Novotel darling harbour staycation

Our Novotel Staycation at Darling Harbour

Novotel darling harbour staycation

This weekend we were lucky enough to be invited by Novotel to take a ‘Staycation’ at the Novotel Darling Harbour. We live around 50 minutes away on Sydney’s Northern Beaches but we have always wanted to do a city weekend.  We jumped at the chance when it was offered.

Day 1

For our staycation, Novotel Darling Harbour gave us interconnecting family rooms for the night, and a 5 pm check out on Sunday. They also provided a voucher to enjoy their new restaurant, The Ternery, overnight parking and a full buffet breakfast. We were very spoilt (in fact I struggled to get Zali to leave her life of luxury!)

Staycation activity- SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

We headed into the city on Saturday morning for a complimentary family trip to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, thanks to Merlin Entertainment Group. The kids had a blast! Tully has never been to SEA LIFE so she was beside herself with just how much there was to do. We saw fish, sharks and their famous dugongs (sooo cool!)

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Novotel Darling Harbour StaycationWe also got to play with their new Art Aquarium- where the kids create their own sea creature drawings. These are scanned in and displayed in a massive digital aquarium, where they ‘swim’. This was seriously the highlight (along with the dugongs) for the toddler and the teens alike. The teens tried to play it cool for a while and didn’t want to participate. Five minutes later they were in and drawing- I couldn’t get them to leave!

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Novotel Darling Harbour Staycation

After the Aquarium we headed over to the water park and the rides to catch up with some friends for some lunch and a play. It was hot so it was lovely playing in the water. Plus we snuck in a go on the carousel and the teacups (just because we could!). After all this fun it was time to head over to the hotel to check in!

Novotel darling harbour staycation

Checking in to Novotel Darling Harbour

We arrived at the Novotel Darling Harbour for our ‘Staycation’ and checked in quickly and easy- the staff we so lovely. They gave us two rooms on the very top floor- the view was amazing! We had a queen size bed, plus a rollaway for Tully, and next door the teens had two double beds. Tahrin was excited about the fact he had never slept alone in a double bed before (poor deprived child!)

Our view looked at Darling Harbour and everyone was excited that there was going to be fireworks over the harbour for the opening of the Sydney Festival. Tully only saw fireworks for the first time on New Year’s Eve so it was a big deal. We settled in and unpacked for some quiet time before dinner and then a delicious plate of strawberry treats was sent up to the room- yum!! They were certainly treating us well!

Novotel Darling Harbour Staycation Novotel Darling Harbour 2

Novotel Darling Harbour- The Ternery

The food at the Ternery Restaurant was fantastic- they have a great range of meals, including a grill section and an Asian section for those looking for variety. They also have a good kid’s menu. Not only that but the food for Tully took under 10 minutes to arrive. They know how to tame the wild beast! Breakfast was unbelievable- it was a full buffet with so much food there wasn’t a surface free! Check out some of our dinner and breakfast choices!

Ternery Restaurant Novotel Darling Harbour Staycation

Day 2

Staycation activity- WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

On Sunday it was time to hit the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo with tickets they had kindly provided. We met up with some friends and toured the zoo together. It was a rainy day and the animals were in top form! They were right up near the windows and we could get so close to them. The croc was the most amazing animal we saw- he was right up at the glass and we could see everything!

wild life sydney zoo / Novotel Darling Harbour / StaycationBecause we didn’t have to check out until 5 pm on Sunday we had plenty of time to hang around after the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Neil and I headed off to the IMAX with Tully to see Penguins of Madagascar while the teens went back to the hotel room to watch a movie and relax. After that, we headed off to China Town for a late lunch/ early dinner before our 5 pm checkout.

It was unanimous that this was one of our favourite family trips. It turns out that we only had to go 50 minutes from home to a place I used to walk past every day at work! There was something for everyone which was great as often the teens get stuck doing things a two-year-old wants to do!

If you love a Staycation in the city check out this guide to successful city breaks with kids!

To book a ‘Staycation’ of your own head to


To check out SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium visit and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo visit

3 thoughts on “Our Novotel Staycation at Darling Harbour

  1. David Hawkins

    That sounds amazing… and relaxing! Glad you all got to have time away in your own city. There are so many touristy things here in Melbourne that I’ve never seen; too busy doing the living thing!
    I am in total awe at the Art Aquarium. I want MY fishy drawing to come to life on a giant screen. Oh yeah, and for Little E too.

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