Darling Harbour has it all - or at least, it has a National Maritime Museum, an aquarium, a Chinese garden of friendship, a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and a zoo - which is pretty close to having everything. These five attractions are the must-dos in this charming harbourside destination, here's why you should add them to your Darling Harbour itinerary!
Pirate or landlubber, young or young-at-heart, everyone will find something to enjoy at this national institute. The museum is home to the Welcome Wall, a place where you will find the names of thousands upon thousands of names of people who have migrated from around the world to Australia. Twice a year the museum holds a special free ceremony to unveil two new panels, as names are constantly being added to the site. Can you find your family name on the list? You can also explore the interior of the submarine, check out the sheer size of the big gun destroyers, view the Spirit of Australia (the fastest boat in the world) up close and see the HMB Endeavour, Captain Cook's ship.
Travelling around a new city, seeing sights and experiencing a new culture is an exciting adventure, yet it can be tiresome. Take a break by visiting this peaceful oasis, tucked right in the heart of metropolitan Sydney. Take a casual stroll around the lush landscapes to see the koi carp lazing about in the lakes, the green willows draping themselves over the lakes and grasses and the variety of exotic plants adding colour and intrigue to the pavilions and hidden pathways. Pick up a Chinese tea and dim sum at the Teahouse and don't forget to visit some of the features such as the Dragon Wall, Twin Pavilion and Dragon Rock. Adult tickets are $6 and kids under 12 are $3.
Meet some of Australia's most iconic wildlife at this spectacular zoo. Visit the butterfly tropics to stand amongst brightly coloured butterflies, pop in to the Devil's Den to meet Oreo, the zoo's Tasmanian devil, and spend some time in Gum Tree Valley to see Australia's cute and cuddly koalas. As well as just seeing these animals up close, some activities offer the chance to pet the animals and spend time with them, as part of the zoo's animal encounters. Enjoy a Koala Breakfast, for example, where you will be treated to a hot buffet breakfast and informative koala talk on the rooftop, surrounded by gum trees and the cute animals themselves - then take home a special photo of the experience.
This wax museum is world-famous for its striking collections of celebrities. They're all made of wax, of course, but the resemblance is uncanny and it makes for some fantastic photo opportunities. Darling Harbour's version of the attraction is home to more than 75 of the world's most famous faces. Take a selfie with Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt and Leonardo Di Caprio. Pose with Lady Gaga, Jimmy Barnes and Mark Webber. Book your ticket online to save on the price of entry and don't forget your camera!
Part of the appeal of Darling Harbour is its proximity to the sea, which is on full show at this gorgeous aquarium.
There are multiple themed areas and attractions within the aquarium, such as the Tropical Bay of Rays, the Discovery Rookpool, Mangrove Swamps and the new attraction, Shark Valley.
All in all, the aquarium has more than 13,000 animals from 700 different species swimming, floating and rolling around in 6 million litres of water. Check out the cute little penguins, and the somewhat imposing shark tank - though you only have to get in the water with them if you want to!
Enjoy your trip to Darling Harbour staying in some cosy Sydney accommodation and visit all five of these fantastic attractions!