With international travel on the backburner during 2020 and 2021, and the tourism industry desperately in need of a boost, now has never been a better time for a staycation.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show about three in 10 accommodation and food sector jobs have been lost since mid-March 2020.

For Sydney-siders or visitors, there is plenty of unique and outside-of-the-box destinations you and the family can explore and best of all you won’t need to travel very far at all.

Stay in an urban oasis in Parramatta

Known as the second CBD of Sydney, Parramatta has a lot to offer for parents and kids alike.

What’s there to do? Located a few minutes walk from the CBD is Parramatta Park and it is definitely worth spending a couple of hours here. Known as the People’s Park this area is 160 years old and there is a lot to discover – from huge grassy areas, a rose garden, pathways to cycle or walk along and a couple of very impressive play parks that are suitable for babies, toddlers and older kids too.

At Parramatta Park your little ones can run free!

Accommodation: SKYE Suites Parramatta is located in the heart of the CBD, so very handy to shops and cafes. The hotel has a 25-metre outdoor infinity pool as well as a spa, fully equipped gym and sauna. If your kids love the water they will LOVE this pool.

The rooms are furnished with every amenity you and your family could need, such as a fully equipped kitchen, the latest technology, unlimited WiFi and with two-bedroom suites available, everyone can enjoy their own space.

The pool at SKY SUITES Parramatta goes on and on… kids will have a ball splashing about in here.

Feeling hungry? Parramatta has a huge list of global dining options available to suit every family’s appetite but the Middle Eastern-inspired menu at the SKYE Suites Parramatta resident restaurant Bayti is a dining delight for your taste buds.

Fab offer: SKYE Suites currently has a ‘Drive & Dream’s package available at their Green Square location. The package includes overnight accommodation, secure parking, daily breakfast, minibar access and a 12pm late checkout from $240 RRP.

Click here to find out more.

Get spooked at Manly’s North Head

Q Station is Sydney’s old Quarantine Station, now restored it offers unique accommodation options, a restaurant, visitor centre and more.

What’s there to do? Sydney’s Quarantine Station on North Head is one of Australia’s most haunted sites and so you and the kids might be interested in a ghost tours, if you dare!

With plenty to see and loads of history to uncover, the Q Station will keep the whole family entertained for hours or days. And don’t forget the bikes and scooters and there are pathways to help you explore the area.

Explore Manly’s Q Station by bike or scooter and then hit the beach for a swim.

Accommodation: There a lots of options available but our pick for families is the three bedroom cottage which include one king room as well as two queen rooms, a living room, bathroom and kitchenette with cooking facilities.

Feeling hungry? Visit the Boilerhouse Kitchen & Bar, Views Restaurant or Wharf Café or head to the vintage inspired G&Tea House for Traditional High Tea, Sparkling High Tea, Cocktail High Tea’s or the Children’s High Tea.

Dine & Discover: You can use your NSW Dine & Discover vouchers here, too.

Click here to find out more.

Camping on an island in the middle of Sydney Harbour? Yes, please!

Go glamping on Cockatoo Island

Sure, you could head to Cockatoo Island on a day trip but why not go glaming with the family? Ferries operate to Cockatoo Island daily, departing from Circular Quay and Barangaroo plus wharves along the Parramatta River. It’s a short ferry ride but you’ll quick feel like you’re miles away.

What’s there to do? Go on a guided tour around the island, play a game on the harbourside basketball court or the novelty-sized chess board and children aged 12 and under can head to the Visitor Centre for a free activity book.

The camp ground cinema shows all-ages movie at 7pm every night and there is a screening for adults at 9:15pm.

Accommodation: The Deluxe Waterfront Two-Bedroom Camping Package is perfect for families. It sleeps four people but bedding for additional people (maximum two) is available. The package includes two pre-furnished tents with a covered communal area plus Appelles Apothecary toiletries. You can bring your own food but BBQ packs and other food can also be purchased on the island.

Prices are from $320 per night Monday to Thursday and $375 per night Friday to Sunday and additional person from $30 per night.

Discovery Deal: Book for 2 nights or more and get 20% off.

Feeling hungry? There are two family-friendly cafes to dine at on the Island and you can bring your own food too.

Click here to find out more.