The 4 big Sydney family attractions – ranked from best to worst!

Are you heading into Sydney City for the school holidays? Perhaps you’re wondering where to go and what to see? Here’s a round-up of top attractions according to the Sydney 5-Attraction Pass – and the wow factor for kids. Here’s what’s hot – and what’s not!

The best and the worst of Sydney attractions...

We test-ran a Sydney 5-Attraction Pass that gave us access to the Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Sydney Wildlife Park, The Sydney Tower and Manly Aquarium.

The 5-Attraction Pass is priced at Adult $69 and Child $39. It has a life-span of 30 days to use it, which can save quite a bit of money if you’re planning a return trip to Sydney during the school holidays and do intend to actually visit these attractions. We visited the first 3 Darling Harbour attractions all in one day and the last, the Sydney Tower on a separate evening.

But is it worth the combined pass purchase? Or should you just visit one or two and pay the admission price? Hopefully, my ten-second review of each attraction will help you to choose what interests your family – and how they compare to each other.

So let’s get on with the task of ranking the four big Sydney family attractions accessible on the 5-Attraction Pass – from best to worst!

1 – Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

The Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

Sydney Aquarium – Walk-up regular ticket prices Adult $40, Child $28 (Under 4’s are free)

The big gun of Darling Harbour, the Sydney Aquarium has a lot to offer families. Be sure to put aside a couple of hours at least for this school holiday attraction, as there is much to see and do – and if you’re only visiting the Aquarium, be sure to book online before you go and save money – you can even book online using your smart phone whilst waiting in the incredibly long, slow school holiday queues whilst you’re waiting to get in, like I did!

The Sydney Sea Life Aquarium walk-through aquariums

Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

2 – Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Next up - Madame Tussauds Wax Museum!

Next up – Madame Tussauds Wax Museum!

Madame Tussauds – Walk-up regular ticket prices Adult $40, Child $28 (Under 4’s are free)

Located in Darling Harbour between the Aquarium and Zoo you’ll find Madame Tussauds wax works. The real value of Madame Tussauds is the amount of funny photos you can all take of each other posing with the rich and famous dummies. You’ll only need about an hour to breeze through this museum, so it is a bit overpriced if you’re just visiting there alone, but as part of a combined pass, it’s good fun. If you have toddlers, don’t expect too much interest here though, unfortunately as they don’t cater for young children with any recognisable children characters like they do with the Aquarium.

Madame Tussauds wax figures

Madame Tussauds wax figures

3 – Sydney Wildlife Zoo

Number 3 - Sydney Wild Life!

Number 3 – Sydney Wild Life!

The Sydney Wildlife Zoo – Walk-up regular ticket prices Adult $40, Child $28 (Under 4’s are free)

Smack bang in the middle of the city (well, Darling Harbour at least, next door to Madame Tussauds), you find something unexpected – a small zoo full of reptiles and marsupials!

Here you can find snakes, birds, kangaroos, wallabies and koalas in small concrete areas with a few scattered plants. And one crocodile.

Really, this zoo is most probably intended for tourists that don’t have the time to get out of Sydney even as far as Taronga, and not so much Australian visitors.

You can pay to feed a koala, or if you’re a celebrity, you may even get to cuddle one, but this zoo has little Australian zoo value – at least as far as the animals contained within it are concerned, as of course they are all housed in small, covered enclosures.

The highlight of Sydney Wildlife would have to be the rooftop cafe where you can view the sleeping koalas on their tree stumps whilst you have a peaceful coffee, thanks to the attached children’s playroom.

I wouldn’t be paying an individual entry to visit this zoo, however to be fair the kids did enjoy our brief time there.

You only need to set aside around an hour and a half, tops, to visit this zoo.

Sydney Wild Life Zoo covered Kangaroo Walk

Sydney Wild Life Zoo covered Kangaroo Walk

4 – The Sydney Tower Eye

The Sydney Tower Eye

The Sydney Tower Eye

The Sydney Tower – Walk-up regular ticket prices Adult $28.50, Child $16 (Under 4’s are free)

Away from Darling Harbour now, up to the city centre (approximately ten minutes walk from Darling Harbour) in the middle of the central Sydney City shopping district we of course find the iconic Sydney Tower – or Westfield Sydney Tower as it is currently known. Marketed with a (rather forgettable) 4D cinema experience (that takes about 5 minutes and you don’t even sit down for) before you go up the tower, the Sydney Tower is what it is – a circular room with a great view!

Catch a lift up to the top, walk around and check out the panoramic views (don’t bother going at night, lights can get boring in half the time). You can go for a Skywalk and Observation Platform experience for an extra cost (Adults $70, Children $49), however you are stuck out there for an hour and can’t leave – so if the kids weren’t enjoying it, that could be a looong hour! If you’re in a hurry, you can easily do the Sydney Tower in half an hour, because the kids are probably going to get bored quickly. Perhaps consider visiting the Sydney Tower if you are looking for something to fill in a short period of time in the Sydney City precinct, combined with a little retail therapy!

A view from the top - Sydney Tower

A view from the top – Sydney Tower

A quick word about Manly Aquarium – we didn’t forget it – we just didn’t manage to get out to the Manly Aquarium this visit. That said, we have visited there recently, and it’s worth the trip if you happen to be going to Manly for a day trip – however I wouldn’t go expressly just to visit the Manly Aquarium on its own, as it is markedly smaller than the Sydney Aquarium. The Manly Aquarium is a nice aquarium and worth the visit if you are in the area. Time needed – around one and a half hours.

So there you have it – the four big Sydney 5-Attraction Pass family attractions ranked from best to worst – in our humble opinion of course! And yes, we’ve visited them all a few times over the years, some more than others.

So now over to you….do you agree or disagree with our order of attractions? How would you rank them? Comment below – because we LOVE hearing about your travels too!

All prices are correct at 1 July 2015

2 Responses so far.

  1. Osama Rashid says:

    Hi,
    What’s the 5th attraction?

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Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!
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