Best Free Things To Do In Darling Harbour

  • Mums & Bubs
    All Ages

By: Melissa Fine, ellaslist
Nov 13, 2018

Among all the attractions and overpriced eateries, Darling Harbour is sprinkled with FREE fun, especially over the Christmas holiday period. Here is proof that a day out with the family in Darling Harbour doesn't have to cost an arm an leg. 

Darling Quarter Playground

Balance ropes, The Big Slide (over 3-metres high!), Jumbo Swings, a 21-metre long flying fox, 26 pattern-making water jets, oh and 10-metre high Octanet for little there anything Darling Quarter Playground doesn't have? The little ones haven't been forgotten; after they go down Slide Hill, there's everything from a Tangled Climbing Net to two little kids' swings and a giant sandpit (complete with sand diggers) to explore amongst the palm trees - they'll never want to leave. 

Caterpillar Lane

Too wet or hot to play outside? Check out Harbourside Shopping Centre's new interactive indoor playground area, the 40+ metre-long Caterpillar Lane: choc-a-block with slides, soft play areas, climbing towers, interactive panels and light projection games. Level 2 (above the main Food Court), 2-10 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour

Saturday Night Fireworks 

Following an 18-month hiatus during Darling Harbour’s transformation, the city's renowned firework display is back in full force! The fireworks kick off at 9pm every Saturday night at Cockle Bay Wharf - what better way to end dinner and the day's adventures? 

Christmas Movies In Darling Harbour

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than with with four nights of FREE festive films, including Elf, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street. Sit back with a picnic on the Darling Quarter Village Green grass for the 6pm or 8.30pm film (or both if it's date night or the kids are old enough). From 20-23 December 2018. Details here. 
When: 20-23 December 2018

Night Owls' Kids Film Festival 

Setting up camp in Darling Quarter's Village Green for 17 fun-filled nights in January, the annual Night Owls' Kids Film Fest has been running since 2012 and never fails to disappoint. Live entertainment kicks off each night at 6pm, followed by local and international short films made by children in collaboration with Little Big Shots, Australia's major children's short film festival. The feature film airs at 6.45pm, with this year's program lineup including  The Greatest Showman, A Wrinkle In Time, Paddington 2, The Lego Ninjago Movie, A Dog's Purpose and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. For a free, KID-FREE movie sesh, there are also after-hours screenings from 8.30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with the lineup including The Big Sick, Pitch Perfect 3 and Ocean's 8. From 4-20 January 2019. Details here. 

Kids' Craft At Darling Harbour Christmas Markets

While you're on the the lookout for some stocking-sized gifts, the kids can drop in to one of the free Christmas craft workshops for the kids - where they can decorate their own Christmas bauble and create paper craft decorations. 10-14 December 2018, 9.30am-5.30pm, Darling Quarter Civic Connector, Darling Harbour. Details here. 

There are also FREE Christmas Craft Workshops for kids at Tumbalong Park. 18-24 December 2018, 11am-4pm. Details here. 

Christmas Light Displays And Projections

Constructed from 557 LEDs, Luminous at Darling Quarter (above) offers an enchanting interactive canvas powered by 100% renewable energy. Also worth checking out are the dynamic festive light projections on the roof of the Australian National Maritime Museum you can see dynamic festive light projections on the roof of the museum on selected evening throughout December. Luminous: 20 November-23 December 2018, 6-11pm daily (excluding Mondays); Australian National Maritime Museum Rooftop: 6-23 December 2018, Thursday-Sunday only, 8-11.30pm. Details here.

See The Massive Christmas Bauble

The kids won't believe their eyes at this magical installation...larger than life at 6-metres high! The perfect spot for a family Chrissy pic. Find it at the ICC Forecourt from 14 November to 26 December 2018. Details here. 

Chinese Garden Of Friendship

Entry is close enough to free ($3/child under 12 and $6/adult), and the peaceful Chinese Garden Of Friendship is the perfect spot to escape Darling Harbour's hustle and bustle. Spanning several acres, explore the waterfalls, lakes, pavilions and hidden pathways amongst the exotic plants and artfully designed endless garden adventure awaits! Why not pack a picnic and have your lunch here? Pier St, Darling Harbour 

Kids Eat FREE At Fratelli Fresh

This EVERY DAY deal is available between 12 and 3pm when accompanied by one paying adult (at all Fratelli restaurants FYI). In the heart of Darling Harbour the new buzzing Fratelli location is not just a restaurant, it's an Italian emporium - with a pizza kitchen, fresh pasta station, a house-made dessert and gelato counter and then some. The Kids Menu will please even the fussiest of eaters...Nonna's Meatballs are a must-try. ICC Sydney Theatre, Darling Drive, Darling Harbour

What About Parking? 

Although not free, there is reasonably priced parking at Darling Quarter Car Park over the weekends - just $15 for all-day parking! On weeknights after 5pm, parking here is $15. 1-11 Harbour St, Sydney  

More Darling Harbour

Top Kid-Friendly Eats In Darling Habour
Christmas Fun In Darling Harbour
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium 

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