Darling Harour is today a thriving precinct on the edge of Sydney’s central business district. Darling Harbour is home to some of Australia’s most significant tourist attractions as well as a myriad of restaurants and shops, all attuned to the interests and needs of conference delegates and visitors.
Many of the city’s vibrant public festivals and events are held in Darling Harbour, which features beautiful parks and a series of major sculptures.
Darling Harbour is also incorporated into some of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s major events, most notably the Sydney International Boat Show which extends into the Cockle Bay Marina.
Named after the then Governor of New South Wales (NSW) Sir Ralph Darling in 1826, Darling Harbour was a busy port for local and overseas trade throughout the 19th century. However, during the 20th century its role became less relevant to the city and by 1980 the area had largely become derelict.
In 1984 the NSW Government announced it would redevelop the precinct, investing $900 million of funds into the project over the following four years. The site was officially opened on May 4, 1988 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with work on Darling Harbour completed in 1994 when Cockle Bay Wharf on the eastern side of Cockle Bay was opened.
Today the precinct maintains some reminders of its past. Tumbalong Park draws its name from the Aboriginal term for “meeting place”, while Cockle Bay bears the name given to it by the original settlers, soldiers and convicts who were grateful for the shellfish they found on its shores in a time of food shortage.
Almost 150 million people have visited Darling Harbour since it opened in 1988. More than a quarter of those visiting Darling Harbour are Sydneysiders who head to the precinct regularly.
The makeup of visitors is:
Sydneysiders 65% Overseas 17%
Regional NSW and Interstate 18%
Hotels in the Darling Harbour area:
* Novotel Darling Harbour 525 rooms
* Hotel Ibis Darling Harbour 256 rooms
* Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour 230 rooms
* Somerset Darling Harbour 119 rooms
* ParkRoyal at Darling Harbour 345 rooms
* Four Points by Sheraton 630 rooms
* Holiday Inn Darling Harbour 344 rooms
* The Waldorf Apartment Hotel 27 rooms
* Medina Grand Harbourside Apart. 110 rooms
* Oaks Goldsbrough Apartments 331 rooms
* Star City Casino Hotel and Serviced Apartments 480 rooms
Total rooms 3,397
• Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
• Sydney Entertainment Centre
• Parks and Gardens
• Foreshore promenades
• The Chinese Garden
• Australian National Maritime Museum
• Powerhouse Museum
• Sydney Aquarium
• Sydney Wildlife World
• Harbourside Shopping Centre
• Star City
• Cockle Bay Wharf
• IMAX Theatre
• Sydney’s Paddy’s Markets
• Market City (retail and cinema complex)
• King Street Wharf
• Sydney Fish Markets