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Family-friendly activities in Darling Harbour

If you’re lucky enough to be staying near Sydney’s Darling Harbour, you have the city’s entertainment options at your footsteps. The waterside precinct is a large recreational area, home to excellent dining options and is jam-packed full of exciting activities that kids of all ages will enjoy. Read on to find some inspiration for a fun-filled family day out, whether you’re looking for an adrenaline packed adventure or a unique dining, leisure or relaxing experience with the kids.

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Visit the sea life aquarium

Who doesn’t love an aquarium? Sea life features a large variety of aquatic life and houses over 12,000 animals from 650 species including sea lions, fur seals, penguins, stingrays, turtles, crocodiles, sharks, dugongs and lots of different tropical fish. The large oceanarium also has a tropical touch pool, a live coral cave and glass-viewing underwater tunnels. The aquarium contains over 2.6 million litres of water which is pumped from the Harbour, filtered and heated before it flows into the oceanarium and it’s adjoining display tanks. If you and the kids are in the mood for an all-day wildlife adventure, Wild Life Sydney is right next door so they can get their animal fix.

Address: 1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000

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 Take a ferry trip

Sydney’s ferries can trace its origins as far back as the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove back in 1789. Since then, it’s become a public transport system with fleets of ferries making their way to Manly, Taronga zoo, Paramatta River, Cross Harbour, Neutral Bay, Mosman Bay, Double bay and Cockatoo island. With such a large ferry network, there’s no better excuse than to take a ferry instead and soak up some sunshine while you’re at it.

Visit transport NSW for a full list of timetables and departure times.

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Have breakfast with the koalas at the Wild Life Sydney zoo

A unique experience to the Wild Life park in Sydney is an opportunity to meet the iconic Australian koalas while enjoying a delicious buffet breakfast. The ticket includes entry to the zoo and a photo with the koalas amongst the koala rooftop.

Address: 1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000

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 Take some funny pictures at Madame Tussauds

Explore Sydney’s wax museum and get up close and personal with your favourite celebrities. Kids can take snaps with their favourite superheroes from marvel, take the stage with famous MTV stars, step on set with A-list stars from film and TV, see sporting heroes and world leaders.

Address: 1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000

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Take a ride on the Darling Harbour Carousel

This historic carousel has been in operation since 1892 and is still in operation today in its original form. Powered by a steam engine, it’s believed to be the second oldest surviving carousel in Australia and only one of a few 19th century carousels to have survived the years. It’s open to the public on weekends during the year and on a daily basis during peak school holiday period to accommodate large crowds.

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Slow down and appreciate the serenity at the Chinese Friendship Gardens

The perfect place to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is nestled at the south end of Darling Harbour and is a serene, secluded garden modelled after the classic private gardens of the Ming Dynasty. A walk through the gardens will be like walking back in time into the quiet solitude of ancient Chinese architecture and its relationship with nature. The gardens feature running water, towering willow trees, cool lagoons with lotus plants and large colourful fish making it an idyllic spot to recharge your batteries.

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Bring out your inner child at the Darling Quarter Playground

Darling quarter is a vibrant community hub with a variety of activities on offer like ping-pong, yoga and an expansive children’s playground. Soak up the buzz on the village green or at the theatre, wander through the art exhibition space and pop-up markets when they’re on. Time spent playing here is never wasted and it’s a free wonderland for kids and adults alike.

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Have a go at ten pin Bowling

Kingpin bowling is an amusement centre located in Harbourside shopping centre where kids can have a battle of bowling alongside other activities like taser tag, arcade games, pool, table tennis and air hockey. There’s a cocktail bar, water views and a great vibe for the parents too.

Address: Harbourside Shopping Centre, 2-10 Darling Dr, Sydney NSW 2000

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Enter a new virtual adventure at the Virtual Room Sydney

Experience an immersive, new reality at Sydney’s Virtual Room where groups can interact together. The amusement centre blends the escape room concept with a full 3D cinematic experience to deliver a unique, immersive and mind-blowing adventure for the whole family to enjoy.

Address: 5/393 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

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Share a meal at Cockle Bay wharf

With so many dining options to choose from, Cockle Bay wharf offers an international dining scene with waterfront views. Choose from chocolate heaven at Lindt chocolate café, Mediterranean delicacies at Baia, enjoy the classics coming out of Blackbird café or a steakhouse with a difference at I’m Angus. The options are plenty so you can pick whatever tickles your culinary fancy.

 

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Tag, you’re it!

M9 laser skirmish offers high-intensity fun for the whole family. Great for family get-togethers, kids will appreciate the newest laser tag technology as they battle against the opposing army. Make the most points by shooting your opponents with your safe laser gun and don’t forget to capture their base. 

Address: Harbourside shopping centre at 2-10 Darling Dr, Sydney NSW 2000

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 Get cultured at the Australian National Maritime museum

For all things nautical, visit the Australian Maritime museum and see history afloat. The museum presents a changing program of stimulating exhibitions and events to share Australia’s maritime history and connect the stories, objects, people and places that are part of our country’s narrative.

Address: 2 Murray St, Sydney NSW 2000

Monica Limanto