Located on the western outskirts of Sydney city, Darling Harbour is located on Cockle Bay and stretches from Market Street to Chinatown and around the other side of the bay. Home to a number of major hotels and holiday accommodation providers, as well as the Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour is also home to a number of major attractions including Sydney Aquarium, the Chinese Gardens and the IMAX Theatre.
Sydney's Aquarium is one of the best in the world and is home to over 150m of clear walkways which pass underwater, giving you a unique perspective on the sharks and fish as they swim around you. There are also a fantastic array of exhibits and over 5000 animals from more than 350 species including the platypus, a unique Australian animal that is rarely seen even in the wild. There are also freshwater and saltwater crocodiles, huge sharks, stingrays, fairy penguins, seals, plenty of tropical fish and an amazing Great Barrier Reef coral exhibit.
The IMAX Theatre features the biggest movie screen in the world at a whopping eight storeys high. Showing spectacular documentaries and films on nature, the 45-minute movies are screened on rotation every hour from 10 am to 10 pm.
The Chinese Gardens are a stunning natural escape from the city on the fringes of Chinatown. A sweeping, walled enclave home to trees, stone statues, Chinese pavilions and large ponds of ornamental carp, the gardens were a gift from the province of Guangdong to its sister state of New South Wales.
Chinatown itself is a vibrant community of authentic shops, supermarkets and restaurants selling everything from embroidery, figurines, jewellery and herbal medicines and is just a short stroll from Darling Harbour. The fresh produce is of high quality and competition is fierce so prices are excellent, meaning you can even try traditional delicacies such as lobster, abalone and shark fin.
In the west of Darling Harbour, the Harbourside Market Place is alive with local produce, cafes and restaurants and is close to the Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum, the largest museum in Australia. Offering plenty of hands on exhibits, this is a popular attraction with families on holiday.
Conveniently, a monorail loops around the city and harbour connecting the CBD with Darling Harbour's west. Operating from 7 am, the rail services at 5 minute intervals with Pitt, Market and Park Streets the most convenient stops.