22 Jul 2020

Things to do with kids in Darling Harbour on any budget

From free to fancy, we’ve got the breakdown on all the best activities to do with kids on any budget in Darling Harbour.

Kids bored? Not any more!

Darling Harbour is packed with fun, family-friendly activities to keep the whole household entertained. Better yet, you can do it on any budget, from thrifty to luxurious.


Darling Harbour Children’s Playground

Heading to the playground is always a treat, and Darling Harbour just happens to have one of Sydney’s very best. Boasting climbing ropes, a water play area and even a 21-metre flying fox (plus all the swings you can poke a stick at), the Darling Harbour Children’s Playground is a sure bet for fun with the kids without a big price tag.

Cost: FREE

Food: For a low-cost option, bring along a picnic to the playground and take advantage of the wide open spaces at Tumbalong Park. Alternatively, head to the Harbourside food court for some hot options including McDonalds, Subway and more.


Star of the Show

A trip on a ferris wheel is a classic part of an adventure with the kids. Star of the Show by the Harbourside Amphitheatre is guaranteed to give you and the family a new perspective on Darling Harbour, with sweeping views over all of Sydney.

Cost: $8 per ticket

Food: The Harbourside Shopping Centre has heaps of options for all budgets. Olivo for those who like their pizzas and pastas, and Pancakes on The Rocks for those who like… well, we’ll let you work that one out.


Chinese Garden of Friendship

Kids running around, causing mayhem and just having far too much energy in general? Help them find their zen at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. You and the kids will step into another world and experience the natural beauty, architecture and culture of one of the only Chinese gardens outside of Asia. Toddlers, pre-schoolers and older children will love exploring the twists and turns of the Garden and discovering hidden waterfalls and ponds full of fish.

Cost: $20 for 2 adults and 2 children

Food: Head down the street to Sushi Rio for sushi, to Arisun for Korean fried chicken or stay in the Chinese Garden with the Lotus Dumpling Bar (open noon to 2.30pm Saturdays and Sundays)


M9 Laser Tag

Time to settle who’s really the best shot in the family. M9 Laser Tag features a ‘living laser tag arena’, in which the environment is as deadly an opponent as the enemy team! Let the kids have some fun and get some exercise at the same time, all for a reasonable price tag.

Kingpin Bowling

Strike, or strike out? Located right next door to M9 Laser Tag is Kingpin Bowling, the classic game of family fun. 10 pins, one ball - simple.

Cost: $15.50 per game off-peak, $21 per game all other times.

Food: You can order food right at the venue for both M9 Laser Tag and Kingpin Bowling! It’s your classic bowling alley fare, but with a luxury twist. We recommend the mac & cheese burger - if the kids can actually fit it in their paws, of course!


SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Australia is blessed with heaps of fascinating sea life, but we don’t often get to see it up close. Indulge the kids’ curiosity with a visit to the SEA LIFE Aquarium - and yes, it does earn those excited capital letters!

WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

Do your kids know their ‘roos from their wallabies? How about their emu from their ostrich? They can get up close and personal with the animals of Aussie at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Be sure to show up in time for the daily talks!

Madame Tussauds

Where else can you meet the Queen and Batman in the same five minutes? Unless… hold on, have they ever been seen in the same room together? Suspicious. Let the kids get up close and personal with wax figures of the greats at Madame Tussauds. Remember, you can book SEA LIFE, WILD LIFE and Tussauds on the same ticket and save.

Cost: $38.40 adult, $28 child (if you book online).


ICC Exhibition Centre

Have the kids been extra, extra good? Treat them to a show at the ICC Exhibition Centre. Whether they’re into musicals, plays, maybe even an opera, there’s always something going on at the ICC. 

Cost: Varies on the show

Food: Right next to WILD LIFE, SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds is Cockle Bay Wharf where there’s heaps of choice for even the pickiest of little eaters. For a post-show meal from the exhibition centre, wander over to Harbourside. If you fancy a bite on the cheap, hook into Blue Fish for a $10 fish and chips. For something more luxe, try Hurricane’s Grill & Bar for steaks that’ll satisfy even the hungriest Darling Harbour explorer.

For some more great outdoor activities, The Rocks have a list of some of the best outdoor parks in the area!