12 short breaks in and near Sydney these school holidays

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It seems like we’ve just got over the longest school holiday period and now we’ve hit the final weeks of Term 1! Check out our ideas for things to do around Sydney. Or if you have a few days up your sleeve make a weekend or even a long weekend getaway and explore some of our state’s amazing natural beauty.

1. Royal Easter Show, Sydney Olympic Park
Dating back to 1823, the Royal Easter Show is Australia’s largest ticketed event and is attended by 850,000 people every year. It’s a unique celebration of the Australian way of life with agricultural experiences, fresh produce, animal displays, baking, carnival rides and much more.
Children from $27 at the gate | 12-23 April | www.eastershow.com.au

2. Underwater Adventure with Peppa Pig
At SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, help celebrate ‘15 Years of Muddy Puddles’ during the April School Holidays. Kids will receive a Peppa Pig headpiece, activity book and embark on a marine adventure to find Peppa’s friends and family in a magical underwater world.
Children from $26.40 | From 7-21 April | sealifesydney.com.au


3. Easter in the Garden, Australian Botanic Gardens Mt Annan
The Easter Bunny is taking over the Australian Botanic Gardens for a day of activities, sport, arts and crafts, food stalls, animals, live music, and Easter bonnet making and a parade. Once kids complete the activity trail, they can snap a selfie with the Easter Bunny himself. Kids’ Activity Trail $17.70| 22 April | australianbotanicgarden.com.au

4. Be a Bollywood Star
This school holidays, become a Bollywood superstar at Madame Tussauds. In this new, interactive and cultural experience, step backstage, master a Bollywood dance routine, select an outfit and take the starring role in an iconic Bollywood film.
Children from $24.60 | From 4 April onwards | www.madametussauds.com.au

Weekends away in regional NSW

5. Fairy Tree Magic in Illawarra | Two hours from Sydney
At Illawarra Fly Treetops Adventures come and help your fairy and elf friends find their treetop homes. Grab your magical fairy card, and set off on a trail to discover all ten enchanted fairy homes, lovingly built by the team at Men’s Shed, and unjumble the magic word! Children from $13.50 (includes Treetop Walk) | 7-21 April | www.illawarrafly.com

6. Giant Easter Egg Hunt, Hunter Valley Gardens | Two and a half hours from Sydney
The sprawling grounds of the Hunter Valley Gardens become an Easter playground with thousands of brightly coloured eggs hidden among the plants. The Easter Bunny will be on hand to help with the search and there will be activities and entertainment throughout the weekend. Family pass $85 | 20-21 April | www.huntervalleygardens.com.au

7. Splash Water Park, Nelson Bay | Three hours from Sydney
April is the last month to bounce around at Splash Water Park in Nelson Bay. The floating waterpark sits just offshore from Nelson Bay Beach and is suitable for anyone over the age of six. The course includes a five-metre rock climbing tower that you can jump off, trampolines, monkey bars, balance beams, slides, rope swings and wobbling lily pads.
From $15 | April School Holidays | splashwaterpark.com.au

8. Burrawang Easter Market, Southern Highlands | Two hours from Sydney
One of the longest running markets in the Southern Highlands, the Burrawang Easter Market takes over the streets of the tiny village of Burrawang with more than 160 stalls. There’s also rides for the kids, face painting, animals and a huge barbecue.
Free entry | 20 April | www.burrawangeastermarket.com

9. Thredbo Easter School Holidays Adventure Festival | Six hours from Sydney
Find the golden bunny in Thredbo’s annual Easter egg hunt and you’ll be hopping home with a cool $5,000. The Golden Easter Egg Hunt by Lindt is open to kids and adults alike, with one grand prize and five golden eggs worth $1,000 each to be found on Friday Flat on 21 April. 13-27 April | www.thredbo.com.au

10. Griffith Easter Party | Six hours from Sydney
Spend the Easter Long Weekend in the heart of The Riverina at the annual Griffith Easter Party. There’s fun for the whole family starting on Good Friday with a fun run along the shores of Lake Wyangan and the Children’s Brunch and Easter egg hunt in CWA Park on Saturday. Free entry | 19-22 April | www.griffith.nsw.gov.au

Not-so-lazy long weekends

11. Kosciuszko Alpine Way (four days)
Travel to the roof of Australia with a drive through the Snowy Mountains. Along the way, discover pristine scenery, icy lakes and plenty of adventure.

Day 1: Sydney to Canberra – 285km/3hrs 20mins
Hit the road southwest from Sydney towards the national capital, Canberra. This picturesque route travels through the Southern Highlands and past the famous Big Merino in Goulburn, a 15m concrete statue of a ram that’s a monument to the region’s fine wool industry.

Day 2: Canberra to Cooma – 115km/1hr 20mins
Today you’ll travel through fertile farmland to the gateway of the Snowy Mountains. Historic Cooma is the largest town in the Snowies and home to the interactive Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre. Dig for truffles in the countryside or fish for trout in lakes and rivers.

Day 3: Cooma to Jindabyne – 60km/50mins
Sitting on the edge of beautiful Lake Jindabyne, this scenic town offers outdoor adventure, gourmet delights and vibrant nightlife, and is a great base near the snowfields in colder months. When it’s warm, Jindabyne is known for water sports and festivals.

Day 4: Jindabyne to Kosciuszko National Park – 112km/2 hours
Winding through the spectacular forests and mountain ranges of Kosciuszko National Park is the dramatic Kosciuszko Alpine Way, taking you to the heart of NSW’s High Country. Walk to Australia’s highest point at an elevation of 2,228 metres, go fly fishing in icy rivers or try horse riding along Alpine trails.

12. The Legendary Pacific Coast (four days)
On this drive, you’ll see spectacular scenery from rolling green hinterland dotted with macadamia farms and banana plantations, to rugged national parks, great surf beaches and maybe even a whale or two.

Day 1: Sydney to Port Stephens – 210km/2hrs 40min
Head north from Sydney and pass through the NSW Central Coast with its picturesque villages such as Pearl Beach, Ettalong Beach, Patonga, Avoca and Terrigal. Don’t miss a detour through Newcastle, Australia’s second-oldest city. Port Stephens is an idyllic seaside getaway with 26 golden beaches and many beautiful inlets.

Day 2: Port Stephens to South West Rocks – 316km/3.5 hours
The drive from Port Stephens to South West Rocks takes in beautiful beaches, lakes and stunning hinterland. In Port Macquarie, don’t miss Koala Hospital, which conducts daily tours at 3pm, then enjoy a seaside lunch. For spectacular views visit the Smoky Cape Lighthouse, a great vantage point for whale watching between May and November.

Day 3: South West Rocks to Coffs Harbour – 105km/75 mins
Natural beauty and adventure attractions draw families to Coffs Harbour. The kids will love the amusement rides at the Big Banana Fun Park, including water slides and a tobogganing ride, or head out into the water to swim alongside humpback whales.

Day 4: Coffs Harbour to Tweed Heads – 290km/3hrs 25mins
The scenic drive from Coffs Harbour takes you into the famous Byron Bay area, famed for its lush hinterland, fresh produce, breathtaking beaches and creative community. Further north, you’ll find uncrowded beaches and the stunning Tweed River where you can surf, dive or kayak. The main town is Tweed Heads, offering fishing charters, houseboats for hire and underwater tours.