Summer school holidays in NSW

School’s out for summer and that means it’s time for the family to have some fun. There’s plenty to do across NSW in the warmer months. Learn to surf, swim with dolphins, meet curious koalas, ride horses on the beach, camp by the coast or climb to the top of Australia’s highest peak.



Beaches & water activities

You can’t go past the classic Aussie summer holiday at the beach and with hundreds of beaches spread along more than 2,000km of coastline, there’s somewhere to explore for every family. Learn to surf on the South Coast in Shellharbour or enjoy the beautiful coastline of Narooma, go swimming at Seal Rocks, boogie board at Toowoon Bay on the Central Coast, or travel up north to Coffs Harbour and see kangaroos hopping across Moonee Beach. If you’re looking for one of NSW's most iconic holiday destinations, Byron Bay offers plenty for adults and children and there are smaller towns to explore up to the Tweed Coast of NSW. 

Father and son heading out for a morning surf at Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma

Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma

There’s also lots of fun to be had on rivers and lakes too. On the Murray River, you can ride a paddle steamercruise in a kayak or sleep in a houseboat. Or head to the Clarence Valley and follow the longest whitewater rafting trail in Australia. In Lake Macquarie, there’s stand-up paddleboarding, scuba diving, snorkelling, boating, fishing and more.

Read more: A kids' guide to the best family holidays in NSW

family enjoying a day of canoeing on the Murray River, Moama

Canoeing, Moama

Animal encounters

The summer school holidays are the perfect time to introduce children to all the different animals at zoos and wildlife parks, or just simply spot them in the natural surrounds. Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo is an open-range zoo that’s home to over 4,000 animals and leads the way in conservation efforts and breeding programs. You can even spend the night in a safari tent and immerse yourself at the zoo.

Feed giraffes and zebras at Altina Wildlife Park at Darlington Park, just south of Griffith, or let a meerkat sit in your lap at Mogo Wildlife Park on the South CoastSymbio Wildlife Park is just a short drive outside of Sydney and lets you get closer than ever before to some of the most amazing animals from Australia and around the world.

Off the coast of Narooma, you can snorkel with playful seals in the clear waters off Montague Island. In Port Stephens, you can swim in the ocean with wild dolphins and pat manta rays at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters.

Read more: How to get close to Australia's cuddliest animals in NSW

Great family experience with Dolphin Swim Australia in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens

Dolphin Swim Australia, Port Stephens

Outdoor adventures

Take the family to the very top of Australia with a hike to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko. You’ll find other great family hikes in the Blue MountainsDorrigo National ParkBarrington Tops and the Warrumbungle National Park, which is also famous for stargazing. For something different, zip through the trees at Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, near Jamberoo.

Discover mountain bike trails around Tathra, the Snowy Mountains, the surrounds of Coffs Harbour and around the Hunter Valley. Spend a day horse riding through bushland in the Glenworth Valley or along the beach in Port Stephens with Sahara Trails. Go underground in the ancient Jenolan Caves or try canyoning in the Blue Mountains.

Read more: 12 ways to get outdoors & try something new in NSW

Family enjoying a day of mountain biking in the Blue Mountains National Park

Mountain Biking, Blue Mountains

Camping & road trips

The warmer months are the perfect opportunity to get back to nature on a camping adventure. Pitch a tent at a beachside camping spot, find a secret campsite to get away from the crowds, head out bush to find a remote campsite to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, book into a family-friendly holiday park so you have all the amenities to keep the kids entertained on your doorstep or bring pooch along too at a pet-friendly holiday park

If you want to take scenic drive, follow our family-friendly guides to the Blue MountainsLake MacquarieBathurstthe Kempsey regionBallinaGoulburn and Kiama.

Read more: The Blond Nomads' guide to camping & road trips in NSW


Find more fun family activities in NSW


School holiday dates - 2023/2024

Summer Wed 21 December 2022 Thur 26 January 2023
Autumn Mon 10 April 2023 Fri 21 April 2023
Winter Mon 3 July 2023 Fri 14 July 2023
Spring Mon 25 September 2023 Fri 6 October 2023
Summer Wed 20 December 2023 Thur 29 January 2024