Six of the Best Darling Harbour Hacks You Need To Know

  • Preschoolers
    Mums & Bubs
ellaslist COVID-19 update: Please note that all the information on the website is correct at the time of publication. Please check the relevant website before visiting a venue or destination for the latest COVID-19 information. ellaslist is not responsible for any cancellations or closures.

By: Cassilee Kahn

Just when you thought you knew all there is to know about Darling Harbour – think again! There’s a myriad of rides, attractions, fun, food and festivities that are guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained.

And it gets even better! Darling Harbour’s latest initiative ‘Kids Go Free’ means that on every weekend in November you can grab a whole bunch of freebies for the kidsincluding complimentary entry to a variety of activities, as well as more than 50 special offers to cafes, restaurants and retailers.

We’ve selected our top six picks of Darling Harbour hacks that you probably never knew.

1. Eating Extravaganza

You may not know, but Darling Harbour has some of the country’s most sought after restaurants, offering cuisine from around the world. From fresh seafood and spicy Asian to rich Italian and modern Australian – you can find it all! If your tastebuds are seeking something exotic, you can definitely hunt something down at Blackbird Café, where their house special is a gourmet crocodile burger. Or even pay a visit to Kazbah for a Middle Eastern style camel burger.

blackbird dh

The kids will love the sweet and savoury pancakes at Darling Harbour’s Pancakes on the Rocks. Or tuck into an authentic, all you can eat, Brazilian barbecue at Braza. For a taste of Africa with a view of Sydney Harbour, The Meat and Wine Co is a must. The grilled African beef sausage ‘boerewors’ is definitely one to try, along with mielie pap, that’s reminiscent of polenta, covered in a tasty tomato relish.

But since November is all about the children, don’t miss out on the special food and drink offers at every outlet. Places such as Georgie’s Spuds & Snags, Espress Grill, Vesta Italian, Taste Baguette, Kazbah, The Watershed Hotel and Yots Café are offering FREE kids’ meals with the purchase of an adult meal. And for something to satisfy a sweet tooth, you’ll find a huge selection on offer. Bar Gelato Café, Thai Foon and Zaaffran Indian are offering a FREE ice cream to kids under 12, while other ice creameries, including Gelatissimo and Andersen’s of Denmark will give away a free kids scoop with the purchase of regular cone. There’s also a range of chocolatey treats and delicious drinks to be had at other outlets, all for nothing, when you mention ‘Kids Go Free’.

georgies spuds

2. Parking To Suit Your Pocket

If you’ve got a car full of kids, take advantage of the great parking deals at all the major car parks situated around Darling Harbour. Located just a few minutes walk from the LG IMAX Theatre, you can leave your car at Wilson’s Harbourside Car Park for a flat rate of $10 until 5pm every weekend in November. You can also get 20% off weekend parking rates at other Wilson car parks in the vicinity when you book online at Book a Bay. ‘Kids Go Free’ parking discounts are available at the Kent Street, Darling Park, Darling Quarter and Citi Park facilities during all November weekends.

If public transport is your preferred option, getting here is easy on a bus, train to the city or ferry via Circular Quay. And don’t forget about Sunday Family Funday – travel every Sunday with your Opal card for just $2.50 per person.

Parking in Darling Harbour

3. Hidden Mysteries Of The Playground

The Darling Harbour playground is renowned as one of the best playgrounds in Sydney, with a range of innovative equipment that promotes learning, imagination and loads of fun for a variety of ages. Kids can pretend they’re part of the circus on the balance ropes and flying fox, or soar high into the sky on the jumbo swings. The giant slides and octanet will keep them entertained for hours and provide the perfect energy release.

For some wilder and wetter fun, there’s also the water park. It features some very cool equipment, such as water scoopers, screwers and squirting fountains to jump and dance around in – and best of all, it’s FREE!

 dh playground

4. Light Up Your Night

For a truly magical experience that will fascinate the kids and inspire the imagination, pay a visit to Luminous at Darling Quarter. It’s the world’s largest interactive light installation that acts as a breathtaking backdrop to the waterfront venue. It spans 150 metres and is powered by 100% renewable energy generated by solar power. Get involved in the interactive activities that allow you to change the speed, colours and location of the light- it will leave you full of wonderment and awe.

dh fireworks 

5. Firework Frenzy

Every Saturday night Darling Harbour plays host to an extravaganza of exploding lights. You can grab a spot on the steps by the water or find a comfortable seat at a waterside restaurant or café for a view of the 9pm fireworks. The truly professional display is accompanied by a music track that will instil the family with that festive feeling. You can even make a night of it by dining out for dinner or dessert, or catch one of the fascinating films on the LG IMAX Theatre’s gigantic screen.

6. Staycation

There’s nothing like a short break with the family, but with the expense of flights and car rental, it’s often easier to stay at home. With so much to see and do at Darling Harbour, one day definitely isn’t enough. So why not book a room in one of the many hotels located in the area and enjoy all the food, major attractions and fun-filled activities at your doorstep. Better yet, do it in November to take advantage of the huge amount of ‘Kids Go Free’ offers. With free entry for kids under 16 at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, LG IMAX Theatre, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Chinese Garden of Friendship, as well as tonnes of other energetic activities- a weekend won’t even be enough!

Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour is getting straight into the spirit with their offer of kids not only staying free, but also eating breakfast for free and receiving half price dinner at the Pumphouse Restaurant. Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour is also a great option, as it’s connected via an undercover walkway to the Harbourside Shopping Centre and all the other fantastic attractions outside. Similarly, Ibis Darling Harbour connects you to the myriad of attractions via the undercover walkway, and is so centrally located, boasting spectacular waterfront views.

The Adina Apartment Hotel is in a perfect position too, located just at King Street Wharf. They also have an indoor pool, sauna, gym and licensed restaurant that may come in handy after a long day exploring.

adina view


For details on Kids Go Free offers including full terms and conditions visit