If you think you know all there is to know about Sydney, think again! Nestled among the icons, usually beaches, harbour views and world-class dining experiences, there awaits a wealth of must-do secrets and surprises. Some require serious digging – others are hidden in plain sight. Our team of creative Concierge have found them all for you to see. We have put together an insiders guide to sensational Sydney. Read on for our picks of the city's best kept secrets; each with its own story to tell and conveniently located within the vicinity of PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney.
Explore our local Darling Harbour precint on foot and download a Darling Harbour map.
Messina - The Star
A delicious treat without the guilt. Ready made ingredients such as colouring, flavourings and preservatives have no place at Messina. You will only find real, delicious, ingredients in their desserts. With over 40 flavours to choose from at any one time, this is a great place to treat yourself.
Address: The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, 2009
Opening hours: Daily from 11:00am to 11:00pm
Telephone: +61 2 9571 1918
Website: Gelato Messina at The Star
I'm Free Walking Tours
Get a free insider tour of Sydney by locals and discover the city's history, culture and natural beauty. Choose from a Sydney sights tour or The Rocks evening tour. Three tours are run daily - rain, hail or shine and no bookings are necessary.
Opening Hours: Daily (except Christmas Day)
Website: I'm Free Walking Tours
Dr Chau Chak Wing Building - UTS
Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is home to the University of Technology (UTS) Business School. Completed in 2015, this is the first building in Australia to be designed by Frank Gehry - one of the world's most influential architects.
The building is named after the Australian-Chinese businessman and philanthropist who donated AUD20 million to the project.
Spectacular both inside and out, the building achieved great technical feats including its undulating brickwork. The light coloured bricks (around 320,000 in total) were custom made for the building. Another key feature of the building is its 20,000-litre tank on the roof, which harvests rainwater for use in toilets and for irrigation, reducing potable water use.
Visit Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, only a short walk from PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney.
Sail on America's Yacht
For the ultimate thrill, get onboard with the America' Cup Racing Experience. Take the helm or sit back and enjoy the ride. The duration of this experience is 2.5 hours.
Details: Departs Darling Harbour every day (except for Wednesday).
Telephone: 1300 670 008
Website: America's Cup Sailing Experience
The Barber Shop
Whether you're needing a trim or wanting a gin, this place is sure to impress. A Barber shop by day, transforms into a cocktail bar at night. Enter via the Barber Shop on York St and you will find this hidden gem.
Address: 89 York Street, Sydney
Opening hours: Barber services are provided six days a week from 8:00am until 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am until 4:00pm on Saturday. The Barber shop cocktail bar opens from 4:00pm.
Telephone: +61 2 9299 9699
Website: The Barber Shop
Darling Quarter Playground
Experience the vibrant side of life at one of Darling Harbour's entertainment and dining precincts. Take your kids to play in the free spectacular interactive playgrounds, while you revel in a selection of cafés, restaurants and bars. Special events are held throughout the year including free outdoor movie screenings.
Website: Darling Quarter
A recreation of the 1836 shoreline, with six hectares of foreshore park and harbour views, Barangaroo is now open to the public for the first time in 100 years. It is an important figure in Sydney's history honouring the Gadigal ancestors and the indegenous foundations.
Head to Barangaroo for a picnic, a bike ride, self guided walks or simple soak up the view. Only a short 20 minutes walk from the hotel, straight down Sussex Street.
Read more on Barangaroo Reserve.
Chinese Garden of Friendship
Much more than a city garden! A harmonious garden with waterfalls, lakes, exotic plants and hidden pathways. All within walking distance from our hotel. Enjoy the live Koi carp feedings at 11:30am daily and Chinese tea and dim sum. Guided tours available 10:30am and 2:30pm but spaces are limited.
Opening hours: Daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm (except Good Friday and Christmas Day).
Telephone: +61 2 9240 8888
Website: Chinese Garden of Friendship
Sydney Fish Market
With the freshest seafood on offer, the market is a working port, retail outlet and is also home to one of the finest cooking schools in Sydney.
Head to Sydney Fish Market to attend Sydney Seafood School and learn from a host of reowned Sdyney chefs, who'll teach you the fine art of cooking. From group classes to individual experiences, this is a fun alternative to dinner reservations.
Only a short taxi ride from the hotel, located on Blackwattle Bay.
Address: Bank St and Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont, 2009
Opening hours: Daily from 7:00am to 4:00pm
Telephone: +61 2 9004 1100
Website: Sydney Fish Market