Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Having a great time at Darling Habour, Sydney, Australia

A few posts back (my post on October 27th 2007 to be exact) I wrote about interesting places to visit in Sydney, Australia. Here's a bit more info on places to visit in Sydney, focusing on one of the city's most popular arts, entertainment, shopping and leisure spot, Darling Harbour.

Darling Harbour is a modern leisure area on the waterfront to the west of the city. It was developed in the 1980's from a previous dockland region. Here you will find the country's largest cinema screen — eight storeys high — at the Imax Theatre. Lying north of it is the Sydney Aquarium and the more recent Sydney Wildlife World. Sydney Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world with more than 5000 different Australian fish displayed in their natural habitats. Visitors can "walk on the ocean floor" through 145 metres (480 ft) of acrylic underwater tunnels. The aquarium is open 9.30am-9pm daily, with the last admission at 8pm. Just a short walk south is the Chinese Garden with its serpentine paths and placid pools.

There are plenty of shops within the wonderful Harbourside shopping complex, with restaurants lining the beautiful waters edge. The huge Sydney Entertainment Centre lies at the southeastern edge of Darling Harbour. And of course, not forgetting the all-important Darling Harbour hotels which you'd be spoilt for choices to choose from for places to stay.

Crossing to the west, the Powerhouse Museum offers a look into its current exhibitions which range from fashion to cutting edge technology. At Harbourside's northern end lies the Australian National Maritime Museum. This is sited by the water at Darling Harbour and contains exhibits chronicling Australia's maritime history. Darling Harbour also features the new Sydney Art Gallery housing a magnificent display of Australian artwork, and is open daily between 9.00am - 5.00pm.

There are wide promenades and large swards of green where people can relax, and there are the occasional street performances as well as organised concerts and other activities. For the kids there are always the carnival rides at the eastern end.

Of an evening head to Star City which is home to the large Sydney Casino. It also features 2 theatres, a nightclub, the Star City hotel, a fitness centre and plenty of shopping outlets and restaurants. It is in Pyrmont to the Northwest of Darling Harbour. Opposite the harbourside is a new eating and drinking area called Cockle Bay Wharf which also offers great nightlife. There is a full range of stylish restaurants, al fresco cafes, bars and clubs. Cockle Bay Wharf has life and atmosphere during the day and the evening, and is a great place to simply relax amongst friends.

Darling Harbour also hosts some fabulous Water Screen displays during the evening, which are a magnificent blend of music and laser images projected onto water fountains. These are held from Wednesday to Sunday on the half hour (depending on the season and weather).

The wonderful and colourful Paddy's Markets are also held near Darling Harbour on the corner of Hay and Thomas Streets, every Thursday - Sunday. Nearby is also the Sydney Fish Market where there is definitely plenty to choose from.

Two more places you can consider to stay in are Ibis Hotel and The Four Points by Sheraton, both located within the Darling Harbour area. Ibis Hotel has 256 hotel accommodation rooms together with iBistro restaurant, iBar and overlooks Darling Harbour and the city skyline. The Four Points is Australia's largest hotel, boasting 630 rooms including 45 suites. It is located within Sydney's central business district and just a short walk from the Pitt Street Mall, Queen Victoria Building and Chinatown.

Whatever it is you plan to do at Darling Harbour, make sure it's an enjoyable and memorable one!

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