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What's better than a good adventure around your own town? Fill up the day pack, grab your Opal card and beat the "I'm booooored's" with these three fun day trips for kids of all ages.

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The City to Spit Bridge to Manly round trip

Pack your walking shoes and your sense of adventure for this full day loop trip through the lower North Shore and back to the city. Begin by catching a bus near Wynyard to the Spit Bridge in Mosman, and join the iconic 10km coastal walk to Manly. This kid friendly walk will take you through lush rainforests, picking along foreshore boardwalks and beaches, with plenty of places to dip your toes in the water, or have a quick play on swings. Expect it to take about 3-4 hours, depending on the age of your walking companions and how many ice cream breaks you take along the way. Once you’ve reached Manly, reward yourself with fish and chips at the wharf, before catching a ferry back to Circular Quay.

Pack: water, snacks, sunscreen, togs and a light towel. Maybe good walking shoes but I’ve honestly seen kids walk this end-to-end in crocs so just use your best judgement.
The instagram factor: high
Suitable for most ages (from pre-school up), moderate fitness, not suitable for strollers (stairs and uneven surfaces)

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There’s no place like home: around Martin Place

A museum, a library, dumplings and ice cream – there’s more to Martin Place than the usual back and forth of coffee and courtroom. Starting just down the hill at the Museum of Sydney, your kids will love to explore this modern museum, built over the remains of former the Government House. Younger kids will enjoy the model ships of the First Fleet, while your surly teen art buffs can sink their eyes on the excellent photography exhibition, Snapshots of Sydney. With plenty of hands on workshops and immersive experiences, this comfortable and stroller accessible museum is free to enter.

From there, take a gentle walk up to Macqaurie Street to visit the State Library of NSW. The Children’s library is on the lower ground floor, but be mindful that you’ll have to check any large bags and strollers at the entrance to the reading rooms just outside the lifts. There’s plenty of quiet nooks and crannies in this special section of the library if your small people need a bit of quiet time, and the bathroom facilities here are excellent. Grab a quick drink or snack at the cafe if anyone is feeling peckish, and don’t forget to have a look at the amazing gallery level and grand reading room. There’s an abundance of summer workshops for kids, a cool rooftop bar for the grownups –  if this is where your CBD adventure day begins and ends, then you’ve still done well.

Cutting through the hospital ground, take a short cut over the Domain to the Sydney Modern – the $344 Million extension to the Art Gallery of NSW. The fully sustainable building is Australia’s first public art museum to achieve a 6-star design rating. All of the building’s energy consumption will be provided for by renewable energy, including over 10% from solar panels on the roof of the Entrance Pavillion. 

If you’re ready to push on, then head down to 25 Martin Place, (still known to many of us as the MLC centre), for some classic Din Tai Fung in the food court. Kids not so much into dumplings? Never fear – there is something for everyone here, from sushi to sandwiches, coffee and smoothies. To round out the day, meander down to Circular Quay, grabbing a Messina Gelato to enjoy on the lawns outside the MCA.

Pack: Aside from snacks and water, you’ll not need much more than some trusty hand sanny and a sense of adventure.
The instagram factor: Moderate – be mindful of any restrictions in the Museum and Library, especially near historical works
Suitable for all ages, with plenty of stops along the way for tired legs, and hungry bellys

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Rocking the suburbs

The Inner West has a well-earned reputation for being one of the more child and teen friendly places in Sydney to live. Consider a day exploring King street Newtown and Enmore Road Enmore, with it’s colourful restaurants, eclectic clothing and book shops and some of the the best gelato in Sydney, or Marrickville road, including the newly reopened Marrickville Library.  Both these suburbs can be easily reached by bus from Central station, or are a short drive from the CBD if you want to do some food shopping while you’re there.

A fun day can be spent in Chatswood – walking down Victoria Avenue from the train station you’ll discover gift shops, delicious food, asian supermarkets, more bubble tea places than you can poke a stick at and much much more. Bring your pocket money. There’s movie theatres, putt putt golf, and bowling all in the Mandarin Centre, and you can walk a little further down to the The Concourse, a multi purpose performance space perched on top of the library (pictured above).

Out of town, but well worth the drive is Nan Tien Temple, on the outskirts of Wollongong. For younger kids, the upcoming cultural festival, from 25 December to 2 January will feature Lion Dancing, food and art stalls. Your older ones will enjoy the stunning architecture, vegetarian cafe on site, and single day courses in meditation. Check their website for more details.

What’s your favourite suburban adventure day? Email [email protected] to be featured in our school holiday section