Darling Harbour is a hub of transportation—every day, people arrive by monorail, cruise ship, ferries, and trains, in addition to the more traditional automobile or car rentals. This entertainment district in the heart of Sydney, Australia, is packed with fun things to do, waterfront views, and fun by day and by night. And with so many Darling Harbour hotels available, you can find the perfect place to anchor while visiting one of the most exciting neighborhoods in all of Sydney.
If you've never been to Darling Harbour or your looking for new ideas or to book tours, one of the best places to visit is the official Sydney Visitor Centre. The multilingual staff is well-versed in all of the things to do in Darling Harbour Sydney and the greater New South Wales region. You'll also have the chance to do some shopping for locally made treasures.
Many of the top things to do are located close to the visitor center, right along the water. With amazing views and an abundance of attractions, this waterfront is well worth a visit. Cruises are some of the most popular things to do in Darling Harbor, whisking you from the waterfront to the open waters. Tall ships, catamarans, and sailboats provide a memorable setting for excursions and dinner cruises. After dark, people gather along the harbor to watch the fireworks, visible from outdoor restaurants and the windows of Darling Harbour hotels.
Before the sun sinks below the horizon, you can enjoy a full day exploring the various things to do. The Chinese Garden celebrates the connection between two cultures and between Sydney and its sister city of Guangzhou. The garden also is a link between Darling Harbour and neighboring Chinatown. The Sydney Entertainment Centre is close to the garden, the onetime Olympic venue now hosts concerts and sporting events.
Darling Harbour is also home to many interesting museums and galleries. The ever-popular Australian National Marine Museum recounts history as told through the ships that experienced it. The collection of indoor and outdoor exhibits includes a replica vessel Captain Cook on his first trip to Australia. The Powerhouse museum also tops the list of the most-visited attractions in Sydney. This sprawling museum explores Australia's history and culture with exciting interactive exhibits.
The Sydney Aquarium also tells a distinctly Australian story. You'll have the chance to see what lives below the surface as you explore the naturalistic habitats home to some 12,000 colorful creatures. Don't miss the chance to watch for sharks with a ride in a glass-bottom boat and visit Mermaid Lagoon, one of the few places in the world to see dugongs up close outside of the Great Barrier Reef.
Beyond the museums and attractions, Sydney's waterfront is home to many places you could explore on a stroll or a ride on the monorail. There are many art galleries, cafes, and stores where you can pop in and take the day at your own pace. The shopping scene includes many shops specializing in Australian goods, everything from Bondi Beach apparel to Akubra hats.
Many Darling Harbour hotels are located within strolling distance of the shops and restaurants. Whether you're looking for luxury hotels or have a tight budget, you'll have many choices of where to spend the night. Hotel towers with international brand names are found here, as are charming boutique hotels and apartment rentals.