Things to Do in Darling Harbour

For a family traveling around in Sydney, Darling Harbour is a must-visit. It is rich in tourist destinations, as well as museums, restaurants, shops, exhibitions, theaters, and even a zoo and aquarium.

You can block off your day in the area with lots of Darling Harbour activities, starting with strolling to take in the view of the water and the skyscrapers, as well as preparing for some exciting boat rides or harbor cruises.  The kids won’t lose out when it comes to things to do in Darling Harbour, too. They can go to the interactive fountains at a waterpark, ten-pin bowling, and carousel.

If you’re asking what to do in Darling Harbour, prepare for quite an interesting list of places to visit:

ICC Sydney

ICC Sydney
ICC Sydney [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is home to various exhibitions, conventions, and other entertainment-related activities. The structure itself is picture-worthy with its eye-catching contemporary design. From its external event deck, you can enjoy the sweeping views of the city. It also boasts of the largest ballroom in Australia, which can accommodate 2,000 people during a banquet or 1,000 more during a cocktail party. It is definitely ready for major events, with its red carpet arrival area, plenary theaters that can host 800 to 2,500 guests, and its red carpet theater that have 8,000 seats. Make sure to check what exhibitions, concerts or other events are booked at the ICC Sydney in time for your visit.

Dining and Eating

When you get hungry and need to refuel before moving on to other activities, there are plenty of Darling Harbour restaurants to choose from. There is a long list of options if you ask where to eat in Darling Harbour. You can find steakhouses, where you can find melt-in-your-mouth meat, an Italian restaurant that offers fine dining or another that can let you indulge in your pizza cravings, or restaurants that can easily turn into a party spot ideal for a hens night party. If you are after modern Australian cuisine, inspired by dishes from different influences, there are also plenty of restaurants offering that.

Australian National Maritime Museum

Australian National Maritime Museum

If you have kids who are interested in seafaring, this museum should be on your list of Darling Harbour attractions to visit. It showcases Captain Cook’s replica ship, the destroyer HMAS Vampire, the submarine HMAS Onslow, and another ship HMB Endeavour Replica. If you want to learn more about the country’s maritime relationship with the US, beach culture, indigenous maritime culture, and European exploration. It would also be fun to look at the exhibit of the museum’s collection of swimwear and accessories.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Maksym Kozlenko [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Your visit to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the aquarium, which is home to 650 species and 12,000 animal. This is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Darling Harbour for your kids, who will likely love seeing the sharks, jellyfish, tropical fishes, platypuses, stingrays, and penguins, among others. And it’s not just going to be them watching the amazing sea creatures. You can walk underwater, watching the animals from within a 100-meter glass viewing tunnel. It will be a great memory for everyone to look back to, thinking about the unique underwater environments that you will witness, including the Great Barrier Reef and the Murray Darling Basin. There are also habitats such as mangrove swamps, billabongs, shipwreck, Dugong Island, Bay of Rays, and more. Don’t be surprised if you come face to face with sea dragons, barramundi, and rare dugongs.

Madame Tussauds Sydney

Madame Tussauds Sydney Eva Rinaldi [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you cannot meet the real icons, why not meet their wax figures? This Darling Harbour entertainment allows you to take pictures with the almost lifelike wax figures of stars like Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Johnny Depp, and many others. You can also check out the wax figures of sports stars, cultural icons, and historical figures, anytime from 9:30 am to 8 pm.

Darling Harbour FireworksDarling Harbour Fireworks

Allison Lee [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is one of the best answers to the question about what to do in Darling Harbour. You can watch fireworks in Darling Harbour every Saturday night, around 8:30 pm to 9 pm while eating dinner at any of the  . The best news about this? It comes for free!

Chinese Garden of Friendship

Chinese Garden of Friendship

This is where you can enjoy a typical Chinese garden with its lakes, waterfalls, pavilions, hidden pathways, and exotic plants. If you’re visiting Chinatown, you can even walk to the garden afterwards. To make your trip to the garden more fun, rent some Chinese dresses and have fun taking beautiful pictures. The Chinese Garden of Friendship is also ideal for tourists who are looking for quiet places to rest.

Fantasea Whale Watching CruiseWhale Watching Sydney

This wonderful Darling Harbour entertainment allows you to watch the whales’ annual migration up-close and personal from May through November. Get your camera ready the whole time you’re in the cruise ship. It might be your lucky day to witness humpback whales leaping out of the water.

Darling Quarter


Yida Xu [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

If you’re looking for a place where your kids can freely go around one of the country’s best children’s playgrounds while you, the parents, enjoy what the bars, shops, and eateries have to offer. It also has a children’s theater, a community green perfect for picnics and other programs, feature lighting for the structures around the precinct, and buildings with an illuminated façade, turning their western-facing side into an interactive digital canvas.

What else to do in Darling Harbour?

Cocktail Classes

Aside from answering your question about where to eat in Darling Harbour, you can also find restaurants that offer more exciting activities, such as cocktail making classes and whiskey masterclasses. These classes are perfect for corporate parties or hen nights, spicing up the event effortlessly. You will not only learn how to enjoy your favorite drink, but you’ll get to make it.

Darling Harbour has a lot to offer to tourists, with its scenic water views and romantic city lights at night. It is quite busy with cruises docking and saying goodbye to the harbour and street performers capturing the crowd’s attention. It offers a lot of fun activities, from the Darling Harbour restaurants and bowling alleys to the bars and karaokes, but without forgetting nature with its garden and aquarium. Darling Harbour is indeed a great stop in Sydney for the whole family.