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Darling Harbour is a vibrant harborside neighborhood in Sydney, Australia. It is largely pedestrianized and lies between Chinatown in the south, King Street Wharf in the east, and Pyrmont in the west. Cockle Bay is a waterway in the heart of Darling Harbour that connects to the larger Port Jackson (or Sydney Harbour) in the north.
It lies within walking distance of the Sydney Central Business District and is one of the city’s biggest entertainment districts. There are numerous restaurants, hip nightclubs, bars, and a massive movie theater. In addition, Darling Harbour is also home to two of Sydney’s most popular tourist attractions: Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World. It doesn't stop there though; there are many more attractions and entertainment centers in Darling Harbour.
HistoryThe area of present-day Darling Harbour has been the border between the Wangal and Gadigal tribes for more than 7,000 years. These two tribes were part of the Eora people who lived along the coast and used the harbor for food and transportation. They left the shells of seafood on the shores, which is why the first Europeans called the area ‘Cockle Bay’, a name that still exists today.
The first European fleets arrived in 1788 and everything changed forever. The Eora people continued to live along the shores until around 1840, but then got pushed away by the urban development of Sydney. The Darling Harbour area grew into a shipyard and its shores were turned into wharves. The Market Street Wharf, now the location of Sydney Aquarium, was built in the 1820s and is the only surviving 19th-century wharf. Industrialization meant more factories and trade and the place was bustling with activity by the mid-19th century. The Iron Wharf in Darling Harbour was a wonder of engineering at the time and used to be the world’s largest steel structure until the Eiffel Tower was built in Paris. The area remained prosperous until the First World War.
As was the case in many industrial regions around the world, Darling Harbour was hit hard by the Great Depression in the 1930s. The circumstances were so bad that a part of Darling Harbor became known as the ‘Hungry Mile’, because of large numbers of workmen that were looking for jobs on the wharves.
By the 1980s, all industry was gone in Darling Harbour and a 1984 redevelopment project brought the area back to life. The new and modern Darling Harbour was opened in 1888, during the bicentennial celebrations in Australia, by Queen Elizabeth II. The first attraction was Sydney Aquarium. Soon after, the district was packed with restaurants, shops, clubs, hotels, and museums.
In 2000, Darling Harbour was the setting for five Olympic sports during the Olympics that took place in Sydney.
The modern name of the district comes from the 1825-1831 governor of New South Wales, Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling.
Things to See and DoDarling Harbour has an enormous selection of entertainment, attractions, restaurants, and bars. Visitors can easily spend several days there. They can do a wide variety of activities, ranging from seeing marine life to gambling in casinos.
The offer is truly enormous, but there are several attractions that must be mentioned. The LG IMAX movie theater has the world’s largest movie screen. Seeing a movie there is literally a unique experience. Two of the most popular attractions are Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World. In addition, there is also the Darling Harbour Shopping Center, Sydney Entertainment Center, Madame Tussauds, Aboriginal Center, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center, and the Star Casino and Entertainment Complex. Add to that dozens and dozens of bars, cafés, restaurants, and nightclubs; it is easy to conclude that Darling Harbour is the beating heart of entertainment and nightlife in Sydney.
How to Get ThereIt takes about ten minutes to walk to Darling Harbour from the Sydney CBD. Visitors can also reach the harbor by bus, train, or ferry. All these types of public transport depart from Circular Quay, the main transportation center in Sydney, and from other destinations within the city.
Similar LandmarksAll of Australia’s major cities are located on the mouth of a river or at a natural harbor. Therefore, they all have some kind of harbor or marina. Port Jackson is the official name of Sydney Harbour and encompasses all of the smaller harbors, such as Darling Harbour.
Other major waterfront attractions in the world can be found in New York City, Stockholm, Venice, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Vancouver.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Oct 29, 2014