A few blocks from the QVB is the Darling Harbour – A lively and interactive urban centre. As one of the city’s largest dining, shopping and entertainment precincts, the area has a full calendar of outdoor events, as well as plenty of indoor activities and some fabulous places to stop and soak in the sun. With an open itinerary, we freely explored the area just to enjoy the vibe and its surroundings.
We chanced upon a garden adjacent to the harbor called the Chinese Garden of Friendship. It is a tranquil haven filled with waterfalls, lakes, exotic plants and hidden pathways. Modeled on the typical private gardens of the Ming Dynasty, the garden offers an insight into Chinese heritage and culture. The whole garden cannot be seen from any point within the garden. It has a number of features including the Dragon Wall symbolizing the bond between New South Wales and Guangzhou, the Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance, the Twin Pavilion and The Tea House that offers traditional Chinese tea and other refreshments.
Darling Quarter Playground was also at bay to keep the kids entertained with water games, climbing ropes, slides, swings, sandpits and flying foxes.
Sydney Aquarium and the Wildlife Sydney Zoo are conveniently located there as well. It is a must to visit both – worthwhile exhibits to see a broad range of marine and wildlife authentic of Australia. Other ideal family attractions in the area include the world’s largest cinema screen at IMAX, laser skirmish and tenpin bowling and Madame Tussaud.
Approaching dinner time, we explored the promenade of alfresco cafes, bars and restaurants along Cockle Bay.
Then we crossed over to King Street Wharf to catch an early dinner in Hurricane Grill. It was highly recommended by my “sydneysider” cousin who says its the best for Ribs and Steak. She was definitely on the spot! We had a RibGalore feast with a row of side dishes that was worth the value. Everyone enjoyed their generous share of the tender, juicy meat.
Full from dinner, we walked around the wharf in the hopes of burning some of those voracious calories put on – if shopping was considered exercise. We proceeded to enjoy the evening’s city light backdrop, walking at leisure as we watched the boats moving in and out of the harbor.
As if not content, we obliged to have dessert in the popular Lindt Cafe. The kids were overwhelmed with the broad selection of Lindt favorites. After some deliberation, they settled for a chocolate milk shake and scoops of ice cream. The adults were nonchalantly tasting, until we realized we finished the kids share. Oops! We didn’t realize how much we would enjoy its yummy creaminess!
And just when we were about to make our way back to the hotel, the fireworks started. It was such a magical sight with colorful lights brightening up the evening sky and the lively music to pair the excitement. It was a perfect send off to bed after a long and tiring day!