Darling Harbour / Cockle Bay / King St Wharf, Sydney
We were in Darling Harbour for Santa Fest and the Fireworks display on a Saturday. We decided to stop in here for some drinks solely due to their outdoor seating and the view of the Harbour. We found a nice table outside after playing some musical tables and planted ourselves here to have the optimal view of the festivities.
The bar was pretty packed with people with the same idea as us as well as regular patrons enjoying the food and musical entertainment. Liz and Laura stuck with drinking their "bubbles" while I enjoyed some beer. Once the festivities began, it was amazing. Santa on a jet pack, Santa waterskiing and the big Firework Finale. Wow, what a great time.
Hubby and I were enjoying a lesisurely stroll around Darling Harbour before meeting up with our friend Laura for lunch when we decided to stop for a drink.
We had passed by Blue Fish many times during our walks around Darling Harbour but never went in until this day. The restaurant/bar specializes in modern Australia cuisine especially seafood and fish. Since we already had lunch plans we asked the hostess if we could just have some drinks at one of their many outdoor tables. She gladly obliged and let us choose our table. We sat at a table with a lovely Harbour view and were handed the drink menu.
I wanted something cold and crisp; so I chose a nice Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand called Squealing Pig(the name intrigued me). Hubby chose to have the same since I think he was a bit tired of beer and wanted something different. The wine was very good; light, crisp and a hint of citrus....very nice indeed.
I really enjoyed this place. I loved relaxing outside with a beautiful water view while sipping my wine. The Darling Harbour location provided for some people watching which can be quite entertaining on so many levels.
Time flew by as we enjoyed two glasses of wine. Thankfully Laura texted us to say she was on her way or we might have let more time slip by...
Dress Code: Casual but not sloppy.
Helm is one of the bar/restaurants in the Darling Harbour area right next to the Sydney Aquarium. We decided to meet up with some friends here for some after work drinks and dinner.
We arrived here earlier than our "meet up" time so we decided to have some drinks while we waited for our friends. The bar area consists of several tables; some with high bar stools. There is an open area with windows that look out to the Harbour and the pedestrian traffic below. We decided to sit at a table closer to the bar since the outdoor area was packed with smokers polluting the air.
After a few beers for me an a Pepsi for my wife we headed downstairs to the outdoor garden to meet up with our friends. We had a table reserved and it had begun to drizzle so there was no problem finding seating. Our friends arrived a little late but mostly due to work issues.
It was $10 steak night that Tuesday so we all decided to have the steak special. It wasn't bad for a $10 steak and the chips were pretty good. Happy hour prices were still in effect so the beers wer erelatively cheap. As we wrapped up dinner; the rain really started to come down. We moved back upstairs under cover for some more drinks.
Once upstairs we grabbed a table by the windows away from the smokers. The girls stuck to ordering their glasses of "bubbles" while I remained with my beer. It was a fun time with some really good friends.
Dress Code: Casual.
Cruising the world's largest natural Harbour is not just the best feeling. It is the utimate in fun, entertainment and getting acquainted with the best that Sydney has to offer! this coming from someone who's cruised the Mediterranean, South Pacific, New Zealand, and many more. Yet there's nothing like sailing around this lucky city!
I booked our three hour, three course dinner with ABBA tribute show just a few days before the actual sailing. It came via a deal from Deals I love which I saw through an email sent to me. Both my husband and I haven't had the chance to shop for pressies for each other. Hub gallantly said, I could "get" his gift for me. To which I did! So he couldn't complain.
The rest you will hear about ..now!
It is one of those spur of the moment things that has really paid off! Sometimes being spontaneous is a good thing. Despite the dodgy weather in Sydney, I feel it will still be going to be a good cruise, you cannot go wrong with an ABBA show anyway!
So the deal was for $49 per person. We would have loved for our two boys to come with us but teenagers as they were, they declined. Great! Some time for us then!
After paying through PAYPAL which was also handy, I printed our vouchers and made the reservations required by phoning. At first I was a bit sceptical as there must be a catch with good deals like this one. So it remains to be seen, I was told just turn up with the voucher and we would be given our tables there.
The tricky part was going to the city, to the Pyrmont Bay wharf. I did tell my husband before hand where we would be embarking, he said he knew where it was. My worry was the GPS would fail and he would end up getting lost! Now, was I being a psychic?
So after a few bickerings on where to go, which street to turn, etc., we found a parking at The Star's parking which was really my original plan. It was easier to get to than the car park at Darling Harbour. In the past, we just park there going to the city, like visiting the Australian Maritime Museum and other spots in the Harbour with the most!
The embarkation point was also not so assuring as the instruction just adjacent to the Maritime Museum which was huge! So we figured it would really just be in that area. But we eventually saw a few people milling about before 6 so we were relieved. It helped that I asked a cleaner at the area where the Rhythmboat cruises would be embarking.
Hence, we queued up for the sail. Met a few nice people and at first I wasn't too happy with the seating arrangement. A little tight squeeze as there were 6 chairs to a table on both sides making 12 for each table. Luckily our table wasn't full so I was glad about that!
Food was nothing spectacular but still good and filling and served hot. I was warned by a friend who had cruised with the same company before not to expect too much by way of the food but it was pleasantly fine. As I predicted I was pretty sure our experience would be different, and it was!
For one, the weather was perfect! Not too hot (though the dining area was a bit humid). No rains so far which was also a blessing. It was still very bright when we embarked and we could see fabulous views of all the iconic places Sydney was famous for- the Harbour bridge which never fails to take my breath way, the Sydney Opera House with its glittering sails as our boat move slowly through the calm and serene waters, some buildings brightly lit with Christmas lights, rich people's homes which made me feel a bit jealous and many more. We passed by Cockatoo island and saw lots of colourful tents perched along the water's edge, Fort Denison, etc.
Food wise it wasn't that great but it wasn't bad either. It was just right for us, no wastage. The nibbles were crackers and cheese, cabanossi slices, with a dip and choices of julienned carrots and cucumbers and some foaccacia cut into finger sizes.If these are not to your liking, it doesn't matter, you are there for the views I tell you!
The main course was a choice of pork and mashed potatoes and gravy with steamed vegies or chicken breast with boiled potatoes with mushroom sauce and zucchinis, carrots and green beans. Dessert was a simple chocolate or sponge cake as far I have seen as we both got each a small serve of chocolate cake on a plastic plate. It was finefor me as I do no really eat a lot of sweets.
I am not expecting seafood, I am allergic to it! Sorry to seafood lovers, this cruise is not a buffet extravaganza the key is the view and the entertainment!
For entertainment, I cannot complain! ABBA has always been one of my favourite groups as their songs are universal. People would always love their songs and so it was a truly great evening for us. Our table mates were friendly Australians. So it was worth what we paid for and probably more with the million dollar views before us!
So I shall recommend you try this, not for the food but for the fantastic views, fun entertainment and potential great people you will meet. As always, it helps if you keep an open mind indulging in a cruise like this!
As of this writing, I have made quite a few new acquaintances and will be keeping in touch with some of them. Particularly as I have discovered the part owner of Rhythmboat is a fellow countrywoman. Marisa Seagg is a fine hostess, not overbearing and she and her friendly business partner Allan Berkopec have been operating it for the past 14 years. This is a testament that with wholesome entertainment, good organisation, decent food and good value for money, the enterprise is bound to be enjoyed by many for years to come.
As proof, I had the pleasure of speaking to its Captain, Tony who said he loved working for Rhythmboat and had been with them for the past 12 years!How was that for a glowing testimony?
Dress Code: Wear comfy shoes, silly people still wore their stillettoes and looked really tired and uncomfortable! Smart casual is also great for both ladies and men. Young children are not recommended to join this cruise.
Blue Fish is one of the many bar/restaurants in the Darling Harbour area. As is customary with most places in the area; they have a large outdoor seating area. My wife and I were walking around Darling Harbour before meeting our friend Laura for lunch and decided to stop here for a drink.
The outdoor dining area has umbrella covered tables which is nice for staying out of the strong Sydney sun. We decided to sit outside to enjoy the weather and view while enjoying some drinks. We perused the menu which contained primarily seafood but has other non- seafood items. We weren't here for a meal so we focused on the drinks and decided on two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.
We had a nice time enjoying the beautiful weather and breeze blowing through the harbour. Our wine was quite nice and refreshing in the heat.
Dress Code: Casual
The Loft is located in King Street Wharf, at the North Eastern end of Darling Harbour. It's very close to Wynyard railway station (10 minute walk).
It's a great place to be, especially in the warmer months. There is a large outdoor area where smoking is allowed.
The bar also offers food, dancing later in the evening and plenty of lounges to relax.
Dress Code: During the day, practically anything. At night, it's best to dress up a little more.
I haven't been here since my second visit in 2005. Your normal wharf side club like bar you'll find drinks and dancing until late hours. It has the benefit of being right on the end of the wharf where you have easy access to taxis when you are done.
Dress Code: More to come.....
Another of the many nightlife spots that doubles as after work in this town. Came here on a Saturday night in the middle of winter. And still it was 75 (24C). Right above the aquarium it is easily located and a good place to be. Just dont forget to bring your ID or an out of towner. Seems either can get you in.
Australia Day is a great celebration of what it means to be an Australian, the day is littered with fantastic things to see and do. We ended our first Australia Day in Darling Harbour for the fireworks.
Dress Code: Absolutely none, this is Sydney!
The Darling Harbour region has so many restuarants, bars, clubs, and eateries, that choosing just one would be impossible. Some are really hopping, with live music, while others are more romantic, with lovely soft background music.
You can dine with a lavish meal at one restuarant, then go next door for drinks, and music.
Dress Code: You can "dress up" here, or smart casual is also quite acceptable.
Darling Harbour/Cockle Bay is a well known area in sydney to enjoy good food and good wine. After dinner a night of dancing.
Many walks of life are seen at some of the trendiest restaurants. These include Nicks Seafood Restaurant, Jordons, Zaaffran, Thai Foon, I'm Angus Steakhouse and many more.
Well knows bars/nightclubs are Pontoon, Bungalow 8,Cargo Bar...
There is always free entertainment over the weekends, from light shows, to flame throwers.
Dress Code: If you are planning on going to a nice restaurant dress accordingly. So men out there dont go out in sneakers :) smart casual and for the girls out there.... well we usually can get away with whatever... as long as u dont plan on going to dinner in thongs :)
A must do is the Cockle Bay precinct. In particular the King Street wharf area. This has a range of bars (which is great all year 'round but best in the Summer Dec-Mar). Try: Bungalow 8 and The Loft. A few doors down is Cargo bar--great music & crowd. A few streets away from King STreet Wharf is the Slip Inn on Sussex St.: Perfect in Summer. It has two main levels; downstairs is outdoors, a garden bar and mainly a European/Latino crowd. Upstairs tends to attract the CBD office business ppl who have finished for the day. The pic is of the Establishment at night. A nice swishy place to be seen is also the Establishment Bar on George St. A bit swanky on some nights but always fun.
Dress Code: Slip Inn: Basically, any smart/evening--not formal.
Establishment: Place to be seen at more than anything else, so girls are dressed well and the guys-dress to impress
Pier 26 on Cockle Bay. Ambient night time drinking spot Cafe style food with a little Thai influence. I think this is a great starting point for a night out. Its a little higher on the cost scale, a white wine will set you back $7 AUD and thats just the house white. But I like the atmosphere and its good place to meet as it right on the city side of Darling Harbour, known as Cockle Bay. Crowd age usually 25+ Also has quite an international visitation. And of course theres the views. Music is background 'rhythm' and there is no DJ or dancing. Its is an indoor/ outdoor venue, with plenty of cover. This pic is one summer early evening, I must remember to take one at night. No cover charge, dress regulations do apply see below:
Dress Code: Dress regulations apply after 5 or 6pm. In Sydney that usually means ensure your ensemble includes covered shoes and collar. Jeans are ok at Pier 26
The site of the Sydney VT Meet a few of us met up here for a few drinks and a bite to eat. Nice and relaxing and a great spot for a few drinks with some pals, easy to talk and with a lovely view of the harbour and the lights reflecting across the water. Like many of the bars in this area and Darling Harbour, it is a great place to catch up and relax.
Dress Code: Casual
Not a bad spot in a nice setting overlooking the water.
Think you'd need to be in a group to get the most enjoyment out of this place. There was a table of 3 women by themselves sitting right next to us & one of them was good enough to take a few photos for us using each of our cameras, however most groups seemed to be mixed groups of men & women just out enjoying themselves in a normal sort of way after a hard day's work.
Mind you I think Saturday night is the big night partying here with DJ's rocking the house from 8 p.m till late.
We sure had a good time provided by the interaction of friendly VTers. Sue (sue_stone), Dean (Groverdean), Elzbieta (Ela_S) had continued on from lunch at the Blackbird Cafe farther back around the Bay. We were joined by firstly Sheryn (Zanzibargirl) then Paula (emerald125), Deana (Deana) & for a short while Michael (AYankinSydney) who had to rush off fairly soon with a bottle of J'Adore perfume to meet a friend. He had us wondering. All these people were good company & it was good to see Sydney VTers coming out to socialise. Hope we can do it again sooner rather than later.
Dress Code: No set dresscode, but most people had come straight from work so were fairly well dressed without going over the top.