Although there are several bays, coves, and harbours throughout Sydney, Darling Harbour is one of Australia’s top destinations and a spot travellers won’t want to miss. The harbour is bustling with fun attractions and plenty of places to eat and stay. The following information details the rich history of Darling harbour, top attractions to experience while visiting, and great restaurants and hotels and accommodations to enjoy.
Location and History
Darling Harbour’s official address is Sydney NSW 2000, Australia and it’s connected to the heart of Sydney. Originally called Cockle Bay because of the seashells found there, it later got its namesake from Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling. In New South Wales, Darling was the governor from 1825 to 1831.
For years shipyards and factories lined the streets surrounding Darling Harbour. Many of those working in the area lived in the neighborhoods nearby including the Rocks and Millers Point. Over a generation ago these areas were considered riddled with poverty and difficult living conditions. After enduring many changes and trials, including the Bubonic Plague in 1900, the harbour was revitalized during the 1980s. Sydney’s Convention and Exhibition Centre is currently being renovated and is due to be completed in 2016.
Attractions and Activities
A good way to enjoy the harbour is to start out on the northern end visiting the Maritime Museum, which features both indoor and outdoor exhibits, and then making the journey to the Chinese Garden of Friendship on the southern end. The Chinese Garden is a stunning display of gorgeous lagoons, abundant plant life, and even wildlife. Between these two attractions visitors with children need to stop at the Darling Quarter Playground. There are water games, ropes, swings, and slides for kids of all ages. A few other must-see attractions along the way include the Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and the Imax Theater.
Finally, visiting Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a boat ride through the harbour. Options include leisurely cruises or a ride on a jet boat. Water taxis are also available that can take tourists under the beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge to places such as the Opera House or Circular Quay. It will take more than one day to visit and thoroughly enjoy all there is to see and do along Darling Harbour.
There are several restaurants with original and delicious food to choose from in Darling Harbour. Hurricane’s Grill is a reasonably priced eatery featuring pork and beef ribs and steaks. The Zaaffran is one of Sydney’s top Indian restaurants, offering not only delicious food but brilliant presentation. George’s, featuring Mediterranean food and a variety of other top notch choices, is a great place to dine when looking for both fantastic food and great views of the Sydney CBD.
Hotels and Accommodation
Accommodations on or near Darling Harbour include a variety of hotels, short stay apartments, and long term apartments. Upscale hotels on the harbour include the Novotel Hotel, Park Royal Hotel, and Ibis Hotel. There are also several options available for short term stays in apartments along the harbour. Sydney Serviced Apartments Rental offer fully furnished apartments and start out at $79 a night for a studio apartment. One bedroom apartments with a view start at $145 a night. Residences providing luxury accommodations, such as the Astral Tower and Residences at the Star, are normally priced in the $500 to $1,000 range. There are discounts and a variety of prices for different types of rooms.
Enjoy your time in Sydney and make sure you experience Darling Harbour. A must see when visiting Sydney!