Darling Harbour is a large recreational precinct that is situated on western outskirts of the Sydney central business district. The harbour is also known of something of an entertainment hotspot, despite not having the glitz or the glamour of its more famous counterpart around the corner.
My budget hotel (well, is there such thing as a “budget” hotel in Sydney?!) was situated in Darling Harbour and this was actually a really nice place to stay in the city. I can remember having a lot of trouble actually finding the harbour when I arrived from the airport – it took me maybe 40 minutes from the train station, and I got lost many times, but thankfully there was a nice tourist information lady willing to give me directions. I won’t forget lugging around a heavy backpack through downtown Sydney in the searing southern hemisphere heat in a hurry…
Most people know Sydney because of its famous harbour – known as Sydney Harbour, strangle enough – which is around 30 minutes walk from Darling Harbour through the CBD and the Rocks. It’s a nice walk, although it can get tiring doing it more than once in a day! There are options to use the Sydney Ferries from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour, although obviously this is not free. I did take the ferry once, and it was a really nice journey. The waterways of Sydney are amazing – and who wouldn’t love beginning their voyage by speeding past the iconic white ‘sails’ of the Opera House? Darling Harbour is more of a commercial harbour, with smaller yachts and even a battleship or two dominating the water, whereas Sydney Harbour, in its proximity to the Opera House and the Botanic Gardens, is a port of call for the myriad of large cruise ships and legions of international tourists.
It is at night, though, when Darling Harbour really comes into its own. The scene reminds me of Marina Bay in Singapore with all its glittering lights shimmering on the sill waters. The food and drink (and entertainment) options at Darling Harbour are also plentiful and you can have a great night out here, which was good for me, as my hotel was only a short walk away.