The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Saturday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Sydney
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?

A Big Dose of NSW Travel Inspiration If You Want to Recapture the Magic of Your Childhood Holidays

Venture down the nostalgia rabbit hole with these trip ideas that’ll melt away your grown-up worries.
By Olivia Gee
May 19, 2022
By Olivia Gee
May 19, 2022


in partnership with

Venture down the nostalgia rabbit hole with these trip ideas that’ll melt away your grown-up worries.

Remember a time when holidays used to feel endless and the nagging anxiety of an overflowing inbox was a foreign concept? If you're struggling to recover this feeling of unhindered expectation and excitement, wind the clock back to simpler times by charting out a holiday that chases the kind of unbridled joy you used to feel as a kid. Because being an adult doesn't mean you have to stop having fun.

Seek out spectral encounters on a ghost tour, conquer the wildest waterpark rides, cuddle rare animals or hit the waves at surf school. Whatever kind of youthful magic you're looking to revive, one of these trip ideas is sure to speak to your inner kid.

  • 9

    Remember when your mum used to tell you to “go and play outside”? Now it’s our turn. Drive an hour north of Sydney CBD and you’ll find a thrilling adventure playground set among 3000 acres of rolling hills and unspoiled rainforests. From abseiling to kayaking and axe throwing, Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures offers a host of activities to rekindle your wild child attitude. Trot across creeks and under gumtree canopies on a horse riding tour (from $115 per person) or ride astride a 250cc quad bike to explore the backtrails before rocketing around the race circuit in a fully guided experience (from $115 per person).

    Foot soldiers can prove their mettle in an intense laser skirmish battle in the bushlands (from $65 per person), and multi-talented adventurers can combine these experiences with a package to keep the adrenaline-pumping fun rolling.

    Image: Destination NSW

    READ MORE Book Now Add to Playlist
    Want to start building your ultimate playlist?

    Start creating a personalised itinerary — or add to an existing list. Save it, share it and take it with you on your next local adventure.

  • 8

    Whether your school holidays were filled with chilling tales by campfires or reading Goosebumps by torchlight, you’ll appreciate the historic spooks this after-dark tour inspires. Cockatoo Island’s history of paranormal encounters stretches back more than a century, with reports of apparition sightings and sensory experiences — like unexplained bursts of air and smoky aromas — colouring its past as a convict prison and dockyard.

    This spine-tingling exploration will take you through rarely visited buildings and corridors, where true tales of murder and botched prison escapes will be shared while you wield spirit-detection devices to seek out lingering souls. Only brave ghost hunters over 18 are invited to this two-hour journey into the unknown that sets out on select Friday and Saturday nights from 9pm ($47 per person).

    Image: Robert Mulally, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

    READ MORE Book Now Add to Playlist
  • 7
    Behind-the-Scenes Animal Experiences at Symbio Wildlife Park

    You can’t help but be happy when you’re cuddling a cute animal. While the Symbio Wildlife Park’s 16 acres of manicured gardens on the Illawarra escarpment are home to fearsome species like cheetahs, alligators and snakes, you’ll usually be set up with a fluffier (and friendlier) playdate on a behind-the-scenes experience (starting from $125 per person).

    Meet rare and secretive Nepalese red pandas as they descend from the trees to pluck snacks from your hands and enjoy a belly rub. Or, learn about the complicated social lives of meerkats as the inquisitive mob scurries around your feet, ready for a feed. Fulfill a childhood dream by dedicating a full day to the animal kingdom and interacting with numerous zoo inhabitants while shadowing a zookeeper. You’ll get to prepare food, clean habitats, provide animal enrichment toys and learn about each unique species as you explore the park.

    Image: Destination NSW

    READ MORE Book Now Add to Playlist
  • 6
    Jamberoo Action Park

    You know when you’re having so much fun, you just can’t stop laughing? Expect to do a lot of that when you’re here. The rides at Jamberoo Action Park take you from a gentle wave pool to the stomach-churning thrills of The Perfect Storm. On this ride, you and three mates must cling to a floaty as you plunge into gravity-stripping vortexes and whip through rotating tunnels as a storm seemingly rages around you.

    Classic Jamberoo fixtures like the bobsled are still going strong if you want to relive thrills from decades past. On this mainstay ride, you jump aboard a sled to snake down the park’s mountainside, taking in the stunning valley views while you control the throttle to dictate how fast you race to the finish line.

    READ MORE Book Now Add to Playlist
  • 5
    Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory

    The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory looks as if two towers — one made of brick and one of corrugated iron — were glued together like a giant gingerbread house. The crew working tirelessly inside this converted flour mill, based 2.5 hours west of Canberra, create every twist on organic licorice you could imagine.

    To this mixed lolly bag, they add scoffable snacks like chocolate-coated cherries and coffee beans, plus speciality chocolate blocks adorned with nuts, fruits and candies. Visiting this real-life Wonka factory to stockpile goodies is a treat in itself, but you can also create your own rocky road and giant chocolate freckles in hands-on workshops every Monday (simply turn up from 9am–3pm).

    Image: Destination NSW 

    READ MORE Add to Playlist
  • 4
    Surfaris Retreat

    The luxe Central Coast surf retreats at Surfaris can shift like the tides to meet your seaside whims. You can pack your stay with a structured itinerary of surfing classes, yoga and pilates sessions by the pool and 4×4 driving expeditions through the sandy bush backroads. Or, live a sleepy summer lizard life sipping cocktails and dining on an ever-changing roster of snacks from the on-site bar and cafe that are stumbling distance from your plush room. It’s all hidden between the bush and waves with a zen summer camp ambiance that meet the relaxation and adventure desires of summer children all grown up.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist
  • 3
    Robertson Truffles

    As a kid, you hunted for chocolate eggs. As a kidult, you’ll search for a different type of tasty treasure. Winter ushers in the season of the truffle in NSW. These pungent subterranean treats are the king of fungi, and while their earthy flavour are suited to more sophisticated palates, hunting them out is a messy affair your woodland child spirit will adore. From June to August, Robertson Truffle Farm in the leafy Southern Highlands invites the public to pick up trowels and join the truffle harvest.

    After a truffle Q&A session, you’ll follow the wise noses of the truffle dogs as they uncover the hidden bounties — some hide more than ten centimetres below the surface while others erupt dramatically from the red volcanic basalt soil.

    READ MORE Book Now Add to Playlist
  • 2
    Moonshadow-TQC Cruises

    Port Stephens is touted as the dolphin capital of Australia, and you can get up close with the 140-odd permanent bottlenose dolphin residents in the area on a tour with Moonshadow-TQC Cruises, from $35 per person. While you can simply enjoy sea life sightings from the licensed bar on deck, you’ll also have the chance to swim beside these salty sea giants or shimmy down a waterslide into the boom net for a white-water ride back to the marina.

    But dolphins aren’t the only stars in these waters. Whale-watching cruises, from $45 per person, set out in the winter and spring migration seasons to spy humpbacks as they breach and body roll above the waves. These excursions also cruise around the outer island to spy the local dolphin pod.

    Image: Destination NSW

    READ MORE Book Now Add to Playlist
  • 1
    Pilliga Pottery and Farmstay

    Perched on the edge of a nature reserve, this small-scale organic farm powers an on-site cafe and pottery centre. Here, you can master the potter’s wheel, create adorable pinch pots or become a dab hand at glazing in tailored workshops.

    There are a number of accommodation options for overnight stays, including unpowered campsites, but it’d be hard to pass up a night in the old schoolhouse. This enchanting octagonal structure sits above the ground on stilts carved from local timber. It’s filled with handcrafted furniture and carefully sculpted fixtures that create an almost cartoonish fairytale atmosphere.

    Include a farm tour with barnyard animal encounters or a bird watching tour in your trip for the full family holiday among the gumtrees experience. Or, if you want to level up, opt for a helicopter tour to get a bird’s eye view of Warrumbungle National Park and Pilliga Nature Reserve.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist

If you are looking for more places to find joy in New South Wales, head to

Top image: Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures, Destination NSW

  •   shares
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel