Close To Everything When You Stay In Darling Harbour
Having never visited before, we were not sure where to stay for a week in Sydney. After considering several spots closer to Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House, we finally decided we would stay in Darling Harbour. While not right in the centre of things, there was lots to see within walking distance and it was easy to grab transportation close to our hotel.
The Park Royal Hotel turned out to be a perfect place to stay in Darling Harbour and our decision to upgrade to Club floor rooms made all the difference. Club rooms provided us with access to the Club Lounge with food and drink options most of the day. A full buffet breakfast was included, wifi was part of the package, as was 2 pieces of laundry per day. Located right beside Darling Harbour, a short walk around the Harbour got you to the ferry dock.
The Park Royal Hotel was the first of the luxury hotel experiences we had on this trip. It set the bar and certainly encouraged us to upgrade when we had the chance.
Three blocks from the hotel, there was a train stop that could get you into the wide train network in Sydney. The hotel proved to be a great base to stay in Darling Harbour to explore Sydney. We found the customer service to be excellent at the Park Royal and we would definitely recommend it to Sydney visitors.
If you choose to stay in Darling Harbour, you will find a very active place during the day with access to a wide range of attractions.
The IMAX Theatre had two shows running and there was a small children’s park beside the theatre with a full carousel. The Sea Life Sydney Aquarium was at the wharf beside Madame Tussauds and the Wild Life Sydney Zoo. You can purchase one ticket that will give you admission to these 3 attractions plus the Sydney Tower Eye and Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. If you were looking to eat, there were lots of restaurants and bars along both sides of the inlet.
One night we got surprised when we heard popping noises out the window. Rushing up to the lounge, you could get a great view across Darling Harbour to the throngs of people on the dock enjoying a great fireworks show. We were told that Sydney loved fireworks and displays popped up on a regular basis.
Australian Maritime Museum Visit
One of the key attractions to visit if you stay in Darling Harbour, is the Maritime Museum. On a rainy Sunday we relaxed for the morning before heading out to the Maritime Museum. If you just visit the fixed exhibits, there is no admission charge. Since we didn’t need to visit the kids Pirate Exhibit and David had seen most of the ships on display outside during his naval career, we could take just the free ticket.
As an ex-Navy guy, David was right at home. We had barely got in the door before he was deeply engaged in a discussion about a hand crafted ship model that was being built on display.
We wandered, learning about the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) history, the US Navy presence and some Aboriginal history and naval art.
As a former Naval Clearance Diving Officer, David stopped at the RAN clearance diving section to see what they had on display. We walked around the RAN helicopter and looked through the non-functioning periscopes. I tried my hand at the sonar interactive display and achieved rank of Commodore.
There was a special Ichthyo exhibit (The Architecture of Fish) by Sandra J. Raredon showing x-ray views of a wide variety of local fish.
The museum hold special tours for children and we were amused when a group of children were marched past.
Wandering around outside, we could look at the exterior of the O-Class Submarine (same as Canada once used), the other ships on display and the small lighthouse. If you purchase a full ticket, you can also tour these outside displays.
There was an interesting monument (“… The Ocean Bed Their Tomb”) in the water as a memorial to the HMAS AE1, a submarine lost over 100 years ago.
If you have any interest in maritime history this is a good stop, whether you are stay in Darling Harbour or not.
We enjoyed our stay in Darling Harbour for our week in Sydney. The hotel set the bar for what we would look for in hotels as we travelled on in our SE Asia trip. We found lots to see and do from Darling Harbour. Whether by water or by land, it was an easy and short trip to get into the central tourist area.
Did you stay in Darling Harbour in Sydney? Did you visit Darling Harbour? What is your favourite thing to do in Darling Harbour?