Once the site of rusting railroad yards and wharves, one of Sydney’s greatest urban renewal projects now buzzes with museums, boutiques and eateries.
Named after a former governor of New South Wales, the Darling Harbour precinct features a wealth of things to do. There are public gardens and promenades, restaurants, bars and hotels, and major attractions such as the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo.
Start your visit by chatting with the friendly guides at the Visitor Centre. They’ll help you to plan your day, purchase tickets and book activities.
To learn more about Australia’s connection with the sea, visit the National Maritime Museum. Here, you’ll vividly experience the journeys undertaken by the nation’s early explorers, settlers and immigrants. Climb aboard and explore the many historic vessels moored out front, including a decommissioned naval submarine.
Say “G’day” to some of Australia’s deadliest and cuddliest creatures at Wild Life Sydney Zoo. Home to more than 6,000 native animals, this nature park offers visitors a chance to pet koalas and wander through a tropical butterfly house. For a truly “Aussie” experience, hang out with the kangaroos in the Kangaroo Walk-About zone.
Don’t miss the peaceful Chinese Garden of Friendship. One of the only Chinese gardens outside Asia, the grounds were created by the local Chinese community to celebrate Australia’s 1988 bicentenary. Beautiful water features and traditional pavilions make the garden a peaceful place to relax and revive after sight-seeing.
In the evening, catch a musical production at the Sydney Lyric Theatre inside Star City Casino or book a romantic harbor cruise. Grab a table at one of the many waterfront restaurants. For something fun and informal, pick up fish and chips from one of the take-away eateries and find a spot overlooking Cockle Bay.
Darling Harbour hosts free music, annual events and film festivals. (Check the calendar on the Darling Harbour website for a schedule.)
Darling Harbour is located adjacent to downtown and is accessible by train, bus, monorail or foot from the city center. There are paid parking lots throughout the precinct.