Visiting this beautiful city is always a fantastic experience, especially if you are planning on coming along with your family. Finding the right place and matching your budget, however, is usually tricky. That’s where Buckscoop comes in to help you. Our guide to the best family holiday accommodation in Sydney ensures that you can begin your search for the top hotels with a shortlist which caters to every imaginable holiday scenario you might have.
There are hotels and resorts of all kinds – with facilities and features to keep your children busy and entertained, while also offering parents every means of enjoying their vacation too.
1. Novotel Sydney, Darling Harbour
Sitting on Darling Harbour and looking out onto some of the best views Sydney has to offer, the Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour is a hotel that truly raises the bar when it comes to family vacations. Rooms offer views of the Blue Mountains or the beautiful downtown skyline while the facilities match the best a hotel can offer. There are plenty of places to see, right next to the hotel, including the Sydney Aquarium, the Maritime Museum, the Powerhouse Museum and even an Imax Theatre.
Combine these popular venues with the fantastic tennis courts, outdoor swimming pools and playing areas, and what you get is the perfect package for the entire family to spend some quality time together. What’s more, you get some wonderful offers and packages if you are travelling with your family.
Details: One of the key benefits of booking your stay at the Novotel Sydney is that children under the age of 16-years get free stays in their parents’ or grand parents’ rooms. However, to avail this offer, they need to use the existing-bedding in those rooms. They can, alternately, get their own room for 50% of the regular room rates. Breakfast is also included as a part of this offer and is free for them too. The hotel also has several dining areas for the benefit of the entire family while parents can take some time away from their children and to pamper themselves at the spa.
Facilities for Kids: From the moment they arrive, children have it made at the Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour Hotel. They get special welcome gifts upon arrival while the restaurant has a special menu for children including healthy food-options that drop nothing on the taste-front. There are plenty of playing areas around the hotel while the swimming pool & tennis courts also add to the list of things they can do on their vacation.
Another thoughtful, and often ignored, facility is the possibility of checking out as late as 5pm. This might not seem much but if you are driving in for your vacation, then kids can enjoy their stay till the last minute and go back home without spoiling an entire day of vacation.
Average Rate per Night: At the Novotel Sydney Hotel in Darling Harbour, the average cost for a night is about $269 per night for a 3-night stay at the hotel through Booking.com. Over the weekend, the rate jumps up to about $287 per night. These rates are currently the same whether making your reservation at Booking.com. Hotels.com or Expedia.com.au.
2. Vibe Hotel Rushcutters, Rushcutters Bay
The Vibe Hotel Rushcutters is one of the best-located hotels, in Sydney, for the travelling family. It has everything you can possibly ask for from a hotel, and whatever it doesn’t have is usually available in and around the area. For instance, if you're somebody that enjoys craft markets, there's one right next door at Paddington. Or if it's fashion boutiques that you prefer, you'll find an abundance of stores at Double Bay nearby. The hotel comes with a beautiful park-side view of Rushcutters Bay and has a massive gymnasium, an outdoor swimming pool and fantastic dining facilities for its guests.
It does not have a beach of its own, but it does give you access to the world-famous Bondi Beach and all the paraphernalia that comes with it. There are stores, restaurants and bars to go with all the water-sports, surfing and general lazing by the beach. The hotel’s swimming pool is on the roof, which means you get a fantastic view of the world below you as you take a refreshing dip or laze on the sundeck.
Details: The rooftop swimming pool and sundeck is just one of the ways to spend your time at this wonderful property – you can hire bicycles for a ride down by the ocean or to simply explore the nearby parts of town. Staying at the hotel also gives you unbridled access to the Rushcutters Bay Tennis Centre while everything about the rooms oozes comfort and relaxation. There is a gymnasium for those who want to break into a sweat while those who need to loosen their muscles can simply head on down to the sauna and spa instead.
Facilities for Kids: When you are staying at the hotel with your family, you get to choose from staying in and enjoying the facilities at the property, or heading out to nearby attractions for a taste of what Sydney has to offer. Children can have their own rooms, to begin with, but the interconnected-rooms ensure that parents are never too far away to leave them unsupervised. The hotel also offers babysitting services while every child arriving at the hotel receives a complimentary kids pack that includes many things like non-toxic crayons, assorted puzzles and more, depending on the child’s age.
The wonderful Curves Restaurant has a special menu for the kids while children under the age of 12 get a free-meal at the restaurant. What’s more, they get to make their own pancakes during breakfast, under the supervision of trained hotel staff, using the pancake machine at the restaurant.
Average Rate per Night: When booking a room at the hotel during the last week of September, Booking.com offers you the Standard Twin Room at about $125.50 per night, for a 3-day stay during the week. At the weekend, this rises to $165.50 per night. Expedia.com.au offers the same room at about the same rate for the week as well as for the weekend.
3. Sydney Gateway Holiday Park Accommodation
The Sydney Gateway Holiday Park is about 38-kilometres from the city centre and is exactly what its’ name suggests – a gateway into Sydney. Ideally located to give you a taste of this vibrant city and secluded enough to give you the peace and quiet you deserve on your vacations, the Sydney Gateway Holiday Park is purpose built to cater for families.
You can come in your own caravan and hook it up to one of the many powered sites on the property, or simply check into your own room on the premises. The property is designed to cater to small families as well as large groups. It has a host of attractions surrounding the holiday park, along with a list of facilities within, making the Sydney Gateway Holiday Park Accommodation a prime holiday-destination for you and your family.
Details: The entire property has a host of wonderful features that begin with your own campervan living experience. All you need to do is drive onto the property and park it on one of the many powered sites, plug yourself in and that’s it – you are ready to stay. There are barbeque areas dotted around the holiday park and the communal kitchen allows you to come in and take charge of your family's or party’s dining arrangement.
If you need to spend some time indoors it also has its own library. But for outdoor lovers, the picnic areas and swimming pools are the place to be. Spa treatments are available too and touted as a “must have”, while the easy access to transport facilities ensures that you have rampant access to the wonderful and massive Parklea Markets – one of the biggest market places in the Southern Hemisphere.
Facilities for Kids: If the outdoor, covered, barbeque spaces and innumerable picnic spots weren’t enough for the kids, the Sydney Gateway Holiday Park Accommodation also boasts a massive game-area where kids can indulge in air hockey, pool, video games and more. This is in addition to the massive resort-style swimming pool as well as the smaller, but still substantial, swimming pool. They can spend time in the camp kitchens, getting cooking classes or be a part of the many activities such as craft-making, live entertainment performances, trips to surrounding natural-spots of interest and, if you are arriving at the right time of the year, the Children’s Xmas Party.
Average Rate per Night: The Standard Villa at the Sydney Gateway Holiday Park is about $180 per night, for weekdays, on Booking.com, Hotels.com and Expedia.com.au. The rate remains unchanged, on all three websites currently, even for the weekends with no difference in the overall $180 price.
4. Lane Cove River Tourist Park Accommodation
On the banks of the Lane Cove River lies the beautiful Lane Cove River Tourist Park Accommodation, a natural wonderland on the edge of the Sydney. An ideal family vacation spot, the park has everything you need when it comes to an outdoors getaway. There are camping spots with tents for lease, caravan and campervan sites where you can simply plug in your motor-home and you're all set, as well as other facilities like a swimming pool, a television room and numerous barbeque spots.
The park is ideally suited for families who want to give their children an unbeatable experience in the lap of nature. Proximity to Lane Cove National Park ensures encounters of the wild, but safe, variety while the facilities at the Lane Cove River Tourist Park Accommodation ensure that you also have everything you need for a relaxing, stress-free vacation.
Details: The tourist park offers a scenic location for their campsites, ensuring privacy and safety even when sleeping under a tent. The park is riddled with picnic spots and barbeque areas while the lounge and television room allow you to rest indoors if you choose. The entire park is covered with their Wi-Fi Internet network while other facilities, in your tent and in the amenities building, include a laundry service, a microwave oven, a camp kitchen and a few swimming pools.
Facilities for Kids: To begin with, children can stay in the camp and enjoy the games and recreation room where they have access to video games, puzzles, crafts and more. There are many activities organized around the year, for kids, all under the guidance of trained staff members. There's a child-pool for the little ones while the older kids and adults can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool. There are regular nature walks along the trekking paths of the Lane Cove National Park and surrounding areas while guided tours amongst nature help introduce children to the beauty that surrounds them.
Average Rate per Night: the average cost for a Family Cabin at the Lane Cove River Tourist Park is from about $155 to $185 per night. The one-bedroom cabin costs $135 per night while the powered sites for your campervan will cost about $39 per night. Unpowered sites are $37 per night while the Tandara Luxury Tents are $200 per night.
5. Cockatoo Island Camping
When it comes to a camping holiday, Cockatoo Island Camping brings the entire outdoor experience into Sydney, in a way that’s never been done before. The beautiful waterfront of Cockatoo Island provides a fascinating place to spend your holidays, with your family, lazing by one of the world’s most picturesque harbours.
Not only does the camp have several activities and facilities to keep the entire family entertained, you can even settle down to watch the Sun rise over the Sydney Harbour Bridge or watch it set into the waters that lie before you. It isn’t always possible for families to take long camping vacations driving out into the wild outdoors and spending time around a campfire, under the stars. However, Cockatoo Island Camping brings you that outdoor experience, right in the heart of Sydney.
Details: The property has been designed to be a camping site, but it also has a number of rooms & apartments that look out onto the Tasman Sea. Alternately, you can stay in one of the many luxurious tents provided by Cockatoo Island Camping and enjoy your stay without the burden of carrying all your equipment along with you. However, if you are a fan of traditional camping holidays, then you can book one of the many camping sites that give you enough room to pitch your own tent and enjoy your stay.
There is a massive camp kitchen that includes 10-barbeque areas as well as other basic facilities like a microwave, a refrigerator and a water-boiling system. Although you can hire basic equipment like mats and chairs from the camp office, you will need to get your own utensils and dining provisions. In other words, if you carry the bare essentials any camping trip demands, Cockatoo Island Camping will give you everything else you need to make your holiday as comfortable and enjoyable as any camping trip.
Facilities for Kids: The fun never stops for children at Cockatoo Island Camping as playing, fun and learning join hands to create the perfect vacation. Children get to go for a real-convict prison tour or can take a closer look at how ship-building machines go about their day. There are plenty of games that are organized by the staff at Cockatoo Island Camping, all in a bid to ensure that parents do not need to worry about their children and can go about enjoying their camping holiday as well.
What’s more, Cockatoo Island Camping is capable of catering to several schools trips at a time, of all age-group levels. That means they have a lot of experience in dealing with children and, therefore, have a range of activities that are as exciting as they are varied. From walking trails and sports to fishing and kayaking, there is so much to do at Cockatoo Island.
Average Rate per Night: For the last week of September, the cost for a facility-provided camping tent is about $140 per night for Sunday through Thursday, while Friday and Saturdays are about $165 per night. A regular camping package is about $89 per night (Sunday through Thursday) and $99 per night for Friday and Saturday. If you are only looking for a camping site, then you need to pay just $45 per night from Sunday through Friday while Saturday nights are $50. The Harbour View Apartments are about $240 per night for Monday through Thursday while Friday through Sunday is about $330 per night.
6. Rydges Hotel Camperdown
In terms of location, the proximity to Sydney’s business district might make Rydges Hotel Camperdown seem like a place for business travellers however, you couldn’t be more wrong. The hotel is designed to cater to all kinds of guests and, amongst those, families have a lot of activity and entertainment options which make the hotel one of the best choices to stay at when in Sydney. Along with the pick-and-drop shuttle service from the airport, the hotel also has a great restaurant and bar along with ensuite rooms and all the regular facilities like laundry services, in-room Internet connectivity and money-exchange services.
Darling Harbour is right next to the hotel as is the Sydney Entertainment Centre and the Sydney Opera House. Chinatown and Newtown are great places to spend your day while the Enmore Theatre & The Factory are other places where you can head down with the entire family for some all-round entertainment. All-in-all, the Rydges Hotel Camperdown is ideally located and adequately equipped to give you and your family a great holiday experience. What’s more, every room comes equipped with the trademark Dream Bed, perfect for a good night’s sleep after a day of fun and entertainment.
Details: For those looking for a relaxing massage, there are sauna & spa facilities while the gymnasium also helps you keep up with your exercise routine. The swimming pool gives the entire family a place to relax while the tour-desk and babysitting services are ideal for families who want to plan a day-out around town or simply find a place to leave their kids in a safe and healthy environment as they go about enjoying the sights & sounds of Sydney.
Facilities for Kids: It begins with the child-pool and continues into the leisure or game room where children have access to puzzles, board games, a pool table, air-hockey and video games. The hotel also provides certified babysitters who take care of your children should you choose to spend a a bit of time alone with your husband/wife exploring the city or having a perhaps having a meal for two. There's also the barbeque area which is great for gathering around and meeting other families or just enjoying the food together.
Average Rate per Night: When travelling with the family, the best option is to opt for the family package that includes a family room accommodation, complimentary buffet breakfast for 2-adults, and free stay, food and drinks for children under 12-years of age. The family also gets passes for one of the many attractions nearby, including Sydney Tower Eye, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, Madame Tussauds or WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. This package comes at about $241 per night, while members can avail this same offer for $216 per night. Still, it's always to price check room prices across other travel sites to see whether any special discounts are currently being run: Booking.com, Expedia.com.au, HotelClub.com and Lastminute.com.au.
7. Rydges Hotel North Sydney
Located in the business district in North Sydney, the Ridges Hotel North Sydney is another ideal base for a vacation in this city. Luna Park and North Sydney Oval are close neighbours of the hotel while Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo and all the north beaches are also only a short distance away. If you are looking to spend more time on the property, you have a fantastic restaurant in the Mundo Latin Grill & Tapas Bar, which offers excellent food. Some of the rooms come equipped with a kitchenette while the babysitting services give parents the option to spend some time together on their own.
Details: The hotel offers courtesy transfer services to the local areas around the hotel while the views from the rooms, of Sydney Harbour and beyond, are breathtaking. The hotel may seem ideally suited for business travellers, with its fully-equipped business centre and Internet services, but it is also perfect for anyone looking to spend their time relaxing with their families too. It is a non-smoking hotel making it a suitable environment for your children. There are plenty of packages available for your family to make the stay more comfortable and satisfying - see below.
Facilities for Kids: The hotel has special tie-ups with local attractions like the Taronga Zoo, which allows kids to spend their time in this wonderful nature-reserve. Even the Luna Park has a tie-up with the Rydges to ensure easier access to the theme park and its many rides. Families can avail the abundant hotel transfer-services on offer and with the right package, you can focus your holiday around these attractions, getting special passes for each at discount prices.
Average Rate per Night: At the Rydges Hotel North Sydney, you get to choose between the Taronga Zoo Family Package and the Luna Park Accommodation Package. In the former, you get overnight accommodation at the family suite along with entry to Taronga Zoo, free buffet breakfast and all this comes to $319 per night. The Luna Park package gets you an overnight stay at the family suite along with 4 all-ride passes at the park and a full breakfast buffet at a cost of $359 per night.
The hotel also has a Stay & Explore Sydney package that puts you up in a family suite with full breakfast buffet and entry to two-major attractions in the area. You get to choose from SEALIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, Sydney Tower Eye and Madame Tussauds. All this comes at about $319 per night. Again though, it's worth checking the room prices individually elsewhere to confirm whether it's worth buying the packages directly through Rydges or buying the zoo/aquarium/Madame Tussauds tickets separately after making a hotel room booking through any of these travel booking sites: Booking.com, Expedia.com.au, HotelClub.com and Lastminute.com.au.
8. Roar and Snore Accommodation in Taronga Zoo
Living in tents has never been as comfortable as it is at the Roar and Snore Accommodation in Taronga Zoo, Sydney. The whole concept of the hotel is based around the idea of living on a campsite, amidst the animals, and enjoying a camping holiday of sorts, with the entire family. There is plenty to see and do here so you're unlikely to have any dull moments throughout your stay. What’s more, if you wish to see other places in and around the accommodation, you have direct access to sites like Sydney Harbour and Luna Park, both of which are within a short distance of the property.
Details: In essence, you are staying in the middle of Taronga Zoo so everything that is part of the zoo is part of the property’s facility-list. There are several eating joints serving everything from quick and tasty bites to elaborate sit-down meals in an exquisite setting. There are picnic areas all over the park and when you come back, after a whole day of fun & excitement, resting in those intriguing, architecturally designed tents is the best way to end the day. Even though you are, technically, camping, you don’t need to bring anything along with you as you would on a normal camping trip – the Roar and Snore Accommodation in Taronga Zoo provides everything you need, from bed linen to laundry services, without any exceptions.
Facilities for Kids: This is a place where you realise how much fun it is to be a child. The list of activities is endless – starting from walking tours around the many attractions within the zoo to organized craft and educational activities. Children can spend time with some of the friendliest animals of the zoo before heading out for a night safari, identifying creatures that they wouldn't see otherwise. The only thing to remember here is that children need to above 5 years of age to be a part of these activities.
Average Rate per Night: The average cost for a single-night stay at the Roar and Snore Accommodation in Taronga Zoo costs about $320 per night for adults and $205 per night for children between 5 and 17-years of age, for Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and all public holidays. During the week, the price drops to $288 per night for adults and $184.50 per night for children.
If you are heading down to Sydney with the entire family, these hotels and holiday parks are some of the best ways to spend your vacation. Whether you choose to live it up in a top-class hotel or simply live the simple life in a river-side tent, you are guaranteed to give your children an experience they will never forget.
[For a list of Buckscoop's recommendations of top hotels across Australia to stay at with kids, click here]