There’s good reason why people come to the Sutherland Shire and never want to leave! While holidays abroad are always a lovely escape, there’s something special about a local staycation, especially when we have loads of fabulous places to explore right here in our own backyard. If you’re looking for ways to spend your school holidays, here are some of our favourite local places to explore and entertain both young and old.

  • Symbio Wildlife Park

Just a 15-minute drive from Engadine Bowling Club, in the beautiful town of Helensburgh, you’ll find the Symbio Wildlife Park. From adventures with meerkats, to a behind-the-scenes zookeeper experience for the day, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Sit down for a show and get to know more about the animals or stroll your way through the 16 acres of picturesque gardens. The younger children love feeding the goats and sheep in the farmyard, and the splash park is always popular to help cool down. School holidays often feature a junior keeper camp program that will teach the children about a day in the life of a zookeeper. Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. It’s a fun day out.

Address: 7-11 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Helensburgh

  • Sydney Tramway Museum

The iconic Sydney Tramway Museum, located right next to the railway station in Loftus, allows guests to take a trip back in time to explore days gone by. It’s been a popular place to visit for more than 50 years, with many generations visiting with family to reminisce about the days that you’d venture across Sydney in a tram. Admission covers your entry to the Display Hall, unlimited tram rides on both the museum’s and Royal National Park lines, plus use of the picnic area, electric barbeques and other facilities.The museum is open two days a week – every Wednesday and Sunday – with trams operating from 10am to 3pm on Wednesdays and 10am to 5pm Sundays. The last entry time on both days is one hour before closure.

Address: Cnr Rawson Avenue (Old Princes Highway) and Pitt Street, Loftus

  • Audley Boatshed

Go for a paddle on a kayak or hire an old-fashioned rowboat and take the kids on an adventure. The Audley Boatshed, located in the picturesque Royal National Park, is a gorgeous place to take the family out for a scenic adventure. There’s plenty of nearby picnic areas to enjoy as you make your way down the river. Don’t forget to buy your day-pass to the Royal National Park if you’re planning a trip. And remember, the Audley Weir can be prone to flooding in inclement weather, so be sure to check out if it’s open well in advance by checking the website.

Address: 150 Audley Rd, Audley

  • Darkes Forest Riding Ranch

Gallop along on horseback as you explore the local surrounds. Darkes Forest Riding Ranch is family-owned and operated, and their dedicated staff make sure that even the least-experienced riders enjoy the ride. Situated in natural bushland in Darkes Forest, there’s everything from trail rides to riding lessons. The holiday season sees some extra activities added for the children. Bookings are highly recommended.

Address: 448 Darkes Forest Road, Darkes Forest

  • Hazelhurst Arts Centre

Set among the landscaped gardens in Gymea, the Hazelhurst Arts Centre is an excellent place to create pieces of work or learn a new skill. From short courses and exhibitions to school holiday classes, there‘s always something to get your hands dirty. We’ve loved the clay-making workshops, and the range of artists who visit are always keen to share their creations and teach their craft. The onsite cafe is worth a visit, too.

Address: 782 Kingsway, Gymea

  • Bundeena Maianbar Art Trail

Amid The Royal National Park, a unique group of artists come together to share an experience like no other. The Bundeena Maianbar Art Trail brings together a collection of artists to showcase their work. The studios are open on the first Sunday of every month from 10am to 4pm.

Location maps are available – you can pick one up from the many business outlets in Bundeena and Maianbar.

  • Cronulla to Bundeena Ferry

There’s nothing quite like the ferry trip from Cronulla to Bundeena. Stand on the bow and let the wind blow through your hair as you cross the Port Hacking River. For generations, this popular route has made for a wonderful day out to explore the beaches and sights of Cronulla or head off on an adventure in Bundeena. The choice is yours. The vessel, Curranulla, has been specially designed for local conditions, operating since 1939. It is reportedly the oldest commuter ferry in Australia. Be sure to check the timetables and get there early enough to secure a seat as the maximum capacity is 100 people (you can’t book ahead). You can even take the kids to the playground at Gunnamatta Park before you board to burn off some energy. If the weather is not great, there’s often a bus replacement, although that does take longer than the 30-minute ferry ride.

View the timetable here and catch the ferry from Public Wharf, Tonkin Street, Cronulla.

  • Barefoot Bowls at Engadine Bowling Club

How could we not mention a game of Barefoot Bowls at Engadine Bowling Club? It’s fun for all ages and a great way to spend an afternoon. Stay on for dinner at Engadine Grill and discover why our club is such a key part of the local community.

Address: 61 Cambrai Ave, Engadine

Please note we make every effort to ensure this information is kept up to date. If you spot any details needing amending, reach out to and let us know.

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