10+ Things to Do in Darling Harbour During Your Trip to Sydney

Darling Harbour is one of Sydney’s hottest destinations. It’s filled with the bustle of locals and attracts thousands of tourists each year. You’ll find everything from top name attractions to indie favorites, all set against the backdrop of the gorgeous harbour waters.

If you’re planning on a trip to Sydney and want to concentrate your activities in Darling Harbour (or if you just want to make sure to hit up Darling Harbour while you’re in town), then this list is for you!

Things to do in Darling Harbour for tourists include:

  • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Sydney and Bondi: 1-Day Classic Tour
  • WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo
  • Madame Tussauds Sydney
  • SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
  • Australian National Maritime Museum
  • King Street Wharf
  • Eco Hopper 24-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Pass
  • Carousel at Sydney Harbour
  • And more!

 Save on Darling Harbour Attraction Admission

Admission to many of these top Sydney attractions and activities are included on The Sydney Pass.

Choose as you go from many of the best attractions and save up to 45% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

Learn more about our pass here.

Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Sydney and Bondi: 1-Day Classic Tour

Big Bus Sydney in Sydney Harbour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

A great introduction to the amazing city of Sydney is waiting for you on this Big Bus Sydney hop-on hop-off tour. You’ll get the perfect overview of all the major sites and landmarks of Sydney and nearby Bondi, plus informative and entertaining narration.

Use this hop-on hop-off option to get to Darling Harbour, and use it to explore further afield if you’d like later. There are more than 20 different stops to choose from, too!

Getting In: Big Bus Sydney tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

Butterflies landing on guests at WILD LIFE Sydney

One of the major highlights of Darling Harbour is its wealth of animal and wildlife attractions. The WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo is filled with critters from across Australia and around the globe and you just have to meet them all.

Favorite Ozzie animals include kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, and the iconic koalas. Get your photo taken with one of these cuddly cuties in the Koala Rooftop exhibit. Then, explore other themed areas like Butterfly Tropics, Kangaroo Walkabout, and Nightfall. This attraction is popular with families and couples alike! 

Getting In: WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

Madame Tussauds Sydney

Posing with the Queen at Madame Tussads Sydney World Leaders Exhibit

It wouldn’t be a visit to Darling Harbour without an hour or so spent at Madame Tussauds Sydney. This world-famous wax museum features lifelike figurines of the most popular celebrities from Australia and around the world.

You’ll get to “meet” and take your photo with everyone from cultural icons like President Obama and the Queen of England to celebrities like Lady Gaga to big name athletes from Down Under like Tim Cahill.

Getting In: Madame Tussauds Sydney tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Shark in the Great Barrier Reef Exhibit at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Another one for the animal lovers is the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. This perennially popular attraction has a particular focus on marine life of the South Pacific, although their reach does expand farther. See amazing exhibits like Jurassic Seas, Sydney Harbour, Dugong Island, and many more.

Some of the many enchanting (and sometimes intimidating!) creatures you’ll see here include many varieties of shark, moon jellies, a giant Pacific octopus, and the fierce Queensland Groper. Be sure to visit the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, which features an array of sea life from this endangered reef.

 Getting In: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

Australian National Maritime Museum – Big Ticket

Family at the Australian National Maritime Museum

For anyone interested in the seafaring culture of Australia, from her first days as a British colony to her modern naval expeditions, the Australian National Maritime Museum is a must-visit. You’ll find fascinating collections of artifacts, photographs, and more, alongside interactive exhibits and displays that showcase everything from the earliest explorations of the “unknown land” to contemporary concerns.

The real highlight, though, is the chance to tour their historical vessel collection. Begin with a replica of the infamous ship of Captain Cook, and then see other ships like the retired Navy Destroyer HMAS Vampire, retired Navy patrol boat HMAS Advance, retired submarine HMAS Onslow, and more.

Getting In: Australian National Maritime Museum tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

Meal at Harbour Bar and Kitchen

Burger, fries, and beer meal at Harbour Bar and Kitchen

If you’re looking for a place for lunch while exploring Darling Harbour, then the Harbour Bar and Kitchen might be just the thing. Known for their casual, laid-back vibe and delicious food, this harbourside mainstay promises a good time will be had by all.

With the pass, you’ll get your choice of a few popular entrees (like burgers, fish and chips, and barbecue) plus a beer or soft drink. It’s an easy, affordable way to find something good to eat without trying to figure out the local Yelp scene.

Getting In: Harbour Bar and Kitchen Meal tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

Eco Hopper 24-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Pass

The Eco Hopper Boat in Sydney Harbor

The Eco Hopper is one of the most popular ways to get around in Sydney. It combines the fun and excitement of a cruise with the practical benefits of a water taxi. Use your 24-hour pass to get around the city to and from Darling Harbour, or just ride the entire route like a sightseeing cruise.

Either way, it’s a nice means of transportation around a gorgeous waterfront neighborhood.

Getting In: Eco Hopper tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

Magistic Cruisemart Harbour Sightseeing Cruise

Magistic Sydney Harbour Cruise complimentary beverage

If you’re really looking for a delightful sightseeing excursion on water, though, the Magistic Cruisemart Harbour Sightseeing Cruise is your best bet. Hop aboard the Magistic Two, a luxury catamaran that glides serenely through the Sydney Harbour.

This two-hour adventure will guide you throughout the lovely blue-green waters as you enjoyed thoughtful, entertaining GPS-based narration about everything you’re sailing past. With plenty of photo opportunities and a free drink, what’s not to love?

Getting In: Magistic Cruisemart Harbour Sightseeing cruise tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

Magistic Cruising Café Mezze & Sparkling Wine for 2

Sparkling Wine for Two on the Cafe Mezze and Champagne Cruise by Magistic

Love the cruise idea, but are perhaps in search of something a little bit more special for a romantic night out? Try out Magistic’s most exciting romantic offering, a cruise around Sydney Harbour that allows you to sit back and relax while enjoying a mezze-style plate of food with your partner.

Enjoy tasty fare with your choice of an entire bottle of sparkling wine, or two beers or two glasses of white wine. It’s an ideal way to spend a bit of your evening cruising around Sydney Harbour while enjoying the nighttime illuminations of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, and more.

Getting In: Magistic Cruising Café Mezze and Sparkling Wine Cruise tickets are available on The Sydney Pass.

Harbourside Shopping Centre

If you’re in search of an ideal souvenir from your sojourn to Sydney, or if you just love to get your shop on, then head to the Harbourside Shopping Centre for some quality mall time. You’ll find everything from the best names in retail to new and innovative restaurants.

The Harbourside Shopping Centre is a gathering place for locals, too, and you’ll really get a feel for how Sydneysiders live.

Getting In: The Harbourside Shopping Centre is free to explore (the shopping, unfortunately, is not).

King Street Wharf

If you’re still in search of more dining options or are perhaps looking for that perfect waterfront watering hole, then look no further than King Street Wharf. You’ll find dozens of top restaurants, unique bars, and fun places to hang out at this waterfront complex.

There’s even a bowling bar, where you can get your drink on while attempting to knock down a few pins. This area is also home to a number of apartment buildings, so it’s another popular local hangout.

Getting In: King Street Wharf is free to explore.

Chinese Garden of Friendship

If you’re looking for that peaceful, relaxing space in the heart of the bustling Darling Harbour, you’ll find it at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. This walled garden recreates the eastern model of serenity by focusing on the simple things and the harmony between man and nature.

Stroll through waterfalls, exotic plants, weeping willows, and more. Admire the koi fish populating the lakes. And perhaps enjoy some traditional tea service at the Teahouse. It’s a real treat to come to this garden.

Getting In: The Chinese Garden of Friendship is separately ticketed and is not included with The Sydney Pass.

The Carousel at Darling Harbour

Hop aboard one of Australia’s most historic carousels, believed to be the second oldest in the country after the one at the Melbourne Zoo and one of the few in the world remaining from the nineteenth century.

Located right near the Sydney Visitor Centre, this historic carousel was actually built in England in 1892 and brought to Australia in 1894. Today it’s a beautiful and still fully functional carousel that the kids will love. Makes for great photos, too!

Getting In: The Carousel at Darling Harbour is free to ride.

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

We hope you’ve enjoyed our recommendations of the top things to do in and around Darling Harbour during your next trip to Sydney.

Many of these attractions and more are included on The Sydney Pass, which can save you up to 45% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

Add a few of these attractions and activities to your Sydney itinerary, and you’re sure to have a blast!

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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