5 great tips for an unforgettable car hire Sydney holiday with kids

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Gareth Meade
29 Sep, 2022
9 minutes to read

Pack up the family and explore Australia’s most famous city

Sydney is known for its hustle and bustle; high-rise buildings, busy commuters, myriad dining options and fashion forward shopping. But around the fringes, and even hidden in its alleyways are any number of excellent things to do with your family. So while you can have a super fun weekend indulging in all that Sydney has to offer, you can also take things a bit slower and delve into some real gems that won’t just delight you, but people of any age.

That’s why GoSee has put together these great tips to make a trip to Sydney one you’ll remember, for all the right reasons. Grab a Sydney car hire from the airport or any number of city locations and find out just what makes this such a great holiday destination.

Decide the best place to pick up your Sydney hire car 

If you’re flying into Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, you have a couple of options for getting on your way. One of the most convenient is to pick up your vehicle from the airport itself, so if this is what you’ve arranged, you can find the car hire desks either in the T1 international terminal arrivals hall (if you’ve travelled internationally), or by following the signs in the arrivals hall of T2 or T3 domestic terminals (if you’ve travelled domestically). Then it’s just a matter of finding your chosen car hire company and having them do the rest!

Once you’re ready to leave, make sure you’ve got Google Maps or a GPS handy to guide you to your accommodation and have brushed up on Sydney’s road rules.

Alternatively, if you’ve booked a hire car from another Sydney location, you can use the train, which will take you from the airport directly to the central city. This is super handy if you’re picking up your vehicle or staying downtown. It’ll also be a chance to show the kids an early glimpse of sights like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. After a long trip, this might be just what you need to get them excited.

Traffic on a motorway heading towards and away from Sydney CBD.
Darling Harbour is a harbour adjacent to the city centre of Sydney.

Stay somewhere that makes it easy to see what you want to see

There are hundreds of accommodation options in Sydney, from hotels to AirBnBs, motels to holiday parks. Keep in mind the kind of space you need and also the parking. You don’t want to rely on street parking in Sydney! The other thing to ensure is that your accommodation makes it as easy as possible for you to explore the sites you’ve come to Sydney to see. This might mean being in walking distance to some famous sites or the beach. Or it could mean being close to the motorway so you can explore further afield. Whichever option you choose, make sure it works for you!

Keep the tribe fed with these family friendly restaurants

No likes being hungry, but there is nothing worse than being hungry on holiday and not knowing where to go. Through kids into the mix and you can bet on a pretty ugly scene developing if you don’t find something quick! That’s why it’s best to plan ahead and see what the food options are before you head out for the day.

Here are some recommendations of family friendly places to eat in Sydney that are near some of the hot spots:

  • Four Frogs Creperie – Circular Quay: Don’t let the name fool you, this is not just for those with a sweet tooth. At Four Frogs you can find all manner of crepes including savoury (galettes) or sweet. They have an extensive kids menu with reasonable pricing and adults can even get a glass of wine or a beer with their crepe if they desire. Once you’re filled up, it’s a short walk to the Sydney Opera House and The Royal Botanic Garden, perfect for bat spotting.
A cafe worker putting food in a cabinet.
A family eating fish and chips.
  • Ribs and Burgers – The Rocks: It’s all there in the name. Ribs and Burgers specialise in, well, ribs and burgers! While you’re tucking into your half or full rack of barbeque goodness, the kids can choose from some classics, including a cheeseburger, chicken tenders and a mini rack of ribs of their own. If you can manage a stroll after this meal, you’ll be able to explore this neighbourhood of historic laneways right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • Bistro on the Greens – South Coogee: If you’ve got under-5’s in the family, this might be the place for you. Younger children have their very own play area, which includes a TV if they need that extra bit of distraction, as well as a gelato bar for dessert. Once the food is ready, they get to enjoy things like schnitzel and chips, nuggets, spaghetti and pizza. Adults will find plenty of Italian inspired dishes to enjoy as well. Once you’ve finished your meal and trying your hand at bowling on the green, you can head your Sydney Airport car rentals to the nearby Maroubra Beach, the Rob Walker Rock Pool or Maroubra Caves.
  • Cook at Kurnell – Silver Beach: Named after the nearby landing place of Captain Cook in 1770, Cook at Kurnell is a great spot for families wanting a bite to eat by the seaside. The umbrellas and hammocks give it a distinctly beachy vibe, and kids will be entertained by the playground and sand underfoot. There’s classic Aussie beach fare on offer, including fish and chips (for kids and adults), burgers and fish tacos. You can then finish off your time at the beach with a swim or a walk around Kamay Botany Bay National Park.
We’re sure it comes as no surprise to learn that there is no shortage of family friendly activities to do in and around Sydney
People swimming at Sydney Bondi Beach.

Family friendly activities for your Sydney hire car holiday

Alright, you know where to pick up your hire car, where you’re going to stay, even where you’re going to eat! But what about keeping the family entertained? Well, we’re sure it comes as no surprise to learn that there is no shortage of family friendly activities to do in and around Sydney. If you’re there in summer, there are plenty of beaches to enjoy, including:

  • Manly Beach – Either a ferry ride from Circular Quay, or you can drive over the bridge and via Balgowlah and Fairlight.
  • Bondi Beach – Another popular spot for locals and tourists alike, sitting about 20 minutes east of the city.
  • Shelly Beach – A relatively quiet beach not far from Manly.
  • Palm Beach – About an hour (depending on traffic) north of Sydney is this beach, famous for being the filming location for location Aussie soap Home and Away.

But beaches aren’t your only option to keep the family entertained. The popular amusement park, Luna Park, with its distinctive smiling face entryway, is just over the Harbour Bridge. There is a car park available, which will cost you between $10 and $50 depending on how long you intend to spend there.

It’s hard to look past the zoo when looking for family friendly activities, and Taronga Zoo in Mosman is a great additional to any car hire Sydney Airport itinerary. You can get their either via a 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay or driving via Bradley Heads Road. All day parking is $22, or free is you are less than 90 minutes.

Located at the southern end of Barangaroo, the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium is a great inner-city activity. Accessible via a short walk from Town Hall or Wynyard train stations, you can also drive if you’re not staying centrally. Check out the discount parking options on the Aquarium’s website to find the best location and price.

Of course, there’s also the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, The Rocks and any number of other great sights to explore with the family. The options are endless!

Two giraffes playing at Taronga Zoo Sydney.
Looking over the Blue Mountains with blue sky and clouds.

Heading further afield in your Sydney Airport car hire

The great thing about having a rental car at your disposal is that you aren’t confined to one area for your holiday. This is especially perfect for Sydney where there are plenty of amazing things to see and do out of the city itself.

Approximately 90 minutes’ drive west of Sydney sits the Blue Mountains National Park. This incredible area is home to native bushland, delightful mountain towns, stunning Aboriginal rock art and much more for the intrigued and intrepid alike. There is over 140km of bush walks, so make sure you bring appropriate attire and choose the right track for your and your family’s level of fitness.

Perhaps you fancy leisurely days spent sipping wine rather than walking around native bush? If that’s the case, we recommend taking the trip north from Sydney to the Hunter Valley. You’ll want to get accommodation in the area, as it is approximately 4 hours drive to get there. But once you arrive, you’ll have a seemingly endless list of wineries to choose from. You can either join a tour, so that you don’t have to worry about a sober driver, or decide on a dedicated driver and visit the cellar doors. There are plenty of family friendly options, so that you can all enjoy your time there.

If you have more time for nature, you may want to head south all the way to the Royal National Park. This is just an hour away from the city proper, and you will be amazed by it's breathtaking natural scenery.

Looking for other ideas around New South Wales? Check out our Backyard Bucket List for some inspiration!

newcastle hunter valley vinyard

Ready to book?

Aerial view of Sydney at night.

We hope you have a great time!

If you decide that Sydney is the right place for your next family holiday, we hope that all of this information helps you have a great time. Make sure you search on GoSee for Sydney Airport car hire and see all the great deals we have to offer. We partner will all the car hire companies you know, like Hertz, Budget, Europcar, Thrifty, and some you may not, like Ace, East Coast Car Rentals, Apex and Dollar. So if you are looking for cheap car rentals, GoSee has all the choice, all the expertise, all in one place. Get searching, compare and save for your Sydney Airport car rental adventure!