shows, thrilling stunts and jumps.

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Discover the best of Wet’n’Wild for little ones. Hot Tips & More.


Escape the heat and get creative with the kids at our favourite museums in Sydney.

Kid-Friendly Culture


The Museum of Contemporary Art The MCA in The Rocks has amazing programs for kids of all ages.

Powerhouse Museum This summer, don’t miss the Egyptian mummies exhibition.

Museum of Sydney Sand castles and LEGO – it’s the perfect combination at the Sand In The City exhibition.

Australian Museum Kids will love the creepy crawly zoo these summer holidays.

Sydney Living Museums Take a journey back in time with a visit to these historical homes.

Australia National Maritime Museum Take the kids on a Voyage to the Deep and climb aboard the historic fleet.

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Keep the kids active these school holidays with fun sports and creative activities.

Holiday Fun at Sydney Olympic Park

Make A Splash Swim, Dive & Play at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

Hit The Target Archery and Laser Tag activities for kids.

Action Packed Sports Camps Basketball, cricket, futsal & gymnastics programs.

Kids In The Park Over 60 outdoor, sporty and creative activities.

ellaslist Review ellaslist trialed the school holiday fun at Sydney Olympic Park. Here’s what we thought.

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Treat the kids to a show at the Sydney Opera House this summer. Here are our top picks.

Best Summer Shows


Room on the Broom, 3 yrs+ This hit show returns with songs, laughs and scary fun.

Emily Brown and the Thing, 3 yrs+ Music, puppetry and comedy, this is kids theatre at its best.

Deadly 60: Pole To Pole, 5 yrs+ Journey of wild discovery and dangerous entertainment.

Operation Ouch, 5 yrs+ Packed with stunts, crazy experiments and amazing facts.

George’s Marvellous Medicine, 6 yrs+ Roald Dahl’s legendary book is live on stage.

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FREE school holiday activities at the Sydney Opera House.

Whoosh…Keep the Kids Cool This Summer And Slip ‘n Slide Down The Best Water Slides In Sydney.

Wet’n’Wild Sydney Sydney’s biggest’n’best waterpark with over 40 slides & attractions. Plus lots for under-5’s.

Thrilling Water Slides In Sydney

Waterworld Central An epic pop-up inflatable water playground in Moore Park & Bateau Bay. Jamberoo Thrilling water rides & mini slides for littlies. Plus an aquatic cubby house.

Slideapalooza 3-day event in Hunter Valley with giant water slides, fun, music & food.

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre Action packed water playground plus river ride, spray jets & more.

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When the evenings are balmy, take the whole family along to see a kid-friendly flick under the stars.

Kid-friendly Outdoor Cinemas


Night Owls, Darling Harbour 6–25 Jan A big film fest for little people in the city, & it’s free!

Ben & Jerry’s Open-Air Cinema, Bondi 19 Jan–26 Feb Sea air, a laid-back vibe, plus free ice cream on Sundays!

Moonlight Cinema, Centennial Park 1 Dec–31 Jan The original, and still the best in this iconic Sydney park.

Sunset Cinema, North Sydney Oval 19 Jan–18 Mar Blockbusters against a backdrop of twinkling lights.

Sydney Hills Outdoor Cinema, Castle Hill, 12 Jan to 12 Feb Delicious food and early bird prices!

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Find out where else the kids can enjoy this quintessential summer treat.

January comes alive with an endless choice of events – it’s a highlight of the year for us. Here are our top family picks.

Best of Sydney Festival

The Beach At The Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve 7–29 Jan Plunge into a white ocean of 1 million balls. Circus City 12–22 Jan Roll up, roll up! Join in the fun at this 10-day celebration of all things circus in Parramatta. Meriton Festival Village 6–29 Jan A hub of musical and theatrical delights, pop-up eats & family treats in Hyde Park. You, Me and The Space Between 17–21 Jan A magical part picture book, part play at The Seymour Centre. iD 12–22 Jan A high energy fusion of circus, acrobatics & urban dance in the Riverside Theatre.

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Our favourite places to take the kids for a splash about across the city.

Free Water Play Parks


Darling Quarter Playground An oasis in the city with waterways, fountains & jets galore!

Blaxland Riverside Park The largest outdoor water play park in NSW. It’s epic!

Pirrama Park You’ll love the views. They’ll love the sprinklers and fountains.

Putney Park Two shaded paddling pools & a trickling stream for hours of fun.

Nurragingy Reserve Fountains, waterfalls & more in the Western Sydney Parklands.

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There are plenty more awesome parks for cool fun!

Let kids of all ages create, play & learn while you get to enjoy the fabulous surroundings.

Get Creative At The MCA There’s always something new for families at the MCA and this summer is no exception. Tying in with their Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect With Everything exhibition, the Miyajima Family Space is the perfect place to escape the heat or the rain! The space is interactive and hands on – turn light into music, create a light drawing or curl up with a book in the story time corner.

Light, colour & numbers – such a perfect combination for little people. The exhibition did not disappoint and the Family Space allowed my boys to create afterwards. – Stephanie, ellaslist explorer

More MCA Cafe – Best View In Town Don’t leave the MCA without a visit to their rooftop café. Whether you’re dining inside or out, the uninterrupted views across Circular Quay are spectacular. Read our review for more info.

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Pack a picnic, grab the scooters & enjoy a day at these destination parks.

Top Sydney Parks For A Day Out


Australian Botanic Garden Acres of free outdoor fun at Mount Annan – so worth the drive!

Lizard Log A nature play area & paved trails in the heart of Western Sydney Parklands.

Sydney Park An awesome bike park & a café right next to a playground. Big tick!

Carss Bush Park Swim, play, walk, eat at this picturesque spot on Kogarah Bay.

Blaxland Riverside Park Touted as the biggest and best park in Sydney. It’s a must-do!

Darling Quarter Kids Playground Hours of fun with endless exploring and eating options nearby.

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Epic family events, refreshing pools and libraries offering kids’ activities, plus a few secret spots thrown in.

Summer Highlights In Parramatta

NYE Parramatta 31 Dec Bid farewell to 2016 in Parramatta Park with live entertainment, food stalls, rides & fireworks. It’s free!

Australia Day 26 Jan An all-day party with Sydney’s biggest hot air balloon display, a mega BBQ, vintage cars, kids’ activities & more! Row Row Row Your Boat Explore one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets by boat. Read about our relaxing and fun filled day at Lake Parramatta. Discover More Read on for more inspiration for a glorious day out this summer.

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They’re central, perfect for combining with another city activity and of course, great for kids!

Cool City Pools To Dip Into

Victoria Park Pool A heated outdoor pool & shaded wading pool, set amid a huge park, with playground.

Cook & Philip Park Aquatic & Fitness Centre Three indoor pools, beach-style entry & a wave pool at weekends. Prince Alfred Park Pool Cool off at this outdoor oasis & awesome café next to Central Station.

Ian Thorpe Aquatic & Fitness Centre This complex is accessible by foot from Darling Harbour or light rail. Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool An unbeatable setting on the harbour next to the Royal Botanic Gardens.


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3 DECEMBER 16 – 23 JULY 17

Where History Comes Alive For Kids We love Sydney Living Museums. As the caretaker of 12 historic houses, beautiful gardens and engaging museums, they promote learning in a fun way. Forget dusty old houses where you can look but not touch. These places actively encourage families to experience the past through lots of interactive activities. During the summer, their family offering takes off with an incredible choice of special holiday workshops and fun events. One such event is Sand in the City at Museum of Sydney. The exhibition features giant sand sculptures, huge LEGO® models and a pair of giant digital sandboxes. It’s all about creativity, fun and imaginative play.

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Justice & Police Museum Sydney’s underworld comes to life this summer. Open daily throughout January and offering brand new experiences, the museum will bring the whole family closer than ever before to the chilling history of sinister Sydney.


Our pick of the best orchards and fields near Sydney to pick-your-own fruit.

Fruit Picking With Kids Venture outdoors into the fields and orchards this summer for a fun fruit picking adventure with your kids. Not only will they get to taste the freshest most delicious fruit around, it’ll give them a priceless insight into where their food really comes from. Summer brings a glut of ripe, juicy stone fruit, succulent berries and cherries. Use our handy seasonal guide on where to go for your fruit picking fix.

Fruit picking is a gorgeous and inexpensive outdoor activity. We were in the orchard playing hide and seek around the trees & who could spot the biggest peach. – Yvette, ellaslist Founder

More Peaches & Plums Find out where to find the sweetest, juiciest stone fruits, within 90 mins of Sydney.


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Berries & Cherries Take your pick of blueberries, raspberries, red currants and cherries.

Our favourites from this mega summer festival, guaranteed to delight all ages.

Highlights Of The Hills Summer Series Lil Miss Collins Delicious food, activities for little ones & stunning surroundings at this pop-up café.

Christmas Sky Show Animated light stories accompanied by music, sound effects & snow!

NYE Sky Show Break from the Sydney crowds and enjoy dazzling light shows, & live entertainment.

Australia Day Live performances, rides, free kids’ activities, street food, fireworks & more!

Lunar Festival A fun, free festival with heaps of kidfriendly activities and a huge firework display.

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Click for more information on this year’s Summer Series.


They welcome families so you get to enjoy the incredible surroundings.

Kid-friendly Cafés With A View


Bathers’ Pavilion Balmoral Beach’s historic venue overlooking the sand & lapping waves.

Sorelle on Grand Find one of Sydney’s best babycinos at this Brighton Le Sands café.

Tea Gardens A kids’ play area, scrumptious scones & a perfect setting at Watson’s Bay.

Pelican Pavilion A delicious summery menu served up on the sands at Collaroy Beach!

Plonk Beach Café This sunny Mosman harbourside gem is a must on a summer’s day.

Coogee Pavilion Great food, a dedicated family area & Coogee’s golden sands a few steps away.

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Penrith in Sydney’s west offers an array of experiences, adventures and community events.

Top Penrith Picks This Summer Make A Splash Aquatic activities from rafting & kayaking to waterskiing and an aqua park.

Discover A Playground Happiness for hours at one of these great playgrounds & water parks.

Free Family Events Movies under the stars and big Australia Day celebrations.

Explore Nature on Foot This area is blessed with endless parks, trails and bushwalks to enjoy.

Showtime At The Joan A colourful line up of kid-friendly shows at The Joan this summer.

Kids’ Holiday Workshops Bug drawing, paper flower making & more at The Gallery.

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Roll up your rug, pack your basket with goodies and head to one of these perfect spots.

Perfect Summer Picnic Spots


Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney An oasis of serenity and arguably the best harbour views.

Centennial Park Huge trees for shade, duck ponds & plenty of activities for the kids.

Glebe Foreshore Four waterside parks with native wetlands, beaches, playgrounds & amazing views.

Mount Tomah Botanic Garden Take a day trip to The Blue Mountains & experience these stunning gardens.

Chowder Bay Clifton Gardens Headland has it all; a protected beach, bushland & playground.

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Read on for lots more picnic spot suggestions near you.

Escape the heat of the city and enjoy a fun-packed day out.

Top Family Summer Picks In The Shire


Cool Down At The Beach Discover a new kidfriendly beach – there are 11kms to choose from!

Bundeena By Ferry Splash about on the stunning beach, hire a kayak or explore the village.

Escape To Audley Enjoy this gorgeous oasis on the Hacking River. Picnic, row, dine, walk or relax!

Westfield Miranda A retail & activity precinct whatever the weather. Movies, bouncing, dining & more!

Hazelhurst Café & Gallery Hands-on activities, stunning gardens and a kid-friendly café.

Kurnell’s Secrets Where the locals go; a quiet beach, the cool Milkhouse cafe & nearby National Park.

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Getaway from the fast pace of urban life to one of these tranquil spots this summer.

Old Olney Campground Around 2hrs north of Sydney in Olney State Forest, this place is beautiful.

Free Camping Spots in NSW

Bummaroo Ford Campground Take your swimmers & binoculars – this riverside camp is teeming with wildlife. Swans Creek Crossing Surrounded by Kerewong State Forest, around 4hrs north of Sydney.

Ingar Campground Take a dip in the creek & barbecue your dinner at this gorgeous Blue Mountains camp.

Blackbird Flat Ground On a river with endless fishing, swimming & canoeing – worth the 5hr drive.

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Take the edge off the summer heat with a smooth, creamy scoop of gelato.

Sydney’s Best Ice Cream Parlours


Gelato Messina Taste for yourself why there’s always a queue at their 10 gelatarias across Sydney.

N2 Extreme Gelato Watch them flashfreeze gelato flavours in front of your eyes.

Cow & The Moon Award-winning gelataria in Enmore. Its coffee is as good as its amazing gelato!

Frangipani Ask anyone from The Shire & we bet they’ve heard of this Cronulla gem.

Art of Gelato This gelato producer sells scoops & packs from its Fairfield factory outlet.

There Are More

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Click for the full list of our favourite gelato parlours.

Don’t let them climb the walls at home! Take your energetic offspring along to Sky Zone this summer. As well as the obligatory bouncing, flying and climbing, Sky Zone is putting on a calendar of events and activities during the school holidays. Come rain or shine, you’ll find everything from dress up days and treasure hunts to specials on slushies and ice cream mash ups. Sky Zone Festival of Fun runs daily 9–29 January.

The next time a mum tells me her kids are ‘bouncing off the furniture’ or ‘driving her up the wall’ I’ll recommend Sky Zone. I can’t think of other places that tick all the boxes so well. –Vanessa, ellaslist explorer

More Super Hero Day Dress them up for a discount & a chance to win awesome prizes.

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Face Painting Day Watch them transform into pirates, butterflies, tigers or whatever they like.


Kids love to ride. It gets them outside, builds their confidence & it’s totally free! Here are our favourite places to pedal with kids.

Children’s Learners Cycleway This flat bike track in Centennial Park loops around the playground and through the trees

Best Bike Parks & Trails

Sydney Park Cycling Centre A favourite for young ones with mini-roads, roundabouts & traffic lights. Heffron Pedal Park, Maroubra Great for practicing skills – next to a playground with ample parking, shade & toilets. Sydney Olympic Park Over 35kms of cycleways and 3 circuits for kids from 5 years.

Bay Run, Leichhardt The track follows the natural course of Iron Cove and passes at least 10 parks!


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It’s not just your one-stop for shopping, it’s your go-to for indoor family entertainment & dining this summer.

Macquarie Centre For Family Fun Macquarie Ice Rink For those who love to skate. Don’t miss the Friday Disco nights.

Strike Bowling Bar Home to bowling alleys, laser tag, karaoke and Exitus Escape rooms.

Event Cinemas Take the weight off your feet and treat the kids to the latest movie releases.

Chipmunks Playland & Café An under 5s area, plus a drop & shop childminding service for 5-11yrs. Dining Precinct Give yourself a break from the kitchen and head to one of the fantastic eateries. From the relaxed TGI Fridays or delicious Bondi Pizzas, to the creative menu at Hattrick and Neil Perry’s great tasting Burger Project.

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Lead your charges on a magical exploration through these lush, peaceful and blooming gardens.

Botanic Gardens To Delight


Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Shady spots, cooling breezes & a packed school holiday program.

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden Not such a secret anymore but a magical place nevertheless.

Auburn Botanic Gardens This Western Sydney oasis is teeming with unique flora & fauna.

Chinese Garden of Friendship Twisting paths, bubbling streams, hidden waterfalls and fish-feeding.

Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens Little explorers will love the Children’s Garden & you’ll marvel at the views.

Australian Botanic Garden Over 400 hectares to explore, plus bike paths, a playground & restaurant.

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This year, we’ve helped over 750,000 parents discover new and exciting things to do with their kids both in their local community and in our wonderful city.

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We’d like to sincerely thank all our loyal readers for continuing to support ellaslist and a huge thanks to all our venue partners, sponsors, ellaslist explorers and the many local activities providers that do such a wonderful job in our communities helping us to entertain, educate and create fun experiences with our kids. We wish you a wonderful festive season and the best summer ever. We look forward to bringing you more inspiration in 2017. Love, The team at ellaslist xxx

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ellaslist's Guide to Summer in Sydney with Kids  

The ultimate Guide for Sydney families this summer - Discover what's on, amazing events, kids shows, places to go and much more.

ellaslist's Guide to Summer in Sydney with Kids  

The ultimate Guide for Sydney families this summer - Discover what's on, amazing events, kids shows, places to go and much more.