With so much on offer, a trip to Darling Harbour can be stressful if you try to do too much. It is much more rewarding to choose two or three favourites and take the time to get the most from them.
There is perhaps nowhere else in Sydney that has as much going on as Darling Harbour. Only a ten minute walk from the Central Business District, it is packed with restaurants, bars, ice cream stands, street entertainers and shops, as well as some big-name attractions, and it would be easy to spend an entire day here.
The area was known as Long Cove until 1826, when the tyrannical governor of New South Wales at the time, Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Darling, modestly renamed it after himself. It became firmly established as the commercial port of Sydney, and during the Great Depression the eastern stretch of Darling Harbour was known as the “hungry mile”, after the countless men who wandered the wharves in search of work.
Fireworks, Waterfalls and Kangaroos
Today, the district bustles with life. People flock here to visit the shark-filled Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, as well as the Wild Life Sydney Zoo, which is home to crocodiles, cassowaries and kangaroos. Nearby is the LG IMAX theatre, which features the largest screen of any kind anywhere in the world. For those in search of something more peaceful, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is a great place to wander, with its waterfalls, lakes and secluded pathways. A perfect way to soak up the more relaxed side of the Darling Harbour atmosphere is simply to walk along the historic wharf and watch the ferries come in and out of the port. If you happen to find yourself on the harbour on the weekend, there is a fireworks display every Saturday at 8.30pm – the sight of shells bursting over the water on a calm night is stunning.
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