Destination Darling Harbour
Sydney Harbour is a world class boating destination and offers a tremendous variety of different ways to enjoy your boat. One of the most convenient and action-packed spots is the Darling Harbour precinct. Why not take advantage for yourself?
Darling Harbour has a bustling restaurant scene, interesting attractions for the kids and a marina for easy access and safe overnighting. Get the low-down below.
The Sydney Harbour Marina is located in the south-eastern corner of Darling Harbour at Cockle Bay Wharf. It provides easy walking access to the Sydney CBD, Barangaroo, the new International Convention Centre (ICC) and the Star Casino.
Berthing is available for most vessel sizes but you’ll need to check that the marina has capacity for you on your desired date. Go to the Sydney Harbour Marina website to make a booking HERE or call them on 02 9211 5383.
Things to consider when berthing at Sydney Harbour Marina include:
- Vessel height – will you fit under the Pyrmont Bridge that bisects the waterway?
- Weekends are quite busy with party noise, especially in summer so don’t expect to get an early night if you’re staying on board.
- Berthing rates are reasonable when you consider what parking in the city costs (or cab fares). Electricity is extra if you want shore power.
2. PYRMONT BRIDGE OPENING
Pyrmont Bridge is a heritage listed swing bridge that crosses Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour and provides a pedestrian walkway from the Sydney CBD to Pyrmont. Approximately 12,000 people cross it every day.
The bridge is opened for marine traffic on Saturdays, Sundays and most public holidays (weather permitting) at 10.30 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm.
Boats leaving Cockle Bay after the 2015 Sydney International Boat Show. Credit: David Price
Outside these times, vessels over 7 metres in height must request a bridge opening in order to proceed into Cockle Bay.
The area often hosts events which means access can be restricted for larger vessels. To view the activities and events occurring at Darling Harbour, including events such as fireworks which may influence your visit, please review information at darlingharbour.com.
NOTE FOR PETROL VESSELS:
On days where fireworks are scheduled for display (including every Saturday night)
petrol fuelled vessels are not permitted on the marina.
Access to Cockle Bay during certain periods and events will be restricted to vessels less than 7 metres in height.
Select a date to view the Pyrmont Bridge Opening Times HERE
For more information and to book a specific bridge opening time view the NSW Property page HERE
According to one source, there are over 60 restaurants, cafes and bars surrounding Darling Harbour. Talk about being spoilt for choice!
Many boat owners I know berth at the marina and enjoy a sumptuous dinner at one of the nearby restaurants before returning to their boat to relax. One or two restaurants will even deliver your meals to the boat!
For the sake of clarity let’s divide them up into a few distinct areas.
“The Promenade” waterfront walk way starts at Cockle Bay and wends its way north past King Street Wharf to then become “Wulugul Walk” as it reaches Barangaroo. Along the way you will find:
Cockle Bay Wharf
- Tokio Hotel
- Nicks Seafood
- Blackbird Cafe
- Adria Bar
- Cafe del Mar Sydney
- Baia The Italian
- Hunter & Barrel
- Pontoon Bar
King Street Wharf / Lime Street
- Cargo Bar
- Casa Ristorante Italiano
- Manjits Wharf
- The Malaya
- Kobe Jones Sydney
- Wharf Teppanyaki
- Lal Qila Darling Harbour
- Steersons Steakhouse
- Meat District
- Beer Deluxe
- Bungalow 8
- Matt Moran’s Bea Restaurant at Barangaroo House
- Smoke Rooftop Bar at Barangaroo House
- Belles Hot Chicken
- Ume Burger
- Born by Tapavino
- Zushi Barangaroo
- Banksii Vermouth Bar & Bistro
- Muum Maam
- Lotus Barangaroo
- Cirrus Dining
If you follow The Promenade south around the bottom of Cockle Bay and then to the west, you walk past the newly constructed International Convention and Exhibition Centre (ICC) which is adjacent to the new Sofitel and the Harbourside shopping centre.
Another group of restaurants and cafe’s can be found here including:
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Cyren Bar and Grill (Seafood)
- Olivo Harbourside
- Toros Tapas & Bar
- Waterfront Grill
- Blue Fish Sydney
and a shopping centre style food court that even sports a McDonalds.
Surrounding Darling Harbour, visitors will find numerous big ticket attractions to spend time and hard-earned dollars on. You will feel slightly better about the entry prices when you remember that most of them are also educational in nature.
Australian National Maritime Museum
The Australian National Maritime Museum is Australia’s national centre for maritime collections, exhibitions, research and archaeology.
The museum presents a changing program of stimulating exhibitions and events to share Australia’s maritime history and connect the stories, objects, people and places that are part of our country’s narrative. They welcome over 850,000 visitors annually.
Vessels on display in the water include:
- Replica of Captain Cook’s HMB Endeavour
- Former RAN destroyer HMAS Vampire
- Former RAN patrol boat HMAS Advance
- Former RAN diesel electric submarine HMAS Onslow
More information about the museum’s exhibition and programs can be found at their website.
At the opposite end of the Pyrmont Bridge from the Maritime Museum you’ll find a group of attractions that will delight the kids and adults alike.
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
SEA LIFE takes its visitors on a fascinating tour of freshwater and marine life, inspiring and educating the next generation to love and conserve our planet’s aquatic creatures.
Aside from the wondrous underwater displays that you can spend hours browsing, have you ever wanted to know more about sharks?
Have you been curious about these beautiful creatures of the deep? Then consider a doing a guided dive at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. You will get some basic scuba training and then come face-to-fin with five species of shark in SEA LIFE Sydney’s Shark Dive Xtreme.
For more information, check out the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium website.
Wild Life Sydney Zoo
WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo offers an experience where you can meet all the iconic Australian animals in one place. Each day there’s a schedule of experiences, feedings and educational talks about the animals that will keep everyone intrigued! Everything from Kangaroos and Wallabies, Koala’s, Tassie Devils to Crocodiles and Lorikeets.
Find out more information at the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo website.
Madame Tussauds Sydney
Co-located with the Aquarium and Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney may be the only one in Australia but is one of 24 wax museums owned by their group. Madam Tussauds Sydney offers a range of interactive experiences including:
- History: includes Ned Kelly & Captain Cook
- World Leaders: includes Julia Gillard & The Royals
- Sports Legends: includes Cathy Freeman & Mark Webber
- MTV Music: includes Adele & Justin Bieber
- Marvel: includes Spiderman & Iron man
- Fashion: includes Elle Mcpherson & Megan Gale
- Film & TV: includes Marilyn Monroe & Steve Irwin
- Justice League: includes Superman, Wonder woman & Aquaman
- Party: includes Chris Hemsworth & Johnny Depp
Check out their website for more details.
Weekly Fireworks Display
Kicking off each Saturday at 8.30pm, people can enjoy the perfect finish to their dinner and entertainment at one of Sydney’s most glorious waterfront locations.
If you decide that you want to give the kids a treat, why not head in to Darling Harbour by boat next weekend for what can only be described as an inspiring display by the renowned Foti Fireworks team!
Author: Steve Williams
Video: Standen Group Marketing, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
Timelapse Video: David Price
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