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The majestic Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour, a delightful "oasis" in the heart of the Sydney CBD. Picture: © Sydney.com.au
This is the second day of a three-day walk. Covers: The area around Sydney Cove, including Sydney Harbour Bridge, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens.
All the original features of the building have been retained including the magnificent stain glass in the large dome that adorns the roof and half-circular windows at the side of the building. Count on spending an hour here, at least, as beside an array of attractive and unusual shops there are also interesting exhibits on different levels, including a magnificent oriental coach.
A statue of Queen Victoria sits regally outside the building named after her. Picture: © Sydney.com.au
Next, walk out at the end of the building where you entered, turn right into Druit Street, walk down two blocks and turn right into Sussex Street. Walk one block to Market Street and, looking to the left you will see a large bridge. This is the old Pyrmont Bridge, once a working drawbridge, which is now a tourist walkway from the city across to Darling Harbour.
Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay Wharf.
Darling Harbour is one of Sydney's most popular destinations. It is a redevelopment of a small docklands harbour into a major tourist centre and convention place. Count on spending anything up to several hours here, as there are a number of attractions, including the Chinese Garden of Friendship (a small green sanctuary in the heart of Sydney that represents the best place for an hour or two of absolute peace and quiet), the National Maritime Museum, an OmniMax theatre, the Cockle Wharf restaurant complex and the Harbourside Shopping Centre.
Tied up to the wharf near the Harbourside shopping centre is the South Steyne, a former harbour ferry that now serves as a floating restaurant. On the other side of Darling Harbour, at the front of the Cockle Bay complex, is a series of boat moorings that can be leased on a daily or weekly basis.
Darling Harbour is also a major terminus for private boat tour operators who run cruises to other points around the harbour.
The Australian National Maritime Museum is situated at the end of the bridge and walkway. You can't miss it as there's a large Navy vessel (part of the exhibition) moored alongside the building. Turn right into Murray Street, and follow it around a bend until it becomes Foreshore Road, and you come to the new Sydney Casino complex. Rather than walk back to Darling Harbour and the city, you can pay to travel on the light rail service or catch a free (black) casino bus. The free buses run every 20 minutes or so and stop at Darling Harbour, then run to the city.
A replica of James Cook's Endeavour is moored at the National Maritime Museum.
Once back in the city, look for the Sydney Tower landmark. You can't miss it: on the corner of Market and Pitt Streets, it's the highest tower in Sydney and the tallest manmade structure in Australia. Here you can board an elevator and go to the top, where you will find an observation tower, revolving restaurant and the Sydney Skydeck. Admission fees are charged for the observation deck and Skydeck.
The best views of Sydney are undoubtedly from the Sydney Tower and it's a great spot for lunch or dinner, with the city slowly passing around you. The revolving restaurant provides an unparalleled, 360-degree view of Sydney Harbour and surrounding environs.
The Sydney Tower, which hs an observation deck and a revolving restaurant.
If you don't feel like eating, you can simply visit the observation decks. On a clear day you can see as far west as the scenic Blue Mountains, and as far south as Wollongong, a major coastal industrial city. The view of the harbour and the outlying surf beaches is worth the admission fee.
For the brave-hearted, they can venture out onto the Skydeck, an open platform with a glass floor mounted on the side of the tower. Participants wear safety clothing with belts and chains, and are chained to safety restraints so as to ensure maximum safety.