If you’re looking for some inspiration on what to do these July school holidays, then you have come to the right place! This bumper July School Holidays Guide starts with our 10 top picks of fun things you can do with your kids. And then has a What’s On Calendar of over 200 (mostly free) local events, from activities at local shopping centres and libraries to ice skating events and festivals!
Top 10 Picks – Free, Cheap and Something a Bit Different
With so many activities too chose from, it can be hard to decide which ones to do these school holidays with your kids…not a bad problem to have though! To help, we have highlighted our 10 top picks for the greater Parramatta area, that are mostly suitable for preschoolers and primary school kids. Keep in mind, our list just focuses on activities done with a parent/ carer, rather than drop off (and run) vacation care type activities.
1Way Out West Festival | 10th to 14th July
Bursting with live performances, interactive installations, incredible outdoor adventures and wondrous workshops, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre’s annual Way Out West (WOW) Festival returns these school holidays for five days chock-full of crazy and creative family fun from 10th to 14th July. Plus, there’s the fab new playground to enjoy right next door at Casula Parklands!
Winter’s a lovely time to go for a bushwalk, all rugged up! Particularly on these sunny winter’s days we’ve been having lately. And to add a something a little extra special, why not explore one of our local reserves with cascades and falls, which are flowing nicely thanks to recent rain. Plus you can combine a bushwalk with a treasure hunt for painted kindness rocks, or paint and hide some yourself. Our top pick is definitely Balaka Falls. We also really enjoy the walk and playground to Darling Mills Cascades. And for something a little different the walk to Callicoma Cascades is nice.
3Get Up Close to Animals at Fun4Kids – Warali Wali | 12th July
Fun4Kids is a FREE school holiday event on Friday 12 July at Merrylands Central Gardens from 10am to 2pm. Enjoy FREE carnival rides, kid’s activities, Aussie animal tours, outdoor cinemas, food village and more.
Fun4Kids is also a kid-friendly celebration of National NAIDOC, with Dan Sultan taking the main stage and GWS Giants’ Zac Williams lighting up the ALL STARS Sports Zone.
Did you know that you only need to travel about 60mins north to reach a number of farms that let you pick your own fruit? It’s a really lovely outing wandering around a farm and enjoying delicious, freshly picked, produce! Available to pick nearby these July school holidays are oranges, mandarin and tomatoes. Just remember to rug up and pop on some gumboots!
- Anderson Farm: North of Windsor, on the other side of the Sackville Car Ferry, this farm is open 5 days a week from 10am till 4pm (CLOSED Thursdays and Fridays). Entry is $5 for adults and kids are free. You pay for the oranges and mandarins you pick at $10 a bucket, which gets you about 5kgs. There are also cows to feed on the farm and lots of picnic spots.
- Canoelands Orchard: Under an hours drive north of Parramatta, past Glenorie, this farm is open 7 days a week during the school holidays (9:30am to 3pm). There’s a free tractor ride at 10am, farm animals, coffee shack, play area and picnic spots. It’s $5 for adults and kids are free to pick your own tomatoes. You then pay $6 per kg.
- Waktins Family Farm: Near Wisemans Ferry, are open 7 days 10am to 3pm during the school holidays and have lots of mandarins to pick.
5Celebrate Indigenous Culture During NAIDOC Week | 7th to 14th July
NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The key NAIDOC week event is Burramatta on Sunday 14th July at Parramatta Park. Plus there are events at Blacktown Showgrounds (16th July), Winston Hills (8-14th July), Rouse Hill Farm and House (14th July) and Baulkham Hills (10th July).
6Ride Your Bike or Scooter at a Dinky Track
Nothing like a scoot or bike ride to warm you up and get some fresh air on a sunny winters day! Fortunately for us, the purpose built scooter/ bike tracks that mimic a mini road network, known as dinky tracks, are all the rage at the moment. And fingers crossed two new ones open up in time to be enjoyed these school holidays – at Jones Park and Parramatta Park! Find where the 20+ local dinky tracks are here. Our top pick is the scooter/ bike track at the new Livvi’s Place Elara in Marsden Park.
7Skate, Play and Eat at the Magical Winterlight | 5th to 21st July
17 days of magical winter fun is coming to Parramatta these school holidays at Winterlight in Prince Alfred Square from 5th to 21st July. Winterlight is one of Sydney’s biggest winter festivals and home to the largest open-air ice rink in Sydney. Plus there are a host of family-friendly activities, including illuminated ferris wheel, free magical winter light garden, carnival rides, elevated ice slide, roving entertainers, warming winter food and free live music. We recommend taking advantage of the 2 for 1 Tuesday or Monday Madness deals. Read our ultimate family guide for more details.
8Visit a Cafe with a Kids Play Area
Enjoying a hot tea/chocolate/coffee and something yummy and warm to eat while the kids play is definitely a nice treat for the school holidays! And bonus points if you can have an uninterrupted adult conversation at the same time!! From our experience, your best chance is to head to Flower Power at Milperra or Glenhaven where you’ll find Frankie’s Food Factory and a great all weather fenced playground. Plus, they offer FREE kids gardening classes every weekday at 11am.
9Rug Up and Play at a Fun Winter Playground
There is still plenty of fun to be had outdoors during winter….well with a warm jacket and when it isn’t too wet. Here is a list of 20 top playgrounds to visit in winter – you know, ones with hardly any shade! Our top picks are Strathfield Park and Fairfield Adventure Park, which are great for a mix of ages. Or try out a new playground, like Church Street Reserve or Livvi’s Place Elara.
10Go Whale Watching
Winter is a great time to go whale spotting along the coast. And it’s extra fun as it involves a little road trip too to somewhere different – hopefully with a playground and cafe!
We’re tried a few different spots to watch the whales migrating north from. And our top picks are:
- Shelly Beach on the Central Coast, which is just over an hour away and an absolutely gorgeous spot. There’s a cafe and restaurant with 180 degree views. And Crackneck Lookout is only a short drive away, with spectacular views and a bushwalks.
- Malabar Headland National Park at South Maroubra. We walked to the eastern section from Maroubra Beach, where there are cafes and a great fenced playground. But you need to check it’s open, as it closes when the rifle range is in use. The thing about this spot as it’s a nice walk and you can see the water all the way along.
- North Bondi at Sam Fiszman Park
Calendar of July School Holiday Events
The events listed in our July school holidays calendar are mostly free or cheap and usually don’t required pre-booking. Nearly all are events that you attend with your child, though your level of supervision and involvement varies. The calendar will continue to grow as we have more to add. So make sure to keep checking back!