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Chinese New Year: Dragonboat Races
During our visit in 2010; Sydney was celebrating Chinese New Year. Various events were happening all over the city. One event in particular interested us most: the Dragon Boat Races. On Saturday February 27th over 3000 paddlers raced on their Dragon Boats in Darling Harbour. The race starts in the middle of the Harbour and ends at Cockle Bay. It is an energetic race to the finish with spectators cheering on their favorite teams.
The race began early in the morning so Liz and I got up early to get a seat. Darling Harbour was mobbed with tons of spectator and teams of Dragon Boat Racers. We managed to get a seat and waited for the fun to start. It was amazing to watch team after team race to the finish. The eye dotting ceremony was also a big interest. Red paint is dabbed on the center of each dragon's forehead; to "awaken" the dragon boat's blind dragon.
This was a fun experience and I was glad we were here to see it.
- Food and Dining
- Historical Travel
The James Craig is a fairly important part of our family with its ownership being traced to my ancestors. So everyone was thrilled when I finally said I've been to see it. I am planning to get out on a cruise on it on a future trip.
This wonderful Barque first set said from England on April 6 1874 and made many runs around the world supplying the growing areas of New Zealand and Australia as well as Oregon and Chile.
Boat Show and a Book.
My second trip had me here during the last weekend of the boat show. The weather was wonderful. 23C and sunny. I sat outside at the end of Cockle Bay reading my book watching the world go by while enjoying the wonderful weather that wasn't the heat index of 40C I had left in NYC.
This was definitely one of the highlights of this trip.
Experience 3D at the Imax Theatre
Darling Harbour has its own Imax theatre right across from the convention center. A variety of Imax films and 3-D films are shown here. An Imax movie runs $18 for adults which isn't bad considering it is such an awesome experience to see such movies on eight story high screens. During our last visit to Sydney in 2010, Avatar was the big attraction here at Imax.
The Tidal Cascades
The Tidal Cascades is a sculpture/fountain in Darling HArbour. The water cascades down in a spiral to a center ball sculpture. There is always a bunch of children playing in the water and splashing about. My wife was actually one of the few "big kids" splashing about one hot day.
Darling Harbour Part 3
There is just so much to do and see in Darling Harbour, for adults and children alike. Sue and I decided to walk there and have breakfast on Sunday morning. We stopped at Starbucks and had lovely coffees and I had a raspberry muffin and Sue had a ham and cheese croissant.
On a sunny weekend you will find thousands of families just walking around Darling Harbour. The circular water feature used to be a HUGE favourite of our boys when they were little, I even have memories of them making me go down it and falling ass-up doing so!
There are plenty of Hotel options as well, probably the 4 most popular would be Star City, Grand Mercure Apartments, Ibis Hotel and Novotel Hotel, with the 3 latter ones being side by side on the western side of Darling Harbour.
DANCING BROLGA FOUNTAIN
This is a very nice fountain located in Cockle Bay at Darling Harbour.
The “Dancing Brolga Fountain” at Cockle Bay is famous world wide and features as one of Sydney’s major icons for Singapore Airlines.
If you have ever seen them in the wild, a good chance of this in the tropical North, where the birds are still abundant and gather in large flocks, you will see that this fountain represents them very truly!
The elegant Brolga's love to dance!
This Australian Bird has a 'dreamtime' story about it.......
I have listed the website for the Aboriginal Dreamtime story on the Brolga.
The Sydney Aquarium
If a city we visit has a city aquarium then we go. We love them. This is an especially nice one. Right when you go in you get to see the Platypus exhibit so you don't have to go searching for it. They seem to know that the Platypus is what a majority of foreigners want to see so they serve it up straight away. Good idea! With that out of the way you can concentrate on the vast variety of Aquatic Life that Australia and this Aquarium have to offer. They have a Crocodile so if you need to see one of those, they have it! I found most of the native freshwater fish to be pretty dull in color but the came in a vast variety of shapes and sizes. Of special interest are the two large salt water tanks that have plexiglass roofed walkways. One of them houses Dugongs, an aquatic mammal similar to the West Indian Manatee of Florida. Its tail is more streamlined but the face is very familiar. They have a another huge aquarium you can see sharks and sea turtles in and a Reef fish tank that is stocked with very colorful fish. If Aquariums are your thing, don't miss this during your visit.
Australia International Motor Show
During our visit to Sydney there was the Australia International Motor Show at DArling Harbor. There were tons of cars o display and even more people gathered around to check out the cars. It was fun to roam about and check out the different cars on display.
The James Craig is a three-masted, iron-hulled barque that is one of the Sydney Marime Museum Exhibits. The James Craig was built in 1874 in Sunderland England. The ship has rounded Cape Horn 23 times in 26 years. The ship operated between New ealand and Australia for years untill fisherman blasted a hole in the stern in 1932. After years of restoration she was able to set sail again in 2001 caring passengers on cruises.
The James Craig was one of the many Maritime Exhibits we enjoyed during our stay in Sydney. Chris has some family connection to the owner of the ship and it is documented in some of his family geneology records.
Darling Harbour is a buzz of activity. There is a number of atactions such as the Aquarium, I-Max, Chinese Garden of Friendship, The Maritime Museum, Convention Center, numerous shops and restuarants. Darling Harbour is accesible by walking, bus, feey and even monorail.
Every visit we had to Drling Harbour was fun filled. We enjoy a good meal, some ice cream at the Lindt Cafe, The Chinese Garden of Friendship, The Aquarium, Maritime Center and the Auto Show at the Convention Center. It's a fun place to walk around and people watch.
Many hour, days, weeks can be spent here - there is indeed something for everyone!
Darling Harbour would have to be Sydneys most popular leisure and entertainment waterfront destination.
These are just a few of the things you can do here:-
40 restaurants, 30 bars and numerous cafes
Outdoor parks and playgrounds
National Maritime Museum
Chinese Friendship Gardens
Star City Casino
Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Sydney Entertainment Centre
PLUS many shops and places to stay.
We have stayed at the Novotel Darling Harbour and I have also stayed at the Medina Darling Harbour. There are some great shows at the Star Casino - I have seen The Wizard of Oz, Mamma Mia and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
There is also the ever-popular Monorail to get you around. It does a continuous loop through Darling Harbour and Central Sydney.
Lovely harbour with many attractions
Darling Harbour is full of attractions for the family. Many restaurants and shops are located in Harbourside Complex. Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World offer great time for kids and parents. In Darling Harbour you can spend a full day with your family and every member will enjoy it.
Something that I really enjoyed doing in Darling Harbour was visiting the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Its really pretty, with pagoda style structures and koi fish. When strolling through the walkways its easy to forget the city outside.
The best bit of the garden is the fancy dress element. For a small fee you can pay to be kitted out in traditional Chinese dress for the duration of your visit to the garden. There are costumes for women, men and children and its great fun! As a fancy dress fan it added a little extra to my Chinese experience and it makes your photographs a whole lot more fun! It is entirely optional but well worth it. Word of warning though: the headresses can get heavy after a while!
Another thing you can do in the garden is to buy some fish food to throw to the masses of fish that live in the pond. I think the food is available in the cafe, we didn't buy it but watched someone else feed the fish. We did buy human food in the cafe. Its not the cheapest place to eat but the food is tasty. If I remember rightly I had the soup and my boyfriend had a salad.
Chinese Garden opens at 9.30am and costs about $6 per adult.
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Darling Harbour is home to the worlds biggest imax theatre. There are several special films you can see, just head to the box office or visit the website to find out whats on and when.
We went to see the Whales and Dolphins 3D show which was more educational than a pixar/dreamworks type story so small children may become bored or tired. Actually, its not just children who may fall asleep - I did! Watching the whales and dolphins bobbing around was somewhat relaxing... perhaps a little too relaxing! I hadn't been tired before I went into the Imax so I can only assume the show was to blame. Its a pity we didn't have this on our dreadful night flight over to Sydney from Bangkok, would've been nice to get some shut eye!
I'd go back to the imax again but I would choose a different show (the Grand Canyon one looked good but it wasn't out until after we departed Oz).
- Theater Travel
- Family Travel
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