The delights of Darling Harbour, Sydney

Guest Post for ihearttravel

Darling Harbour is one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitian areas of Sydney. Situated on the western fringe of the Central Business District, Darling Harbour is a recreational haven. If you staying in one of the many Sydney hotels and are looking for a good night out, you are guaranteed to find it here.

The area encompasses Sydney’s Chinatown, so Chinese influences are everywhere. An oasis of calm in the middle of the city is the Chinese Garden of Friendship, which is designed to reflect the private gardens of the Ming dynasty. The garden was designed by Sydney’s sister city of Guangzhou and is a fascinating display of Chinese heritage and culture. The Dragon Wall is the undoubted highlight here as it symbolises the friendship between the two cities. The Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance should also not be missed, whilst sampling traditional Chinese tea at The Tea House is the perfect tonic before you venture back out into the city.

If you fancy sampling a range of local produce, you should head to Paddy’s Market. The Haymarket branch of this commercial venture is located in Darling Harbour and is a bustling flea market with a vast array of goods on offer. Here, you can experience the hustle and bustle of local life as you pick up some tourist items. Paddy’s Market is located in Market City, a large shopping centre with food courts, boutiques, shops and a cinema. The shops here aren’t of the sort to make those staying in the many Dubai hotels that contain their own luxurious shopping malls jealous but they are nevertheless full of character and bargains.

For those who crave entertainment whilst they shop, the Harbourside Shopping Centre will answer your prayers. As well as containing a grand choice of retail outlets, it also includes a bowling alley, a laser war zone and Australia’s first retail jet-Flight simulator. Meanwhile, the Sydney Entertainment Centre (SEC) is one of the city’s largest concert venues where the world’s great performers can be seen live. Sporting events also take place here, particularly basketball as it is the home of the Sydney Kings.

Sydney Aquarium and Star City Casino are also based in the Darling Harbour area meaning that there is something for everyone in this part of the city. It is extremely easy to get to as the Sydney Monorail serves the CBD, so if you fancy a good time, whatever the time of day, the harbour area is the place for you.