Children's development is influenced by the layout of the urban landscape. Yet current design patterns of poor street layouts, inaccessible facilities, and vehicular congestion depict an inhospitable landscape for children. How can Australian cities ensure that the built environment does not act as a deterrent for autonomous travel among children? Two schools situated in Western Sydney suburban tract developments and two schools located along grid street formations (inner West and inner city) were compared and contrasted for urban design mechanisms and incidences of walking patterns among school children. Structured around the understanding that children are affected by and can affect their local surroundings, this research used surveys, drawings, and focus group discussions to integrate children's perspectives into models of pedestrian behaviour. The results indicate that, to a child, the built environment along a school journey incorporates more than access and safety issues. Physical attributes which allow children to feel welcomed and engage their senses provide children with motivation to walk to and from school. By elucidating children's interpretation of their school journey, practitioners, academics, and others can work towards designing sensory environments that embed healthy developmental competencies among children.