Day and Night on the Reef
Sea Life Sydney

The Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour is undoubtedly one of our favourite haunts; giant fish-tank plus kids is a sure winner! Well now (if like us you visit on the regular) you’ll notice that the ‘under construction’ section has finally been unveiled and what they’ve created is pretty darn spectacular.

In an ode to one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, and an environmental icon in need of some philanthropic TLC; the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium opened its Great Barrier Reef exhibit this past weekend. Day and Night on the Reef is a glow in the dark fish-fiesta like no other, presenting a unique look at what life is really like beneath the waves and on the sand.

I purposely dressed at least one of my three in neon just so I could watch the true day-glo quality of the exhibit and it did not disappoint. Plus he made a great beacon to follow through the darkness.

In a deep sea take on the hall of mirrors, prepare for the hall of jellyfish to take your breath away; step onto Moonlight Beach and roll with the waves a la Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach and watch the beautiful coral spawn “fireworks” with a wave of your hand at Firework Reef; this particular feature is designed to teach kids how coral reproduces and expands in the ocean only at night.

Embarking on this colourful journey will bring you face to face with the world’s largest coral garden and their rainbow-hued inhabitants by day and later a bioluminescent ocean that glows under visitors footsteps at night, creating a uniquely sensory experience for the whole family.

With so much in the way of interactive elements to engage your children’s interest and enthusiasm, there is plenty to discover in this brilliant exhibit. Denny absolutely loved Turtle Beach, watching the animated projection of adult turtles and their babies making their way from sand to sea as day turned into night. This particular element of the experience offers a glimpse into the life cycle of these incredible creatures.

In fact, this new experience is also home to the Aquarium’s beloved Green Sea, Flatback and Loggerhead turtles who were the first to move into the exhibit.

Turtles are certainly among the stars of the show with a giant turtle statue captivating my little adventurers, Noah especially. He couldn’t stop staring at this magnificent piece taking pride of place in amongst the shark-finned residents of the Reef. Said statue can be admired via the fabulous room length viewing window located at the end of the exhibit. Here is where you can really take it all in and appreciate the 500-plus creatures that inhabit the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. Plus it makes for a great photo op!

Aquariu Viewing Window

So once you’ve wondered through the Dugong pool, the underwater viewing tunnels, and of course the adorable Penguin cove, with awesome boat ride to boot; the fun isn’t over, as they’ve saved the best till last!

 What you need to know:


What: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Where: Darling Harbour, 1-5 Wheat Road (city side of Darling Harbour)

Tickets: You can buy a bundle deal, especially with the Summer holidays coming up, and get 4 Merlin attractions for $70/adult and $45/child. The Day and Night on the Reef experience is included in the price of your general admission. Free admission for kids under 4.

Getting There: Public ferry services to Darling Harbour depart from Circular Quay Wharf 5 about every half an hour. The Aquarium is a short walk from Town Hall or Wynyard stations; head for King Street from Wynyard or Market Street from Town Hall and then walk west downhill towards Darling Harbour.

Cheap Parking: There are a few options for parking located near to Darling Harbour, click this link to check them out. Wilson Parking Harbourside is $18 every day, while Darling Quarter car park is $13 on weekends.