On the water
What’s in a name?
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the original inhabitants of the area around Sydney Cove (the Cadigal people), called Darling Harbour Tumbalong, which literally means ‘place where seafood is found’. Simple enough. Then 1826 rolled around and the bay was renamed Darling Harbour in honor of Governor Ralph Darling, Sydney’s Governor at the time (snooze, I like the old name better).
Development time? By the mid 1970s, Darling Harbour was not ‘the place to be’ as it was ton of empty warehouses and rarely used train tracks, showing signs of its 150 years of industrial use.
A series of redevelopment projects began, the largest and most impressive was when more than $1.5 billion worth of private and public investment funds were spent to prepare Darling Harbour for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. This renovation is what made it the premium waterfront destination it is today.
Lots to see and do
Darling Harbour just about has it all and is home to the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney Aquarium, IMAX Theatre, Sydney Wildlife World and Powerhouse Museum, it offers some of the finest museums and attractions in Australia. They also host a yearlong calendar of outdoor events including New Year’s Eve, Australia Day celebrations in January, the Hoopla Acrobatics and Street Theatre Festival in April, the Darling Harbour Jazz & Blues Festival in June and Fiesta in October.
The area offers a diverse selection of Australian and international cuisine from fine dining to cheap eats and positioned along the spectacular waterfront promenades of Harbourside, Cockle Bay Wharf (where I tried kangaroo, which tasted like steak) and King Street Wharf. One cool thing about bars in Sydney is that they have to serve food in order to serve alcohol, so they have really great food for cheap prices.
Another item to check out at Darling Harbour is the Chinese Garden of Friendship – a ‘haven of peace and tranquility’ in the heart of Sydney.