One Week in Sydney with a Toddler

Hello from Down Under!  Cooper and I have spent the last week running around like crazies soaking up all the goodness of Sydney.  I did a ton of research on some of the best places to bring him and we hit the ground running.  Now, this isn’t your traditional tour of the city, but if you happen to have a toddler, it is a pretty fun trip!

Chipmunks at Macquarie Center

This is a massive indoor play space designed specifically for the short crowd.  The space is huge and the area is completely padded (no injuries!) plus it is split up by age group and the monitors really make sure that this policy is adhered to.  Several times a monitor came over and shooed some older children out of our under 5 play area.  Cooper had fun playing in the ball pit, climbing up the huge play structure, going down the slide and steering a boat.  And although the giant inflatable slide said 3 and up, he took it upon himself to run away from us, climb to the top and slide down on his belly.  #nofear  This is definitely the spot if you need to tire your little one out and perfect for a rainy day.  Just remember that adults and children both need socks.

Valley Heights Locomotive

A real operating steam train that children and adults can ride located in Valley Heights, Blue Mountains.  The train ride is great fun for the little ones with real whistles, a conductor and an old steam train that was once operational.  

The museum also has a fantastic model train set up that absolutely captivates the kids.  Plus, there are multiple trains from different eras in Sydney’s history available to climb on and checkout.  See exactly what it is was like to travel first class via rail!  If you little one is a fan of Thomas, he or she will love this adventure!

Wet n’ Wild

A water park for big and small alike, this place is huge!  There are tons of water slides, a giant beach and wave pool and lazy river.  There is a designated area for the smaller bunch with a giant splash pad full of fun and, of course, a dumping bucket that fills with water and then dumps on those surrounding (don’t worry you have to get close to it!).  

There were also small water slides that even Cooper could go down.  Some he could go on his own and some with an adult.  There was also a large, calm beach area that housed the park’s dinosaurs.  Not sure what dinosaurs have to do with a water park, but they were definitely a hit with Coops!

Blaxland Riverside Park

This was an incredible park and so so much fun!  I would recommend it for a slightly older crowd as Cooper was a bit too young to enjoy a lot of the attractions.  He had a ton of fun running around and checking out the other kids though.  It is a huge playground with fantastic views of the Paramatta River.  Cooper was a big fan of the splash water feature although it was too cold to let him run through it that day.  On a hot day, it would be hours of fun.  

There is also a small sandbox perfect for the little ones.  I was really impressed by the largest cubby house I’ve ever seen but Cooper wanted no part of it!  There are flying foxes and plenty of rock climbing walls, slides, climb through tunnels and swings.  

Cooper got the hand of sliding down the hill and then climbing back up on the rock climbing wall with some assistance.  If you have kids in multiple age groups, this would certainly be your stomping grounds!  We headed down to the river for lunch at a cafe, which was quite nice and very convenient although many other families brought picnics!  

Sydney Aquarium

We visited the Sydney Aquarium when Cooper turned one and I thought it was so much fun that we decided to go back.  It was slightly different from the last time we visited.  They still had a great collection of tropical and local fish, a display of sea life in Sydney Harbour, a touch pool and so much more.  

We loved the stingrays and the sharks.  Our favorite were the penguins!  They had a cool, free penguin expedition but because it was school holidays, the line was too long.  No matter, we got to get up close and personal with the penguins and say hi to them anyway!

Darling Harbour Park

This is definitely Cooper’s favorite part of Sydney!  He loves this park so much!  We went when he turned one and I remembered how much fun he had so we had to go back.  There is tons to do from swings to slides and so much more, but we could spend all day going from the sand box to the water features.  

There are pumps, water ways, a splash pad, water scoops and so much more!  Cooper was laughing his head off running through the water and letting himself get sprayed (and soaking wet!).  Remember the bathing suits at this one!

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Center

Again, water!  The Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Center hosted the swimming and diving competitions during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  Now, it is open to the public and they have installed a massive water playground for the kids.  There is a huge indoor water structure that squirts, dumps and slides water.  There are plenty of options to pull, push, climb and slide down the water.  There is also a massive pool that slowly inclines and gets deeper like a beach, making it great for the little ones who don’t know how to swim.  There are plenty of water features to keep them interested.  Cooper had a great time watching the big dumping bucket (obligatory), jumping into the water and sliding through the shallow water on his belly.  The water is heated to 26 degrees Celsius making it nice and warm for the little ones and we easily spent an hour in the pool.  I practically had to pull Cooper out kicking and screaming!  The best part is that it was so inexpensive!  Cooper was free because of his age and I was only $8 plus 4 hours of free parking.

Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo is not only a massive zoo full of both Australian and international animals, it also boasts the best views of any zoo in the world.  Hands down!  You can take a relaxing and scenic ferry ride across the harbour and then grab the sky tram up to the top of the zoo.  

Cooper enjoyed checking out the giraffes and the elephants the best.  There is also a great little playground called Backyard to Bush specifically for the younger crowd.  They can get up close and personal with goats, a pig and chickens.  

There was even an emu roaming in our path and some kangaroos just hanging out.  The seals are super relaxing to watch and also a good place to stop and have a snack.  There is so much to see and do at the zoo that we didn’t even get to finish half of it!  I do recommend lunch at The View Restaurant, which does have great views of the city and pretty decent food.  It is surprisingly not crowded!

The Beach!

Of course no trip to Sydney would be complete without visiting one of the iconic beaches.  We stopped at Collaroy long enough for Cooper to run like crazy around in the sand, dig some holes and run into the water and back out again.  We could have stayed hours but managed to convince the little man to leave by coaxing him with a juice from the local cafe!


  1. Wow is all I can say !! Great trip for the three of you and especially for Coops.

  2. What a chronicle of terrific, child centered days of fun in Australia. I can hear and see you having laugh upon laugh and “wow” upon “wow” exclamations with your little man. Britt–I would hire you to be my vacation planner. Your photos capture your words beautifully! Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  3. Holly Nilson says:

    Well, Britt, you and your family did “hit the ground running!” Lots of wonderful child and family orientated activities. The views give the rest of us way yonder over here in the states a good look at the lovely country of AU. I happen to like the dinosaur displays! My all time fav, however, is the BEACH! Have fun!

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