Darling Harbour is a locality of the city centre of Sydney, Australia. It is situated on the western outskirts of the Sydney CBD.
Until the arrival of Europeans, the Cadigal people, the original inhabitants of the area around Sydney Cove, called Darling Harbour Tumbalong meaning place where seafood is found.
When Sydney was founded in 1788, the bay was called Long Cove because of its unusual length. The large shell middens left by generations of Cadigal people in the area soon saw the name Cockle Bay come into everyday use.
In 1826 the bay was again renamed, this time becoming Darling Harbour in honour of Governor Ralph Darling-Sydney's Governor at the time.
Darling Harbour is a modern leisure area on the waterfront to the west of the city. It was developed in the 1980's from a previous dockland region. There are plenty of shops within the wonderful Harbourside shopping complex,with restaurants lining the beautiful waters edge. An ideal place to laze the day away.
The Australian Maritime Museum, Chinese Garden of Friendship, Panasonic IMAX Theatre, Powerhouse Museum, an Outback Centre, Star City, the Sydney Aquarium and the Sydney Art Gallery are all located within Darling Harbour.
The Australia National Maritime Museum tells the maritime history, and has boats you can explore. Between 10.00am - 3.00pm you can even join a free guided tour, or if you are feeling adventurous join a cruise or take sailing lessons. The Powerhouse Museum present informative displays about history, science and technology of Australia. It is open from 10.00am - 5.00pm and is situated behind the Sydney Exhibition Centre.
Darling Harbour also features the new Sydney Art Gallery housing a magnificent display of Australian artwork, and is open daily between 9.00am - 5.00pm.
Sydney Aquarium has wonderful exhibitions as well as underwater tunnels where you can view various fish from all different parts of Australia.
If you'd prefer to relax the Chinese Garden of Friendship is a tranquil and beautiful setting with traditional Chinese gardens. Alternatively choose the amazing Panasonic IMAX Theatre which presents various 2D and 3D films.
Of an evening head to Star City which is home to the large Sydney Casino. It also features 2 theatres, a nightclub, a hotel, a fitness centre and plenty of shopping outlets and restaurants. It is in Pyrmont to the Northwest of Darling Harbour. Opposite the harbourside is a new eating and drinking area called Cockle Bay Wharf which also offers great nightlife. There is a full range of stylish restaurants, al fresco cafes, bars and clubs. Cockle Bay Wharf has life and atmosphere during the day and the evening, and is a great place to simply relax amongst friends.
Darling Harbour also hosts some fabulous Water Screen displays during the evening, which are a magnificent blend of music and laser images projected onto water fountains. These are held from Wednesday to Sunday on the half hour (depending on the season and weather).
The wonderful and colourful Paddy's Markets are also held near Darling Harbour on the corner of Hay and Thomas Streets, every Thursday - Sunday. Nearby is also the Sydney Fish Market where there is definitely plenty to choose from.
Just east of Darling Harbour, along Druitt Street, you will also find the Sydney Town Hall, and St Andrew's Cathedral. The 1888 Sydney Town Hall is a spectacular Victorian building which often holds free lunchtime concrets. St Andrews Cathedral hosts a number of interesting artifacts.
A great way to get to Darling Harbour and see the sights along the way is on the Monorail, which runs from various points across the city. There are also ferries from Circular Quay, and to Star City and the Casino.