The definitive list of Sydney school excursions


Australian educators are typically tasked with managing an insurmountable workload that often includes researching, choosing and booking memorable school excursions. The best picks are aligned with the school curriculum, are engaging for students of all abilities, plus deliver a ‘wow’ factor that will have students talking about the day long after the worksheets are handed in.

Sydney’s iconic landmarks, world-class art galleries and plethora of museums filled with treasures and tributes make an excursion to Australia’s unofficial capital city a great opportunity to take young hearts and minds on an adventure through a diverse cultural history.

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

A colony of penguins at the sea life sydney aquarium

Experience the Great Barrier Reef in Sydney with a school excursion to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. Get on board for interactive zones that give students a larger than life introduction to ocean life, conservation efforts, and so much more. Teachers can also access classroom resources for use before or after the visit.

ABC tours

A shot of the ABC Newsroom studio with a map of Australia on the big screen

Inspire the journalists of tomorrow with an ABC tour at the Sydney Ultimo centre. A visit to the home of Q+A and Triple J will school your kids on the behind-the-scenes machinations of Australia’s national broadcaster.

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Centennial Parklands

green grass, trees and blue skies at centennial parklands

Describing itself as Sydney’s biggest classroom, Centennial Parklands has developed a comprehensive schools program with custom excursions that cater to early years, primary and secondary students. Check out the Indigenous school excursion with connect to country, walks on country, and cultural immersion for those age groups respectively.

Taronga Zoo

a young girl pats a sea lion on a guided school excursion tour

The iconic harbour-front Taronga Zoo has two school excursions for schools to choose from. One is a self-guided visit where schools plan the day themselves, the other is partly self-guided and includes a curriculum-linked workshop delivered in partnership with the Department of Education for K-12 students. There are also full-day workshops on offer for the senior students, as well as ‘depth studies’ with talks from zoo scientists and experts.

Paul Maguire, Director of Education at Taronga Zoo says, “Taronga Zoo has a long-standing partnership with the Department of Education and four of our educators are Department of Education employees. This sets us apart from other excursion venues, as our education team have access to curriculum experts supporting them in teaching current curriculum and embedding high impact teaching strategies.”

Teachers will generally book a few months in advance or arrange standing annual bookings.

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Raging Waters

an aerial shot of the colourful rides at raging waters

This Sydney water park has set Education Days and schools are invited to “swap desks for water slides” and purchase education packages to celebrate the end of term, end of school year, graduation, or other milestone events with a fun day out.

Treetops Adventures

a young girl zip lines on a flying fox through nature

Get out of the classroom and into the fresh air with a Treetops Adventure ropes session. Benefits include being immersed in nature, confidence-building, team skills and class bonding.

Sydney Tower Eye

a young last uses a bronze telescope on the sydney tower eye observation deck

“Bring your lessons to life with 360-degree city views” at Sydney Tower Eye on a journey to the sky that starts with a 4D cinema experience flying across Sydney and ends with binoculars and touch screens on the interactive observation deck. Teachers can download free resources for activity planning around the fun facts shared throughout the day.

Luna Park

a sunset shot of the iconic luna park clown face entry

Turn education on its head with the Luna Learning Program: interactive experiences with a fresh perspective of motion laws, gravity, business studies, art history, mathematics, engineering and more. School excursions can be customised for education or wellbeing days.

The white halls of art gallery nsw with contemporary art on the walls

Art Gallery learning tours are designed to spark ‘inquiry-based conversations’ and critical thinking about art and life, led by gallery educators. There are two themes to choose from: Art Lives here and Yiribana. The first is an exploration of the stunning new building, its works, and the process of creating it. The second offers a chance to connect with Indigenous art, also in the new building.

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Sydney Zoo

A young girl stands next to a sign post at Sydney Zoo on a school,excursion visit

Sydney Zoo school excursion programs are tailored for every grade and give access to wildlife from all over the world – in Western Sydney. The focus is on conservation and Indigenous culture, with traditional music, dance workshops and (lots of!) animals all on the impressive list of things to see and do.

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

the gardens shit across pond water with the city skyline cleverly reflected

Plant ideas in the minds of Australia’s future botanists with “learning activities, gardening experiences and immersive exhibitions” at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Educators can get started with curriculum-based activity plans and excursions “encourage imaginative, emotional, and playful outdoor learning (for all weather conditions)”.

Cockatoo Island

an aerial shot of cockatoo island buildings and industrial machinery

“Escape to Cockatoo Island” for a day of historical learning with 90-minute stage-specific education programs aligned with the NSW syllabus. There are three primary school excursion programs and two for high school students, covering everything from convict times to the roles dock workers played in the Second World War.

Powerhouse Museum

The industrial & historical entryway to the museum for school excursions

Plan your own visit around the Powerhouse Museum or be led by an educator or creator as students are taken on a tour of the museum’s interactive activities. Explore space, investigate climate change, and get creative with science, at the home of “half a million objects of national and international significance”.

The Supreme Court of NSW

outside shot of the sydney supreme court building

Take the law into your own hands with a self-guided tour of the Supreme Court of NSW using the interactive app that gives an overview of the court’s history, trail tips and court protocols. Pro tip: check which cases are listed on the date you plan to visit.

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Sydney Opera House

the red interiors of sydney opera house & striking architecture

Educators are treated to a comprehensive suite of resources and programs at Sydney Opera House. From guest speaker talks about the education sector to creative leadership workshops, there are inspirational activities for both primary and high school students.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

in the distance a group of students climb the harbour bridge

Take learning to new heights with a School Excursion Climb that encompasses history and architecture – 134m high in the sky. School excursions include a guide, event space, workshops, group photo, caps and certificates.

The Australian Museum

an upward shot of the Australian Museum architecture

A visit to the Australian Museum is part of the fabric of every Australian’s childhood memories. School excursions are visitor-led or educator-led and there are currently nine programs to choose from, including a First Nations galleries tour and the popular Dinosaurs: Feathers, teeth and claws.

The University of Sydney

silhouettes of students attending an excursion at sydney university

Sydney University periodically runs full-day Spectacular Science excursions where high school students get to meet real scientists and get hands-on in the university’s lab for a taster of what their future could look like.

Downing Centre Local Law Courts

Iconic white and yellow architecture of the mark foy departments store and Home of the downing centre law complex

The Downing Centre is Sydney’s main courthouse complex, found on Liverpool Street in the heart of the CBD. It’s housed in the art nouveau heritage-listed former Mark Foy’s department store. It’s open to visitors for self-guided group tours that begin with a court sheriff briefing and include a tour, as well as the opportunity to watch real cases as they unfold.

Q Station

The main hospital sandstone building of the old quarantine station site

Q Station in Manly on the northern beaches is a former quarantine station that transforms students into history detectives for the day. They hunt for clues, take on maintenance duties, and talk about the importance of preservation as the rest of the world evolves.

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National Maritime Museum

An exterior shit of the national maritime museum wuth uts distinctive mu sea um branding

The cleverly-branded mu-sea-um is the portal to an action-packed day of exploring Sydney’s past, present and future marine life. Students get the benefit of a high-tech learning centre and educators can design a day that fits their lesson plans, with access to free teacher resources.

The Sydney Jewish Museum

Image of the The Sydney Jewish Museum

The Sydney Jewish Museum offers students a meaningful and memorable connection to Sydney’s Jewish community. The carefully considered learning program includes the privilege of age-appropriate talks with a Holocaust survivor for a unique first-hand account of life during and after the war.

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By Charlie
Charlie Writes is a Sydney based, London born, Caribbean writer, interviewer and poet. A colourful 27 year career has taken Charlie from typing poems on the spot on her 1970’s typerwiter named June, to donning a hard hat as a roving reporter in the construction industry. All while living out her favourite quote that the greatest adventures begin with a simple conversation.