SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is a huge tourist draw for families and solo travelers alike.
It showcases more than 700 species of sea creatures, including sharks, dugongs, rays, tropical fish, etc. – a true reflection of the waters around the Australian shores.
It has 100 meters (328 feet) long ocean-tunnel walk-through.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know before visiting the Sydney Aquarium.
How to reach Sydney Aquarium
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium stands right in the heart of Sydney and is located on the city side of Darling Harbour.
The Aquarium’s central location makes it an ideal place for tourists visiting Sydney.
The Aquarium is at 1-5 Wheat Road, Sydney NSW 2000. Directions
If you plan to visit the Sydney Aquarium by ferry, you travel by the public ferry services to Darling Harbour.
A ferry departs every half an hour from Circular Quay Wharf 5.
Other ferry operators include Manly Fast Ferry and Captain Cook Cruises.
One of the advantages of traveling by ferry is the stunning views of the Sydney Harbour which you get to see.
If you decide to travel by train, get down at Town Hall Station.
Then walk towards Market Street and continue walking West, down the hill towards the Darling Harbour.
You can also get down from the train at Wynyard station and head towards King Street and walk downhill to reach your destination.
If you are riding the Big Bus Sydney to reach the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, get down at the stop on Wheat road under the footbridge.
If you are riding any other bus service, get down at any stop near the Market Street or King Street and walk on foot down the hill to reach the Darling Harbour.
Sydney Aquarium Parking
If you are traveling by car, the Sydney Aquarium provides you with several parking options nearby.
Get your parking ticket validated at the Aquarium’s gift shop while exiting the Aquarium and save money in the process.
However, if you don’t want to drive your own car, you can book an Uber or taxi and ask the driver to drop you at the rear of Cockle Bay Wharf or at the King Street Wharf.
Sydney Aquarium hours
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is open for 7 days a week.
The Sydney Aquarium hours vary by season and can change because of special exhibitions or events.
Following are the regular hours and the school holiday hours of the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium –
Monday to Sunday: 10 am to 6 pm
Last entry to the Aquarium is at 5 pm.
School holiday hours
The Sydney Aquarium has different times for April, i.e., the school holiday hours.
The Aquarium opens half an hour early.
Monday to Sunday: 9.30 am to 6 pm
The last entry to the Aquarium is at 5 pm.
Best time to visit Sydney Aquarium
The best time to visit the Sydney Aquarium and see all the beautiful marine life is in the morning.
Get to the Sydney Aquarium by 10.30 am in the morning or reach there after 3 pm – the second best time to visit.
If you want to avoid crowds and long queues at the ticket counter, it will be best to avoid visiting the Aquarium during the weekends and school holidays.
Some of the smaller aquarium displays are difficult to watch and enjoy when it is crowded.
If you must go during the weekends or school holidays, it is best to keep some time at hand for the long queues especially if you are visiting with kids.
When you buy Sydney Aquarium tickets online, you save some time by avoiding the long lines at the ticketing counter.
How long does Sydney Aquarium take
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the World.
It is home to over 13,000 marine creatures from 700 different species.
The journey through all the different zones of the Sydney Aquarium can take between 90 minutes to 2 hours.
However, if you are traveling with a couple of kids, you may even end up spending three hours.
Sydney Aquarium tickets are timed
You need to arrive at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium within the time mentioned on your ticket.
For example, if your booking is for the 11.15 -11.30 slot, you must arrive within this time slot.
Once you are inside the Sydney Aquarium, you can stay inside for as long as the tourist attraction is open.
If you don’t arrive during these 15 minutes, you may have to wait a while.
You will be given a chance to enter the aquarium at the next available opportunity.
Sydney Aquarium discount
Many tourists end up searching for Sydney Aquarium’s cheap tickets.
This is because, at 46 AUD per adult ticket (16+ years), Sydney Aquarium’s ticket prices are slightly on the higher side.
Here are ticket prices of two more Sydney attractions for comparison:
Sydney Tower Eye @ 29 AUD per adult
Sydney Opera House Tour @ 42 AUD per adult.
This is the reason why tourists end up looking for ways to get a Sydney Aquarium discount.
Worry not, for here are the four ways to get a discount at Sea Life Aquarium.
When you buy Sydney Aquarium tickets online, you pay 20% less.
Yes, that’s right.
When you don’t buy tickets in advance and end up buying them at the Aquarium you also pay what’s known as ticketing window surcharge (the cost of having a ticket window and a person to manage it). Buy now and save money
On regular Sydney Aquarium tickets, kids below 3 get a 100% discount – that is, they can enter for free.
Children aged 4-15 get almost 30% discount on the adult ticket.
Discount through combo tickets
The best way to get a discount while visiting Sydney Aquarium is by buying a combo ticket, which includes access to a few other attractions.
These combo tickets help get discounts of up to 60% on the value of the individual tickets.
Let’s understand this in detail.
Here are the adult ticket prices for four of the top Sydney attractions –
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium: 46 AUD
Sydney Tower: 29 AUD
Wild Life Sydney Zoo: 44 AUD
Madame Tussaud Sydney: 44 AUD
If you were to buy them individually, it would have cost you 163 AUD.
However, if you buy a combo ticket which includes access to all the above attractions, it will only cost you 70 AUD.
You will end up saving 93 AUD – a saving of almost 57%.
These combo tickets are perfect for first-time visitors in Sydney.
If you want to include the Harbor Cruise as well, go for this combo ticket.
Sydney Aquarium tickets
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium tickets are valid for 1 day and showcase some of the most beautiful sea creatures of the World including Grey Nurse Sharks, Little Penguins, Sting Rays, Seahorses, and Dugongs.
Enjoy interactive exhibitions with experts, storytelling sessions by aquarists and special light showcases which provide an incredibly unique experience.
It is essential to know that queues can get really long during weekends and school holidays.
If you want to avoid standing in long queues to get tickets, you should consider booking your tickets online and save up to 20%.
Sydney Aquarium prices
Adult ticket (16+ years): 46 AUD
Child Ticket (4-15 years): 33 AUD
Infants 3 years and below can enter for free.
What to see at Sydney Aquarium
The Sydney Aquarium has various zones which makes it an informative and exciting trip for everybody in the family.
1. Day and Night on the Reef
Day and Night on the Reef is the brand new zone in the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium where you will witness the largest exhibit of the Great Barrier reef.
It is uniquely designed to recreate the reef transitioning through night and day which creates a visually interactive experience like never before.
The exhibit showcases over 500 sea creatures including jellyfish, tropical fish, turtles etc.
The zone also recreates the phenomenon of bio-luminescence through an interactive light show.
2. Penguin Expedition
The Sydney Aquarium’s Penguin expedition is a ride which will take you close to the Aquarium’s King and Gentoo Penguin colonies.
You will get a chance to witness Penguins sliding and swimming mere meters away from your eight person raft.
3. Shark Valley
Take the adventure to the next level by walking over some of the biggest Aquarium sharks of the World including Grey Nurse Sharks.
Journey deep into the valley to face some of the most fearsome species of Sharks including the huge Queensland Groper.
4. Dugong Island
This unique exhibit showcases the beautiful mammalian herbivore also known as Dugong.
Some legends claim that they were mistaken for mermaids by sailors when they first arrived at the Australian waters.
The exhibit also includes other creatures like the White Spotted Eagle Rays and various other species of sharks.
5. Discovery Rockpool
The Discovery Rockpool helps you make startling discoveries.
Have an exciting time in the Rockpool where you will be able to see and touch amazing creatures like sea stars, corals, shells, shark eggs, etc.
The Aquarium’s experts guide you through the experience.
6. South Coast Shipwreck
This exhibit showcases the creatures native to the Southern seas and is primarily known for its Little Penguin colony.
This exhibit is set in the beached shipwreck environment.
Some of the other creatures you might witness in this exhibit zone are Port Jackson Sharks and Moon Jellies.
7. Sydney Harbour
The Sydney Harbour Zone of the Sydney Aquarium is home to over 600 species of fishes native to the most iconic harbor in the World.
This exhibit recreates the mesmerizing World that lies beneath the harbor.
It shows how vital the harbor is in maintaining the ecological balance of the Sydney coastline.
Some of the creatures that you will see in this zone are Silver Sweeps, Cuttlefish, Mado, etc.
8. Jurassic Seas
This exhibit transports you to the old World – into the depths of the ocean where you will get to watch mysterious living fossils.
Jurassic Seas lets you understand evolution and discover unique species such as Nautilus, Lungfish, and Peacock Mantis Shrimp.
Sydney Aquarium Shark Dive
At the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, you can actually swim with the sharks.
In fact, it is one of the few places in the World where you can book an underwater experience with sharks.
What is Shark Dive Xtreme?
Shark Dive Xtreme at the Sydney Aquarium can be experienced with no previous diving experience. Book Your Dive
You will scuba dive into a tank full of sharks and other sea life.
Dives run up to 4 times per day with a maximum of 5 people per dive.
The duration of the Sydney Aquarium Shark Dive is 30 minutes.
This experience is available only for guests of 14 years and above.
This activity is very much in demand, so book early to avoid disappointment.
What do you encounter?
The Shark Dive allows you to swim with fantastic Grey Nurse Sharks, up to 3 meters (10 feet) long.
You will be diving with them without any cages.
You will also have the company of Sydney’s varied local marine life including massive stingrays (and we mean MASSIVE), Port Jackson Sharks, Wobbegong Sharks and hundreds of fantastic sea creatures.
What will be provided?
The following things will be provided during your Shark Dive –
First, you will be given an introduction to scuba diving.
After your training session is completed, you will be provided with all the dive equipment and wetsuit.
This preparation stage usually takes 90 minutes.
After you finish your dive, you will be awarded an ‘I dived and survived’ Shark Dive Xtreme certificate.
When you book a Shark Dive ticket, full day admission to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is included.
Sydney Aquarium map
The Sydney Aquarium is a vast area with multiple dynamic zones.
To explore it well and to save your time, it is better to know the location of the exhibits.
Besides the exhibits, a map of the Aquarium will also help you find visitor services like washrooms, restaurants, elevators, souvenir shops, etc.