The Winter school holidays (Saturday 26 June to Sunday 11 July 2021) are nearly upon us, and on the Northern Beaches, there are plenty of activities to get the kids out and about! The Dine & Discover NSW Voucher scheme has been extended and you now have until 31 July to use your vouchers. Make sure you check the NSW Service website to see which businesses are participating.
We have put together a long list of some of the great School Holiday activities on offer. Please note that some changes may have been made to the activities on offer due to the NSW COVID restrictions, make sure you check with each individual business before making your plans:
The local aquatic centres, Manly Aquatic Centre and Warringah Aquatic Centre offer intensive swim programs to build your child’s swim techniques or gives them extra confidence in the water. Warringah Aquatic Centre also offers giant inflatable fun during the school holidays, excluding public holidays and weekends. Both the pools are heated to a comfortable temperature, making it a great place to take the kids swimming, even on a cold or wet day in winter!
We are lucky enough on the Northern Beaches, to experience some fairly mild winter days where the kids can put on their wetsuits and play in one of the 15 stunning beachside rockpools located along the Northern Beaches coastline. Pack a picnic, a warm coat and scarf, and head to one of your choice; we love the pool tucked into the rocks at little-known Bilgola Beach!
Winter is also the perfect time of year to head underwater as there is often clear visibility – hire goggle and snorkels and take the kids to explore the underwater world of Cabbage Tree Bay. Keep your eyes peeled for large blue gropers, Port Jackson and Wobbegong sharks, cuttlefish and if you’re lucky, weedy sea dragons.
The Northern Beaches is the perfect place to learn to surf and winter is the best time of year for surfing on the Northern Beaches. Enrol the kids in a surf school and they will be standing on a surfboard in no time at all. Most companies supply wetsuits so all you need to do is turn up with a pair of swimmers, towel and sunblock.
Another great activity to do with your kids is to go kayaking. Pack a picnic, rent a double kayak (if you would like to have some control!) and explore Manly harbour. Find a secret beach and maybe a waterfall! No prior kayak experience is needed.
Winter is that time of year when over 35,000 whales swim onto the Humpback Highway for their yearly migration to the much warmer birthing waters of Queensland. The Northern Beaches has some of the best spots to take the kids whale watching in Sydney, whether it be aboard a boat on Sydney Harbour or from some of the many vantage points on the headlands of Northern Beaches.
Coastal Environment Centre
The Coastal Environment Centre offers a school holiday program with a difference. With a unique theme for each day, your child will learn about our natural environment through a range of fun and interesting activities, such as investigating curious creatures found on a rock platform under a microscope! This is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about their local environment and how to help preserve it. Programs generally run from 10am-3pm (unless otherwise noted).
The Northern beaches are surrounded by beautiful native bushland and have amazing walks that the whole family can enjoy during the winter school holidays. Some beautiful walks include Dee Why Headland, Palm Beach lighthouse, Shelly Beach or Warriewood wetlands. If you need some inspiration, have a look at our Hello Manly website blog: ‘Five picturesque walks to get your steps up.’
The Northern beaches are well known for their beautiful family bike paths and are a great day out with the kids. One of the favourites amongst families is the Narrabeen Lagoon trail. An easy and flat 8.4km loop, which has beautiful views of both the lake and surrounding nature. If you are in Manly and up for a bit of a challenge, take the kids for a cycle up to North Head, you might even spot an echidna en route. If you don’t have your own bikes, you can hire them from Manly Bike Tours.
Manly is the perfect place to learn skateboarding and a group class or private lesson at Henrietta Skate will definitely get the kids warmed up. The classes are perfect for beginners who want to make some friends and learn how to skate at the same time. Your teacher will supply everything you need (pads, helmets and skateboards). The kids will learn a range of skills in a safe and friendly environment. In just one lesson, they will learn how to push, turn, stop and do a few little tricks as well!
Q Station has put together some very special winter accommodation rates and ‘kids eat free’ for dinner at the Boilerhouse Kitchen or Engine Room Bar (conditions apply). With 33 hectares of rolling hills, open space and paved tracks, Q Station, North Head, is perfect for kids to zoom around on their bikes, skateboards or scooters and is also very privileged to have its own private beach on Sydney Harbour.
Bring your buckets and spades and set up base on your very own protected, private beach from sunrise to sunset. With kayaks available to hire from the Visitor Centre, Quarantine Beach is the ideal place to embark on a harbour adventure.
On a rainy day, why not check out your local library where you will find puzzles, board games and Lego to keep them occupied indoors. They have also organised a few events especially for these winter school holidays such as ‘Design a Bookmark Competition’, Junior and Master Builder Workshops and a Teddy Bear’s Sleepover.
Another great rainy day adventure destination is JUMPd, a local, family-owned indoor trampoline centre in Brookvale. The kid’s trampoline area is designed for children under 7 years of age and less than 120cm in height. There is also a Nija Xtreme course ideally suited for older teens.
Cheeky Monkeys Play House Vacation Care runs Monday to Friday during the winter school holidays. They offer a wide range of fun and exciting activities, including both incursions and excursions! Activities such as arts and crafts, cooking days, science experiments, days at the park, bowling, putt putt golf, arcades, water parks to name just a few. Government rebates are available to eligible families. Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch & Afternoon Tea are all included.
Bricks 4 Kidz in Forestville offers a couple of two-day and one-day workshops where kids build their favourite rides, learning how to make things spin, roll, turn and rock. They also offer two awesome days of Superhero Fun where kids will be creating their favourite Superheros. At Jurassic Brick Land you build a LEGO brick park that comes to life. You will also learn about the amazing dinosaurs that roamed the earth and swam the seas millions of years ago. Hurry, as these workshops are almost booked out!
Tinkertank is a creative hub for both little ones and teenagers (5-16yrs) to explore the world of science and technology from their amazing team of mentors. They’ve geared up a school holiday camp that will get them learning about 3D printing, animation, robotics, design and coding. Fun is the aim of the game, less talking and more action!
If you have to work and are looking for someone else to entertain your family, at Northern Beaches Vacation care they care for schoolchildren between 5 and 12 years old, Monday – Friday from 7.30am – 6pm. They have exciting excursions, discos, craft and sports days with a difference!
Run out of Stella Maris College, Camp Blue uses the local facilities (park, lagoon and beach) to make sure the camp is diverse, unique and never boring. The Camp’s philosophy is to satisfy and grow each camper’s individual curiosities and interests.
Ice Skating Spectacular is coming to Pittwater! Check out their pop up ice skating rink on the Northern Beaches these school holidays! Saturday 26 June and every day until Sunday 11 July (inclusive). Sessions run every hour from 11am – 9pm daily. Suitable for all ages (kids under 4yrs must be accompanied by an adult). It’s not just for kids, but great fun for the whole family.
The Northern Beaches is lucky enough to have its own theatre, Glen Street Theatre, and on Saturday 26th June, there are three dance theatre performances showcasing Lamont Dance Theatre’s young, talented students.
Kids Up Front Drama Academy have a Performing Arts Holiday camp at Stella Maris College Theatre, Manly where specialist tutors work with enthusiastic boys and girls, teaching singing, dancing and drama. The program culminates on the last day with a wonderful musical show for parents and friends to enjoy.
Continuing with the cultural theme, Manly Art Gallery offers a variety of creative workshops learning about the art of printmaking for ages ranging from 5 to 15 years.
If u like ART is a leading visual arts school in Brookvale for children and teens and has helped develop the artist skills of thousands of children of all natures. They have a variety of school holiday workshops and believe that everyone can be creative!
On the Northern Beaches, we are spoilt for choice with fantastic and unique opportunities for the winter school holidays. We hope you find something here that will keep your kids active, fit and healthy in both mind and body!