Darling Harbour Sydney


One of those rags to riches places, Darling Harbour, following a complete redesign and overhaul in the 1980s, is now home to some of Sydney's premier attractions. A little clinical for some tastes, this purpose built visitor magnet is awash with ideas for days out, and places to grab a bite to eat.




Even getting to Darling Harbour can be an interesting adventure: pedestrian access is via a series of bridges which help you to avoid the sometimes perilous Sydney traffic, and also span parts of the harbour area itself.


For those who prefer a more sedentary conveyance, the futuristic monorail will pick you up in the CBD and take a first floor glide into the Harbour and drop you at any one of a number of stops. Set amongst contemporary sculptures from award winning artists are a series of museums and entertainment venues which will probably have you making at least one return visit to the Harbour.


One of the most popular destinations is the Powerhouse Museum - 500 Harris St, Ultimo, Tel: (02) 9217 0111, Fax: (02) 9217 0333, http://www.phm.gov.au/  - so called because it is set in a cavernous former power station. Covering a broad sweep from fashion to music to the space race, the curators of this museum have really blown away any preconceptions that people might have about museums and have put together some innovative, stylish and engaging displays, without forgetting that those walking out the exit should know something that they didn't when they handed their coat in at the cloak room.


A model for museums around the world, prices are pretty good too at $AUD 8, $AUD 2 for children and $AUD 3 concessions. There is also a family option for $AUD 18, and the first Saturday of every month is free to all.


Another quality museum is the, not quite so snappily named, Australian National Maritime Museum. A nation that was born of the sea, be it the Aboriginal settlement estimated by some at around 50,000 years ago, to the European settlement in 1788, this museum seeks to put Australian history against a nautical background. It is worth taking one of the free tours to fully appreciate the stories that are to be told by the naval destroyer and racing yachts that are on display here.


Sticking with the oceanic theme, another perennial favourite is the Sydney Aquarium (http://www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/), Pyrmont Bridge, Darling Harbour, Tel: (02) 9262 2300, Fax: (02) 9290 3553, E-mail: [email protected] , home to all manner of aquaticlife. From the seals to the tropical fish to the mean looking sharks, this is a must-see attraction, especially if your visit to Australia does not allow you to take in the reefs off the Queensland or Western Australian coasts. Prices are $AUD 16.50, $AUD 8 for children or $AUD 39.50 for a family. Concessions weigh in at $AUD 12.00.


If you prefer your fish on a plate, the Sydney Fish Markets, cnr Pyrmont Bridge Road and Bank Street, offer an opportunity to try and buy great tasting fresh fish landed daily. These guys know what they are doing with the catch, and if you want to sample some varieties that you have maybe not tried before, the cafes and restaurants at the Markets are an ideal choice. It is worth getting there early though, the catch is landed here around 5.30am and proceedings normally wrap up around 5 hours later.


Finally, after a hectic day in and around the Harbour, the Chinese Garden, south east corner of the Harbour, just opposite the Pumphouse Tavern, is the perfect place to unwind. It also offers a welcome change from the visually impressive but slightly souless architecture of Darling Harbour. Sectioned off into exotic sounding areas like "The Lake of Brightness" and the "Courtyard of the Welcoming Fragrance", this is a great place to kick back and relax. Entry is just $2.00.








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