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10 things to do to make the most of the Summer holidays

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Dee Why Beach
A trip to the beach during the summer holidays is always a great day out!

Can you believe it? The summer holidays are here, so we’ve got at least six weeks with the kids at home, looking for things to do. The good news is, we have LOTS of great ideas to help you make the most of these Summer school holidays on the North Shore…


Before you know it, the excitement of Christmas will behind us as we face weeks on end at home with the kids. It’s the perfect opportunity to slow down the pace a little and do all those things you’ve wanted to all year long. Summer holidays mean getting outdoors and make some lasting family memories.

Check out these quick links to find some fun and exciting adventures that would suit your family

  1. Child-friendly beaches
  2. Cruise around Sydney Harbour
  3. Watch a live show!
  4. Tour local playgrounds
  5. Take a hike
  6. Head to the movies
  7. Action-packed water slide fun
  8. Fruit picking adventures
  9. Feed the ducks
  10. Hair chalk

1. Child-friendly beaches

Dee Why Beach Ocean Pool

The ocean pool for toddlers at Dee Why Beach

What else is Summer for, except heading out to one of the amazing beaches Sydney has on offer. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite child-friendly beaches where the waves are mild, there are nearby playgrounds, toilets and refreshments!

Here are some we highly recommend:

  • The Northbridge Baths: this popular spot has a nice sandy beach within the bushland of Middle Harbour.
  • Balmoral Beach: this is an amazing child-friendly beach with a playground, lots of cafes and a long promenade for riding.
  • Clontarf Reserve: there is a lovely netted, calm swimming area for kids, huge playgrounds, plenty of grass, a cafe, toilets and more.
  • Dee Why: there’s something for kids of all ages at Dee Why Beach, with two ocean pools (one for toddlers, the other a 50m lap pool), patrolled beach, two playgrounds and lots of cafes!
  • Manly Beach: There’s so much to do in Manly! Whether you want big ocean waves or calm harbour waters, there’s lots of cafes, shopping and playgrounds.

2. Cruise around Sydney Harbour

North Shore Mums founder took the Harbour Bar cruise with her family and they all loved it!

Summer holidays is the perfect time to be a tourist in Sydney! Sydney Harbour is bursting with fun things to do with kids and the whole family.

Day trips on Sydney Harbour

  • Jump on the Taronga Zoo Express with a free Sky Safari cable car ride
  • Head out to Watsons Bay for a headland nature walk to Hornsby Lighthouse
  • Pack a picnic and your swimming gear for a Shark Island hideaway
  • Head to family-friendly Clifton Gardens (Hop On Hop Off ferry service on weekends linking Circular Quay, Watsons Bay and Manly)
  • Captain Cook Cruise – or for a fun day out for the kids with a big dose of relaxation for the parents, you can’t go past Captain Cook’s Family Bonus cruises. One child 4-15 years cruises for free with every full paying adult on Rocket Sightseeing, Hop On Hop Off Day Passes and the Harbour Experience cruises. There’s also a great range of family friendly dining cruises with discounted children’s menus available on the popular Top Deck Lunch and Sunset Dinner.

3. Watch a live show!

There are plenty of live shows happening around these school holidays.

Our personal recommendations…

4. Play at a local playground

The new Warrina Street Oval Playground

Pack a picnic and head off on a tour of some of the great parks right here on the North Shore. Wondering where to go? Head over and check out our post on 20 awesome parks on the North Shore that you need to try.

So many new parks have cropped up this year, so make sure these ones are at the top of your list:

  • Warrina Street Oval Playground: After six months of development, we’re delighted to see the brand new playground at Warrina Street Oval open to the public! This is the first playground on the North Shore to feature a dedicated water play area, so it’s guaranteed to attract families from around the North Shore for a splash on a warm summer’s day.
  • St Ives Village Green Playground: If you’re local to St Ives, then you would have watched the progress of this brand new playground over the past few months. Well, we have some good news…it’s finally open and has so much to offer kids of all ages!
  • St Ives Showground Playground: the great thing is, there are a number of different playgrounds in the showground, so you can go to one of the others if this one is too busy.
  • Abingdon Road Reserve, Roseville: this small neighbourhood playground is fully fenced, and ideal for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
  • Willoughby Park: the playground makeover at Willoughby Park is fabulous, with three slides, climbing nets, monkey bars, swings and so much more.
  • Boyd’s Orchard Park, Turramurra: pack the scooters, or bring a basketball and make use of the half court. There is plenty for big kids and little kids alike.
  • Gordon Recreation Ground: another great park on the North Shore, which is fenced in with plenty to do. There’s a climbing net, slide, swings, and a great grassed area for a picnic.

5. Take a hike

Cremorne Point Walk

Cremorne Point Walk

We are very lucky in Sydney to be blessed with some amazing places to explore, right here on our doorstep. So what are you waiting for? Put those New Year’s resolutions to the test and get outdoors and active. We have 15 different bushwalking tracks for you to explore. Some of our favourites are:

6. Head to the movies

Summer time really does bring some of the best family flicks for you to enjoy. There’s something for everyone, big and small. The perfect excuse to bundle up in the car, splash out on that extra large popcorn and settle in for some family fun. Wondering what to see? Check out our post on the best kids movies these Summer holidays.

Here are some of our favourites:

  • Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical: not to be missed, Matilda is a class the whole family will love!
  • Lyle, Lyle Crocodile: a live-action/CGI musical comedy.
  • Big Trip 2: Special Delivery: if you’ve seen the first one, then put this on your list.

    7. Action-packed water slide fun

    Why not get one last thrill in before the end of the holidays and splash into one of the great water slides and parks around Sydney. There are so many to choose from, you might tick off a few days checking them out. We have put them together in one easy post so you can find your favourites. Check it out here.

    Here are some of our top picks:

    • Jungle Float, Clontarf: a great one for the bigger kids with a tunnel slide, trampoline, and plenty more.
    • Raging Waters, Prospect: if you’re after a thrill, then this is where you will get it.  It has something for everyone with 30 rides, slides and attractions.
    • Darling Harbour Water Playground: want to tone things down a little? This water playground has plenty for kids to do!

    8. Fruit picking adventures

    Bilpin Fruit Bowl

    Looking for a fun day trip for the whole family? Pick your own fruit farms and orchards are a great activity and most are only an hour’s drive from the North Shore! Always check the farm’s website in case the season has ended sooner than expected to avoid disappointment on the day.

    Check out our post on the best places for fruit picking near Sydney, and make sure you jump to the Summer section.

    9. Feed the ducks

    Find a nearby river or lake on Sydney’s North Shore and take off on an adventure to find some ducks to feed. While we can’t guarantee you will find them, you are in with a good chance.

    Here are the best spots to find ducks on Sydney’s North Shore.

    10. Hair chalk

    Kids love having a bit of fun with their hair – the brighter the better if you ask them! School holidays are the perfect opportunity to let them go wild. After all, it will wash out before term starts.

    Hair chalk is a popular one amongst the kids, and we have seen the question being asked a number of times over in the North Shore Mums group. Want to know which hair chalk is the best? Here’s the lowdown:

    • Kmart hair chalk $6 “Kmart stocks decent hair chalk. Haven’t tried others to compare though, so can’t comment on quality”. Another mum shares that you need to use spray with the Kmart hair chalk to stop the colour from coming out straight away.
    • Glow in the dark Hair Chalk from Smiggle $12.95: “I use hair chalk from Smiggle for my toddler! It’s in pens and really easy to apply and washes straight out!”

    More things to do these summer school holidays

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