Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

Aquarium in Darling Harbour & Pyrmont

Image by Andrew Holt Getty Images

As well as regular wall-mounted tanks and ground-level enclosures, this impressive complex has two large pools that you can walk through – safely enclosed in Perspex tunnels – as an intimidating array of sharks and rays pass overhead. Other highlights include clownfish (g'day, Nemo!), platypuses, moon jellyfish (in a disco-lit tube), sea dragons and the swoon-worthy finale: the two-million-litre Great Barrier Reef tank.

The aquarium's two dugongs were rescued after washing up orphaned on Queensland beaches. Attempts to return them to the wild failed, so the Dugong Island enclosure was built to house them. As sad as it is to see such large marine mammals in captivity, it offers a fascinating and rare opportunity to get close to them.

Needless to say, kids love this place; arrive early to beat the crowds. It's cheaper to book online, and there are various combo deals with other attractions run by the same company, including the zoo and Madame Tussauds.