New South Wales
When the weather heats up in Sydney (again, and again, and again), you might be after some new ideas about how to keep your cool. Whilst the beach, pool and water play parks are fun wet options, you could also try ice skating, the movies or ten-pin bowling for some indoor air-conditioned relief. If you’re looking for some ideas of how to keep cool (and get out of the house), we’ve come up with plenty of ideas to keep you entertained.
We have so many fabulous aquatic centres scattered around the North Shore and nearby areas, you really are spoilt for choice. They all have indoor and well as outdoor pools, so you can avoid the UV rays with some indoor splash action. On the North Shore, try Hornsby Aquatic & Leisure Centre, Ku-ring-gai Fitness and Aquatic Centre in West Pymble, Lane Cove Aquatic Centre, Willoughby Leisure Centre, North Sydney Pool or Mosman Swim Centre. Beyond the North Shore (but only a short drive) you could try Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre, Manly Boy Charlton Pool or Warringah Aquatic Centre in Frenchs Forest. Click here to see a list of nearby indoor pools.
Water play parks are a great option if you want to be out in nature but don’t want to deal with sand or getting soaked. There are lots scattered around Sydney, including Putney Park, Blaxland Riverside Park, Darling Harbour Playground, Pirrama Playground at Pyrmont, Lizard Log at Abbotsbury, Steel Park at Marrickville South and James Ruse Reserve Water Playground in Parramatta. Click here for our list of awesome Water Play Parks in Sydney.
If you fancy a trip to the beach, either go first thing in the morning or late afternoon, when the UV rays are at their lowest. The sand gets burning hot for feet on hot days, so really isn’t a fabulous option for the middle of the day. And of course, slather everyone in sunscreen and stay in the shade where possible! Some beaches on the northern beaches have Rockpools (like Queenscliff, Dee Why, Freshwater, Collaroy, North Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Newport, Bilgola, Avalon, Whale Beach, Palm Beach). Click here for our list on best family-friendly beaches on the North Shore.
The movies are an awesome option on a super hot day, as the air conditioning is pumping and you can sit in a dark, cool theatre for a good two hours. Local cinemas include Hoyts Cinema at Chatswood Westfield and Mandarin Centre, Event Cinemas at Hornsby and Macquarie Centre, Roseville Cinemas, Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne and Hornsby Odeon. View the Summer Holiday Movie Guide here.
Not all indoor play centres are air conditioned, so choose wisely! The ones that are air conditioned are usually really busy on a scorching day, but at least they’re a good option for kids who love to play and you want to stay cool. We know that Chipmunks at Macquarie Centre and Moving Bodies at Mt Kuring-gai are air-conditioned (though not necessarily super icy cool, but not a heat box). If you know of any others that are air-conditioned, comment down below! We list all the local indoor play centres here.
Most restaurants have air conditioning, and these ones have free indoor play areas too! The Belrose Hotel, Terrey Hills Tavern, Pennant Hills Hotel and North Ryde RSL all have indoor play areas for the kids. Plus, it’s a cheap option – you don’t need to pay an entry fee, just buy a coffee or some lunch. Click here for a list of all restaurants with play areas.
There are lots of indoor, air-conditions attractions in the city that provide a cool escape for a few hours. At Darling Harbour, Powerhouse Museum, Maritime Museum, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds are all perfect for children, and guaranteed to provide a good few hours of indoor fun. Other options in the city include a trip to Sydney Tower Eye (the tallest building in Sydney), Australian Museum or The Art Gallery of NSW. There is an entrance fee for all of these attractions (see website links for details). If you’re likely to go to Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Zoo, Tower Eye or Madame Tussauds more than a couple of times, it makes sense to buy a Merlin Annual Pass, which gives you unlimited access for 12 months!
You’ll be delighted at the cool air conditioning happening at your local bowling alley. From about the age of four, children can learn to do ten pin bowling (with the help of a ramp and side bumpers). Once you’ve finished your game, stay for some lunch or a coffee. During the week (off peak), games start at about $12 per person. Try Strike Chatswood (Mandarin Centre), Strike Macquarie Centre or AMF Hornsby.
When it’s 40 degrees outside, why not go somewhere icy cold… like a local ice rink? Macquarie Ice Rink is our nearest option on the North Shore, and is a great way to spend a couple of hours. Don’t be fooled by the heat outside, you still might want to pack some gloves for the kids (in case they fall over lots!) and a long-sleeved top (with perhaps a singlet underneath). And don’t forget socks too! Check the websites for session times. Click here to go to the Macquarie Ice Rink website.
Everyone often has the same idea, so parking can raise the blood pressure, but once inside an indoor shopping centre, you’ll want to stay all day! Even better, if you choose a shopping centre with a little play area, it’s a win-win for the parent and the child. They can burn off a bit of energy, you can watch with a coffee (if you’re lucky)…. and you might have a chance of them sitting in the pram or trolley, or following you around when you need to shop. We list all the local shopping centres with play areas here.
It’s often a few degrees cooler by the coast, and there’s nothing more refreshing than a sea breeze to cool you down. There are loads of child-friendly cafes by the water – particular favourites include Bathers’ Pavilion Cafe (Balmoral), Plonk Beach Cafe (Mosman), Echo on Marina (Roseville), The Deckhouse (Woolwich) and Bacino Bar & Kiosk (Chowder Bay). Click here to see the list of child-friendly cafes near the water.
If sitting down at a cafe isn’t easy with your kids and a picnic is a more relaxing option, how about pulling out the rug and feasting on fish and chips by the water? From Manly all the way up to Palm Beach, plus Brooklyn and Bobbin Head, we list 16 nearby spots for Fish & Chips by the water.